The construction of a wall at the U.S. border with Mexico has gained worldwide attention, but while millions follow this ongoing situation, Torpedo Factory Artist Mary Beth Gaiarin is wondering about the butterflies. No, really! Gaiarin has pledged to create a new oil painting of an exotic butterfly every day for 30 days to highlight a potentially devastating development – the construction of a border wall through the 110-acre National Butterfly Center in Mission, Texas.
“It’s really to bring awareness to the cause,” Gaiarin told The Zebra, “and the cause is to donate to the National Butterfly Center and to send letters to your members of Congress about the disruption of this butterfly sanctuary.”
Gaiarin, who is also the vice president of the Torpedo Factory Artists’ Association, started the project on Feb. 16, The paintings are all 6 inches by 6 inches, and take her anywhere from an hour to six hours to complete. She said that she’s received such a positive response that she’s expanding the project to 50 days.
Gaiarin plans to host a show with the paintings at the Torpedo Factory in May and later sell the pieces, a portion of which will be donated to the center.
“Who are we if we don’t protect the butterflies from something like that,” she said.
The National Butterfly Center, which is home to 200 butterfly species, maintains that the construction of a border wall through the sanctuary would have a devastating impact on all forms of wildlife, resulting in a competition for resources and a smaller gene pool for the reproduction of healthy species.
“Not all birds can fly over the wall, nor will all butterfly species,” notes the center. “Genetic ‘bottlenecks’ can exacerbate blight and disease.”