Creativity Inspiring Conservation


Creativity Inspiring Conservation artwork

Seattle Aquarium's Creativity Inspiring Conservation (CIC) program believes that high school students have the creativity and passion to inspire change in the way we view conservation. CIC aims to empower high school students to create awareness of a variety of environmental topics through artistic mediums. Classes and workshops aim to bridge the gap between art and science as classes will share the knowledge of the Aquarium staff with the artistic abilities of professional artists. Students will come together to talk about artistic concepts and find a new way of approaching their issue.

Students attending high school in the 2014–2015 school year are eligible for this free program and should have previous art experience. CIC students will be part of special community of artists and conservationists and will have unique opportunities available to them, such as Aquarium access, special events, and the ability to participate in a special one-night public exhibition.

For more information, email Kate Burnley at or 206-617-2589.


Winter-Spring 2015 Classes

Applications Required

Apply Now

Tipping the Scales: Fishing Practices Today
For over 1500 years, the people who live in the Puget Sound area have depended on salmon for their livelihood. As we move forth through the 21st century, how do we sustain a balance between protecting our ecosystems and meet contemporary food demands? Students will talk through these issues using the diverse medium of drawing. From quick sketches to detailed scientific illustrations, drawing will open us this topic for discussion in new and interesting ways.

Dates: Wednesdays, 4-7pm from January 28, 2015 -  March 18, 2015
Teacher: Jessica Heide
Spots available: 10
Deadline: January 14, 2015

Home: Habitats of Puget Sound 
As the second-largest estuary in the United States, we live on the waters of beautiful and unique habitats of the Puget Sound. Kelp forests, nearshore, and marshes are home to thousands of different types of creatures. Learning new painting and watercolor techniques, students will use their new knowledge and creative passions to explore this important issue.

Dates: Mondays, 4-7pm from February 16 - April 6, 2015
Teacher: Jennifer Frohwerk
Spots available: 14

Deadline: February 2, 2015

Capturing Rubbish: Pollution and Debris
Photographers use their eye and skill to capture images that make us think and wonder. Students will use this eye to address the pollution of the Puget Sound: from toxic chemicals in stormwater runoff to human waste. Using technical, lighting, and creative thinking skills, students will explore the important issue of point-source pollution and marine debris and create unique pieces of artwork. Students with access to their own DSLR or advance setting camera will have priority placement – please note your camera in the application.

Dates: Mondays, 4–7pm from March 23, 2015 - May 11, 2015
Teacher: Bill Finger
Spots available: 12
Deadline: March 9, 2015


Creative Writing
The Architecture of Change: Urbanization of our Waters
We are in a golden age of urban development and expansion but at what cost to our natural environments? Urbanization can reduce suburban sprawl but also change our waterways. Through personal exploration and creative writing, students will question the need for urbanization and what effects it has on shorelines, biodiversity and more. Whether it’s poetry, short stories or plays, students will be inspired to think critically about this topic and beyond.

Dates: Wednesdays, 4 - 7pm from April 22 - May 20, 2015
Teacher: Jourdan Keith
Spots available: 12
Deadline: April 8, 2015



Applications for the 2014 Creativity Inspiring Conservation Program Coming Soon!

Seattle Aquarium's Creativity Inspiring Conservation (CIC) program aims to empower high school students to create awareness of a variety of environmental topics through artistic mediums. Students will be educated by marine experts and mentored by professional artists as they conceptualize and produce a finalized piece of artwork.

Students entering high school in the 2014-2015 school year are eligible for this free program and should have previous art experience. Classes are held weekly on weekends or weeknights at the Seattle Aquarium for 4- 6 weeks. Participants in the program will not only get a chance to create a unique piece of art, but will also see their work displayed at the Seattle Aquarium for a special one-night exhibition open to the public.

Last year's classes included drawing, painting, sculpture, writing, and photography and students addressed issues ranging from endangered species to fishing practices.

For more information or to be added to the mailing list to receive applications, email


A group of ambitious high school student artists recently completed the Seattle Aquarium's Creativity Inspiring Conservation (CIC) program. Youth artists participated in 5–6 classes for a total of 25–30 hours of classroom time over three weeks. Classes were held after school hours and/or on weekends to minimize scheduling conflicts.

As part of the Aquarium’s mission, Inspiring Conservation of Our Marine Environment, the CIC program aims to empower youth to create awareness of environmental topics through artistic media. Students were educated by environmental experts and mentored by professional artists as they created art pieces to be displayed at a one-night exhibition at the Aquarium on August 8. Participation in CIC was free to students and all materials were provided.

The CIC program recruited students for the following projects:

  • Sculpture and Marine Debris
  • Videography and Climate Change
  • Collage/Mixed Media and Fishing Practices
  • Creative Writing and Habitat Changes/Loss
  • Screen Printing and Biodiversity
  • Digital Photography and Non-point/Point Source Pollution
  • Drawing and Ocean Acidification
  • Acrylic Painting and Endangered Species

One and Two-Day Workshops

Registration required, open until full

Apply Now

Creative Writing and Audio Installation
The Sea Talks Back

Almost everyone has a favorite sea creature: whether it’s an adorable sea otter, an intelligent octopus, or a mysterious giant squid. Conservation and good writing often start in the same place: with wonder, observation, and details about something particular that helps us grasp the bigger picture. Using both science and our imaginations, students will share their enthusiasm for our favorite creatures of the sea through writing; by the end students will each create at least one piece of writing and make a recording as an audio piece, brainstorming ideas for how they can then take these pieces into the world to create future installations to engage the public.

Date: Sunday, 10am-2:30pm, March 22, 2015
Teacher: Sierra Nelson
Spots Available: 14



Mixed Media Sculpture
The Great Big Blue
Working with recycled and found materials, students will build a 3-dimensional sculpture from cardboard, paper maché and other materials to create work about their favorite sea creatures. Students will take the time to observe and discuss the creatures of the sea before conceptualizing a final piece. Working with color theory and sculptural techniques, students will create a unique piece of artwork that addresses their own interests as well as highlighting waste in today's society.

Dates: Saturday, 10am-3pm, April 18, 2015
Teacher: Nicole Appell
Spots available: 12


Comics & 'Zines
Saving Animals From Extinction (SAFE)
Comics and zines don't just mix words and pictures randomly, they work together to build a creative narrative, and to deliver a story in a visual way. Comics are generally known as being funny, but comics as a medium can deliver important information. The student as artist and activist will be encouraged to share information with the public about the vulnerability of wildlife species and how to help protect them from extinction. Students will share their ecological passions and knowledge with the community at large through narrative comic pages, strips, mini-comics, or zines. A showing of the finished projects will follow.

Dates: Two Saturdays, 12-3pm, May 2 and May 9, 2015
Teacher: Kelly Froh
Spots available: 10