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Paint Factory

Ocean Alliance hosts Selfie art show at Paint Factory

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From May 5 through May 7, Ocean Alliance continued its advocacy for the arts by hosting the art show Selfie at the Paint Factory. The show celebrated the creativity of teens from around Massachusetts through portraits by artist Amy Kerr based on their selfies. There were 12 pieces in the show in pastel, colored pencil and charcoal.

 

 

You can follow Amy Kerr’s current project, I Am More, a public outreach project about mental health, at her blog:  https://amykerrdrawsportraits.wordpress.com

Talking about SnotBot and more to Rockport Rotary Club

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Today, I had the pleasure of speaking to members of the Rockport Rotary Club about the many projects we’re involved with here at Ocean Alliance. Rotary is an organization of business and professional leaders united worldwide who provide humanitarian service, and help build goodwill and peace in the world.

 

Ocean Alliance CEO Iain Kerr with Rockport Rotary Club's president, Jack Reed.

Ocean Alliance CEO Iain Kerr with Rockport Rotary Club’s president, Jack Reed.

The main objective of Rotary is service — in the community, in the workplace, and throughout the world — so I was happy to be able to bring Rockport Rotary up to date on the projects we’ve undertaken that are a service to the Cape Ann community and to planet Ocean! I talked about our work rehabbing the Tarr & Wonson Paint Factory, which sat for years empty, crumbling, and polluted on the edge of Gloucester Harbor. It’s now Ocean Alliance’s headquarters, and is becoming a vibrant part of the community, hosting our Robotics Club, launching research expeditions around the globe, collaborating on community art shows, and becoming a positive sign of growth on the waterfront.
I  talked about our innovative SnotBot drones, and what a game-changing technology they have been for whale research. I also talked about how SnotBot has also turned out to be a great educational tool. The kids who come to our Robotics Club, which meets once a week at our Paint Factory headquarters, have been learning all about how to build and fly drones, and they have even helped solve a data problem we were having with SnotBot!
Our thanks go out to Judy Manchester for arranging the talk and to all of the Rockport Rotarians for listening and for the great work that they do.

Filmmaker Robert Nixon Visits the Paint Factory

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On Tuesday long time friend and film maker Robert Nixon visited our headquarters on the Gloucester waterfront.  Robert recently finished a seminal documentary Mission Blue with one of our board members, Sylvia Earle.  Bob brought two young explorers who are assisting Sylvia on a series of expeditions to film America’s unknown underwater wonders, Finn Kennedy and Bobby Nixon.  Finn and Bobby toured the site with me as we talked about (on camera) a host of different ocean environmental concerns.  We even got a chance to fly SnotBot and test SnotShot. The resulting documentary “Blue Centennial” seeks to inspire the establishment of some of America’s underwater wonders as blue national parks.
“Bobby & Finn had a clear interest and understanding of the problems facing our oceans,” said CEO Iain Kerr.  “It was a real pleasure to meet and talk with them.”
Finn’s brother Conner Kennedy joined Ocean Alliance’s Research Vessel Odyssey as a crew member in the Gulf of Mexico in 2012, as we worked to better understand the effects of the Deep Horizon disaster on marine mammals.
Scaled[33] FinnBobbyIKSnotBot-Scaled

The Whale Guitar Visits Ocean Alliance

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It’s amazing how you can help whales and our oceans just by using your own personal talents. Jen Long discovered this when she embarked on the Whale Guitar Project. A designer from Providence, Rhode Island, Jen and a group of like-minded individuals–William Schaff, Rachel Rosenkrantz-Riemer and Gwen Forrester, designed and built a remarkable instrument inspired by Moby-Dick and in the style of scrimshaw with the purpose of raising awareness and funds for ocean conservation. We were honored last year when Jen informed us that she wanted to bring Ocean Alliance into the project after following our work. Considering our organization was built on the discovery that humpback whales sing songs, we have always been passionate about the relationship between art, science, and conservation.

Jen Long with the Whale GuitarThe Whale Guitar Project has had some exciting stops along the way, including the recent Moby-Dick Marathon Reading at the New Bedford Whaling Museum, where the guitar was on display and played for those who had gathered to read the classic novel aloud from start to finish.

