ila by Malia quinn

Sea Turtle Location: Turtle Park on E. Morningside Drive

Ila was named in honor of Ila Loetscher who was known as the Turtle Lady of South Padre Island. The design displays the deep affection, which she had for sea turtles and celebrates her decades-long efforts to protect them from extinction, efforts which continue to this day through Sea Turtle Inc. - which she founded in 1977, and also through The Turtle Lady Legacy.


Prior to her fame as “The Turtle Lady of South Padre”, Ila was well known as a pilot. She was the first licensed female pilot in both Iowa and Illinois! She was a contemporary and frequent correspondent of Amelia Earhart as well as one of the original “99’s” (a support group of women pilots organized in 1929).

By 1977, Ila was receiving so many guests into her home that she formed Sea Turtle, Inc. into the present non-profit. The all-volunteer organization assisted her in education and rehab work with sea turtles.

Sea turtle information provided by Sea Turtle, Inc. 

Meet the Artist

Malia Quinn, from Honolulu, Hawaii, paints primarily in oils in a style known as abstract realism. Through compelling composition, abstraction, and color harmony, she seeks to create works that reveal life’s poignant and authentic moments. She often begins her compositions outside, studying nature directly. Her goal is to create loose and striking paintings that avoid unnecessary detail and instead focus on the abstract qualities of light, form, and space. Dynamic brushwork, abstract shapes, and natural color are key characteristics found in Quinn’s work. Her favorite subjects to paint are figures, seascapes, and landscapes. A long career in the design and illustration field serviced Quinn well in her transition to the fine arts. Classical training was done with Watts Atelier and Quang Ho. Malia also creates drawings and portraits in charcoal. Consider having her draw your live-sketch portrait when you visit the gallery.