Art takes nature as its model. ~ Aristotle
Just as nature inspires art, art inspires actions to defend wild places and the wild creatures that live in them. With this in mind, the Center for Biological Diversity's Endangered Species Mural Project teams up with artists, activists and scientists to bring endangered wildlife onto the streets of cities and towns around the country. Spearheaded by Portland artist Roger Peet, the mural project features wildlife species that are particular to their regions, promoting an affinity for the natural world and the diverse species that help define it. These murals are imagined as tools to help celebrate local endangered species within communities, and to encourage people to make connections between conservation and community strength.
The Endangered Species Mural Project has created nine murals so far — of the mountain caribou in Sandpoint, Idaho; the Arctic grayling in Butte, Montana; the monarch butterfly in Minneapolis, Minnesota; the watercress darter in Birmingham, Alabama; the gray whale and the yellow-billed cuckoo in Los Angeles; the jaguar in Tucson, Arizona; the pink mucket pearly mussel in Knoxville, Tennessee; and the white fringeless orchid in Berea, Kentucky.
Upcoming murals will depict the hellbender salamander in Little Rock, Arkansas; the marbled murrelet in Arcata, California; and the eulachon in Portland, Oregon. If we can obtain additional funding, the Center hopes to continue to work with more local artists and communities and expand our project to even more cities nationwide.
A Message From the Artist
“Everywhere on Earth is unique, with qualities that distinguish it from other places both near and far. One of those qualities is biodiversity — the plants and animals that call a place home and may not be found anywhere else. Those species embody an area’s natural history and contribute to what makes it irreplaceable — and they also have something to say about the future, as many are in danger of going extinct. When we lose species, the places we inhabit and the lives we live become poorer and shallower as a result. To help bring these species into the light, we decided to paint them on the walls.
“The goal of this project is to foster connections between people and the other forms of life that surround them. Whether that’s a fish in a river, a butterfly flitting from plant to plant, or a caribou chewing lichen from a tree, we’re bringing together artists and communities to create big, bold images that will become part of the neighborhoods where they’re created, making it a little easier for people to care about the species struggling to survive in their midst.”
Roger Peet is a Portland-based artist who is coordinating this project in association with the Center for Biological Diversity. Is there a wall near you where you’d to see an Endangered Species Mural? Send us an email.
Mountain caribou mural in Sandpoint, Idaho. Mural artists Mazatl and Joy Mallari (from the Justseeds Artists Cooperative) worked with Roger Peet.
Arctic grayling mural by Roger Peet in Butte, Mont.
Whale mural by Icy & Sot (working in coordination with Roger Peet) in Los Angeles, California. Photo © Jess X. Chen.
Monarch butterfly mural in Minneapolis, Minn., by Roger Peet and Barry Newman.
Watercress darter mural in Birmingham, Ala., by Roger Peet and Birmingham artists Merrilee Challiss and Creighton Tynes. Photo by Kyle Crider.
Yellow-billed cuckoo mural in Los Angeles, Calif., led by Jess X. Chen.
Jaguar mural in Tucson, Ariz., by Kati Astraeir.
Southwest freshwater mussels mural in Knoxville, Tenn., by Roger Peet, Merrilee Challiss and Trish Tripp.
White fringeless orchid mural in Berea, Ky., by Roger Peet and Trish Tripp.