Shepard Fairey, world-famous artist and creator of iconic Obama “HOPE” poster, to paint mural on Aquarium’s Simons Theatre

As part of Sea Walls: Artists for Oceans in Boston program, July 19-26

BOSTON, MASS. (July 20, 2021) – As part of the Sea Walls: Artists for Oceans global program, Shepard Fairey, a world-renowned public artist, will be painting a new ocean-inspired mural on the side of the New England Aquarium’s Simons Theatre from July 22 to 25. The public art program, founded by the PangeaSeed Foundation, will bring a total of 14 new ocean advocacy murals to Boston, along with public programs, film screenings, and other events from July 19 to 26, transforming the city with colorful, thought-provoking works of art with a marine conservation theme.

Produced in collaboration with HarborArts, a local public art initiative, a new series of public murals in East Boston will add to the seven murals created last year as part of the Sea Walls Boston’s pilot project. The New England Aquarium is serving as this year’s Honorary Conservation Partner and will host Fairey and his team of artists as they paint on the Simons Theatre. In the days leading up to the installation, artists will meet with scientists from the Aquarium’s Anderson Cabot Center for Ocean Life to learn more about environmental issues facing the Gulf of Maine along Boston’s coastline and other conservation issues of concern.

Fairey, who was born in Charleston, S.C., and now lives and works in Los Angeles, gained worldwide acclaim when he created the popular “HOPE” poster for President Barack Obama’s campaign. A graduate of the Rhode Island School of Design, Fairey’s signature public art has been “Obey Giant,” seen on billboards and buildings internationally. His lithographs, prints, books, posters, and designs address political, economic, environmental, and social justice issues.  

“To have an artist of Shepard Fairey’s caliber, making art live for the public to see, is really extraordinary and a very special opportunity for visitors to experience the downtown waterfront as a welcoming gathering place for people of all interests,” said Vikki N. Spruill, the Aquarium’s President and CEO. “Having artists and scientists working together in Sea Walls Boston elevates marine conservation in an artistic and educational way so whenever people come to Central Wharf, the mural will serve as an enduring reminder of the power of our ocean and the critical need to preserve and protect it.”

Members of the public are invited to watch Fairey paint the afternoon of Saturday, July 24, then screen Obey Giant, a documentary about his life, his art, and his dissent. The film will be shown free of charge in the Simons Theatre at 5 p.m. Registration is required: http://support.neaq.org/site/Calendar?id=108385&view=Detail.

Also happening at the Aquarium as part of the Sea Walls festivities is a panel discussion about how art and creativity are helping America and the world meet the 30×30 goal to protect 30 percent of our lands, waters, and ocean by 2030. Titled “Countdown to 2030: Leveraging Art and Creativity for the Ocean Decade,” the program will be held Thursday, July 22 from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. in the Simons Theatre and feature Akira Biondo, Director of Operations, PangeaSeed Foundation; Priscilla Brooks, Vice President and Director of Ocean Conservation, Conservation Law Foundation; Linda Cabot, Founder and President, Bow Seat Ocean Awareness Programs; Kannan Thiruvengadam, Community Engagement and Environmental Resilience Strategist, Sea Walls Boston; and Richard Vevers, Founder and CEO, The Ocean Agency. Dr. John Mandelman, Vice President and Chief Scientist, Anderson Cabot Center for Ocean Life at the New England Aquarium, will moderate. The program will be part of the Aquarium Lecture Series, which is presented free to the public through the generosity of the Lowell Institute. Registration is required: http://support.neaq.org/site/Calendar?id=108366&view=Detail.

The Sea Walls murals and festivities in East Boston are part of Eastie Week (July 10-25), a collaboration between many neighborhood organizations and Boston Harbor Now. Beyond the curation of the ocean-themed environmental public art, Sea Walls Boston will feature weeklong public programming designed to help facilitate an ongoing relationship between the East Boston community, the murals, and their environment. Youth workshops, waterfront cleanups, and mural walking tours are planned.

For information on Sea Walls Boston and sponsorship inquiries, please visit seawalls.org/boston or contact the local Sea Walls team at SeaWallsBoston@pangeaseed.org.

 

About PangeaSeed Foundation & Sea Walls: Artists for Oceans

PangeaSeed Foundation is a globally engaged nonprofit organization acting at the intersection of culture and environmentalism to further the conservation of our oceans. Their mission is to empower individuals and communities to create meaningful environmental change for the oceans by raising public awareness of critical environmental issues through SCIENCE, EDUCATION, and ARTIVISM (S.E.A.). Through their groundbreaking Sea Walls: Artists for Oceans public art program, PangeaSeed Foundation has created over 400 educational, ocean advocacy murals in 17 countries, bringing the ocean into streets across the globe.

About HarborArts

HarborArts is the East Boston-based initiative creating public art as a platform for dialogue. Since 2009, they have served as the catalyst for the 14-acre Boston Harbor Shipyard & Marina becoming an outdoor gallery holding Boston’s largest collection of outdoor art. Through the installation of monumental artworks across the waterfront and beyond, HarborArts is transforming Boston Harbor into an international destination for public art, and building community at the intersection of environmentalism and artistic expression.

About New England Aquarium

The New England Aquarium is a global leader in marine science and conservation, working to safeguard ocean animals and habitats. With more than 1.3 million visitors a year, the Aquarium is one of the premier visitor attractions in Boston and a major public education resource for the region. The Aquarium’s research and rescue efforts build on the institution’s 50-year legacy of protecting the blue planet and advocating for a vital and vibrant ocean. In the Anderson Cabot Center for Ocean Life, scientists conduct applied marine research that informs ocean management, policy, and industry practices, and contributes to the innovation of new technologies. Through its Sea Turtle Rescue Program, the Aquarium helps protect critically endangered and threatened sea turtle populations through rescue, rehabilitation, and release efforts.

 

MEDIA CONTACT:

Pam Bechtold Snyder – psnyder@neaq.org, 617-686-5068