More than 1 million children throughout the world have been impacted by Wyland’s nonprofit foundation.
If it is true that a picture is worth a thousand words, then the massive marine-themed murals created by renowned artist and committed conservationist Wyland speak volumes. For more than 25 years, Wyland has traveled and explored the world’s oceans, capturing the beauty of its creatures, especially the majestic whale. As his passion for preserving the natural habitat of these animals grew, so did his desire to educate others about the importance of caring for the planet.
As a way to spread his message, Wyland set a goal of painting 100 monumental Whaling Wall murals in more than a dozen countries. Many of the murals are in urban settings, sometimes far from the ocean. This was purposely done to expose those people who may never have a chance to experience the wonder and beauty of whales and other marine life, in the hopes they will become aware of the importance of conservation. His endeavor, which began in the 1980s, was accomplished on July 21, 2008, when his 100th mural, Hands Across the Ocean, was completed at Chaoyang Park, Beijing, near the Great Wall of China. Student artists representing 110 countries worked on the project, which was dedicated by famed Chinese artist Professor Xikun Yuan. The 2,430-foot-long and 10-foot-high mural was later dismantled and transported to the U.S., where it was reassembled and displayed at the National Mall in Washington, D.C. The project was honored by the U.S. National Park Service, Smithsonian Institution, White House Council on Environmental Quality, and U.S. Department of the Interior.
Wyland has earned international recognition through his whale murals, which can be found in the U.S., Canada, Japan, Australia, France, Mexico, Palau, Guam, American Samoa, New Zealand, Brazil, U.K. and China. He was recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records for the world’s largest mural, Planet Ocean, which is 105 feet high by 1,220 feet long and is painted on the Long Beach Convention & Entertainment Center in California.Though many may know of Wyland from his whale murals, there is much more to this prolific artist, conservationist, sculptor, photographer and avid scuba diver. His passion to educate others has led to the formation of the Wyland Foundation. The foundation’s mission is to actively engage in teaching students around the world to become caring, informed stewards of the Earth’s oceans, rivers, lakes, estuaries and wetlands. More than 1 million children throughout the world have been impacted by the nonprofit’s efforts since 1993.Children are not the only ones Wyland wants to reach with his environmental crusade.He created Wyland Worldwide as a means to touch people through high-quality, green-themed, sustainable art and retail products that emphasize the beauty and awe of nature. Wyland Worldwide has galleries throughout the world that feature artists with the same passion for guarding the world’s natural resources.
Wyland Galleries of Florida opened its flagship location at Disney’s BoardWalk Inn in 1996. The beautiful gallery exudes the vibrant colors of the sea, showcasing magnificent marine life in a variety of mediums, including paintings, sculptures, jewelry and a number of eclectic pieces. Wyland originals, as well as reproductions of his most celebrated works, are available for viewing and purchase.Wall artwork is displayed with illumination designed to enhance the painting’s nuances and overall effect. Sculptures of various sizes and materials are strategically placed to allow patrons to appreciate their full beauty. Glass display cases are filled with jewelry, both inspired by Wyland, as well as other fine-jewelry lines.
Though Wyland’s art is the centerpiece, other renowned artists are represented in the galleries. A number of paintings are whimsical, incorporating Disney characters into the marine-themed art. Wyland also collaborates with some of the featured artists to produce original pieces.Following the success and acclaim that the Disney Boardwalk location garnered, another Wyland gallery opened in Disney’s Polynesian Resort. As with its sister location, the gallery offers an eclectic assortment that appeals to both collectors and those who appreciate fine art.
Owning a Wyland piece is within anyone’s reach with the gallery’s convenient financing options. A Wyland Galleries Florida representative will place the piece in the home of local buyers in an effort to maximize its impact.Octavio Gomez, president of Wyland Galleries Florida, has been a longtime friend of Wyland and frequently welcomes him to his Florida locations. While there, Wyland amazes gallery guests with his extraordinary talent as he paints and completes an entire original work of art within a four-hour period. At the end of the demonstration, the painting is auctioned. Wyland graciously answers questions and interacts with collectors, admirers and curious onlookers throughout the event.“Not only do we have many visitors from around the world visit our galleries while they are here on vacation, there are also a lot of local residents who either know of Wyland and want to view his latest works, or meet visiting relatives at Disney. We offer a cultural twist where people can enjoy a scenic, pleasing and relaxing environment,” Gomez said, referring to the nature-themed gallery.
Once again, Wyland will travel to Orlando on May 5 and May 6 for one of his rare appearances. He will be at the Wyland Gallery location at Disney’s BoardWalk Inn on May 5 from 6-10 p.m. and the Wyland Gallery location at Disney’s Polynesian Resort on May 6 from 1-5 p.m. Reservations are not required for this free event; however, priority to interact with Wyland will be on a first-come, first-serve basis.“What is different about this gallery than others is that it is a very proactive gallery in terms of having visitations from artists from all over the world,” Gomez said. According to Gomez, what is so special about the Wyland visit is that when he creates the piece from start to finish he explains what he is doing as he sketches, puts the subject matter in and paints. He will also complete between eight to 10 brush-stroke paintings that will be for sale during the evening. It is not often that people have an up-close and personal interaction with an artist of Wyland’s renown and talent. The experience is further enhanced by witnessing him create an original work of art before their very eyes. The Wyland demonstrations taking place May 5 and May 6 at Wyland Galleries Florida are certainly ones art lovers should not miss.For more information about Wyland Galleries, visit www.wylandflorida.com on the Web.
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