A celebration of otters!


Calling all creative minds.

The North Coast Otters Public Arts Initiative, in collaboration with The Ink People Center for the Arts, is asking for artists to submit design proposals for one of 100 three-foot otter sculptures that will be displayed all over the North Coast.

Information for Artists

Images of Otter Art

Examples of Otter Art

North Coast Otters was inspired by a similar successful public arts initiative held in Dartmoor National Park in England.

North Coast Otters is an ambitious collaboration of art and science, encouraging imagination and observation from our region’s rich creative community.

This public arts initiative provides an accessible opportunity to explore our connection with nature through engagement with this charismatic critter.

The project will commission 100 unique pieces of Otter Art to be displayed at shops, galleries, schools, and other North Coast locations. Participating artists will decorate three-foot-tall otter sculptures for a summer 2020 educational art trail throughout Humboldt, Del Norte, and neighboring counties. A Junior Otter Ranger program will be crafted to inspire the young and young at heart. At the end of the summer, Otter Art sculptures will be auctioned to provide valuable funds for otter studies and student internships with community-based watershed projects.

The initiative arose from a desire to share what we are learning about wild river otters with the community. Since 1999, HSU students have been collecting otter records from citizen volunteers as a means of tracking the quality of North Coast habitats. River otters, seen at all times of day in our area, have captured the attention of thousands.

We invite you to join other businesses, agencies, and supporters in and around the North Coast, and enjoy the benefits of association with this wonderful merger of art and science!

North Coast Otters Project Timeline

Early Jan: Initial call to sponsors, hosts, and artists
Early Aug: Application deadline (artist’s sketches, bios, statements received)
Mid-Aug: Artist applicants reviewed and selection announced
Early Sept: Otter sculptures picked up by artists
Early Dec: Final deadline – Otters Returned & photo op for guide books begin
Early Jan:
Deadline for hosts & sponsors - Guidebook, webpages prepared
Late May: 100 Otters in one place / Media event w/ Guidebook & Plaques
Early June: Launch together with Open Studios (Online auction begins)
Middle of Sept: Live Auction event (30 Humboldt Otters)
Middle of Sept: End of Silent Online Auction (remaining 70 Otters)
North Coast Otters – public arts initiative will commission and place 100 Otter Art sculptures in galleries, restaurants, stores, visitor centers, and other public spaces on the North Coast during Summer 2020. Thousands of community members and visitors will fall in love with these Otter Art sculptures in a grand treasure hunt and Junior Otter Naturalist program. You're invited to participate by sponsoring an artist or hosting a sculpture in a location of your choice.

Humboldt Patrons

Arcata Animal Hospital, Footprint Foundation, Get Ready Humboldt, Humboldt State University's Sponsored Programs Foundation, McLean Foundation, and partnership group including Fortuna City, Chamber of Commerce, Housing Alliance, and River Lodge.

Sponsor and/or Host an Otter:

Sponsor & Host - $1,250
By hosting & sponsoring a sculpture, you'll be paired with an artist to create art that speaks to your location

Sponsor $750
Bring the imagination of a local artist to life by supporting the creation of an otter sculpture

Host - $500
Give an otter a 2020 summer home by supporting the placement of a sculpture at a location of your choosing

Goals & Benefits

North Coast Otters provides a delightful opportunity for our community to learn about and appreciate the significance of this charismatic animal in our region’s clean water habitats. Artists will share their vision of our connection with nature through art and science. Partners, sponsors, and hosts of the Otter Art will benefit from an enhanced association with community members and visitors. Proceeds will enable student opportunities and community-based watershed projects that lead to a better connection with our natural world.

Please be in touch to discuss these options.

North Coast Otters
Jeff Black, Project Director
HSU Department of Wildlife
1 Harpst Street, Arcata, California 95521



“Promoting clean water and healthy habitats where we live and play!”

We are a non-profit organization (501-c-3).