Birds of Paradise

BirdsOfParadise_smallBirds of Paradise is Valparaiso's downtown sculpture scavenger hunt, created to promote engagement, culture and activity while highlighting public art and local artists. The scavenger hunt is a fun way for community members and visitors to learn more about Valpo and its feathered friends.  The hunt includes ten bird sculptures, representing ten native species, hidden in key locations throughout the downtown with a coloring book that serves as your guide.  This project was created by the City of Valparaiso with support from the partners, funders and generous community sponsors listed below.  Local artists include Chad Copeland, sculptor, and Melissa Washburn, illustrator.  

How does it work?  Visit the Valparaiso branch of the Porter County Public Library System (103 Jefferson Street) during business hours to pick up your Birds of Paradise coloring book clue guide and a pack of colored pencils.  The clue guide is filled with the hints to guide you as well as a QR code that tells you more about the nature of each bird you will find along the way.  OR you can download our one-page clue guide here to begin your hunt immediately!  Once you've found them all return to the library to claim your special prize!

To learn more about Birds or Paradise, contact Maggie Clifton at or 219-462-1161. 

About the Artists

Chad Copeland is a metal fabricator and sculptor living in Valparaiso. He has earned a bachelor’s degree in fine arts from Ball State University and studied at the American Academy of Art in Chicago. He has owned and operated his own metalworking shop in Denver, Colorado and apprenticed for figurative sculptor Bobby Joe Scribner, contributing to pieces displayed nationwide. Growing up in Indiana, the nation’s steel producing leader, Copeland is inspired by recycling industrial scrap, creating works that showcase his connection to nature and history. As his first solo commission, Copeland has enjoyed hatching “lively art from unlively pieces of steel” as he describes the magic of the Birds of Paradise project. Using his imagination, skill and attention to anatomy, he has managed to transform heavy, robust metals into lifelike, buoyant creatures that capture flight.  

Melissa Washburn is an illustrator and designer living in Valparaiso. She creates expressive illustrations in both digital and traditional media, endlessly inspired by things that run, fly, and grow. An avid hiker and birder, in 2019 she earned her Indiana Master Naturalist certification through Gabis Arboretum and the Indiana Department of Natural Resources and now serves on the Marketing and Communications committee of the Shirley Heinze Land Trust. Her illustration work has appeared in numerous publications, including Edible Michiana and Smithsonian Magazine, and she designed the mural of prairie flora and fauna on the kayak locker at the Dunes National Park. Birds have always held a special place in her heart, starting with watching cardinals at the feeder with her grandmother as a child. Her “life list” includes 195 species. Don’t ask her to name a favorite bird as she finds them all incredible.

Chad Copeland with Blue Jay
Melissa Washburn with coloring book
Birds of Paradise Supporters
BOP Kick-off
Blue Jay
BOP Financial Support
Community Partners