Destin schools get inspired by art, marine science as part of Wyland mural restoration project

Special to The Log
Marine Artist Wyland will be returning to Destin next week, Sept. 28-Oct. 2 to repaint the iconic Whaling Wall at the foot of the Mid-Bay bridge.

When renowned marine life artist returns to the mid-bay marina to repaint his famous mural, Sept. 28 – Oct. 1, his non-profit foundation will be supporting the artist’s conservation message with a series of presentations at area elementary schools about the importance of protecting the large marine mammals that live off the coast.

Marine mammal expert and biologist, Christie Gonzalez, M.S., will travel to schools for presentations and Q&As with students about the many ways students can help create a sustainable future for Florida's marine mammals, including: 1) Roles in the ecosystem; 2) Human impacts; 3) How people can play a role in ensuring a sustainable future for the animals.

In addition, the Wyland Foundation will provide selected schools with classroom mural kits, including Wyland created lessons, for classes to create a mural reflecting the marine life off the coast. Students will have an opportunity to enter their artwork in the Wyland National Water is Life Classroom Art and Mural Challenge at

“We are so fortunate that our teachers have the opportunity to learn from Wyland, “ said Okaloosa Superintendent Mary Beth Jackson, “this will help them ultimately help our art students.”

The school wide tour coincides with Wyland’s return to Destin to touch up his 5-acre marine life mural – originally painted in 2004 — on a dry-storage facility at 4603 Legendary Marin Drive at the foot of the Mid Bay Bridge. All of Wyland’s 100 Whaling Wall murals were painted as donations by the artist to communities around the world.

The restoration of Whaling Wall #88 is underwritten by the Legendary Companies and the Wyland Foundation, with support from Sherwin Williams, Sunbelt Rentals and Graco Worldwide.

"Our ocean is among the world's greatest treasures," said Wyland, whose marine life murals are seen by more than 1 billion people around the world every year. "The future of our ocean and coastal waters depends on the support millions of people. Art is a wonderful way to focus our attention on this resource."

The Wyland Foundation and the volunteer educators hope the process of interpreting the wonder of the ocean through art will lead students to a greater understanding of their role as future caretakers of the resource.

8:30-9:30 a.m., Sept. 29

Wyland Foundation presentation to students from FreeportElementary School at 15381 Business Highway 331 S Freeport

12:30 -2 p.m., Sept. 29                

Wyland Foundation presentation to students from LewisSchool at 281 Mississippi AvenueValparaiso

7-8 p.m., Sept. 29

Middle School art teacher roundtable with Wyland at Wyland Galleries at the Market Shops, 9375 Emerald Coast Pkwy, Suite, 30, MiramarBeach, to discuss role of arts and continuing     education    

7:50-8:50 a.m., Sept. 30              

Wyland Foundation presentation to Van R. Butler Elementary School at 6694 W. Co. Highway 30A Santa Rosa Beach, FL

10:45-11:45 a.m., Sept. 30          

Wyland Foundation presentation to students from Destin Middle Schools at Lulu’s restaurant, 4607 Legendary Marine Dr., Destin

10 a.m. Sept. 30                          

DestinMiddle School and Blue Water Elementary to visit mid bay marina to meet Wyland

1:30-2:30 p.m., Sept 30

Wyland Foundation presentation to students from DestinElementary school at Lulu’s Restaurants

Activities during Wyland's visit include: