Bringing together art, awareness, and advocacy.

Turtles About Town is a community art project created by Turtle Island Restoration Network and Clay Cup Studios showcasing the City of Galveston and the conservation efforts of Turtle Island Restoration Network to protect endangered sea turtles on the upper Texas coast.

Turtle lovers of all ages have the opportunity to see 50 colorful Kemp’s Ridley sea turtle statues that have been installed around Galveston Island, Texas since 2018.

Businesses and organizations graciously sponsored the turtles while local artists were commissioned to give each one its own personality and meaning.


Visiting the Turtles About Town statues is a fun, free, and safe outdoor activity the entire family will enjoy.

When you see a sea turtle, take a “shelfie” and be sure to tag Turtle Island Restoration Network in your images on Facebook and Instagram and use the hashtag #TurtlesAboutTown! 

Virtual Tour

Get up close and personal with colorful Kemp’s ridleys without leaving your home! Click here to view in fullscreen.

Statues, Artists & Sponsors

Turtle Island Restoration Network and Clay Cup Studios would like to express their deepest gratitude to the talented artists who bring the sea turtles to life, and the gracious sponsors who have shown their enduring support for their community and this community art project.

Pelican Island

Spirit of Sea Aggieland

Location: Texas A&M University at Galveston, 200 Seawolf Pkwy, Galveston, TX 77554
Artist: Nick Dominique
“For this turtle, the inspiration came from the city of Galveston and the Texas A&M Galveston Campus.”
Sponsor: The Department of Liberal Studies, Texas A&M University at Galveston
“The Department of Liberal Studies – on behalf of its new Tourism and Coastal Community Development program – was excited to sponsor and raise awareness of the Kemp’s Ridley turtles. The program aligns with our goal of educating students to become leaders in the tourism industry, while also helping coastal communities develop sustainably!”


Location: Galveston Naval Museum at Seawolf Park, 100 Seawolf Park Blvd, Galveston, TX 77550
Artist: Brian “Visker” Mahanay & Hannah Claudia James
“Zeke was inspired by one of our museum’s main attractions, the USS Cavalla WWII submarine.”
Sponsor: The Galveston Naval Museum
“The Galveston Naval Museum was proud to sponsor Turtles About Town because we believe in the TIRN’s mission.”

Galveston East End

Dr. Tommie Tortuga

Location: UTMB Health, 712 Texas Ave., Galveston, TX 77555
Artist: Sabrina Stachowski
“Being part of this project puts a smile on my face unlike any other.”
Sponsor: UTMB Health
“Dr. Tommie Tortuga is a colorful reminder not only of our mission to improve health but also of the Gulf Coast region UTMB Health calls home.”


Location: Menard Park, 2222 28th St., Galveston, TX 77555
Artist: Rachel Wiley-Janota
“I was honored to be asked to paint a turtle for a Galveston public park, and to be able to help support two island nonprofits in the process.”
Sponsor: Better Parks for Galveston
“BPG fosters ‘PARKnerships’ to enrich our island which Ridley represents and it is part of our Art in the Park program.”


Location: Sunshine Center, 1726 21st St., Galveston, TX 77550
Artist: Doug Hiser
“The turtle project was challenging and inspiring at the same time. My students loved helping with the painting and planning and they felt such a big part of something bigger than just an art project. The impact of including teen students on art projects creates a passion for art and for completing projects of their own. We were proud to have contributed to the Turtles About Town project!”
Sponsor: The Family of Dr. AJ Jinkins Jr.
“The family of Dr. AJ Jinkins Jr. is honored to partner with the Sunshine Center in memory of his love of medicine, the Galveston community, and to contribute towards the beautification of the Sunshine Center.”

Guardian of the Galaxy

Location: Rosenberg Library, 2310 Sealy Ave., Galveston, TX 77550
Artist: Isabella Carlin Alvarado
“Art can take you anyplace, anywhere. Just like a good book.”
Sponsor: Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) of Galveston County
“Guardian of the Galaxy represents a watchful eye and the endless opportunities that can be achieved. It also gives hope for anyone who needs a reminder each day. So grateful to support environmental awareness and alleviate extinction of our turtles.”

