Midnight Hunt by Amy Kruse                                                                                         Glass Beach by Bonnie Bernard

Five Alaska artists have banded together to raise awareness about the proposed oil and gas lease sale at Lower Cook Inlet covering over one million acres of seafloor in waters widely used by sport and commercial fishermen.

The federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) is accepting public comments on its draft environmental impact statement through December 13.

“There’s a 265 page draft environmental impact statement. So that’s what the bureau is asking for comments on but, you know,  even when you care about the Inlet and you want to offer your insights, it’s hard to do so.. So I have some artists that I know who live throughout the Inlet and we had the idea to get a little playful and add some levity to the situation and symbolically cancel the federal lease sale 258 and replace it with an art sale.”

Kaitlin Vadla is Regional Director of Cook Inletkeeper Community Action Studio in Soldotna.

Art Sale 258 symbolizes the number given to the oil and gas lease sale.  Each of the artists contributed a piece to a variety of fine art cards that are printed in Kenai.

“I’ve heard a quote that said movements must be beautiful  to entice others. And I think that’s so true. And it really kind of opens up other people. It’s like a doorway into issues that  sometimes are hard to participate in.”

The proposed waters are located off the mouth of Kachemak Bay’s Critical Habitat Area created  by the Alaska Legislature when it bought back oil and gas leases there in the 1970s.

Vadla says response to the “sell art, not Cook Inlet” push has been very strong.

“It’s been very heartening. And we’re really grateful to everyone who stepped up. We say make a donation of $25.80 or more, it is a playful invitation for folks to donate, and some people have donated $258 to oppose sale 258. I think people are being generous, and they’re having fun and they’re loving the artwork, and the artists themselves were really happy to participate. And we all want to do something to protect this place that we love.”     

Card sets can be purchased online at inletkeeper.org/artsale,  at offices in Homer and Soldotna or mailed to contributors.

Vadla says a Cook Inletkeeper petition opposing the lease sale has gotten nearly 2,000 signers so far.

Learn more on Twitter at  #SellArtNotCookInlet

Make comments on Lease 258 here –