2012-07-26 / Island Life

New sculpture in Port Aransas

Kent Ulberg creation stands at Marine Science Institute
DAN PARKER REPORTER


Checking out a new Kent Ulberg sculpture as it’s erected at the University of Texas Marine Science Friday, July 20, are, from left, research associate Susan Schonberg, Taddy McAlister and her mother, Edith McAlister, both members of the institute’s advisory council. 
STAFF PHOTO BY MURRAY JUDSON Checking out a new Kent Ulberg sculpture as it’s erected at the University of Texas Marine Science Friday, July 20, are, from left, research associate Susan Schonberg, Taddy McAlister and her mother, Edith McAlister, both members of the institute’s advisory council. STAFF PHOTO BY MURRAY JUDSON A bronze sculpture recently unveiled outside the University of Texas Marine Science Institute is called “Interdependency.”

“I wanted to celebrate interdependency in nature, in which we also play a part as humans,” said the sculptor, Kent Ulberg, a longtime North Padre Island resident.

The sculpture, unveiled Saturday, July 21, in front of the institute’s visitors’ center, is dominated by a 10-foot tarpon.

Ulberg said he chose the tarpon because it’s a symbol of Port Aransas. It’s a town that’s been known for its tarpon for decades, especially in the early days of game fishing here.


Standing with sculptor Kent Ulberg, center, and flashing the hook ‘em horns sign are Georgia Neblett, director of development at the University of Texas Marine Science Institute, and Dr. Lee Fuiman, the institute’s former director. In creating the sculpture, Ulberg consulted with Fuiman, who now is director of the institute’s Fisheries and Mariculture Laboratory. 
STAFF PHOTO BY MURRAY JUDSON Standing with sculptor Kent Ulberg, center, and flashing the hook ‘em horns sign are Georgia Neblett, director of development at the University of Texas Marine Science Institute, and Dr. Lee Fuiman, the institute’s former director. In creating the sculpture, Ulberg consulted with Fuiman, who now is director of the institute’s Fisheries and Mariculture Laboratory. STAFF PHOTO BY MURRAY JUDSON The town’s very name was Tarpon for a while, before it became Port Aransas.

A wide variety of other sea life seems to swirl all around the tarpon. Fifty-one creatures, everything from tiny plankton to a dolphin, are nestled against the tarpon.

“Because it’s a science institute, I wanted it to be a teaching tool and a discovery for students,” Ulberg said.

The sculptor said he consulted with Dr. Lee Fuiman, former institute director, to make sure the species he sculpted would be local and anatomically correct. Fuiman now is director of the institute’s Fisheries and Mariculture Laboratory.


Dr. Tracy Villareal, a researcher at the marine science institute, talks with sculptor Kent Ulberg about his creation. 
STAFF PHOTO BY MURRAY JUDSON Dr. Tracy Villareal, a researcher at the marine science institute, talks with sculptor Kent Ulberg about his creation. STAFF PHOTO BY MURRAY JUDSON Ulberg is a well-known sculptor responsible for a number of high-profile creations in the Coastal Bend and around the world. They include the huge “It is I” sculpture of Jesus Christ in front of First United Methodist Church on Shoreline Drive in Corpus Christi and a sculpture of a leaping Marlin at North Padre Island, at the base of the John F. Kennedy Causeway bridge.

The sculpture at the marine science institute was privately funded by Jack and Valerie Guenther through their foundation. They are San Antonio residents who have a second home in Port Aransas. Valerie Guenther is a member of the institute’s advisory council.


Folks admire the new sculpture after its unveiling outside the University of Texas Marine Science Institute Visitors Center on Saturday, July 21. Artist Kent Ulberg created the sculpture. Institute workers built the surrounding sculpture garden. 
STAFF PHOTO BY MURRAY JUDSON Folks admire the new sculpture after its unveiling outside the University of Texas Marine Science Institute Visitors Center on Saturday, July 21. Artist Kent Ulberg created the sculpture. Institute workers built the surrounding sculpture garden. STAFF PHOTO BY MURRAY JUDSON Questions? Comments? Contact Dan Parker at (361) 749- 5131 or dan@portasouthjetty.com.

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