Toledo wildlife artist Ram Papish created the mural, which displays two donated walrus tusks protruding from a paper mache walrus head that seamlessly transitions into a two-dimensional acrylic painting. A wood and metal frame under the paper mache provide support for the head, which features whiskers made from turkey quills. Other painted animals in the mural include Stellar sea lions, a California sea lion, a harbor seal, and Pacific herring. Oregon Sea Grant commissioned the piece as a way to display the two tusks, which were donated, along with seven others by the Lee A. Hotchkiss Trust in December 2015.
For over 20 years, Papish worked as a biologist studying birds and other wildlife, primarily in Alaska. His illustrations have appeared in many publications, including the “Handbook of Oregon Birds”and “Afield: 40 Years of Birding the American West,” both published by Oregon State University Press. This is his first 3D mural.
Managed by Oregon Sea Grant, the Visitor Center is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. starting May 30. It is inside Oregon State University’s Hatfield Marine Science Center and is at 2030 S.E. Marine Science Drive in Newport.