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July 18, 2008

Year 13. Issue 315

Photo by Mary Craft photo by Mary Craft


The Ullbergs’ with relatives from Sweden at the Ullberg Park in June of this year. L to R: Lennart Darwer, Lisa Darwer, Asa Ullberg, Martin Johansson, Philip Darwer, Lin Darwer, Veerle and Kent Ullberg)

Sand Slam in Port A July 25th

Betty Turner, owner of Betty Turner Realty and former Mayor of Corpus Christi, was honored at the Harvest of Hope Banquet on June 20, 2008. This dinner was the 2008 celebration where the Food Bank of Corpus Christi recognizes an individual, business, organization, agency or food provider that played a pivotal role in helping advance the mission of the food bank. Betty Turner was awarded the President’s Award for her many contributions. Mrs. Turner was also instrumental in getting the Helping Hands Food Pantry in Port Aransas established. The Corpus Christi Food Bank serves 122,000 people each year. For more information, visit the website

Deadline for all Moon matter is Monday of the week of the paper not Wednesday or Thursday or Friday.

Find Out How This Swede Ended Up On The Island by Mary Craft Kent Ullberg is arguably the most worldrenowned Island resident. His wildlife sculptures can be seen in Paris, Beijing, Sweden, Africa, Grand Cayman (in front of his best friend Guy Harvey’s studio) and across the United States. His largest work is in Omaha where his canvas covers a six-city block area of stampeding bison and eight-foot wingspan geese that took eight years to complete. He donated the marlin you see as you come onto the Island from the bridge in 1989. Ro Wickham of Island Architects designed the wave and sun that is the backdrop. Nick Nikolaric spearheaded the effort and Islanders raised funds to offset much of the cost. The first one of his works for Corpus Christi was commissioned in 1982 by Ed Harte to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Caller Times. The bronze and red granite 23foot monument of two sailfish stands on the Bay front. One of his rare human figure works is the 25-foot Jesus in front of First United Methodist Church on Ocean Drive overlooking the bay. He was commissioned by Whataburger to create the eagle at their Corpus Christi Headquarters and there is also an eagle work of his at Texas A&M College Station. In Port Aransas the marlin in front of American Bank is his creation.      I feel so honored to have been invited into the Ullberg Island home. One of the reasons they chose to move here in 1978 was its isolation. I had read that few have seen this side of the sculptor’s life. Boathouse Captain Delbert told me he was surprised that I was granted an interview at their home because he said Kent was a very private person. Because of this, when they greeted me at the door and welcomed me in, I was reluctant to look around their home which was my way of respecting their privacy.  I parked myself in a dining chair that faced a wall.      The conversation among the three of us flowed freely. Kent’s wife Veerle was lovely, open and gracious and Kent was outgoing and charming. What neither was, is private. Personal stories of themselves, family and life were discussed.       In turn they wanted to know about my background and asked if it was journalism. I loved the reaction I got from them as I do others when

Are you a poet or lover of poetry? If so, we want you! Poets and poetry lovers are invited to join us at the next Sand Slam. This Port Aransas Poetry Slam will be the third held by the City of Port Aransas Parks and Recreation Department will be at 8 p.m., on Friday, July 25, at Sips Wine & Coffee Bar, 162 W. Cotter Ave. in Port Aransas. The location has a wonderful outside patio that is great for the event (other than a little traffic noise). We want and need audience participation so come even if you are not competing. Also the open mic is open to poetry that is not original to the presenter. Artists wanting to present must sign up by 7:30 p.m. The evening will begin with an open microphone, then progresses to the competition. Poets competing must bring at least three selections of their own writing, as three rounds are held before declaring a winner. Music integrated into the poetry is allowed. Performances are limited to three minutes, with points taken off for going over the limit. The judging is done by five selected audience members on a scale from 1.1 to 10.0. The highest and lowest scores are thrown out to discount friend and enemy influences, and the middle scores are averaged determining who goes on to the next round. This is a positive event where the only booing is for judges who score too low. Donations will be accepted to help with expenses. Our name, Sand Slam, was chosen at the event on June 27. The name was suggested by audience member Jim West and voted in by the group of 33 attending. Chris Starnes of Rockport was the winner in June after a rousing competition. The monthly event is open to all types of poetry, but will be kept family-friendly as teens are invited to attend and compete.

Betty Turner Honored in Port Aransas

Kent Ullberg Foremost Wildlife Sculptor and Island Resident

I tell them I am an Optometrist and just started writing after Moon Mike’s stroke in October. In fact for months I worried about the quality of my writing and needed to hear “good job” from editor Dale Rankin.     There was lively discussion for about two hours that went by much too quickly. The first question I asked was how they ended up on the Island. Kent who is originally from Sweden, had lived for several years in Denver and prior to that he was a taxidermist and museum curator for seven years in Botswana, Africa.  He was around age 30 and came to Denver when he got a job offer by the museum there. The Denver museum people were in Africa researching for the African exhibit they planned when they met Kent.     He worked at the Denver museum a year before deciding to spend all his time on his art. He was a struggling artist who felt he was a confirmed bachelor because of his work until he met Veerle.  It was an arranged meeting at a folk music party. Veerle grew up on a Belgian farm. It is ironic that Kent had studied displays at a museum in Belgium while she lived there but he ended up meeting her in Denver.     They got married in 1978 and Kent had started getting some recognition. They went to a Hunting convention in San Antonio that year where a display of Kent’s work was on exhibit. Rancher Fausto Yturria on safari in Africa had told Kent that he needed to go to south Texas because the landscape is similar.      After the convention they drove to Corpus Christi to look at the coast since, Kent said, “I grew up in a fishing village and have a passion for the sea”.   When he saw the arching bay of water from the Harbor Bridge it took him by surprise. They ate lunch in town and then went to Port Aransas via the ferry. He enjoyed the shrimp boats and the smell of the salt air. They continued down the highway to our Island and drove around the residential streets which were quite few in number at that time. They stopped at a house with a for sale sign and got out of the car to peek inside. They walked around the back and could not believe there was a dock. Ullberg; cont. B2

Spirit Jam II with Top Christian Artist Michael W. Smith American Bank Center will present Michael W. Smith, top Christian Vocalist on Saturday, August 2, 7 p.m. The event benefits Corpus Christi Metro Ministries and is presented by Corpus Christi Electric Company. Opening acts are Debra Scott and Prophecy and Gerardo & B.O.C. Praise. Tickets at American Bank Center Box Office and all Ticketmaster outlets (www.ticketmaster. com) or 881-8499 Ticket prices are $18-$60. Call Richard at 361-8264759 for group discounts (8 or more).

For updates on Mike’s condition visit the Moon website

Ullberg’s most recent small work is this bust of his wife Veerle which he started 18 years ago. His explanation for the time it took to complete was “A cobbler’s children has no shoes”. Veerle finally got him to finish it by requesting it as a gift for their 30th anniversary and her birthday which both fell on Cinco de Mayo. The bust sits on their living room mantle.

Kent Ullberg Foremost Wildlife Sculptor  
Kent Ullberg Foremost Wildlife Sculptor  

Story about Sculptor Kent Ullberg