South Walton will soon be home to North America’s first underwater museum of art.
The Cultural Arts Alliance of Walton County (CAA) has partnered with South Walton Artificial Reef Association (SWARA) to bring together art and nature in an extraordinary and permanent historic exhibit, with support from the National Endowment for the Arts.
“Our goal is to raise awareness of our marine resources through art,” said Andy McAlexander, President of SWARA.
The Underwater Museum of Art (UMA) is part of CAA’s “Art In Public Spaces” program. The new underwater museum will augment SWARA’s mission of creating marine habitats and expanding fishery populations, while providing enhanced opportunities for the education and enjoyment of residents, students and visitors. 30A recently met with Andy McAlexander of SWARA and artist Allison Wickey of CAA to learn more about this incredible project:
**PLEASE SHARE** this historic opportunity with artists and sculptors! This is going to be truly incredible: 30A.com/underwater-museum-of-art-uma
Posted by 30A on Friday, July 7, 2017
Currently, the coastal waters along Walton County’s shores are 95% barren sand flats, so deployment of sculptures as artificial reefs will provide a source of biological replenishment and protective marine habitat where none currently exist.
A one-acre permit patch of seabed off Grayton Beach State Park has been dedicated to the CAA for this new underwater sculpture exhibit. The first phase of the Underwater Museum of Art will include up to six sculptures. The deployment will be part of SWARA’s existing permitted artificial reef project that includes nine nearshore reefs (located .71 nautical miles off Grayton Beach). The new UMA sculptures will be deployed in approximately 50-60 feet of water.
The Alliance is now calling for local, national and international artists to submit ideas for consideration for the first installment and permanent exhibition.
In mid-August, six artists will be awarded stipends to create and deliver their sculptures for deployment on the underwater site, which is destined to become a major cultural and educational attraction.
Sculptures must be created above ground and then delivered to the deployment area where each sculpture will be attached to a pedestal base / reef. The sculptures will then be transported by ship to the Gulf of Mexico and carefully lowered to the floor where they will become a base to which an artificial reef will form, attracting marine life and divers.
The sculptures must be three- to eight-feet tall and weigh no more than 4,000 pounds. Since the sculptures will be sunk to the floor and nature will take its course, intricate details are not important. The shape and design of the sculptures are most important.
Artists can submit proposals until the August 11, 2017 deadline. Click here for more info on The Underwater Museum of Art and art submission guidelines.
30A recently joined Andy McAlexander of South Walton Artificial Reef Association to witness the historic deployment of new artificial reefs off the coast of Ed Walline Beach Access near Gulf Place: