Grey Whale Island


Grey Whale Island

Artist: Nicola Beatts

Location: In the alley behind Roundman's Smokehouse. Turn north off of Laurel Ave between Main and Franklin. It's right near the sock shop.

Nicola has become one of Fort Bragg’s most prolific muralists. Look for her mural of Harbor Seals behind Napa Auto Parts, a mural of an orca and harbor seal in the Noyo Center for Marine Sciences on Main St., and coming soon – a mural of brewery equipment, hops and butterflies on the side of Tall Guy Brewery. 

You can often find Nicola working at Triangle Tattoo. Follow her instagram here to keep updated on her artwork and adventures.

Inspiration for this installation

Roundman’s Smokehouse commissioned and funded this mural. Their only request was for a compact design that represented our part of the coast.

Nicola chose the elements of a whale and a forest because they are two of her favorite things in the area. She was born in Scotland, but moved to the Bay Area as a teenager, and then up to Chico. She’s only sort of joking when she says she moved to Fort Bragg from Chico to get away from the sunshine. Mostly, she just missed living near a coast.

As a kid in Scotland you can see whales off the coast, so it was pretty neat to come to the other side of the planet and see the same thing. The oceans are all quite  interconnected. I liked the idea of portraying the biological interconnectedness of these two adjacent but very different ecosystems, the oceans and the redwoods. In my experience living hee, it feels like the ocean and forest are on top of each other..”


From November to February, the California Gray Whales can be seen migrating south to Baja. There, the pregnant females give birth. Starting in February and March, the whales migrate back north to Alaska with their newborn calves.

There are lots of great places to watch whales, but my personal favorite is from the very tip of MacKerricher state park’s boardwalk out on the headlands.

Those white dots on the whale’s back are barnacles. There is one species of barnacle and three species of whale lice that live on the gray whale. The barnacle (Cryptolepas rhachianecti) is unique to the gray whale, and of the three species of whale lice (in the genus Cyamus), two are found only on gray whales.

Here’s some more about grey whales from our friends at the Noyo Center for Marine Science

Join the Band!


Join the Band

Location: 310 N Franklin St.

Artists: "Frilled Lizard Playing Piano" by Jackson Deyerle.

Artists: "Lady With Guitar"  by Kevin Pearl, painted by Kevin and Mike Barnes.

Artists: “Drumming Kitty” by Jonas Knutson, painted by Jonas, Jerry Turner, Stella Peterson and Robyn Peterson.

About Art Explorers

Art Explorers, Inc. is a non-profit creative arts program in Fort Bragg, California, that serves adult artists with developmental disabilities and brain injuries. We currently have an enrollment of 36 students, including some who have been participating for over 20 years. We have a spacious studio and gallery in the downtown area, where we exhibit and sell artwork on an on-going basis. We operate a 5-day a week program. Our funding comes from the Redwood Coast Regional Center and donations from the public.

Art is a universal, non-verbal language, without definite rules or restrictions. Our mission is to provide a fun, artistically stimulating environment for creativity to thrive, where people with disabilities are welcomed and accepted as artists. We nurture each individual artist to follow their passion, to discover the right art materials, and to find their own unique style and voice. Our studio is an uplifting, magical place…creating art together gives people a sense of purpose, and promotes camaraderie. This helps to combat the isolation that’s inherently part of the lives of many. We believe that art transforms lives, and opens the window to the deepest expression and yearnings of the human spirit. For more information or to make a donation, please visit our website:

If you are standing in front of these three murals, the Art Explorers studio is right across the street to your left, at 333 Franklin. They are open Tuesday- Saturdays 9:00 am to 3:00 pm. Go say hi and see what the artists are working on this week.

“Frilled Lizard Playing Piano” was created and painted by Jackson Deyerle.

 Jackson started doing art in middle school—drawing with friends. His work is very detailed. All of his drawings are from his own imagination, but he finds inspiration in a lot of movies and shows, especially works by Hayao Miyazaki. Jackson researches his creations in books—using everything from cartoons to realistic styles and designs. He loves Anime and manga, but says, “Any art in the world is interesting to look at.” He also finds inspiration in music and cooking—two other art forms.

“Life definitely has its many challenges. Things can be hard. Follow your heart. Make friends, travel, make your own story.” – Jackson Deverle

“Lady With Guitar” was created by Kevin Pearl and painted by Kevin and Mike Barnes.

 Kevin has a rich, connected life. He is busy in his beloved hometown of Fort Bragg—working at the Paul Bunyan thrift store, hanging out with friends, and making art at Art Explorers. He is a people person! Kevin takes great pride in his finished work and often spends several weeks on one drawing. Kevin often uses collaged photos in his work, which he integrates into his drawings, and which give his artwork a contemporary quality. Kevin is inspired by modern culture, by western themes, by celebrities, and movies. He loves life, loves where he lives, and has a sense of humor about his work.

