2023 Lead Artist – River Meschi

Announcing…our lead artist for Ocean Fest 2023 – River Meschi! A mixed-media Tacoma painter and installation artist influenced by Tibetan Buddhist, Mexican, and Indian practices as well as her own Slavic ancestry, River uses ancient mythologies and symbols to tell modern stories – like Jūras Māte, Latvian water goddess, whose tears run down as rivers to birth the ocean.


At Tacoma Ocean Fest, River (whose beautiful art was also on our poster) will be filling the north art wall of the Foss Waterway Seaport with “Stillness Between Waves,” massive prints of her shimmering images that explore our deep-rooted connection to earth and water.


PLUS – she’ll be filling a special temporary gallery in the South Hall with a six-foot wooden sculpture of the Mother of Waters, with rivers of sand flowing down into an intricate sand painting representing the Salish Sea ecosystem in all its fragile complexity.


Then, come join in the deinstallation at our Ocean Sand Painting Party at 5-7pm Thursday July 20 at the Foss Waterway Seaport! Meet River, receive some sand, learn brush techniques and add your own section to the floor painting! Then we’ll mindfully sweep it up as a community – and you can take some sand home to create.

Come immerse yourself in a timeless visual conversation, where ancient stories and symbols interweave with contemporary experiences to reveal new dimensions of beauty, meaning, and wonder.

Watch River create a glowing sand painting at Tacoma Light Trail 2022.


Come see what our youth are saying about the ocean! This year’s Youth Story Project invites all Pierce County youth (ages 0-20) to create an ocean poem or artwork on our droplet template, based on River Meschi’s stunning artwork. Youth can then add their drop to the giant wall mural just past the white dance wall in the Foss Waterway Seaport during Ocean Fest.
Join our poet educator April Ulinski for a festival poetry workshop! All ages. 1-2pm June 4


An incredibly diverse line-up of artists with work that speaks on the ocean from a multiplicity of cultural experiences.