We were thrilled this week to have Jen and the Whale Guitar visit our headquarters, the Paint Factory in Gloucester, MA, and Jen was kind enough to give the staff an impromptu concert. We look forward to building on our partnership this year with more performances and we thank Jen and her talented team for sharing their time and skills for the benefit of our ocean.

 

Robotics For Kids and Whales

By | FEB15, Ocean Alliance News, Technology | No Comments

One of the initiatives that Ocean Alliance has been pushing hard on over the last year is the development of a robotics program. When our organization was founded in the 1970s most people believed you had to kill whales to learn about them. Our founder, Dr. Roger Payne, was a pioneer in developing benign research tools–techniques that can be used to collect data without killing the animals. Read More

You Can Help Save the Paint Factory

By | Ocean Alliance News, Paint Factory Headquarters | No Comments
Clean up at our headquarters, the former Tarr and Wonson Paint Manufactory has been a protracted and ongoing process. The birthplace of marine bottom paint, the site was contaminated with large amounts of copper, lead, chromium, arsenic and asbestos. We have invested almost 1 million dollars into clean-up and remediation so far. Currently, a clean utility corridor for the site is in the works–the $200K needed for this project came from the EPA in the form of a brownfields grant.  We expect to have to invest at least another half a million dollars into the site before we can claim that it is fully cleaned up.

Read More

Annenberg Foundation Names Roger Payne & Iain Kerr As Visionary Leaders

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To celebrate their 25th year of philanthropy, the Annenberg Foundation has named twenty-five of their grantees as “Visionary Leaders” in their fields. The individuals recognized range from conservationists of the wild world, such as Jane Goodall, to activists from the inner city, like Geoffrey Canada of Harlem Children’s Zone, and rural China such as Wu Qing, Founder of the Beijing Cultural Development Center for Rural Women. Included in the list are Ocean Alliance President Roger Payne and CEO Iain Kerr. Read More

Robotics Program Opens Up to Local Students

By | Ocean Alliance News, Technology | No Comments

This week a group of educators, students and robotics enthusiasts from our home city of Gloucester, Massachusetts met with Iain Kerr and staff at our new Robotics Lab to talk about how this space can be put to use for the benefit of the community. On first entering the new lab a couple of the attendees asked if they could move in. Visitors were able to check out our collection of drones and simulators, and had a nighttime demonstration flight of a drone.

Ocean Alliance Robotics LabDuring the day Ocean Alliance is aggressively pursuing projects on a number of different fronts in the field of marine robotics. Working with Olin College we are trying to develop drones that can collect a variety of data from our oceans with minimal effort from the handlers. But having the space open to local students and educators on evening Hobby Nights will add resources and collaboration opportunities to locals with an interest in robotics.

This work is supported in part by a grant from the Applied Material Foundation and the generosity of Antonio Bertone who provided the recycled shipping container that currently houses our lab at the Paint Factory in Gloucester.

Kim’s Dolphin Dock is Ready for Construction

By | Ocean Alliance News, Paint Factory Headquarters | No Comments

A special message from Kim Marshall-Tilas:

To all who helped support the Dolphin Dock!

As of October 23, 2014, Ocean Alliance received approval for the construction and installation of the Dolphin Dock! The process was arduous and required permit approvals from the Conservation Agent, Harbormaster, and Shellfish Warden, as well as a site visit from members of the Waterways Board of Gloucester. The plans submitted were found to be satisfactory and we are free to proceed.

The Dolphin Dock is a true birthday wish come true. I will admit, turning 50 was a bit rough, but thanks to all of you awesome people and your contributions to the Dolphin Dock fund, the big 5-0 was much easier. With your help, we raised enough to meet my goal of $9250. Though I had hoped to have a celebration on the dock before the snow fell, the permitting and construction process was far more in-depth than expected. Fortunately, the dock will be in place early next spring and I hope all of you will join me for a nice ceremony and a belated birthday celebration.

I can’t thank you enough for helping me bring this project to life and for making my birthday so special. I can’t believe I have such wonderful friends. I am truly grateful and wonderfully happy.

