Art alliance: Local seniors exhibit works inspired by visit to Birch Aquarium in La Jolla

Birch Aquarium representatives visit Vi at La Jolla Village to see a residents art exhibit.
Birch Aquarium representatives Abby Cahalan (left) and Rachel Wyman visit Vi at La Jolla Village to see a residents art exhibit inspired by a visit to Birch.
(Claire Bolton)

Inspired by the creatures and colors of La Jolla’s Birch Aquarium, a group of residents at senior community Vi at La Jolla Village created works of art that are on display in Vi’s gallery through Wednesday, Nov. 30.

About 15 pieces are on view in various media including watercolor and photography.

Abby Cahalan, assistant director of development for UC San Diego’s Scripps Institution of Oceanography, of which Birch Aquarium is a part, said Vi lifestyle director Mellany Hanson reached out to Birch around the time the aquarium’s Beyster Family Little Blue Penguins exhibit opened over the summer.

Hanson said residents in the Vi art group wanted to organize a Birch-themed exhibit for the community’s art gallery after visiting the aquarium.

Cahalan led the Vi residents on an hour-long tour through Birch and its Hall of Fishes, kelp tank and shark, penguin and other exhibits. Many residents took photos to inspire their art.

Cahalan said the art show based on Birch’s exhibits is “exciting,” noting that Birch has partnered with Vi in the past for lectures and other events.

The Vi at La Jolla Village art exhibit contains about 15 pieces and will be on view through Wednesday, Nov. 30.
(Claire Bolton)

On Nov. 14, Cahalan and Birch’s director of development, Rachel Wyman, visited the Vi art gallery to see the exhibit and meet the artists.

“It was really fantastic,” said Cahalan, who added that hearing the artists’ processes and inspirations was “beautiful.”

Birch’s mission to promote action for a healthy planet is evident in several of the pieces, she said, including an abstract work that uses recycled plastics and bright colors.

Hanson said “it’s really important for our Vi community as a whole and residents individually to have relationships with organizations such as Birch Aquarium.”

The lectures and visits help residents “stay current on topics such as the health of our oceans and creatures that live in the ocean,” she said, and keep residents connected to the larger community.

“It enriches the lives of all involved,” Hanson said.

Vi at La Jolla Village is at 8515 Costa Verde Blvd. For more information, email