Student’s sea turtle art exhibit opens Nov. 19 at Eureka College

Sea Turtle Head No1 by TessMacPhee

A ceramic sculpture of a sea turtle head by Tess MacPhee


Sculptures, paintings and a mosaic of recycled materials, all depicting sea turtles, will be displayed by Eureka College student Tess MacPhee of East Peoria Nov. 19 through Jan. 24 at Burgess Hall Art Gallery at Eureka College. An opening reception will be from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. Nov. 20 in the gallery. It is free and open to the public.

The senior art major’s exhibit titled “Shell Shocked” will include ceramic sea turtle heads and carapaces, a five-foot-long bottle cap mosaic and acrylic paintings depicting the environmental threats facing sea turtles.

The exhibit focuses on how art can be used to promote awareness of the threats, including plastic pollution and oil spills, in order to “evoke emotion from viewers to empathize for sea turtles, the victims of man’s careless acts,” MacPhee said.

Asphyxiation by TessMacPhee

A painting titled “Asphyxiation” by Tess MacPhee

MacPhee saw sea turtles in their natural habitat during a trip to the Gulf of Mexico. Since then she has been passionate about speaking for the protection of sea turtles through her art, she said. After graduation MacPhee plans to volunteer with a conservation project in Costa Rica patrolling nesting beaches in order to help prevent the sea turtle population from decreasing.

MacPhee teaches ceramics and painting to children at Created Just By Me in Washington. She also paints landscapes and animals. Her work has been featured in “Expressions, A Collection of Art,” an art book published by Art Impressions Publishing, Inc. in 2013 and featuring more than100 artists from around the world.

The Eureka College gallery is located on the third floor of Burgess Memorial Hall, 300 E. College Ave. It is open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and by appointment by calling (309) 467-6866. Admission is free. The gallery will be closed Dec. 23 through Jan. 2.