Thank you again and again,

Kim

 

 

Paint Factory Update: Work on Building A Begins

By | aug14, Ocean Alliance News, Paint Factory Headquarters | No Comments

There were originally six buildings on the Tarr and Wonson Paint Manufactory site, the new home of Ocean Alliance in Gloucester, MA. Buildings D and F were condemned by the city and were taken down (when we have raised the money they will be put back up with the original facade). Building E is finished and now houses our offices. The restoration of the chimney is complete so we are now focusing our efforts on what we call Buildings A and B (the two remaining brick buildings). Read More

At the Top of the Restored Paint Factory Chimney

By | Ocean Alliance News, Paint Factory Headquarters | No Comments

The chimney of our headquarters, the historic Tarr and Wonson Paint Manufactory, has stood as as a beacon signaling home for Gloucester’s fishermen for over 130 years. In the fall of 2013 it was determined that the chimney structure was cracked and unsound, so the fundraising drive began to restore this icon of Gloucester’s waterfront. Thanks to the Citizens of Gloucester Community Preservation Act we were able to secure a grant to restore the chimney for generations to come. Masons from Numerosi Masonry of Gloucester have been hard at work high above the waterfront and recently Ocean Alliance CEO Iain Kerr climbed up to take a look at the finished work and the view:

Watch a short history of the Paint Factory narrated by Roger Payne and Lisa Harrow here and learn how bottom paint for boats was invented.

Our Robotics Program Gains a Temporary Home

By | july14, Ocean Alliance News, Paint Factory Headquarters, Technology | No Comments

Ocean Alliance has had a busy spring. The research vessel Odyssey is having a successful campaign in the Gulf of Mexico with Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, and reconstruction has started on brick buildings A, B and the chimney of our headquarters–the Paint Factory. Our plan remains to put our robotics lab upstairs in building A, but our robotics program is outpacing the readiness of the building. Antonio Bertone to the rescue. Read More

Paint Factory Restoration is Awarded Massachusetts Cultural Council Grant

By | Ocean Alliance News, Paint Factory Headquarters | No Comments

We are thrilled to report that Ocean Alliance has been awarded a Mass Cultural Facilities Fund Grant of $70,000 towards the renovation of our headquarters, the Tarr and Wonson Paint Manufactory in Gloucester, MA. We will be using the funds as part of our restoration efforts on the remaining two brick buildings A and B, and the chimney. These buildings will host our robotics laboratory and education spaces. Take the virtual immersion tour of the Paint Factory to see inside and out these historic spaces.

“It is very exciting to receive this award from the MA Cultural Council,” said Ocean Alliance CEO Iain Kerr. “We sometimes feel that the important role that the development of anti-fouling paint played in Gloucester history has been forgotten.”Inside the Paint FactoryThe total project cost is $318,000 for buildings A and B. With this grant and another $85,000 already committed we have now raised almost half of that amount.

“Investments in our creative economy stimulate growth and opportunity in every corner of the Commonwealth,” said Governor Deval Patrick. “Through this new round of funding, we are continuing to create a more vibrant place for our students to learn, our families to live and our businesses to grow.”

Read the full press release and grant recipients here.

We’re extremely thankful to the Massachusetts Cultural Council and MassDevelopment for supporting our work

Help Make a Birthday Wish Come True with a Dock at the Paint Factory

By | jun14, Ocean Alliance News, Paint Factory Headquarters | No Comments

If you have had any dealings with Ocean Alliance in the last twenty years then you have probably crossed paths with Kim Marshall Tilas. Beginning as Iain Kerr’s assistant, she has worn many hats with charm, exuberance and energy that shouldn’t be allowed in one individual. Most memorably, she was the diver in the IMAX film “Whales” who was captured in a magical swim with a southern right whale. More recently she has battled breast cancer and faced a double mastectomy with the humor that only Kim could. To know Kim is to love her and we are honored that she would make the following request:

Kim Marshall Tilas on the OdysseyI, Kim Marshall Tilas, am turning 50 on July 24th, 2014. To celebrate and honor my wonderfully exciting and fortunate life thus far I want to invite you to be a part of the Dolphin Dock Project. I will raise $9250.00 so that a floating dock can be built at Ocean Alliance’s home at the Paint Factory in Gloucester, MA.

