A new, ocean-centric mural was painted on the wall of a school this week in Miami, Florida to commemorate the passage of legislation banning the shark fin trade that went into effect last September.
Shark Allies, a nonprofit organization focused on the conservation of sharks, is spearheading an integrated project that combines art, education and technology to inspire the next generation of ocean stewards, commemorating the late Florida State Representative Kristin Jacobs.
Florida, previously the biggest hub of shark fin trading in the USA, became the 14th state to ban the fin trade in September 2020. Jacobs sponsored the House bill and fought for her state to take a stand while also fighting cancer. She lost her personal battle shortly after the bills passed both the House and Senate unanimously last March.
The Kristin Jacobs Ocean Conservation Act serves as a legacy of her work to protect sharks and the ocean.
According to Shark Allies founder Stefanie Brendl:
“We fought alongside Kristin Jacobs for years, but we never had the opportunity to celebrate such a monumental win. Miami is a place where the fin trade once ran rampant, and now it’s a city that is making great strides in protecting our oceans. This mural will be a constant reminder of that. It’s the perfect way to carry out Kristin’s legacy.”
The mural is being brought to South Florida by local wildlife artist Kelly Quinn in collaboration with Shark Allies and Canvas of the Wild, a nonprofit organization focused on uplifting the arts and sciences in education. Accompanying the mural will be a knowledge base allowing students, and the public, to identify and learn more about each species in the mural and their significance to humans.
The goal of the piece is to spark a passion for exploration and science in children through an immersive artistic and digital experience that will guide them through the coastal and pelagic waters of Florida, introducing them to topics around coral restoration, endangered species, and the importance of sharks in our oceans. An Augmented Reality experience by Miami local organization Before It’s Too Late will also be a part of the mural.
Mural artist Kelly Quinn said:
“The project will utilize a knowledge base designed by Blake Wheeler (Canvas of the Wild) to highlight educational touchpoints that can be accessed in person through a phone or at home by a computer, to reinforce the connections between the art and relevant educational information for students.”
Qiunn will teach art classes and workshops to allow students to help with sections of the mural, and a speaker series will feature educational talks from experts in conservation, policy, science, and diving. Shark Allies, the Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation, Discovery Education, and Sharks4Kids will supplement the program to ensure the curriculum spans across all grade levels and covers all things sharks, conservation, and marine science.
Quinn has organized a crowdfunding campaign to pay for art supplies, her fee, student experience and more.
For more information, go to https://gofund.me/79854e91.
(Image credits: Kristin Paterakis)