Who we are

The people behnid The Whale Project


The Whale Project (TWP) is a 501(c)(3) Alaska non-profit corporation whose headquarters are in Juneau and whose primary purpose is the completion of the life-scale bronze sculpture. TWP receives substantial logistical and staff support from the Juneau Arts and Humanities Council, the City and Borough of Juneau’s official arts agency.

Board of directors:

William "Bill" Overstreet, (August 2008-2013).
Overstreet was a retired educator and former mayor of the City and Borough of Juneau. He served as superintendent of the Juneau School District, executive director of the Alaska School Administrators Association, and as the State of Alaska’s official trade representative to Japan. Overstreet was the person who first proposed the project.

Jean Overstreet, (May 2013).
Jean grew up in the small railroad town of Waynoka, Oklahoma where she met and married Bill Overstreet. Jean, Bill, and their young son Bill Jr. moved to Juneau in 1952. Bill was involved in education. Jean worked for the Coast Guard in Juneau from 1952 to 1984. In 1972 she received the Federal Woman of the Year Award for her work as an accountant with the Coast Guard. Jean has been involved in various volunteer activities as an On Board Greeter for the Juneau Visitors’ Bureau and for the Whale Project.

Ermalee Hickel, Honorary Statewide Chair (2013).
Former First Lady of Alaska Ermalee Hickel has been a long-time patron of the arts and well-being in Alaska. The state is home to numerous institutions, foundations, and other organizations that bear her and her late husband’s name –a testament to the enormous positive impact that she and her family have had on the lives of those around them.

Bruce Botelho, President (November 2012).
Botelho is currently retired. In October 2012 he completed his third consecutive term as Juneau’s mayor. Before that he served in successive posts in state government, most prominently as attorney general. He continues to be involved in numerous civic and cultural organizations.

Paul Dick, Vice President (September 2014).
Paul is retired from the State of Alaska where he served in a number of management positions, including Permanent Fund Dividend Division and Director of the state’s unemployment insurance and job training programs. Paul is an active member of the Juneau Gastineau Rotary Club and numerous other non-profits.

Kay Diebels, Secretary (August 2008).
Diebels is a civic activist and volunteer and former member of several city, state and federal boards and committees. Diebels helped found the Juneau League of Women Voters, served as a member of the City and Borough of Juneau Assembly, chaired the Juneau planning commission and the Alaska State Salary Commission, setting compensation for top tier State officials.

Laraine Derr, Treasurer (August 2008).
Derr is a current trustee, vice-chair and finance chair of the Alaska Mental Health Trust, Chair of UAS foundation and committee member for the University of Alaska Foundation. Derr is a member of Juneau Community Foundation, former Commissioner of Revenue for the State of Alaska and former President/CEO Alaska State Hospital and Nursing Home Association, and Alaska resident for 45 years.

Sharon Kelly, Board Member (August 2008).
After working in state and local government, Kelly joined True North Federal Credit Union (previously Alaska State Employees FCU) as its CEO, a position she held for 21 years until her retirement. Her post retirement employment includes working for Rep. Mike Chenault, first as the operating budget coordinator and now as budget aide to the Speaker of the House. She also works for Allen Marine in the summer as a Charter coordinator. She has volunteered throughout the years for numerous non profit entities, usually as Treasurer.

Nancy DeCherney, Board Member (August 2008).
DeCherney serves as the executive director of the Juneau Arts & Humanities Council. Previously she served as assistant to the Dean of Education and administrator for the Professional Education Center at University of Alaska SE, administrative assistant for Juneau Jazz & Classics and as Chef and House Manager at State of Alaska, Governor's House.

James Jim Clark, Board Member (November 2012).
Clark is currently a solo-practitioner, having previously served as Governor Frank Murkowski’s chief of staff. Prior to his time with the Murkowski Administration, Clark was a partner in the law firm of Robertson, Monagle, & Eastaugh. He volunteers for several local boards and organizations, and is an active member of the community.

MIranda McCarty, Board Member (September 2010).
Miranda McCarty is a life-long Alaskan. She formed a strong connection to the sea growing up on a commercial fishing boat in Cordova. She is a Dietitian and Health Educator for Wisewoman at Southeast Alaska Regional Health Consortium. She attended Central Arizona College and Arizona State University. Miranda volunteers her time and logistical talents to the arts and other local and statewide causes.

Governance Documents


-Articles of Incorporation

-Certificate of Incorporation

-Corporate Certificate of Good Standing

-IRS Letter of Determination of Tax Exempt Status