Oct. 28 2014 04:39 PM

Ocean-conservation nonprofit working with muralists to beautify and raise awareness

A Sea Walls mural by Celeste Byers in Mexico

By Nov. 8, a bunch of new, ocean-themed murals will pop up in and around East Village. Hawaii-based conservation nonprofit PangeaSeed has partnered with artist Christopher Konecki to bring its international Sea Walls: Murals for the Oceans street-art project to San Diego.

"It's difficult for people to relate to scientific data and jargon," explains PangeaSeed founder and director Tre Packard. "But if we tackle our issues through visual art, it tends to go a long way... We like to utilize methods a younger generation can identify with, in hopes it will inspire and educate and bring about change."

Participating artists—most of whom will be working on outdoor pieces from Nov. 1 through 9—include local and international muralists DALeast, NoseGo, Meggs, Celeste Byers, Caia Koopman, Persue, Brian Hebets and EXIST1981. So far, Konecki, who's also painting a mural, has secured more than a dozen locations, including Makers Quarter, Bread & Salt and Moniker Warehouse.

While some building owners and tenants were happy to offer space for the project, many property and business owners passed on the opportunity.

"It's definitely been more of a challenge to get people on board than in any other city we've painted in," Packard says. "San Diego doesn't really seem to have a street-art scene."

Konecki says patience and persistence is paying off, and he hopes to secure spots for about 16 murals, most within walking or biking distance of one another, before the official unveiling party, happening from 7 to 11 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 8, at Makers Quarter (753 15th St.). For Konecki, the project is more about beautifying the neighborhood than hitting people over the head with a message about protecting the ocean and its inhabitants.

"I mean, obviously the message is great," Konecki says. "But I don't do what a sign tells me to; no one does. One cool thing about this project, though, is that people may see it happening. They'll see someone creating art in front of them, and they'll be able to interact with the artist. At that point, the artist may inspire people to go find out more about PangeaSeed. Maybe they'll be excited to find out more through the art."

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