Otter Exhibit Mural

Hutchinson Zoo

About the Project

The Otter Exhibit Project involved new construction of an exhibit to house a pair of North American River Otters at the Hutchinson Zoo. Construction began in December 2017 with a budget of $375,000, with 50% coming from the fund raising efforts of Friends of the Zoo and the remaining 50% from City of Hutchinson. The Percent for Public Art budget for the exhibit was $3,750.  


Thematic Consideration for the Mural

North American River Otters play a key role in the riparian ecosystem of Great Plains.  The theme of the exhibit is farmland that is being reclaimed to its native state. Think of an old, long-forgotten farmhouse located somewhere in the “back 40” providing a natural and safe refuge for the River Otter family. The exhibit includes an old windmill and a “cattle trough” used to pump water for the Otters to swim, a shelter building designed as an old barn, and natural landscaping and hardscaping. A six foot (6 ft.) tall smooth concrete wall surrounding a major portion of the exhibit provides a backdrop to the scene and functions to contain the otters.  The Mural Artwork is painted on visible portions of the concrete wall, and blends with the attributes of the otter habitat. The theme provides educational opportunities for many topics related to how native ecosystems have been impacted by agriculture and development. 

About the Artist

Margie Barron is a self-taught artist with over 40 years of experience in various mediums including watercolor, pencil, oils, acrylics and air bush. She has designed, developed and delivered commission art pieces to clients according to their specific requirements throughout the United States. She exhibited and sold her original artwork at the 2002 Women's Open at Prairie Dunes Golf Course displaying paintings of every hole on the course which led to her invitation to exhibit at the Women's Open at Pumpkin Ridge Golf Course in North Plains, Oregon. 

Margie also has completed artwork at the Amen's Corner that was featured in the Kansas Golf Magazine. Her work can be seen at Hedrick's Bed and Breakfast. She has also painted for individuals to provide various themes in their homes, and has displayed at art shows in Kansas and Oklahoma, where she earned numerous awards including Best of Show. She was awarded a second place award for Siemen's Wind Power company in Hutchinson in 2010 for artwork submitted in the "Art of Wind" competition.