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BHV Buoys & Art Fundraiser!

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Several artists have kindly donated their time and talent to paint buoys and create art for our online auction! The buoys and art are hanging downtown for residents and visitors to enjoy throughout the summer.  Find your favorites, then place your bids in our online auction August 22-29, 2023.

You can visit the BHV Buoys & Art 2022 auction website here.

Sea Life

by Allie Spurlock

14" buoy

     This beautiful buoy created for our auction fundraiser was stolen during the early morning hours of June 12, 2023. Vern and Ruth Culp had commissioned Allie to create the Sea Life buoy for our 2023 online auction, and Tim Ryan kindly donated his macrame talent to create the hanger. The buoy has not yet been recovered.   

     Allie Spurlock is a visual artist in Sitka. On her website,, Allie says, “I’ve been living in Alaska since 2017 and been making art since I was a teenager. Living in this fishing town, my passion is drawing boats, fish, marine animals and birds, and Alaskan wildlife. My specialty is creating nautical scenes on old commercial fishing floats that have since washed ashore. I also draw on old nautical maps, make digital illustrations of boats to be printed on shirts, and larger paintings.”

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Sea Life 2

by Allie Spurlock

12" buoy

with macrame by Tim Ryan


     This is the second buoy Allie created for BHV after her first one was stolen. Without hesitation, Allie and Tim (who macramed the hanger) both generously volunteered to donate their time, talent, and materials to create this second stunning buoy. We are truly grateful for their kind support of BHV!

     Allie Spurlock is a visual artist in Sitka. On her website,, Allie says, “I’ve been living in Alaska since 2017 and been making art since I was a teenager. Living in this fishing town, my passion is drawing boats, fish, marine animals and birds, and Alaskan wildlife. My specialty is creating nautical scenes on old commercial fishing floats that have since washed ashore.”

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Through the Forest

by Norm Campbell

10.5" buoy


   Norm said, "My notion for this work was to create a small forest... using cut-outs to create the allusion of a distant light coming through the trees."

Norm also included a battery-powered group of tea lights to help create the light and feeling.

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The Circle of Life

by DJ Robidou

11.5" buoy


   DJ Robidou is a well-known Sitka artist. Her art is bold and bright, bursting with color, joy, and love.

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Sea Otter & Kelp

by Laura Kaltenstein

2.5" x 9" buoy


     This is a recycled plastic marine buoy recovered in a beach clean-up. The paint is acrylic, coated with Helmsman spar urethane, and it is not recommended for outdoor conditions.  

     Laura Kaltenstein is a Sitka, Alaska artist. She has lived in coastal Alaska for 35 years. She worked as a tour guide for hikers, bikers, and birders and now works as a Protected Species Observer for a dock construction company in many different Alaskan locations. She spends much of her time enjoying the outdoors and the wildlife of coastal Alaska, rain or shine.

     Laura's art can be seen at 

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by Sandra Butler

12" buoy


     I am a Boston-based artist who for many years has made annual trips to beautiful Sitka to visit my in-laws. Last June, after retiring from my 33-year art teaching career, my husband and I made plans to stay with them for an extended period, from early winter to late spring. We had seen the lovely Brave Hearts buoys hanging from lampposts on Lincoln Street, while in Sitka last summer, and I was thrilled to be invited by a local friend to participate in this year’s buoy-painting project. It proved to be the perfect opportunity to engage several of my interests; elders, art-making, beachcombing, and the environment. 

     My theme of sea stars and detritus from the beach was inspired by images that I had seen and photographed when in Sitka in the past. I loved how “human-like” and magical sea stars are, their vibrant colors contrasting against the browns and grays of the beach, and how easily they were seen at low tides here. 

     How incredibly saddened I was to learn then, once I started researching, of the devastating sea star wasting disease that afflicted them in vast numbers several years ago. According to some estimates their populations were cut by 95% or more, affecting sea stars from Baja California to Alaska. Possible causes included climate change, rising sea temperatures, and/or a virus, but the syndrome still largely remains a mystery. Thankfully, the orange and purple “pisaster ochrasceus” and other local sea stars are starting to return to this area. They are an important predator species, preying on mussels, clams, and sea urchins to help keep the tidal flats and seaweeds in balance.

     I have developed a deeper admiration for sea stars, especially by painting them for this project, and I sincerely hope these beautiful sea creatures, which have existed for 450 million years, will again be a plentiful staple of the ocean’s ecosystem.

     You can see more of Sandra’s art at her website or email

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200 Fathoms Under

by Victoria Smith

12" buoy


The painting on this buoy is my interpretation of the Jules Verne story “20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. The submarine Nautilus travels under the earth’s oceans, discovering the beauty and mysteries of the ocean depths.

