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Saving Our Oceans: Santa Maria Artist Donates Collage to Statewide Auction | Arts and theater


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Santa Maria artist and educator Merrie Okie’s multimedia collage work featured in statewide virtual art auction to raise funds for ocean conservation and wildlife protection in California.

This is the second year that Okie’s work has been featured in the KEEP IT WILD Virtual Art Auction, hosted by the nonprofit WILDCOAST for Ocean Conservation and Climate Change, with a painted collage piece fascinating inspired by the blue ringed octopus titled “Wish You Were Here”. “

Okie is one of 39 artists in the United States and Mexico who have pledged their support for WILDCOAST by donating their art for the auction, which began October 14 and will run until Friday.

At the 2020 auction, his similarly styled piece, “The Siren,” was one of the bestsellers at the event, according to Ann Wycoff, director of development for WILDCOAST.

“The title ‘Wish You Were Here’ refers to my wish that people discover the beauty of our coral reefs and our marine animals like the blue-ringed octopus, which is endangered in some areas,” Okie said of her 2021 article. “I love its unique beautiful colors. And although this octopus is relatively docile, it is dangerous if provoked. Similar to Mother Nature and global warming.”

While her work is on display in museums and art collectors homes around the world – from Paris, Sydney and Bali to Los Angeles and Pittsburgh – Okie herself can usually work in her studio and give back to local students.

She spent years teaching art classes and leading drama programs and talent shows at Santa Maria High School alongside her husband, Glenn Goldin, and in August, became the dean of the Pioneer High School students. Valley.

In early 2020, Okie and his fellow art teachers at Santa Maria High School facilitated a student-led mural project on a 250-foot plywood wall surrounding a construction site on campus.

Decades earlier, she was also commissioned by the Los Angeles Department of Water and Electricity to paint a 200-foot mural in a downtown Los Angeles housing project with help from the teens. from the local Dogtown street gang.

Okie studied painting, photography, and sculpture at the University of Southern California and graduated with a BFA in the late 1980s.

She said she was honored to be an ambassador for WILDCOAST and felt passionate about the organization’s mission to conserve coastal and marine habitats and address climate change issues with natural solutions.

“I’m always on the lookout for organizations that support artists and communities. I’ve always donated to my causes that I’m passionate about,” Okie said. “Every time someone looks at the ocean, they feel this beauty.”

Residents can view and bid on 2021 auction items in the KEEP IT WILD Virtual Auction online at bidpal.net/keepitwild21.

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