Coastal Wildflower Day & Earth Day Festival 2016

Event date: Saturday, April 16, 2016

In December 2015, I proposed the idea of expanding the artistic offerings at the 3rd Annual Coastal Wildflower Day Festival at Half Moon Bay State Beach, a California State Park.

I became the volunteer artistic coordinator for the event, and led the process of creating a Call For Artist Proposals in three different categories. Artist vendors, performing musicians, and site-specific installation artists were encouraged to apply. The unique challenge of this year’s event included having two separate but related events happening at two different beaches approximately two miles apart. The two locations are connected by the California Coastal Trail, a paved pedestrian and bicycle route. Three parking areas are located along this stretch of coastline, and the organizers wanted to encourage visitors not only to park at all three locations (to lighten the load on the most popular beach) but also to walk between the two event venues during the day.

I had been inspired by my own participation as a performing artist at the Art in Nature Festival 2015, which transformed a public park in Oakland into a multidisciplinary arts extravaganza stretching over one mile of paved walking trail.

I was excited to create something new in the place I love and call home, on a trail I walk or bike on nearly every day. California State Parks was very receptive to the idea, and the team of passionate volunteers from three non-profit groups was also excited about expanding their event.

The theme was, “A Day of Celebration and Service”. The activity at Dunes Beach was a volunteer habitat restoration event for Earth Day. This alone drew nearly 200 volunteer participants.

The events at Francis Beach centered around raising awareness of the Native Plant Nursery and its activities to maintain the coastal flora and fauna we all enjoy at Half Moon Bay State Beach. A native plant sale helped raise funds to support the nursery’s all-volunteer efforts. Guided nature walks with a trained botanist enabled the public to learn more details about the native plant species of our coast. Nursery volunteers created and led children’s games and activities designed to educate and inspire young people to observe the natural world in greater detail. Artist vendors shared their ocean-inspired art. Non-profit groups associated with land conservancy and California State Parks set up activities to engage and inform the public. Two musical stages ran simultaneously, giving visitors the option to relax, enjoy each other’s company, and spend the day at the beach.

Along the trail between Francis and Dunes Beaches were an assortment of artist installations, ranging from a mural created by Pilarcitos Alternative High School students, to Ecological Expressive Arts workshop, to puppet-making. Live performances by hula dancers and a Zimbabwean marimba band took place on the bluff near the volunteers at Dunes Beach. Several artists brought their sketchbooks and created live sketches during the day.

Below are artifacts of my contributions to the event:

Website with Call for Artist Proposals – I designed and created a website for the event in January 2016, as part of the Call for Proposals process

Facebook Event page – I utilized this page for promoting individual contributors and providing progress updates leading up to the event. Many were inspired to share and promote the event with their own networks

Event Promotional Video (produced in collaboration with Zeke Edwards, Pacific Coast TV)

Event Signage and Print Materials

These designs were made into a two-sided map handed to visitors on festival day:

A hand-painted version was created on pallets and displayed at the entrance to Francis Beach on festival day:

Press coverage

Article featuring the mural installation by Pilarcitos High School students in Half Moon Bay Review:

Article recapping festival in Half Moon Bay Review:

San Mateo County Daily Journal coverage:

Event photos by Avis Boutell, founder of Coastal Wildflower Day in 2014 and volunteer in Native Plant Nursery, Half Moon Bay State Beach:

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