My goal is to toast the new dock on my birthday with friends and family. Every dollar given goes to the Dolphin Dock in my honor. You can designate your donation to Kim’s Dolphin Dock or send a check to Ocean Alliance at 32 Horton St., Gloucester, MA 01930.

Please Hurry! Thank you for helping me celebrate my milestone birthday with a porpoise!

 

New Robotics Lab Coming to the Paint Factory

By | jun14, Ocean Alliance News, Paint Factory Headquarters, Technology | No Comments

When we first started talking with Olin College of Engineering in 2010 about a collaboration, they were very interested in Ocean Alliance providing their students with real world (or applied) challenges. A rapidly growing part of our oceanographic research program is the field of robotics, particularly as it applies to developing benign research techniques (those that cause no harm). SailBot, SnotShot and SnotBot are three good examples. As Ocean Alliance CEO Iain Kerr has spoken at different schools and events he has noticed a lot of interest in this field of robotics, so from our work with Olin and this interest came the idea to build the Applied Robotics Research Laboratory and Club at the Paint Factory, our headquarters in Gloucester, MA. Read More

Join the IoT Olympiad and You Could Win a Whale Watch with Sir Patrick Stewart

By | Ocean Alliance News, Technology, Whales | No Comments

Ahead of a week of tech-related conferences and expos Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick has declared May 2-9 “Internet of Things Week” in the Bay State, making Massachusetts the first state to do so. An exciting part of this coming week is the “Internet of Things” (IoT) Olympiad, a 48-hour hackathon in which IT developers collaborate and compete for a common goal.

IoT OlympiadOne of this year’s themes is “Sustain Life: Sustainable Maritime Economies,” put forward by our friend Tom Balf from Maritime Gloucester. Recently Tom approached Ocean Alliance CEO Iain Kerr and asked if he had any potential projects for the IoT Olympiad, and did we have any incentive packages that could be offered to motivate participants. Iain introduced an idea we’ve been thinking about for a while called Whale Snap. The idea is that you when you are on the water and spot a whale you take a photo with the Whale Snap app. The app would identify the species of whale and give you basic information on that animal almost immediately. Then it would link to a database and contact you back with more info about the whale, potentially its name and when it was last seen, and threats to the species. In this way we can:

  1. Minke whale - photo by Tim Watters

    Minke whale – photo by Tim Watters

    Educate people about regional whale populations

  2. Empower citizen scientists to collecting data
  3. Fund our research, education and conservation efforts

 

 

Iain believes the potential for this program is huge. It could start as a regional program with humpback whales and then go global with Whale Snap applications that are specific to different whale populations around the world.  Considering that Ocean Alliance has data on whale populations from over 20 counties we are well suited to take on this project.

Prizes include:

  • Memorabilia signed by Sir Patrick Stewart and Dr. Roger Payne
  • 7 Seas Whale Watch with Sir Patrick Stewart (date to be determined)
  • Work space at our headquarters in the historic Paint Factory on Gloucester Harbor

To join the IoT Olympiad register here. Good luck!

What We Found on Our Shoreline

By | apr14, Education, Ocean Alliance News, Paint Factory Headquarters | No Comments

Volunteers for Harbor CleanupIt was a beautiful clear sunny day on Saturday when members of the Gloucester community gathered to clean our harbor. Teams were dispersed all around the city thanks to the coordination efforts of the Rozalia Project for a Clean Ocean, Maritime Gloucester, our two Cultural Districts downtown and on Rocky Neck, and our own Rebecca Siswick Graham. After a presentation about ocean trash by the Rozalia Project Friday night, volunteers gathered at their assigned locations Saturday morning for this one-hour effort to collect and record as much trash and recycling as possible. Read More

Good News at the Paint Factory This Week–Mud

By | Ocean Alliance News, Paint Factory Headquarters | No Comments

Black and White Paint FactoryTo become a functioning oceanographic research and education center at our new headquarters in Gloucester we need a dock. In this case we hope to put in a non-permanent floating dock supported by pilings.  This dock will have multiple purposes–we will be able to bring our own research vessels in and we hope to encourage other research vessels, as well as sail-training vessels and schooners, to tie up in front of the Paint Factory.