“Tony the Turtle” in memory of Antonio Smecca

Location: Mario’s Seawall, 628 Seawall, Galveston, TX 77550
Artist: Tracy Van Horn Reed
“I was proud and excited to be selected to create Tony the Turtle for Mario’s Italian Restaurant. Being involved in community art projects is something very important to me, and bringing awareness to the plight of sea turtles made it even more special. Plus, I learned a lot about Italy, so now I need to go!”
Sponsor: A. Smecca Family
“Tony was inspired by our beloved Nonno Tony, the patriarch of our family, as well as the Italian culture.”

Aloha Honu

Location: Galveston Children’s Museum, 2618 Broadway, Galveston, TX 77550
Artist: Sharon Stephens and Alex Camacho
“I’m honored to be part of and being inspired by important missions of GCM and TIRN with messages of encouragement, kindness, and love. Thank you, Alex, for your collaboration, artistry, and talent!” -Sharon Stephens
“I was very honored and lucky to be chosen with Sharon to collab on yalls important project… I can never thank ya’ll enough for this accomplishment and invitation… Sharon and I did our magic and we performed.” -Alex Camacho

Sponsor: Galveston Children’s Museum
“We love being a part of this project bringing awareness to the struggle of sea turtles as well as our impact on the environment. Our turtle, Aloha Honu, which means “Kindness Turtle,” is a lovely reminder that we all need to be kind to each other.”

Melvin Moody

Location: Moody Early Childhood Center, 1110 21st St., Galveston, TX 77550
Artist: Carlos Villasana
“Giving every Galveston child the opportunity to soar.”
Sponsor: Moody Early Childhood Center
“Melvin Moody represents not only Galveston and the Texas Gulf Coast culture we all love, he also represents our children and their creativity, imagination, and enthusiasm for learning new things. He has dinosaurs, astronauts, butterflies, castles, unicorns, rocket ships, and of course our Moody Kite painted on his shell. We love having Melvin here at school with all his unique art on display and love having families and children stop to find something new on him each time they visit.”

Downtown Central

The Protector

Location: Galveston City Hall, 823 25th St., Galveston, TX 77550
“Our protectors serving this island with knowledge and love.”
Sponsors: Lynch Family Fund, Dominick and Barbara Sasser, Peaches and Shrub Kempner
“We are pleased to be part of the sponsor group who are helping to heighten the awareness of the plight of the sea turtles.”

Sargasso Susan

Location: Galveston Art League, 2117a Postoffice St., Galveston, TX 77550
Artist: Leroy LeFlore
“The colors represent the Sargasso Sea and the Flower Gardens Marine Sanctuary in the Gulf of Mexico.”
Sponsor: Galveston Art League
“The turtle promotes those things the members of the Galveston Art League hold dear: nature, wildlife, conservation, local history, and art. It was a good match.”

Mermaid + Turtle = Mertle!

Location: Clay Cup Studios, 2219 Postoffice St., Galveston, TX 77550
Artist: Tracy Van Horn Reed
“Perfect project for my services to a worthy cause.”
Sponsor: Tom’s Galveston Real Estate
“An innovative and fun way to increase the quality of life in Galveston.”


Location: Hey Mikey’s Ice Cream, 2120 Postoffice St., Galveston, TX 77550
Artist: Shay McAnally
“There is nothing quite like that last bite of half melted ice cream in the bottom of the waffle cone, and there is nothing like swimming with a 70-year-old sea turtle in waist high water.”
Sponsor: Hey Mikey’s Ice Cream
“Hey Mikey’s is happy to support the turtles as they represent the fantastic community of Galveston coming together for a great cause.”


Location: Kempner Park, 2704 Avenue O, Galveston, TX 77550
Artist: Derek Anderson
“I believe you have to give to the island what the island gives to you.”
Sponsor: Alice Taylor Gray Foundation
“ATG Foundation sponsorship is in honor of Ms. Gray’s commitment to improve the lives of children and animals in Galveston.”

