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Homeless Whale statue still looking for home - KSBY.com | San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara Area News

Homeless Whale statue still looking for home

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Sitting outside of the San Luis Obispo Goodwill outlet is an 8,000-pound concrete whale with glass eyes, porcelain teeth and a crab cooking pot on its head. The local artist who created it is wondering who would be interested in saving his homeless whale statue.

"What you see today is the look its had for four decades," said Donald Hedrick, artist of the Whale's Tail.

Hedrick created the whale in 1975. He was hired to make it for a new restaurant that was opening up in Morro Bay called the Whale's Tail. For more than 30 years, that's where the sperm whale statue was stationed.

"People all over the world have pictures in their albums of their family members and relatives leaned up against that whale," Hedrick said. "I think it was the most photographed thing in Morro Bay that wasn't the rock, and I'm not so sure mothers put their kids on the rock to photograph them."

In 2011, the restaurant was closing its doors for good and the owners planned to destroy the whale. Facing its demise, Hedrick was told he could have the whale back as long as he could transport it.

"It impressed them that an old man would work so hard with a jackhammer, but I had a chance to get the whale back," Hedrick said.

The evicted whale had nowhere to go. With no buyers, the whale started wandering city to city, earning the nickname of the Homeless Whale.

"It's been doing personal appearances" - at Farmers' Market, marine mammal events and even a guest appearance at a Cal Poly bioneering conference, Hedrick said.

"It continues its mission of being a subject for photographs," Hedrick said.

Hedrick is worried. As he gets older, he still doesn't have a permanent home for his art piece.

"It's a very important part of my life," Hedrick said.

For now, the whale stays on the side of the road with Hedrick hoping, like many things at the Goodwill, that someone sees its value.

Hedrick has had offers but he says they weren't the right offers. He's hoping a city, restaurant or business will take on the whale to continue its tourism legacy.

For more information on the whale, click here.

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