“Doing art makes me feel happy, and I love being happy.” – Kevin Pearl

“Drumming Kitty” was created by Jonas Knutson and painted by Jonas, Jerry Turner, Stella Peterson and Robyn Peterson.

Jonas grew up in Lodi and Fresno, and moved to Fort Bragg, California in 2017.

He loves living by the ocean, and likes walking by the ocean. He is a big fan of the C.V. Starr Aquatic Center in Fort Bragg and tries to go there almost every day to swim. Jonas likes painting and drawing pictures of cool animals and rainbows. Besides art and swimming, Jonas likes to sing, and cook pancakes on Saturdays for breakfast.

Two Years - 2020, 2021


Two Years - 2020, 2021

Artist: Jason Godeke

Location: 400 E Laurel St. Fort Bragg CA,  across the street from Bainbridge Park

Inspiration for this installation

Is this dyptich simply two paintings of random dreamlike imagery? Yes and no. Every element of Two Years is a reflection of Jason’s (and our collective) lived experience and reactions to the COVID pandemic. The dotted red line that traces the mountain ridge connecting both murals is taken directly from the national Covid death chart for the years 2020 and 2021.

The Virus

This is Jason’s vision of the COVID virus. Unlike the green blob with red dots, which can seem to connote malevolent stickiness, Jason depicts it as a passive cloud of, mechanical programming. Often our language around viruses can anthropomorphize them, as if they are “looking for a new host.” In truth, they are simple biological systems, passively transported to environments where they infect and replicate, or inhospitable locations where they are destroyed by the elements. In 2020, they loom over the landscape like the low clouds of an approaching storm.

Alert levels

The crocodile is a reference to the health alert levels of yellow, orange, red and purple that were used to communicate the rates of infection within Mendocino county. Like many of us, Jason distinctly remembers  watching with increasing alarm as we edged closer and closer into the purple zone.

Jason was inspired by mural fragments found in the ancient Mexican city of Teotihuacan. Check out the De Young’s incredible collection here.


Virus particulate drifts out of the crocodile’s mouth, curling towards flowers, abalone, starfish, California poppies, and a child in a mask, a reference to the phase of the pandemic when we hadn’t yet fully identified the virus’s methods of transmission or persistence on surfaces. Every footstep outside the house felt suffused with risk.

Bubble life

This alarmed creature with it’s head in a glass bell is a reference to the feeling of moon-suit sensory deprivation feeling you can get when walking around wearing a mask, glasses, and often earpods.

It’s also a direct reference to Heironymous Bosch’s famous tryptich The Garden of Earthly Delights, painted 1490-1500AD.
​As the daily fear and anxiety of 2020 gave way to pandemic exhaustion in 2021, many people tried to reestablish social connections through small group pods, with varying degrees of success.

Jason remembers feeling like one strange creature out of many, drifting across the landscape of Fort Bragg, greeting friends from inside a self-imposed bubble of personal space.

Rolling the dice

The bubonic plague or Black Death swept through Europe in waves of infection and re-infection between 1345 and 1353. Though Bosch’s famous work is a warning against sinfulness and lust, it was within the context of a society still reeling from a pandemic catastrophe which seemed to the people at the time to choose its victims at random. Many people then, like now, chose to confront the randomness by throwing caution to the wind and living for maximum pleasure.

by Ron Morita

Something stirred like one of Angelina’s sons when he lived in her body, pulling her
down the steps to the stone wall she restored. Ghostly wisps flew up the hill, dancing like angels.
Following gray cobblestones past houses with red tile roofs, she spotted what appeared to be a
man in a white shirt. He retreated, drawing her down the road. Perhaps the mysterious figure was
tall and handsome, with a lock of black hair falling over a bronzed forehead. After a long walk
she spotted the handyman’s cottage, its curtains closed. No doubt he was in bed with his wife,
snoring to wake the dead. All fogs are one, he had told her, so that if you stand in it and let your
spirit soar, you can feel the thoughts of someone in that same mist anywhere in the world.
At length she heard the whisper of surf and arrived at the road’s ugly scar across a black
sand beach. A cloud–or perhaps the sail of an unseen fishing boat–floated above the waves.
Mist thickened as she neared the water until it was hard to tell sea from shore, up from down.
Before she knew it water lapped at her thighs. The image of Jesus flashed before her. Quickly
she crossed herself.
Our Father, I am only sixty-one and in excellent health. Why have you come for me?
A man’s voice, sounding far away, called her name.

This excerpt appeared in Vine Leaves Literary Journal, January 2014


Poetry and Prose generously donated by members of Writers of the Mendocino CoastLearn more about this fantastic group!