One thing we are particularly excited about is giving kids access to the water, whether it be working on a robotics program with Olin College, science projects with Maritime Gloucester and local schools, or just messing around in boats.

As with any project at the Paint Factory this is a long, complicated and expensive process. You need at least 15 feet of mud to put in a piling that can support a floating dock. If you don’t have that depth of mud you need to put in what are called rock sockets. Depending on the depth of the rock socket, this can cost from $8000 to  $14,000 per piling. In our case we expect to have 10 pilings, which would mean $140K just for the pilings.

This Tuesday Prock Marine of Rockland, ME agreed to stop by the Paint Factory and drop in a few test pilings to see what depth of mud we had. Iain spoke with one gentleman who said–you never can tell, right next to a ledge you can have 30 ft of mud, or the ledge can extend out and you can have only 3 ft of mud.

We have good news to report for this first stage–they found an average depth of  15-19 feet of mud along the front of our facility. This means the mud in front of the Paint Factory is deep enough to support the pilings we will need to put in a floating dock. The next step now is to draw up plans and start the permitting process.Paint Factory Restoration Plan

Join Us in Support of Ocean Alliance at the Gloucester Pride Stride

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Paint Factory sunsetHow would you like to take a scenic walk around Gloucester’s historic waterfront while raising money for Ocean Alliance? Join us on Sunday April 27th at noon for the 27th Annual Gloucester Pride Stride Walk, a five-mile loop beginning and ending at Stage Fort Park, the site of Gloucester’s first settlers in 1623, with views of our headquarters—the Tarr and Wonson Paint Manufactory and Ten Pound Island. The walk will pass the working waterfront of Rogers Street, State Fish Pier, Main Street and the Boulevard with the iconic Fishermen’s Memorial (Man at the Wheel). The event includes a free cookout, live music and an inflatable playground and games. Download your registration form here.

90% of the donations you raise will go towards Ocean Alliance to support our work with whales and ocean pollution and the renovation of the Paint Factory. We look forward to meeting you and celebrating Gloucester’s non-profit community!

Gloucester Pride Stride

Take a Virtual Immersion Tour of the Paint Factory

By | mar14, Paint Factory Headquarters | No Comments

The Tarr and Wonson Paint Manufactory is one of the most well-known sights on the north shore of Massachusetts. The historic birthplace of marine bottom paint, it is a favorite subject of painters and photographers, but if you didn’t work there, you probably never went inside—it wasn’t a tourist attraction, it was a factory.

After the property was purchased for Ocean Alliance with a grant from the Annenberg Foundation, Iain Kerr and our friend, photographer Jonah Gouin, wanted to change that, so Jonah used virtual immersion technology to give you a look inside and outside these iconic buildings. Choose one of nine starting points on the “Plan” and move around the room up, down and around, starting here:

Paint Factory Inside

This virtual tour is a great historic reference image compilation that allows us to zoom in and zoom out and capture important aspects of the site that might be lost in regular still photos or a set of measurements.  One of the first things we did when we bought the site was to have every aspect of every building laser measured–when you add hundreds of still photos and this virtual tour to these laser measurements we feel that we have the site very well-documented.

In the case of the buildings that have been taken down, they are priceless reference images for future rebuilding. You’ll see under one building the remains of the art show that was put up underneath the building. The tour of the smallest brick building is the “Before” because it is the first to be finished and now houses our offices. Work will resume this spring for Phase 2.

