Painted: April 12, 2017
Climate Threat: The Piping Plover, one of the most commonly known shorebirds, is expected to lose over 29 percent of its non-breeding range and 62 percent of its summer range by 2080. Rising sea levels pose the greatest challenge to this coastal-dependent species. Read more about how plover populations are tracked here.
About the Artist: Colleen Smith is an oil painter based in Montclair, New Jersey, and an MFA candidate at Montclair State University. She grew up in Cape May County, New Jersey, where she developed a love for the ocean and surrounding ecosystems of South Jersey. Smith lived in Ukraine for two years to teach English as a United States Peace Corps volunteer. Upon her return in 2013, she began to paint full-time and develop her conceptual groundwork. Her past experiences continue to influence her paintings, which explore the space between reality and fantasy and the nature of isolation. Follow her on Instagram.
The Artist on the Mural: “I chose to paint the Piping Plover because it roosts along the same shores I grew up on, so seeing it on the endangered species list saddens me. One of my favorite childhood memories was going for walks with my dad through conservation areas that featured protected nesting grounds for these little birds, and I hope that their numbers continue to rise.”