BANDON — Bits and pieces that have landed on Bandon beaches are now headed for Portland in the form of an eclectic sculpture.
A 13-foot wide, 9-foot tall California condor has been designed and built in Bandon by Washed Ashore. Founder and artistic director Angela Haseline Pozzi said the condor is headed for the Oregon Zoo in Portland, where it will be on permanent display and can be viewed when the zoo reopens to the public.
The Oregon Zoo commissioned the piece, which was built by Washed Ashore's new lead artist, Steve Wright, along with his wife, art assistant Marilyn Wright. However, many of the components of the condor were put together by the public at its Washed Ashore Gallery and Volunteer Workshop at 325 Second St. in Old Town Bandon. The Bandon gallery is currently closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but it is hoped it can reopen before the end of summer. Meanwhile, an online store will open by July 1, called the Eco-Shift Marketplace ("Shop to Save the Sea") and a Home Ambassadors Program is set to launch Aug. 1.
Washed Ashore is a nonprofit community art project founded by artist and educator Haseltine Pozzi in 2010. The project is based in Bandon, where Haseltine Pozzi first recognized the amount of plastic washing up on the beaches she loved and decided to take action. Since 2010, Washed Ashore has processed tons of plastic pollution from Pacific beaches to create monumental art that is awakening the hearts and minds of viewers to the global marine debris crisis.
Washed Ashore's traveling displays are exhibiting at the Florida Aquarium through Aug. 30; the Oakland, Calif. Zoo through Aug. 16; the Oregon Zoo through Sept. 27; and ongoing displays are on exhibit at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natual History in Washington, D.C., and in Bandon.
Haseltine Pozzi has been in the news for her efforts with Washed Ashore, which has exhibited and been recognized worldwide for its efforts to raise awareness of ocean pollution. The organization was featured recently in a New York Times article, in a broadcast on PBS News Hour, as the Smithsonian Museum Featured Exhibit, in the Washington Post, the Sierra Club News, a Disney Parks Blog and many other publications. Washed Ashore is set to be on the back cover of an upcoming edition of Audubon Magazine, featuring the tufted puffin sculpture at Coquille Point.
She was also interviewed recently for the Kelly Clarkson Show via Zoom, in an episode that should air in a few weeks. Clarkson connected Haseltine Pozzi with a 10-year-old that she will mentor, teaching her art process and environmental philosophy. That collaboration will be featured in a future Kelly Clarkson Show episode.
Haseltine Pozzi believes the efforts and hard work of Washed Ashore and its dedicated staff and volunteers have made a difference.
"We've had a lot of exposure lately," Haseltine Pozzi said. "And I always mention and promote Bandon-By-The-Sea and its amazing residents and give kudos to our volunteers. We're trying to do a lot more online too and trying to adapt to change."
California condors are listed on the Endangered Species list. Many are killed by pesticides, but they also are known to be harmed or killed when they consume plastic ocean garbage that can look like bones or other consumable food to the stately birds. The Oregon Zoo has an active conservation program for the California condor and is home to seven condor chicks, roughly 1% of the worldwide population, at its Jonsson Center for Wildlife Conservation, a 52-acre facility in Clackamas County. Now, it is thought that 517 California condors exist worldwide, many of them in the wild.
The Washed Ashore California condor sculpture includes some plastic pieces at its base that are typically picked up and consumed by the birds. That's all part of the educational aspect of the exhibit, which will include a descriptive panel.
"All of our pieces are designed to be educational just in the art itself," Haseltine Pozzi said.
She is thrilled to introduce Steve Wright as Washed Ashore's new lead artist.
"Steve's been with us for a year and a half and has a background in metal and welding," Haseltine Pozzi said. "It's been so exciting to see Steve evolve in this role and it gives me a lot of pleasure to see that."
Bandon residents and visitors can look forward to a new fish in the grassy area between Bandon Coffee Cafe and Washed Ashore. The sculpture will replace Henry the Fish and will be called Henrietta the Fish. Washed Ashore received a grant from Travel Oregon to build the piece and install signage.
Watch the Bandon Western World and Coffee Break for announcements regarding the opening of the Washed Ashore Gallery and Volunteer Workshop. Discover more about Washed Ashore at washedashore.org.