Turner sculptures to highlight VIMS Art Auction

  • Great Blue Heron
    Great Blue Heron   "Stalking Great Blue Heron II" by David H. Turner.  
  • Sexy Otter
    Sexy Otter   "Sexy Otter" by David H. Turner. Limited Edition of 200.  
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The Virginia Institute of Marine Science's 2009 Art Show and Auction will feature the works of Eastern Shore sculptors William and David Turner, a father and son team known internationally for their wildlife sculptures in bronze.

The annual fund-raiser will take place on Saturday evening, May 2nd 2009, on the VIMS campus in Gloucester Point. The event will give participants an opportunity to bid on selected works by the Turners, as well as trips, jewelry, marine equipment, and other items from a diverse selection of leading artists. A highlight of the auction is a group of six river otters sculpted in bronze by the Turners.

All auction proceeds benefit graduate student research at VIMS. Last year’s event supported studies to help predict damage from coastal storms; identify bycatch issues in the Atlantic white marlin fishery; assess the risk of eating mercury-tainted seafood; and investigate the interaction between eelgrass beds, overfishing, and pollution.

VIMS Dean and Director John Wells says that the Turners’ participation in this year's event is particularly fitting given their many sculptures of Chesapeake Bay wildlife, including herons, osprey, eagles, pelicans, spadefish, bluefish, blue crabs, and oysters.

That theme reflects the sculptors’ upbringing and continuing residence on the Eastern Shore of Virginia. Their work reflects both that area’s diversity of wildlife and the pair’s deep appreciation and understanding of the natural world.

The Turners have been designing and casting wildlife sculptures in bronze since 1983. Their portfolio includes more than 500 limited-edition bronzes and more than 50 large public commissions. The sculptures range from life-size blue crabs to full-size dolphins, deer, and bear.

They created and cast their first bronzes at their family farm, but quickly outgrew this space, and now work from a facility that includes two studios, a foundry, a gallery, metal shops, a wood shop, a wax shop, and a mold room.

The Turners supervise the process of lost wax bronze casting with the assistance of more than 20 skilled artisans. Their 4,000-square-foot gallery in Onley, Virginia displays their current work as well as works of many other wildlife artists. Sculptures by the Turners are on display at 15 galleries nationwide.

William Turner says he and his son are eager to participate in this year's Art Auction. “It's good to know that our sculptures can help VIMS in its efforts to conserve and manage the Bay and its wildlife.”

For more information on the Art Auction as the date nears, visit