Nature Center Art
Although the Chula Vista Nature Center is known best for its aquaria,
aviaries and gardens, this is also a wonderful place to enjoy public
art. The galleria, gardens, shorebird exhibit, and trails, have
many kinds of art forms used to enhance interpretation. We have
been blessed with the talents of many artists who have shared their
work with us. We thank them for their sensitivity toward the environment
and their artistic gifts.
Probably the most admired piece of art is the massive sandcasting
on the south exterior wall behind the auditorium crafted by local
artist Charles Faust, well-known for his work throughout the country.
It is especially beautiful at night when the outside lights play
upon its animals found in South San Diego Bay.
The small sandcasting of the egret on the east exterior wall of
the auditorium is the work of Tony Cutri, the Nature Center building's
Tony Cutri and Charles Faust are responsible for the large metal
cutouts of pelicans in the entrance circle.
In the gardens are bird silhouettes donated by John Durant, a local
artist. Not only do they enhance the gardens, they also provide
perches for the wild birds. The male Costa's hummingbird can often
be found sitting on the white egret silhouette.
On the Steelhead Creek exhibit, in the Galleria, are some paintings
of Rainbow Trout by James Prosek, a young man who likes to fish
and paint the fish he catches. His beautiful book Trout was published
in 1996, when James was an undergraduate at Yale, and is a wonderful
resource on this fish.
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The interpretive features of the Clapper Rail exhibit incorporate
of several talented artists. Fallbrook artist Neill Ketchum created
the artwork for the Rubbing Table panels and allowed use of several
watercolors from her unpublished children's book about Clapper Rails.
The Nature Center has used local photographer Phil Roullard's wonderful
Clapper Rail photo in the central enclosure. William Burt's Clapper
Rail photos on the sound booth and the Black Rail near the exit of
the aviary are from his book, Shadowbirds, A Quest for Rails.
Bronzes by Bob Berry include the beautiful coyote and the family
scene of Clapper Rails. The bronze "dinner plates" were
done by Tucson artist Mark Rossi, and feature the food items most
preferred by these endangered birds.
Richard Graef of Ace Designs in Sausalito created all the cutout
"cartoon" art that enlivens the galleria and the Clapper
Rail floating nest areas.
Lisa Hall and Ellen Blonder, of the California Department of Fish
and Game and the Wildlife Habitats Relationships Systems, provided
the black-and-white illustrations of shorebirds.
Illustrations on the trail kiosks and on the upper walls near the
entrance of the galleria are watercolor paintings done by Ericka
Fielder, of the Coastal Conservancy. Much of her work was done at
the Tijuana Estuary, and if one looks carefully, certain landmarks
can be recognized. Throughout coastal California, one can see the
same interpretive panels at protected wetlands.
Then, of course, there are always charming and sometimes thought-provoking
new works of art done by the thousands of school children that visit
the Center. Come visit for a whole new perspective of
the Chula Vista Nature Center.
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The ever-changing Gyotaku and garden prints created by Cherry Sweig
are dynamic and beautiful works of nature reflected in ink onto
rice-paper. Visitors can purchase a favorite piece after it
has been admired. Next time you visit, look for the interpretive
panel near the west auditorium doors which describes how Cherry
creates her art. You can also visit her website at http://www.CherrySweig.com