BREMERTON — After a whale-watching tour in Hawaii, Olympic College art professor Marie Weichman wanted to create an art piece expressing the connection between humans and marine life.
Seeing whales up close and reading about whale deaths caused by garbage, Weichman wanted to create a “socio-political piece.” She and a handful of OC students did just that.
A life-sized sculpture of a gray whale will soon be on exhibition at Bremerton’s Olympic College campus.
Students and faculty from art, science and welding departments collaborated to build the grey whale with recycled materials.
The project is scheduled for completion Oct. 3. The exhibit will be open to the public on Oct. 4, at 4 p.m. at The Gallery at OC.
The show will run through October, closing Nov. 2 at 4 p.m.
The gallery is open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday or by appointment. The gallery is located in Art building A, Bremerton campus. The project was meant to build awareness for public art, educate the public on the dangers that plastic has on marine environments, and provide students a “real world” experience in producing a creative product, according to information provided by Weichman.
The project began in the summer, with independent study students — four enrolled and one volunteer — began the work.
Materials used to fabricate the life-sized baby gray whale include a welded steel skeleton, fencing material, recycled plastic bags and found objects. Welding Professor Al Kitchens oversaw welding student, Shan Beckstead, through the welding process after receiving CAD designs from Ron Raty of the Manufacturing department. Art students Theresa Helton, Jennifer Lynch, Max Greene and Justine McNeal will then transport the sections of whale skeleton to the art gallery where the rest of the construction takes place. Together, with volunteer gallery assistant Charlie Gore, weaved plastic bags through fencing material and attached it to the welded steel skeleton to create the skin of the whale.
Along with the whale, The Gallery will be transformed into an artists’ expression of a marine environement, complete with sound elements. The Gallery will be painted an Ocean Blue and “debris” will be strewn about.
The CAD designs will also be on display.
A blog that has documented the process and construction of the baby grey whale can be found at ocartgallery.wordpress.com.