Beginnings / by Justine Lee Hirten

The Kaelin Discovery room is one of the Connecticut Audubon Center in Fairfield's activity spaces used for children's programs and summer camps. This mural project is part of renovations to this space which has seen a lot of use over the years and needed repairs and updating, this project will completely transform the space with vibrant color and imagery. My proposal was to fit as many of Connecticut's familiar species into this space as possible, so I designed an illustration based on folk art and quilt-making that could bring all of these plants and animals together in a stylized grid. It was important to me that it be bold and clear so children could easily recognize the plants and animals on the wall.

Public art gives us an opportunity to speak out for a cause, it's my hope that children using this space will be excited to recognize these animals and plants on the mural from their backyards, neighborhoods and activities or nature walks here at the Larson Sanctuary; building a familiarity with these species and seeing them as a part of our community is the first step toward fostering respect and compassion for the wildlife that shares a home with us in Fairfield and the surrounding area. Connecticut is undergoing both reforestation and continued human development which brings people and wildlife into close contact and potential conflict, it is important that we preserve our natural spaces and learn to live harmoniously with them.

Throughout the spring I will be working at the Audubon Center on Burr Street in Fairfield, if you are local you are welcome to stop in and visit during open hours (10am-3pm) to see the artwork in progress. The mural will be completed by June 1st and a reception for its unveiling will be announced shortly.