Murmurs of Generosity

We at CalPark Voices love sharing the stories of those artists who use their creative talents to help state parks in unique ways. Today we have a new artist to add to the Awesome Artist Hall of Fame.

Katherine Kean is a painter who was inspired to donate the proceeds of her newest art exhibit to CSPF.

As an environmentalist, I believe in promoting the protection of birds and other wildlife through education, art, and restoration, as well as promoting a sustainable future for California while re-connecting people to the intrinsic beauty of the environment,” said Katherine.  “My contributions to the California State Parks Foundation will continue as work from this series continues to sell.”

Her exhibit, Murmuration, is a series of paintings exploring the kinetic character of birds and nature. First exhibited at TAG Gallery at Bergamot Station in Santa Monica, CA this spring, a portion of the exhibition has moved on to be a part of a group exhibition at The Modest Fly Art Studio Gallery in Tujunga, CA.

SIDENOTE: If you don’t know what a Murmuration is, watch this and this!

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To depict the beauty and sensation of the flock’s aerial choreography, Katherine paints the birds, glazes them over, then repaints. She repeats the process several times to allow the edges to blur and, when appropriate, disappear into the background. As a result, what first appears as a smudge in the evening sky gradually takes shape, forming and reforming, occasionally allowing a wing, beak, or tail to stand out from the fluctuating chaos.

Extending the idea and organization of flocking birds, many of the paintings in this exhibition also form parts of a whole. Among the paintings are two triptychs, a two-piece modular painting, and a series of small squares that can be re-arranged to form various patterns of bird flight.

“At a particular time at the end of the day birds gather in large numbers and swoop back and forth across the sky, emerging from the dusk like a dark cloud and creating elegant patterns against the fading light,” said Katherine. “How and why they do this is a mystery, but whatever the reason this behavior is compelling to observe as individual birds disappear into the whole and become part of something larger.”

Thank you to Katherine for choosing CSPF as a beneficiary of your beautiful artwork!

Read more about Katherine’s work on her website.

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Kids Do the Darndest Things

We were very excited to receive a package in the mail last week from some awesome third and fourth graders at Kid Street Charter School in Santa Rosa.

The manila envelope was bursting at the seams, stuffed with several hand-painted canvases (click above to see full size), a poster that says “Save Our State Parks” in magic marker, and a letter that read:

“Dear California State Parks Foundation,

After visiting a local state park, Sugarloaf, in Sonoma County, our class decided that we wanted to help keep the parks open in our state. So, we painted some pictures of the landscape that we saw at Sugarloaf and we sold them to raise funds to support your cause! We are very happy to present you with the enclosed money. Thank you for working to preserve accessibility to the parks!

Warmly,

The third and fourth graders at Kid Street Charter”

How awesome is that? A big thank you to these awesome kids for caring about state parks and finding a really creative way to help! It’s good to know we have a generation of kids who will grow up to love state parks so much.

Updates from Sacramento

The long road to stopping park closures. Photo by Michael Keel @ Mt. Tam

With the park closure deadline quickly approaching (July 1 for those of you who forgot), there is plenty of attention being paid to state parks in our Capitol.  Our legislators are looking for ways to find extra funding for parks, and some things are moving along successfully. Here’s a recap of recent action for easy tracking:

Budget
In late May the Legislature largely agreed on a funding proposal to help keep our state parks open. Dubbed the “Ongoing Sustainable Parks Proposal,” this plan includes some temporary transfers of funding from other programs to state parks and a direction for more innovation and efficiencies in parks management. This will now be part of ongoing budget deliberations.

Legislation
Assembly Bill (AB) 1589 (Huffman) passed 78-0 out of the Assembly and will now be heard in the Senate. AB 1589 is an omnibus state parks bill that establishes a variety of mechanisms to move state parks toward sustainability. Senate Bill 974 and Senate Bill 1078 (Evans) were also passed out of the Senate and will be heard in the Assembly.

Stayed tuned for more updates as this legislation (hopefully) moves along!

Vandals?! Volunteers to the rescue!

The aftermath. Hard to look at. Photo credit: Christina Vargas

We were very sad when, only days after 160 volunteers spent their Earth Day working in Candlestick Point State Recreation Area with us, we heard that vandals had broken into the park’s community garden and destroyed it.  They ruined gardening tools and thousands of native plants, including some that had been growing for years and were supposed to be planted in the nearby Yosemite Slough in order to help restore the sensitive wetlands.The damage also reversed most of the work done by our Earth Day volunteers.

After the shock wore off (Why?! It’s so horrible!) we realized these vandals shouldn’t win, and we started mobilizing to do something.

Our partners at PG&E, Literacy for Environmental Justice, Virgin America and Oracle all stepped up and agreed to schedule a new volunteer workday to undo the damage that had been done. The workday is taking place tomorrow (Saturday, June 2) and it’s going to be awesome! Volunteers from these organizations will replant native plants, fix community garden boxes and work to remove the old fence around the garden.

Why remove the fence? Because PG&E has generously donated $15,000 of additional funding to build a new, more secure perimeter fence around the garden to help keep something like this from happening again. Read more about that here.

If you’d like to join these awesome volunteers tomorrow morning, we’d love to have you. Please register on our website.

If you’d like to help but can’t come to Candlestick, you can do something right now by donating to the cause. Donations to help fix the garden can be made on our website.  Also be sure to “like” PG&E’s Facebook page, because for every like, they will donate $1 to this project.

Take that, vandals!