Artist: Austin Picinich
I’m a 17-year-old artist from Kirkland, WA. I’ve painted over 300 feet of “Save Our Salmon Murals” along PNW streams. My neighborhood stream Juanita Creek in Kirkland saw only three salmon return to spawn in 2020. I realized that art – when combined with a community-focused purpose – could have a much larger impact and inspire others to make a difference. In April 2022 I led an interactive 112-foot-long “Save Our Salmon Mural” along Juanita Creek – collaborating with North Lake Washington SalmonWatchers on an educational mural. My key goal was to not just create a vibrant mural – but engage community members in learning about our local salmon. I led 370+ volunteers in a Community Paint Day, transforming the blank wall into a vibrant salmon-themed mural that teaches community members to become stewards restoring our neighborhood stream.
Since my first Save Our Salmon Mural, I’ve painted a second 188-foot SOS Mural in Lake Forest Park, WA above McAleer Creek’s culvert. In Summer 2023, I’ll be leading four additional SOS Murals along four PNW streams in Seattle, Kenmore, Kirkland, and Redmond, WA. My SOS Murals have been featured by NOAA, The Seattle Times, KING 5, and in the national Inspiring Young Heroes documentary. Whether it’s through murals, public art, or 3D plywood cutout paintings like “Jump for Joy” here - I love using “art-ivism” to engage my community in saving salmon through art.