Tiger Lily

Location: Therapeutic HealthWorks Day Spa, 2114 Sealy St., Galveston, TX 77550
Artist: Isabella Carlin Alvarado
“Calming atmosphere for the spa and still bright and colorful.”
Sponsor: Therapeutic HealthWorks Day Spa
“Art, Galveston, and a worthy cause all blended into one great program inspired THW to participate!”


Location: Strand Brass & Surf Styles, 2115 and 2119 Strand St, Galveston, TX 77550
Artist: Kathryn Zimmerman
“Kemps Ridley sea turtle body surfing along a vibrant current of native island flora.”
Sponsors: Strand Brass and Christmas on the Strand and Surf Styles,
“Surf Styles and Strand Brass love the idea of bringing art to The Strand with the ‘Turtles about Town Tour,’ raising awareness for the Kemps Ridley sea turtle was an amazing avenue to get that done!”

Siren’s Tide

Location: Ronald McDonald House, 301 14th St., Galveston, TX 77550
Artist: Mary Ruth Brown
“Mermaid inspired by early 20th century Galveston advertisements.”
Sponsor: Harbor House Hotel & Marina
“We wanted to be part of this experience of Turtles about Town.”


Location: The Bryan Museum, 1315 21st St., Galveston, TX 77550
Artist: Ray Cosgrove
“Sun reflections and a breath of air.”
Sponsor: The Bryan Museum
“The Bryan Museum supports the conservation and plight of the sea turtle.”

La Calavera

Location: Asset Recovery Management Services, 2728 Market St., Galveston, TX 77550
Artist: Mary Ruth Brown
“Dia de los Muertos depicts some of the main causes of sea turtle mortality.”
Sponsor: Asset Recovery Management
“We decided to participate in this program to help raise awareness about the Kemp’s Ridley sea turtle as well as support our local artists.”


Location: DSW Custom Homes, 502 20th Street Galveston, TX 77550
Artist: Justin Lopez
“I really enjoyed the experience of bringing past and present together in this design, and then to display them on the most unique canvass I’ve ever painted. It was a great project.”
Sponsor: Jim & Sheila Schumer
“Really enjoyed working with Turtles About Town!! What a great symbol to unite Galvestonians!”

Tranquilo Baby

Location: Rudy and Paco’s, 2020 Postoffice St., Galveston, TX 77550
Artist: Kathy VanDewalli
“It was an honor to be asked to participate in a project that melds together the arts, our community, and the aquatic life and environment we all treasure. I also cherish the opportunity to honor the Vargas family bridging of American and Nicaraguan cultures.”
Sponsor: Rudy & Paco’s and Vargas Cut & Catch by Paco
“The turtle represents Paco’s journey from Nicaragua to the USA in search of the American Dream. The pictures on the turtle represent both his native Nicaragua and his new home Galveston. The turtle says ‘Welcome Home’ because that is what the city represents to Paco. A welcoming community that gave him and his family an opportunity to achieve the American Dream.”

Galveston West End


Location: Crockett Park Baseball Complex, 2601 53rd St., Galveston TX 77551
Artist: Shaifer Laine Goalen
“A colorful rendition of sweet memories on a summer day at the ball park.”
Sponsor: Better Parks for Galveston
“We sponsored the project as part of BPG’s Art in the Park initiative.”


Location: Sugar Bean, 11 Evia Main, Galveston, TX 77554
Artist: Shawne Moore
“Southern charm and landscaping that is so unique to Evia.”
Sponsor: Sugar Bean Coffee & Cream
“We love the turtle that we call “Latte” … because that’s “a latte turtle.”


Location: Campeche Cove Animal Clinic, 10015 Stewart Rd., Galveston, TX 77554
Artist: Jane Young French
“Cam”, was inspired by sea turtles naturally occurring patterns, with land’s best friends playfully catching a ride.”
Sponsor: Campeche Cove Animal & Bird Hospital
“Fun way to honor the environment we live in and the work that Turtle Island Restoration Network is doing to support the marine environment and sea turtles.”