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My Mews

by Pat Kehoe

14" buoy

     Surrounded by the raucous caws and shrieks of the ubiquitous gulls, we need to look more closely to see the graceful and delicate glory of these intelligent and long-lived birds. It is a reminder for us all to appreciate the beauty found in unexpected places if we take the time to really look.

     Pat Kehoe grew up painting or sketching in all her spare time. Moving to Sitka, AK in 1980, she began painting in watercolors to match the watery wonder here but also enjoys acrylics and painting murals. Pat paints fluidly and is always thrilled as the watercolors and water make magic. Pat has been exploring SE Alaska and capturing the essence in her work which is on display at the Island Artists Gallery in Sitka. She spent almost 40 years commercial fishing for salmon and halibut with her husband. They raised two wonderful daughters on the boat and in the home they built on an island outside of Sitka.  Pat also worked as an RN at the Sitka Pioneer Home and loved her time working with the elders there and is so grateful to Brave Heart Volunteers for the comfort they brought to elders in need.

Octopus Ink

by Zosha Krupa

12" buoy

     I didn't really have a set plan before I started decorating this buoy. The idea just came to me due to the flow and motion of the buoy, and it seemed like the perfect canvas for an ink drawing of an octopus.

     Zosha is a lifelong Sitkan and enjoys spending time outdoors and on the water. You can see more of her art at her Etsy shop: EventidedesignCo

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Food Web: Micro to Mega

by Amy Sweeney

24" x 24"

     When I saw this group of 10 small buoys, I just had to design an art piece around them. I wanted to create a piece incorporating movement as well as colorful painted designs, and one that also highlighted the size difference between these tiny buoys and the more- familiar basketball-sized ones. The idea of microscopic plankton contrasted with huge baleen whales came to me, and this piece was born. I’m gratified to create art from discarded ocean flotsam, and hope the spinning movement of the buoys and the twining wire strands evoke the ocean world they depict.

     The large buoy is 12" and the small buoys are 3".

Deep Sea Dreamer

by DJ Robidou

10.5" buoy


   DJ Robidou is a well-known Sitka artist. Her art is bold and bright, bursting with color, joy, and love.

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Prosperous Fisherman

by Angie

11" buoy


     Initially, I had other designs for this buoy, but as I prepared it for painting, I noticed an embossed koi fish and Chinese lettering near the top. I soon discovered, with help from my niece, that it says “prosperous fisherman.” Suddenly, it seemed the buoy had its own message to convey, so I shifted gears and let the message dictate the design. I aimed to incorporate the same playful style and character of the koi into the other fish, while illustrating a bounteous catch waiting below the surface. I also wanted to capture the sense of fun and happiness that fishing brings to Sitkans of all ages.

Memories of Delight

by Libby Stortz

7.5" buoy

     I cherish so many memories of Sitka.  I remember one time when William and I went out to get some herring for bait one spring, and the birds and whales were joyfully circling the area all around us.  It was really something to behold.

     "We find this absolute connectedness hard to grasp. We often prefer to forget it. We often push back against it. But it is there, real as sunlight, behind everything we do” ~Katherine May.

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Land and Sea

by Shelby Oredson

12" buoy


     Born and raised in the flat suburbs of Mineeapolis, Minnesota, the grandeur of the wild Alaskan landscape was something I had on heard about in books or movies. So when my family and I moved to Sitka during the summer of 2020, my jaw hit the floor. The towering peaks, thick, winding forests, and breathtaking scenes across Sitka Sound were completely foreign to my midwestern roots. In an instant, I fell in love with the rugged terrain, puddles and all. Then, a few months later, I became obsessed with the surrounding sea after spotting my first whale and reeling in my first silver salmon. My buoy represents the majesty of Sitka’s mountains and the marriage they share with the sea and its inhabitants.This place is magic. This place is untamed. This place is home. And now, with another cross-country move on the horizon, I'm so honored to have lived here and to have exposed my children to the great Alaskan outdoors. I hope my buoy inspires you to pause and appreciate the land before you, because it truly is the most beautiful place on earth.

     Shelby Oredson is the creator and artist behind the Broken Paddle Studio, an art and design house specializing in watercolor creations inspired by the wild. Originally from Minnesota, she currently lives in Sitka, Alaska where her husband flies helicopters for the US Coast Guard. Although she studied watercolor briefly in the undergrad, Shelby considers herself a self-taught artist and thanks her entry into motherhood for helping her rekindle her love of art. When she’s not painting in her studio, you can find her chasing her three toddlers around the playground, hiking or fishing, or sipping a hoppy IPA at the local brewery. 

