Destination: La Jolla Shores - But first, model of JJ, the baby whale, moves to foundry


JJ, the baby gray whale, made another journey Sunday night, this time to the foundry and studio of Justin Snow in Escondido.

The clay model of the baby whale being made into a sculpture for the Kellogg Park playground in La Jolla Shores rode atop a trailer behind the truck of her creator, D. Lynn Reeves as others followed along side roads from Reeve’s La Mesa studio. On the back was a hand-lettered sign: JJ the baby whale off to the foundry.

Once Reeves, his longtime partner Claudia Powell, his brother and Friends of La Jolla Shores Mary Coakley, Walter Munk and Paula Selby reached their destination at BronzeArtwork in Escondido’s industrial park area, both sadness and excitement filled the air.

Reeves seemed hesitant to let go of the creation that has been in his workshop for many months. He continued to smooth the clay even as he handed off the 14 ½-foot model — the same size that JJ was when she was found off Marina del Rey — to Snow. It will be Snow’s task to use his talents in lost wax casting to ready JJ for her spot in the park.

Snow, who has a degree in studio art form UCSD, focused his initial attention on details of getting JJ off the trailer safely, all the while smiling at the job ahead.

His excitement was reflected in the voice of Coakley, who has spearheaded the park renovation. She giggled like a schoolgirl as she walked around the trailer, anticipating the next step in the project.

“It’s so exciting,” she said, summing up the emotions of everyone in the empty warehouse where JJ will sit until Snow begins the meticulous work of making molds, pouring the bronze, building a frame and then welding the pieces together. Then come the texture and patina.

Meanwhile, Friends of La Jolla Shores continues its fundraising drive so Snow can be paid for his work. To date, Coakley said, they have about $103,000 — about $25,000 short of finishing the project.

To see Snow’s work, go to

For more information on the Kellogg Park project, go to