Artists need inspiration to create, and sometimes that inspiration can be strong enough to push an artist to create for a higher purpose.
That's the case with a handful of artists on Tybee Island who are hosting their first Forever Blue exhibit. Event organizers hope to raise awareness and funds for the nonprofit Mission Blue to help save the world's oceans.
Tybee artists Kristine Kennedy, Nancy Adams, Rebecca Rice and Brad Hook have teamed up to shine the light on their cause to "ignite public support for a global network of marine protected areas called Hope Spots."
The Forever Blue will take place March 7-9 at the combined spaces of gallery brajon and The Irritable Pelican on Tybee Island.
According to Hook, "The event will kick off March 8 with a VIP night to introduce the event, but it is invitation only. The last three days are open to the public and we will have speakers come to talk about our oceans."
"We just want to make people aware of what they can do to help save the ocean," he added. "Especially where we live, the ocean is a huge part of so many people's livelihood."
Hook said it will be a fun and educational event and the event organizers will each donate a piece of artwork for a raffle to raise funds.
"Kristine Kennedy is the one who started this; it was her inspiration," Hook said. Kennedy owns KKennedy Designs and has developed a new line of handcrafted jewelry called the "H-Spot," with Mission Blue and its values in mind. She will auction off a piece of original, wearable art with the profits going to a Mission Blue Hope Spot program.
Nancy Adams, a mixed media artist, has created a large "Sea of Life" piece to be auctioned off. Her piece is a part of her series of intricately carved and painted gourds.
"All artists are creating ocean-inspired pieces for the exhibit," Hook said.
He said he is creating a large one-of-a-kind watercolor painting to be auctioned off and he's working on creating a series of underwater scenes specifically aimed at supporting the goals of Mission Blue.
"My piece features my Hope Spot, a Bahamian reef," he said.
Tybee artist Rebecca Rice is also creating a painting for the raffle.
Hook added that the group wants this exhibit to be the first of many.
"We want this to become a community awareness project and hopefully we'll be able to do it every year," Hook said. "We just want to do anything we can to save our oceans."
The galleries are open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. March 7-9.
Tammy Smith, the coordinator of Volunteers for the Tybee Turtles program, will give a presentation followed by a question-and-answer session at 2 p.m. March 8.
Gail Smith from the Pinpoint Heritage Museum will give a presentation on culture and heritage titled "Oystering and our Waterways" at 2 p.m. March 9.
There will also be three gift baskets for raffle. The raffle will last until March 9. All of the basket items are donated from local artists and coordinated to match themes of the baskets.
The baskets include: Coastal Heritage Society Basket filled with an oyster shell bracelet, gift certificates for all five heritage museums, Hobo necklace charm and a Samantha Claar Gullah Living work of art; Tybee Turtles Basket, including a hatchling stained glass piece, recycled water bottle necklace, turtle shadow box and turtle notecards; and Sidewalks to the Sea Basket, including a large wood turned Ikibana bowl and garden sprite.
For more information about Mission Blue, go to www.mission-blue.org.