The Turtle Lady Legacy


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South Padre Island Art Trail Indigo
Artist:  Christina Salazar

Location:  Inside SPI Visitors Center
South Padre Island Art Trail Crush
Artist:  Chelsea Fedigan

Location:  SPI Community Center
South Padre Island Art Trail Liberty
Artist:  Christina Salazar

Location:  Beach Resort
South Padre Island Art Trail Rosie
Artist:  Cecilia Garza

Location: SPI Chamber of Commerce


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Sea Turtle Art Trail of South Padre Island
The South Padre Island Sea Turtle Art Trail task force was established to curate, design, and build permanent sea turtle art sculptures across the City of South Padre Island. The purpose of the Sea Turtle Art Trail project is to highlight local Rio Grande Valley artists, and Sea Turtle, Inc. South Padre Island is home to the world-renowned Sea Turtle, Inc. Founded in 1977 by Ila Loetscher, better known as “The Turtle Lady,” the organization has dedicated itself to the rescue, rehabilitation, and release of sea turtles. Sea Turtle, Inc. is instrumental in bringing back the Kemp’s Ridley sea turtle from the brink of extinction. The Sea Turtle Art Trail project began with a call for artists in Fall 2019, with the releases beginning in April 2020. The “hatchings” of each art sea turtle were scheduled to line up with sea turtle nesting season, which is April through November on South Padre Island. For more information on the Sea Turtle Art Trail on South Padre Island, please visit"
South Padre Island Art Trail Beach Park Turtle
Beach Park Turtle
Artist:  Beth Fedigan/Chelsea Fedigan

Location:  Isla Blanca Waterpark
South Padre Island Art Trail Coral
Artist:  Beth Fedigan

Location:  Sea Turtle Inc.
South Padre Island Art Trail Miracle
Artist:  Sandy Margret

Location: Art Business Incubator Ctr
South Padre Island Art Trail Luna
Artist:  Ariel King

Location:  SPI Convention Center
The latest addition to the Sea Turtle Art Trail has been installed at Turtle Lady Park! A huge Thank You to Patti Pitcock for her efforts to honor Ila Loetscher with this masterfully-painted sculpture for public display.  Located in lush surroundings within the park at East Morningside Drive just off of North Padre Blvd., this work of art is a beautiful tribute to Ila.  As such, we'd like to recognize the artist Malia Quinn who truly brought Ila's spirit to life.

Artist Malia Quinn, originally from Hawaii, is a portrait artist and landscape painter. She works primarily in oils in a classically realist manner with a contemporary bent. Her work is inspired by nature and the beauty that can be observed. You can find Malia painting beachside on the South Padre Island or working on larger studio paintings in her Quinn Gallery on Padre Blvd. Visit her website,, to learn more.

There are many people who join us in our goal to ensure that Ila's achievements are not forgotten but we would be remiss if we didn't make special mention of Jacky Conrad and Friends of Animal Rescue.  Pictured below are two of her devoted volunteers, Nathan Conrad and Jessica Conrad, who we applaud for their willingness to help animals.  Ila would be very proud!
Ila Sea Turtle Sculpture at Turtle Lady Park
Sea Turtle Art Trail Sign for Ila Sea Turtle Sculpture
Photo credit:  City of South Padre Island, Parks and Recreation
Photo credit:  Jacky Conrad
Photo credit:  Jacky Conrad
The Other Sculptures That Comprise The Sea Turtle Art Trail