Be a Part of the Paint Factory Restoration this Spring

By | feb14, Ocean Alliance News, Paint Factory Headquarters | No Comments

Now that Ocean Alliance has moved our offices into the Tarr and Wonson Paint Manufactory in Gloucester, MA the next step is to turn the rest of the site into an oceanographic research and education center. To do this we need to finish the second set of larger brick buildings and install docks. We are now focusing on raising the funds to replace the roofs on the larger brick buildings. Read More

An Update On Our Robotics Program with Olin College

By | feb14, Ocean Alliance News, Technology | No Comments

Iain Kerr and Drew BennettOcean Alliance CEO Iain Kerr and team members Dan Albani and John Graham made another visit to Dr. Drew Bennett at  Olin College of Engineering on Monday. We are pushing hard to make our headquarters, the Paint Factory in Gloucester, MA, into a fully functioning oceanographic research center this year and to do that we need a laboratory and docks. The laboratory will be multi-use, but the lead initiative is a robotics lab. This will be a space that is not only used by Ocean Alliance and Olin College for our marine projects, but a space that we hope will be used by school groups and others who are interested in applied engineering solutions. [Pictured – Iain Kerr and Drew Bennett. The yellow copter is a dedicated film platform that we plan to use to document animal interactions with other drones]

Olin College Robotics LabFor the OA team, going to Olin is a bit like going to a giant toy factory. The equipment they have is remarkable — not only the finished products such as multicopters and airplanes but also the technology that they use such as 3D printers and fine-scale milling machines. We walk through their spaces and they advise us on what worked well for them and what did not. We had a long planning session on the next stages for our SnotBot Program (a small drone that will be used to collect physical samples of whale blows). It should be an exciting year for this partnership.

 

 

 

[Below] Iain Kerr and Olin students Mike and Silas  in front of a small milling machine. A drone can be seen on the computer screen and parts can be made on the milling machine. The two black and silver machines in the background are 3-D printers

Iain Kerr with Olin College robotics students

Dr. Bennett and his students showing Iain a hexacopter (a five engine drone)

Dr. Drew Bennett with Iain Kerr and students

A MESSAGE FROM IAIN KERR

By | Ocean Alliance News | No Comments

2013 has been a very productive and diverse year. Our primary goal, to protect whales and their ocean environment has never been more important or imperative so we cannot thank you enough for supporting our programs.

To counter the diverse challenges facing whales and our oceans we have made significant leaps forward with both old and new programs in 2013.  Following are a few highlights: Read More

SEA SHEPHERD VISITS THE PAINT FACTORY

By | Ocean Alliance News, Operation Toxic Gulf, Paint Factory Headquarters, Sea Shepherd | No Comments

Sea Shepherd at Paint FactoryMembers of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, including founder Captain Paul Watson, paid a visit to our headquarters, the Tarr and Wonson Paint Manufactory in Gloucester, MA this weekend. The stars of the Animal Planet series “Whale Wars” had a tour of the facility and paid a visit to local businesses and restaurants during their stay, attracting quite a bit of attention on Main Street where the locals recognized and welcomed them to Gloucester. Read More

PAINT FACTORY CHIMNEY GETS A WINTER CAP

By | Ocean Alliance News, Paint Factory Headquarters | No Comments

Paint Factory Chimney CapThe Paint Factory chimney has received a temporary  cap for the winter. This week Geoffrey Richon and his team worked with Ocean Alliance CEO Iain Kerr to place a protective box over the top of the iconic chimney to protect the structure from ice damage. Next spring the scaffolding will go up to begin repairs on the chimney, but since cracks were discovered at the top using our robotic helicopter SnotBot, it was decided that another winter could cause extensive damage. The day started out blustery and rainy (as seen in the crane shot), making the project a challenge, but eventually the skies cleared and winds calmed.

Chimney Cap CraneOcean Alliance purchased the Tarr and Wonson Paint Manufactory in 2008 with a grant from the Annenberg Foundation and continue the restoration project to create a research, education and conservation center with offices, labs and public spaces. Working in a historic structure requires creative solutions. The silhouette may have changed for now, but the goal is to preserve the landmark for generations to come.

SAVING GLOUCESTER’S SKYLINE

By | Ocean Alliance News, Paint Factory Headquarters | No Comments

Paint Factory chimney at sunset - Photo by Iain KerrWorking in a historic landmark – the Tarr and Wonson Paint Manufactory, we receive lots of visitors with stories about the buildings and what they mean to the community. One of the things we’ve learned is that the buildings not only served as a “Welcome Home” symbol to the city’s fishermen coming in from sea, but the 60 ft. chimney also served as a navigational aid. While the chimney is not functional, it became clear that it needed to stay for historical and architectural interest. Read More