A celebration of otters!

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

This public arts initiative commissioned 108 unique pieces of Otter Art sculptures - auctioned to provide valuable funds for otter studies and student internships with community-based watershed projects. 


Otter art photo

North Coast Otters – Public Arts Initiative – live and in-person – June to September 2021

North Coast Otters — a collaboration with North Coast Open Studios, a DreamMaker project of the Ink People Center for the Arts — was an ambitious collaboration of art and science, encouraging imagination and observation from our region’s rich creative community, celebrating life, water, and otters; supporting local businesses; and raising funds for student projects.

In 2019, the project commissioned 108 unique pieces of Otter Art that were displayed June-Sept 2021 at shops, galleries, schools, and other North Coast locations. Participating artists decorated three-foot-tall otter sculptures for an educational art trail throughout Humboldt, Del Norte, Trinity, Mendocino, and Siskiyou counties, to then be auctioned off to their new homes in September of 2021.

The project encouraged community members to participate in the ongoing "citizen science" river otter records study by consistently reporting when and where wild river otters are observed throughout the North Coast region. The initiative arose from a desire to share what we have learned about wild river otters with the community. Since 1999, Humboldt students have been (and still are) 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.

A commemorative auction catalog is available from Cal Poly Humboldt Press.

Download the Auction Catalog (pdf)

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Visit our auction website to view the winners

View Bid Winners

Download the Auction Catalog (pdf).

In Person Silent Auction:
On 11 Sept, 2021, 32 select 'Humboldt' otters were auctioned at the Clarke Plaza, Eureka. 

Online Silent Auction:
The remaining 70+ otters were auctioned online, with a public viewing at the Humboldt Bay Aquatic Center, 921 Waterfront Dr., Eureka, Monday-Wednesday, September 13-15, 2021 from noon – 7 p.m. 

North Coast Otters - public art initiative (promotional)



Humboldt Patrons & Partners

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

Black Dog Woodworks, Crescent City Art (previously, California Redwoods Art Association) & Del Norte County Unified School District, City of Eureka Planning Office & Arts and Culture Commission, Ink People & North Coast Open Studios, Alan Peterson’s Redwood Planet Media & Will Goldenberg Film, The Art of Fundraising, Jolly Roger Lifesize Models & Galabid, and over 100 contributors from the community.

North Coast Otters
Jeff Black, Project Director
Humboldt 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).