January 24, 2021 Karen Lewis

The Whales Are Back in Seward!

Public art is alive and well in Seward! The Seward Mural Society continues to create beautiful and thoughtful pieces on every corner.  Or, as in the case of the Whales Resurrection mural, recreate. Almost ten years ago two local artists created a mural of large whales swimming along a building toward the ocean.  It was mesmerizing to behold.  Unfortunately, wind and weather caused the wall and the whales to deteriorate. In the end the mural had to be demolished to save the wall. 

The original mural that came down in 2018: “Sea-ward Bound,” of humpback whales by Justine Pechuzal and Liza McElroy

The original mural that came down in 2018: “Sea-ward Bound,” of humpback whales by Justine Pechuzal and Liza McElroy

 With the help from a KMTA Grant, the Seward Mural Society was able to “recreate” the whale mural. Local artist Jason Leslie was commissioned to create a new pod of whales to swim along the wall.  These delightfully colored creatures were painted by the community in the fall of 2019. With the help of over 60 volunteers and close to 300 volunteer hours the piece was completed and finally installed in October 2020 six months behind schedule. The mural hangs on the side of business owner Elliot Jackson’s Sea Salt Restaurant and a community dedication is planned for the spring.

 “The process of installing the mural was hampered by a summer of no tourists and “business as usual” was non-existent, but the appearance of the colorful whales brought a little brightness in a lot of gray.” Said Patricia Linville

 The Whale Resurrection once again reminds visitors and locals alike of Seward’s connection to the sea.  These leviathans are an integral part of the ecosystem and this mural serves to remind the community that there is another world under the sea which needs to be recognized and nurtured. 

“As Seward has been designated the Mural Capital of Alaska, we have developed a process for public art that will stand the test of time. Not only do the murals entertain visitors and locals they also educate.  Many depict historical events of the area. The new Whale Resurrection Mural is unique as it relates to the natural environment of Seward, the sea. It has been installed using a tried and true process that ensures the piece is not dependent on the integrity of the wall from which it hangs.  Therefore, if and/or when the wall behind this mural requires attention, the mural can be removed, moved or replaced as needed.   This mural is now on the maintenance list of the Mural Society.”  Linville added.

KMTA awards grants to community projects that recognize, preserve, and interpret the historic, scenic, and natural recreational resources and cultural landscapes of the Kenai Mountains-Turnagain Arm historic transportation corridor. Projects promote and facilitate public enjoyment of these resources. For more information click here.