Children from as far as India’s Bay of Bengal are submitting artwork for Project Turtle, Gulfport artist Paula Allen’s (otherwise known as Pollyzoom) new wildlife-meets-art project.
Allen, an animation artist and teacher came up with the idea after discussing the plight of the turtles with local Sea Turtle Trackers. She decided to create a program that encourages children to paint, draw, and animate messages centered around protecting sea turtles during nesting season.
They’re cute, but they’re also cryptic. Many showcase colorful turtles with plastic on their shells, salty tears, and anti-plastic messages.
“I’ve lived on the beaches a long time, and I’ve talked to the Sea Turtle Trackers who have had a hard time getting people, and hotels, to comply with helping the turtles,” Allen said. “This is a way to get the message out.”
Her work for this project is funded through a micro grant from the Gobioff Foundation. She’s already worked with students from Tampa’s Lee Academy for Academically Gifted Students, and she’ll go on to work with students at the Morean Arts Center Summer Camp in St. Pete from June 6-10.
Artwork created at the Morean will line the children’s Gallery for Planet Turtle Community Art Project at the Morean.
The project isn’t just Tampa Bay-based. Children from Mission, a Christian church near India’s Bay of Bengal (one of the largest sea turtle nesting sites in the world) sent artwork for the project. Allen says it’s difficult to teach animation or online artwork from across the world, their paintings are included in the project alongside the animations from Florida students.
“Kids can pick up animation very easily, I can’t teach it all in one visit, but I can have kids do the drawings, and they’re very beautiful drawings,” Allen said.
Allen says as a Gulfport resident, she hopes to bring Project Turtle to Gulfport somehow.
“I’d love to work with Gulfport kids, eventually teach them and incorporate Project Turtle here,” Allen said.
For now, it’s back to the drawing board.
See all the artwork at pollyzoom.com