Creativity Inspiring Conservation


Creativity Inspiring Conservation artwork

Seattle Aquarium's Creativity Inspiring Conservation (CIC) program believes teens 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 work to bridge the gap between art and science with classes that combine the knowledge of the Aquarium staff with the artistic abilities of professional artists. Teens come together to talk about artistic concepts and find a new way of approaching their issue.

Teens attending high school in the 2015–2016 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.

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

Creativity Inspiring Conservation will resume programming again in 2016.

Please contact us stay up to date on all our new programs and opportunities:
Kate Burnley, or (206) 617-2589

Below is a sampling of our past classes and workshops.


CIC Summer Studio 2015

Five weeks. Four art mediums. Four adventures.

Tuesdays and Fridays, July 7 - August 4
Spots available: 14

Week One—Writing:
Poetry asks us to observe the world around us, listen, and be mindful of our surroundings. On Tuesday, students will hike to Barclay Lake (an easy 4.4 miles round trip). We’ll learn about this beautiful glacial lake and take the time to artistically document our surroundings in written forms and sketches. We’ll meet back at the Aquarium on Friday to share our thoughts and writings, then work to create a final piece of poetry, creative writing or non-fiction.

Tuesday: 10am–4:30pm; Friday: 10am-noon

Week Two—Drawing:
On Tuesday, we’ll take a look in our own backyard. Students will start with their sketchbooks at Golden Gardens Park, where sea cucumbers, sea stars and other creatures can be seen at low tide. We’ll continue to the Hiram M. Chittenden Locks to talk about the salmon fish ladder. Ending the day at a local restaurant, we’ll talk to food suppliers about what they’re doing to provide sustainable options in the city. On Friday, students will continue working on their drawings and sketches.

Tuesday: 10am–4pm; Friday: 10am–noon

Week Three—Printmaking:
Printmaking doesn’t have to be limited to fancy equipment and large studies. Prints can be made using everyday objects and paints. On Tuesday, we’ll travel to Bainbridge Island’s IslandWood environmental learning center to explore the campus and learn about sustainability. Later we’ll work with artists to create unique prints using leaves, rocks and other found objects. Students will meet at the Aquarium on Friday to continue working with non-traditional forms of printmaking for a final piece.

Tuesday: 9am–4:30pm; Friday: 10am-noon

Week Four—Photography:
The Seattle Aquarium is dedicated to protecting our marine environment, and we’re also part of a larger conservation effort by various organizations around the area. On Tuesday, we’ll pair up with the Woodland Park Zoo’s teen volunteers to get their take on working at a zoo, learn about the Zoo’s conservation efforts, and meet animals from around the world. We’ll work together to photograph the entire zoo experience: whether that’s focusing on the animals, the visitors, or people working at the zoo. Students are encouraged to bring their own cameras but will have the ability to sign out DSLRs and GoPros to use during the trip. On Friday, students will work to edit and select the final image(s) to present to the class.

Tuesday: 10am–2pm; Friday: 10am–noon

Week Five—Final Project:
Having just spent four weeks creating four different projects, students will meet back on Tuesday to work on finalizing their four pieces. Conversations about the artistic process, conservation, and what they’ve learned is encouraged. We’ll also talk about how we’ll present the final pieces for our final exhibition.

Tuesday: 10am–2pm

Summer 2015 Classes

The shimmering sea
Painters have always been dependent on light to create and inspire their images—creatures of the sea are dependent on light as well. Light shimmers through the water to help plankton grow and it also disappears at certain depths. What does bioluminescence look like 400 feet below the surface? How does sunlight hit the kelp forest of the Puget Sound? Painting students will experiment with color and light on the canvas to create unique pieces that are inspired by light and the ocean.

Dates: Wednesdays, noon–4pm, July 1–August 19
Spots available: 14

Digital Photography
Water as a right
Photographers have used their medium to highlight every aspect of human and natural life. Access to clean water is considered a human right but what other issues are involved with our waters? In this class, we'll start with perfecting student’s photography skills and then move onto the concepts of how to use photography to convey a message. Students will then be out and about in the Puget Sound area photographing the issues important to them and their community. Students with access to their own DSLR or advance setting camera will have priority placement. Please note your camera in the application.

Dates: Mondays, 10am–2pm, June 29–August 17
Spots available: 10


Summer 2015 Workshops

Paper Collage and Mixed Media
Texture of home
Our local waters and mountains aren’t just beautiful, they are also complex homes to a huge variety of fish, mammals, bacteria and more. Students will think about the homes of these organisms using a wide variety of papers to create collages.

Date: Tuesday, June 30, 10am–2pm
Teacher: Mita Mahato
Spots available: 10

Watercolor Painting
Celebration water
Explore the Puget Sound environment through watercolor using "wet into wet" techniques that celebrate the saltwater environment. Students will spend time learning about the wonders of the water and the particular beauty of working in watercolor.

Dates: 10am-2pm on Monday, July 20 and Monday, July 27
Teacher: Fred Lisaius
Spots available: 12