The Whale Guitar: Six-String Activism

Whales are a species of sound. They live in a world of sound, communicate through sound, and captured the world’s attention when Roger Payne and Scott McVay discovered that they sing songs. Roger, in addition to being a biologist, is also a musician, and it became his life’s work to share their songs and inspire a passion to protect them.

Whale Guitar scrimshawIt’s no surprise then that artists and musicians, poets and composers are drawn to whales. This is how the Whale Guitar came to be. A design project inspired by whales became a vehicle through which to raise awareness and funds for their protection. We were approached by a group of artists in the construction phase of the project—a Moby Dick-inspired electric guitar—to ask if we would partner with the project as its beneficiary.

Upon completion, the Whale Guitar was put on display at the Providence Public Library and recently a concert was held to close the exhibit. Our staff was invited to come and speak at the event about our work with whales and ocean pollution. Kim Marshall Tilas, Dan Albani and Rebecca Siswick Graham joined musicians and poets in an evening celebrating whales.

Whale Guitar detailIt is the wish of the creators of the Whale Guitar that it be played by a wide variety of musicians in the spirit of collaboration and support for our wild world. You can follow the project and learn about the construction process at the Whale Guitar website and Facebook page. Many thanks to Jen Long, William Schaff, Rachel Rosenkrantz-Riemer and Gwen Forrester for creating this beautiful work of art and for supporting our work in such a creative way.