Creativity Inspiring Conservation


Seattle Aquarium's Creativity Inspiring Conservation (CIC) program believes that teens have the creativity and passion to inspire change in the way we view conservation and our environment. CIC gives teens the skills to become thoughtful, confident members of the global community; speaking up for what they believe in through art. The teens in CIC are artists, thinkers, scientists and friends.

During CIC classes and workshops, teens will receive hands-on training from professional and working artists. Teens learn creativity, confidence, nonverbal communication, work ethic, and problem-solving skills. Each class or workshop is paired with a specific environmental topic or action, and teens will receive scientific and conservation education from Aquarium staff in the form of field trips, experiments, demonstrations and/or discussions. Teens will be encouraged to come together to talk about an issue or address it individually in their artwork.

Teens attending high school (or the homeschool equivalent) in the 2015–2016 school year are eligible for this program and should have an interest in art or science. CIC teens will be part of special community of artists and conservationists and will have unique opportunities available to them, such as Aquarium access, community service hours, special events, and the ability to participate in a special public exhibition.


Classes and workshops require a $35 material fee for participation. We will gladly provide scholarships for those who need them.

For more information, contact Kate Burnley at or (206) 617-2589. You also can follow CIC on Facebook.

CIC student artwork galleries
2013 | 2014 | Exhibition opening 2014 | 2015


Winter/spring 2016 classes

Screen printing
Dates: Thursdays, January 28–March 3, 2016: 3:30–6pm
Teens in this introductory class will learn three different methods of printmaking: linocuts, vegetable stamps and silk screening. With each print-making technique, teens will learn that this medium can be both mass produced and individualized. Learning about specific actions that we can do to become better global citizens, teens will design and print posters and prints that share their ideas with the community as a whole.

Skill level: Beginner, intermediate
Teaching artist: Morgan Cahn
Spots available: 12


Mixed media painting
Flotsam and Jetsam
Dates: Mondays, March 21–May 9, 2016: 3:30–6pm
This CIC class explores mixed media as a means of personal expression. Students will have access to an array of materials and tools to learn how to combine painting and drawing, create pattern and dimension using stenciling and printmaking techniques, and learn how to mix color, image, and found material. Individual projects will encourage an active engagement with Seattle Aquarium resources as a launching point for students to explore marine conservation and expand their artistic vocabulary. The class will also introduce students to contemporary and local artists that address marine and other environmental issues through their art.

Skill level: Beginner, intermediate
Teaching artist: Therese Buchmiller
Spots available: 12

One and two-day workshops

Paper and collage
The Orca's Story
February 20 and 21, 2016: 10am–2pm
The orca is as iconic to Puget Sound’s history and identity as rain. Native American tribes have used the orca to represent power and liveliness—some believe orcas are reincarnations of their forefathers. Teens will examine our relationship with these majestic creatures using the medium of cut paper and collage. Artists will learn how to make paper, use recycled materials, work with multiple layers, and combine their design skills to create a finished personal narrative about these “lords of the ocean.”

Skill level: All
Teaching artist: Mita Mahato
Spots available: 10


Zines and self-published books
The Self-Published Voice
March 5 and 12, 2016: Noon–3pm A mix between a journal, a book, a comic and a collection of photos, zines have the ability to hold an artist’s unique voice in a variety of styles, sizes and content. Teens in this workshop will learn how to create a personal and powerful message about the marine environment as well as practical skills in writing, drawing, assembling, designing and distributing their pieces. Teens interested in writing, drawing, design, the environment and social justice are encouraged to come together and create something unique.

Skill level: All
Teaching artist: Kelly Froh
Spots available: 12


Alternative process photography
Exposing the Negative
April 23 and 24, 2016: 10am–2pm
What do we put in the water and what do we take away? From microplastics to everyday trash, marine debris an important topic in ocean conservation. Artists in this workshop will connect the issues involving ocean debris with the alternative photography process of inkodye, a darkroom-free photographic process remnant of cyanotypes through which an image can be printed on paper, a t-shirt, or any type of cloth. Can artists take something like the trash collected at beach cleanups to make beautiful art?
(Note: a camera is not required for this workshop but teens are encouraged to bring one if they can; previous photography experience is not required.)

Skill level: All
Teaching artist: Tara Champion
Spots available: 15