Raising awareness of marine ecosystems through art

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The first permanent underwater sculpture park in the USA will soon be attracting fish and scuba divers to the Gulf waters off South Walton County, Florida, thanks to a partnership between the Cultural Arts Alliance (CAA) and the South Walton Artificial Reef Association (SWARA).

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The CAA has put out a call to artists, locally and worldwide, inviting them to submit applications for proposed sculptures to populate the Underwater Museum of Art, which should include 1) a sketch of the concept or at least three images of a constructed piece; 2) the artist’s resume and statement; and 3) three images of past projects. Up to six works will be selected, with chosen artists receiving a $2,000 stipend per work chosen, plus $500 per work to be used toward shipping costs.

The artwork will be positioned at depths of about 60’ of water, roughly .7 miles off Grayton Beach State Park. Certain design and material criteria must be met to conform to the reef permitting site.

For more information about artwork considerations, criteria, and application, visit the Cultural Arts Alliance of Walton County’s website, www.culturalartsalliance.com/local-arts/underwater-museum-of-art. There, you’ll also find links to maps of the underwater museum’s planned location.

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The deadline for application is August 11, 2017, with a goal of having the artwork deployed as artificial reefs by the end of summer 2018. This is the first year in a planned ongoing project, so more artwork/reefs will be deployed in subsequent years to expand the number of sculptures in the Underwater Museum of Art.

SWARA is partnering with the CAA to make this idea a possibility, and will be responsible for the deployment of the completed works of art once they are ready. The art will be built atop grouper box reefs that weigh approximately 4,000 lbs and provide proven effective fish habitat.

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Donations are accepted to support this program, and sponsorships are available. Please Contact Jennifer Steele for more information at Jennifer@culturalartsalliance.com

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