Oxnard Artist To Unite Community Through Art at Whales Festival

An Oxnard muralist will play a big part in uniting the community through her art at the 24th Annual Celebration of the Whales Festival at the Channel Islands Harbor.

One of the new features of the whales festival for attendees is to help paint a 8-foot-high by 20-foot-wide mural depicting a whale underwater in the Santa Barbara Channel.

The Ventura County Harbor Department, organizer of the whales festival, collaborated with the Oxnard Performing Arts Center Corporation (OPAC) on the new attraction. Fortunately, OPAC employee Elisa Torres, a member of OPAC’s Art Studio, a program that provides art classes for all ages, was on staff to create the concept.

Torres is a CSU, Channel Islands student and artist, best known for her colorful murals that are showcased around Oxnard. Torres has been hard at work developing the concept for the mural, studying the different species of whales, kelp, and wildlife that live in the Santa Barbara Channel. Once the concept was completed, OPAC staff put together the canvas and a sketch of the mural has been created.

At the event, attendees will paint parts of the mural with pre-assigned colors for each area of the canvas.

“This project means a lot to me because it will be in a public space and it will be a community effort,” Torres said. “Seeing this project come to live in an outside setting is what’s important to me.”

The “Paint a Whale” mural feature will be located at Harbor View Park during the event, which is scheduled from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Sunday, March 26, 2023. Activities will be held at the Channel Islands Maritime Museum, the Channel Islands Harbor Farmers Market, and a “Gray Whale Migration Trail” that runs through Harbor View Park that connects the two activity centers.

Harbor View Park Also Offers Concert, Children’s Fun Zone, Educational Booths

Children and adults can both enjoy the migration trail, which will be lined with activities, including educational booths about the migration of the Pacific Gray Whale, more than 12 pieces of ocean-themed sidewalk chalk art, a children’s fun zone, a live concert, and community mural project.

The live concert will feature the Unkle Monkey Band and be held from noon to 3 p.m. at Harbor View Park.

Channel Islands Maritime Museum

The Maritime Museum will host the Celebration of Whales. At the Maritime Museum, there will be contests, family activities, tours of the tall ship Mystic Whaler, and arts & crafts. More than a dozen organizations will have booths set up so attendees can learn about marine-themed topics including wood carving, knot tying, boatbuilding, marine life, and more. The Maritime Museum will also be open. Admission is free for children who enter with a paid adult. In addition, food trucks from Cousins Maine Lobster and Mister Softee will be in attendance!

Channel Islands Farmers Market

The Farmers Market will feature an arts & crafts market, children’s activities, whale facts, and educational booths.

The Celebration of Whales Festival is a collaborative event among Harbor lessees, businesses, and the Harbor Department that celebrates the migration of the Pacific Gray Whale.