Holly Williams has always loved visiting the Peconic Riverfront.
Growing up on a small farm in Riverhead, the 22-year-old artist said she always loved animals and the outdoors.
While she spends a lot of time at the park, she has one pet peeve. “There is nothing about the animals,” she said.
The Peconic Riverfront, called Ammann Park, is home to a variety of wildlife. The Peconic Estuary, which stretches between the North and South forks, is home to more than 100 rare species, according to the Peconic Estuary Program.
Ms. Williams is in the midst of a project for an art class through the East End Arts JumpstART program to bring awareness to the different animals that can be found in the park. She plans to make a 2-by-4-foot sign with full-body portraits of the animals in the park with their scientific name and some facts about them.
“The goal of [the class] was to make your own project and get it funded and installed,” Ms. Williams said.
She graduated this year from SUNY Purchase as a graphic design major, but she said what art school did not teach her was how to start creating her own art projects. This class at East End Arts is designed to show students how to go about creating and marketing art projects on their own.
“It could be something temporary or long term,” Ms. Williams said. “I’m going for long term.”
She created a GoFundMe page called Peconic Riverfront Wildlife Sign to raise money for the sign. The goal is to raise $3,000 and she currently has raised $670. Her next move is to go around to the local businesses for donations. She hopes to have the sign raised by Aug. 11.
Ms. Williams is painting each animal using watercolors. The paintings will then be scanned and printed onto the sign. She wants to put the sign in the middle of the park where people can view it as they look out to the Peconic River.
“I wanted to make something that could help educate all of the people who live down there,” she said.
She said she hopes the project is the beginning of similar plans for the community.
“I think about tons of things that I really want to do out here,” she said. “All basically geared toward more educational, environmental activism projects.”
Photo: Holly Williams in Peconic Riverfront Park holds an illustration she painted of a great blue heron. This illustration is just one out of the many that will be on the wildlife sign she hopes to have installed in the park by August 11. (Credit: Krysten Massa)