Monday, June 1, 2020

Orca Skeleton ARTiculation!

In celebration of the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, the Port Townsend Marine Science Center created Orca ARTiculation. The community-oriented project allowed supporters to use their artistic skills to recreate the skeleton of “Hope,” the transient orca whose articulated bones are suspended from the ceiling of the PTMSC Museum. 

Notably, the project was undertaken during the restrictions imposed by the coronavirus COVID-19 outbreak, which closed the Museum and Aquarium and imposed strict social-distancing measures.

Orca ARTiculation was spearheaded by AmeriCorps Natural History Educator Ellie Kravets. 

"I love looking for opportunities for people to take some aspect of the greater Salish Sea ecosystem and make it their own,” Ellie said. “At the PTMSC, we have this incredible resource in the Orca Bone Atlas to bring one part of our unique ecosystem right into our homes.” 

Starting on April 20, Ellie began sending emails to registrants with line art files of specific orca bones. 

“We encourage you to get creative with your bones!” Ellie wrote. “Feel free to print out our image files and color them, paint them digitally, or recreate your bones in the real world using found or recycled materials. The possibilities are endless - we can’t wait to see what you create!”

The instructions explained that completed bone art should be placed in front of a solid, contrasting background – such as a floor, wall, or curtain – and one or more photos should be taken at roughly the same angle as depicted in the original line art. Participants were asked to make sure all the images were well lit and in focus, without any dramatic shadows or moody ambiance. 

Following these steps allowed Ellie to compile the completed images and rearticulate the orca digitally for all to enjoy.

“I hope this project sparks curiosity in our participants, and I’m so excited to see the results," Ellie said as the May 31 deadline approached. 

Now completed, the Orca ARTiculation project is featured on the PTMSC website to further educate viewers about the story of Hope: her life, her stranding and how her skeleton came to the Museum.  

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