Queen of the Sea

Location: Moody Gardens, 1 Hope Blvd., Galveston, TX 77554
Artist: Lenexa Juliet Frances Morais
“Art brings attention to turtle conservation and our art culture.”
Sponsor: Moody Gardens
“We are working to bring attention to the challenges that face sea turtles and actions to take to improve our natural world.”

Shelly Sandersun

Location: Sand ‘N Sea Properties, 13706 FM3005, Galveston, TX 77554
Artist: Ellie Peters
“I was thrilled to be asked to be part of a project that brings awareness to the plight of the sea turtle. Our island belongs to them as much as it does to us.”
Sponsor: Sand ‘N Sea Properties
“We think it’s a great way to promote conservation and to bring attention to sea turtles; plus Sand ‘N Sea’s founder is a turtle fan!”


Location: Oppe Elementary, 2915 81st St., Galveston, TX 77554
“Protecting our ocean is important because it’s covering most of the world where WE live!”
Sponsor: Abel Longoria & Family, Oppe PTO
“To instill in our children the importance of conservation, preservation and restoration of our coastal environment.”


Location: Sea Isle Property Owners Association, 21704 Burnet Dr., Galveston, TX 77554
Artist: Jacqui V. Stanley
“To bring ‘MiShell’ to life, and to create an important piece of art that will remind everyone that we share a responsibility to care for our magnificent turtles and all life.”
Sponsor: Sea Isle Planters Bunch
“We love our turtle MiShell, great addition to our neighborhood.”

Tourist Ted

Location: Rainforest Cafe – Galveston, 5310 Seawall Boulevard, Galveston, TX 77551
Artist: Mary Ruth Brown
Sponsor: The San Luis Resort Spa & Conference Center, Rainforest Café and Landry’s Seafood House


Location: Galveston Island Humane Society, 6814 Broadway St., Galveston, TX 77554
Artist: Kathryn Zimmerman
“I did not think I would have the opportunity to be the artist for a second turtle. All of my fur babies came from the Galveston Humane Society. When I was approached there was only one answer for me, and it was a big yes! I’m truly honored to be the artist for this project and sponsor.”
Sponsor: Galveston Island Humane Society
“The Galveston Island Humane Society is dedicated to promoting animal welfare and we believe supporting the conservation efforts to protect the endangered sea turtles is in line with our mission. Wags is a beautiful addition to our family and we hope that when people visit her, they may also consider adopting a new K9 or feline best friend.”


Location: RE/MAX, 3616 7 Mile Rd, Galveston, TX 77554
Artist: Jane Young French
“The Turtles About Town project was an absolute dream job. When you are passionate about the subject matter, the work becomes pure joy! Thank you sponsors for the opportunity to paint what I truly love.”
Sponsor: Kelly Kelley
“Raising awareness to adults and children on how life habits on land affect our friends in the ocean through art.”

The Kemp’s Ridley

The Kemp’s Ridley is the Texas State sea turtle and the smallest and most critically endangered sea turtle species. This turtle nests on the beaches along the Texas and Mexico shoreline and can be found in Gulf of Mexico waters off the Galveston coastline.

Turtle Island Restoration Network’s team in the Gulf of Mexico has been part of the sea turtle nest patrol on the upper Texas coast every year since 2002, supporting the protection of nesting sea turtles and their eggs and sponsoring the sea turtle rescue hotline (if you’re on the upper Texas coast and see a sea turtle on the beach, please call 866-TURTLE-5).

Clay Cup Studios

Clay Cup Studios is a Galveston Art Studio that offers paint your own pottery, canvas painting, glass fusion and Art’tini. Owner Amy Owens has a passion for her family and her community. Coming from a family heavily involved in the arts, she saw a need in Galveston for a destination that families and friends could go to relax, have fun and get creative. She makes it a point to use Clay Cup for education and community outreach.

This project encompasses so many things that make me proud to be a Galvestonian. This concerted effort to bring awareness to what public art can do for a community, as well as the conservation minded effort behind the message is beautifully done and we are proud to have the first statue here at City Hall.

Jim YarbroughMayor of the City of Galveston

How to Get Involved

Join us in protecting sea turtles in the Gulf of Mexico.