30A Welcomes the First Ever Underwater Museum of Art in North America - 30A

30A Welcomes the First Ever Underwater Museum of Art in North America

The Underwater Museum of Art is the first of its kind in North America and is located approximately 0.7 miles off the shore of Grayton Beach and is 60 feet deep.

The Underwater Museum of Art (UMA) is a part of the Cultural Arts Alliance’s Art in Public Spaces Program and enhances South Walton Artificial Reef Association’s (SWARA’s) mission of creating marine habitat and expanding fishery populations while providing enhanced creative, cultural, economic and educational opportunities for the benefit, education and enjoyment of residents, students and visitors in South Walton.

The site marries art with conservation, building marine life sanctuaries right off the coast. In addition to providing a site for scuba diving that will be unique in the world, the sculptures are designed and selected with their suitability as marine habitat in mind.

Even in the absence of divers, the Underwater Museum of Art is certain to have many visitors, including schools of baitfish, grouper, sea turtles and dolphins. The CAA plans to continue to select artists and add to the underwater collection annually.

The Museum’s first collection includes seven sculptures by a group of talented artists.

Here are the artists and sculptures deployed in 2018:

Evelyn Tickle – Concrete Rope Reef Spheres

Photo Courtesy: UMA Florida via Facebook

James Madison University professor and architect, Evelyn Tickle created Concrete Rope Reef Spheres using her own patent pending clean concrete formula. Eventually the sculpture will be filled with living oysters and other species.

Sponsor: Cultural Arts Alliance of Walton County

Justin Gaffrey – Self Portrait

Photo: Melissa Wheeler/CAA

Internationally known and local artist, Justin Gaffrey created Self Portrait that stands eight feet tall and is inspired by the animal he most identifies with, the deer.

Sponsor: O.B. Laurent Construction

Rachel Herring – The Grayt Pineapple

The Grayt Pineapple by local artist Rachel Herring is an 8-foot tall stainless steel sculpture of a pineapple. With the inside being hollow to allow small fish to flourish, the outline of the leaves on top are made to look like a sun when viewed from above.

Sponsor: The 30A Company

Allison Wickey – Anamorphous Octopus

Photo courtesy: UMA Florida via Facebook

Local artist Allison Wickey created Anamorphous Octopus using 16 metal bars, each one-half inch thick and 8 feet tall by 8 feet wide.

Sponsor: 30A Coastal Dunes Wine

Vince Tatum – SWARA Skull

Swara Skull was designed by Vince Tatum who worked as an art director and production designer in the film industry. SWARA Skull will stand 8 feet tall with a stainless steel jaw, nasal cavity and eye sockets that are the shape of Southern Stingrays. The dome was created with expectations of attracting corals.

Sponsor: BOTE Board


Marek Anthony – Propeller in Motion

Photo credit: UMA Florida via Facebook

Designed by artist and contemporary custom furniture creator, Marek Anthony of Dallas, Texas via Madrid, Spain. “Propellor in Motion” is an abstraction of a moving ship’s propeller being swallowed into the seabed. It is constructed from individual propeller-shaped concrete pieces mounted on a stainless steel central tubular support, capped with a stainless steel cone.

Sponsor: South Walton Artificial Reef Association

Kevin Reilly and South Walton Montessori Academy – JYC’s Dream

Photo courtesy: UMA Florida via Facebook

Created by designer Kevin Reilly in collaboration with the South Walton Montessori Academy primary students and their teachers, the sculpture is a replica of a diver’s head with bubbles rising from the mouth in tribute to the Jacques Cousteau’s invention the “Aqualung”. The trail of bubbles include the students’ designs and function as fish habitats.

Sponsor: Bud and Alley’s

For more info, visit Underwater Museum of Art or follow them on Facebook.