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 Nature Center

Nature Center Art

Permanent Art

Although the Chula Vista Nature Center is known best for its aquaria, Art 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 architect.

ArtworkBoth 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 the workArtwork 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artist Neill Ketchum created the artwork for the Rubbing Table panels and allowed use of several watercolors from her unpublished children's book about Clapper Rails.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.Artwork

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 Artworkof the Chula Vista Nature Center.

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Temporary Art

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


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