     You can see more of Shelby’s art on her website, or on social media @brokenpaddlestudio.

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Mermaid 1

by Victoria Smith

4.25 x 5" buoy

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Mermaid 2

by Victoria Smith

4.25 x 5" buoy

These charming, exquisitely painted mermaids were created by Sitka artist Victoria Smith. Victoria is an accomplished artist who enjoyed taking on the challenge of painting on round surfaces.

Selkie's Home

by Ellie Schmidt

11" buoy

    In Scottish lore, the Selkie is a seal that transforms into a woman. In this buoy, I imagined the Selkie living in the kelp forests with other creatures. The pink background was inspired by the faded color of the buoy itself.

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We Remember

by Angie DelMoral

11.5" buoy


     While painting this buoy in tiny forget-me-nots, I thought of my loved ones who have passed away, who showed me such lovingkindness and added immeasurable joy to my life. I also thought of the many Brave Heart care receivers who are tended to at the end of life by devoted volunteers, or other care receivers who sometimes feel forgotten. This buoy says, we remember. You are not forgotten. You are part of us and we remember you.


Life is a Slippery Fish

by Emma Bruhl

14" buoy

     I enjoyed painting and varnishing this buoy while sitting outside in the early summer sun.

     The phrase on one side of the buoy emerged naturally from people asking me how I’m doing lately. I think it’s also what I’ve learned so far about growing older.

     On the other side of the buoy are two oppositional salmon and their spawn representing balance.

45"w x 33"h

24"w x 30"h

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SCH Bistro Art

by Dorothy M. Olsen

     This set of three paintings is a delightful piece of Sitka history! Sitka Community Hospital commissioned Dorothy Olsen to paint them for the SCH cafeteria, The Bistro. After the hospital closed, SCH returned the paintings to Dorothy and she kindly donated them to Brave Heart Volunteers to raise funds in our online auction. Each painting captures the joy of cooking and is sure to bring back happy memories for past employees of SCH. 

     Dorothy was born and raised in Sitka, and has been interested in art all her life. Inspired by her father Kermit Olsen's passion for carving full size eagles, Dorothy learned relief carving in 1991. Her passion for decorative painting started in 2001. Dorothy received certification under Donna Dewberry in Florida and taught college classes in Michigan, Wisconsin, and Alaska, and other local schools. She has also attended many workshops with world renowned artists to learn new techniques and improve her skills.

​     Dorothy said, "There is so much to learn and see in Southeast Alaska with its outstanding beauty, which is motivating in itself. It has inspired me to get into painting landscaping, animals and birds, and with its entire splendor, I am hooked. I found out that if you have the desire and passion for something you truly want to do, the rest will all fall into place and it will happen."

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Serendipity Quilt

by Ruth Culp

68"w x 85"l quilt


     Ruth Culp spent weeks quilting this for her husband Vern.  After she had it sewn together, before it was quilted, she showed it to Vern, and he said he wanted to donate it to Brave Heart Volunteers for a fundraiser. Ruth then had it quilted by Modern Quilting, choosing rainbow-colored thread and a heart pattern. Both Vern and Ruth are longtime volunteers and dedicated advocates of BHV.

Beaded Jewelry

by Mary Lindon

1"w x 2.25"l earrings

2.25"w x 10"l necklace


     These delicate beaded beauties were made by former longtime Sitkan, Mary Lindon. Mary currently lives in Ashland, Oregon.

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Crystalline Glaze

by Robert Rose

6"h x 7"d vase


This delightful gem by Sitkan Robert Rose features delicate leaves highlighted against a metallic green background. It is a true showpiece and will make a wonderful addition to your collection!

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Blue Ceramic Bowl

by Robert Rose

5.25"h x 14.75"d


This stunning, large ceramic bowl was crafted by Sitka artist Robert Rose. The cobalt blue glaze is complemented by hints of green along the rim, a swirl in the bottom of the basin, and throughout.

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Sitka Through the Years

13"w x 27.5"h


This collection of framed photos captures the expansion of Sitka between 1936-1972 from the perspective of Mt. Verstovia. The photos were taken by The Photo Shop Studio, owned by the Dangel family of Sitka. The piece was donated from a private collection and is in excellent condition.

THANK YOU to the corporate sponsors of our 2023 Buoys & Art Auction!

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There's still time to sponsor our auction! If your business would like a sponsorship opportunity, please call (907) 747-4600. 

For $500, your business can sponsor a buoy and BHV will post your logo:

  • on the promotional writeup about the artist and design (countless views)

  • and website link on the auction website (8,500+ views)

  • on the BHV website for one year (200+ new visitors monthly)

  • in our Fall newsletter (900 subscribers)

  • in social media posts (1,200 followers)

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