A celebration of otters!

Otter art photo


North Coast Otters - public art initiative (promotional)



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

North Coast Otters is a community ‘treasure hunt’ or ‘festival tour’ to find sculptures painted by local artists, with an aim to celebrate life, water, and otters; support local businesses; and raise funds for student projects.

Seek sightings and selfies with 108 otter sculptures on display at participating shops, restaurants, galleries, and visitor centers that have reopened with covid-safe guidelines. 

In addition, the project encourages 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. 

Join us and our many partners in this merger of citizen art and science, while promoting clean water and healthy habitats where we live and play! 

How many of the 108 otter art sculptures can you find? 

Treasure Hunt Info page

A guidebook with maps show locations of the otters at participating shops, restaurants and visitor centers.

Download the Guidebook (pdf)

Visit our auction website to bid on your favorite otter!
Bidding opens later this month. 

Join Us

Be sure to also follow us on facebook and instagram for otterly fantastic virtual content throughout the summer.

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 commissioned 108 unique pieces of Otter Art to be displayed 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, and neighboring counties. A Junior Otter Spotters "activity booklet" will be available to inspire the young and young at heart. 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.

North Coast Otters public arts initiative commissioned 100 Otter Art sculptures have been placed in galleries, restaurants, stores, visitor centers, and other public spaces on the North Coast once safe to do so. 

Humboldt Patrons & Partners

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.

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.

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 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.

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).