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Underwater Museum of Art Now Open



July 9, 2018


Visit South Walton is proud to announce the opening of the first underwater museum of art in the United States!

The Underwater Museum of Art (UMA) was a joint project made possible by the Cultural Arts Alliance and the South Walton Artificial Reef Association, along with the sponsorship of Visit South Walton. 

A collection of photos related to the UMA and SWARA can be found here: https://walton.montala.com/?c=1574&k=db6c159954

Amateur b-roll video taken during the artificial reef sculpture deployment on 6/25/18 can be downloaded here: https://drive.google.com/open?id=1TqCdWcHk9r4cKXz2xmFwHIOQbyfAIbsA

More information:

On June 25, 2018, the first Underwater Museum of Art in the USA opened in the Gulf waters less than a mile off South Walton’s white-sand beaches. The museum rests on the seafloor about 55-feet below the surface and in its first year was made up of seven unique sculptures created by local and nationally recognized artists who applied and were chosen by the Cultural Arts Alliance of Walton County to be part of this historic museum.

The deployment of these statues was made possible by a partnership between the CAA and the South Walton Artificial Reef Association, along with the sponsorship of Visit South Walton. The site of the underwater sculpture garden is 0.7 miles off the coast of Grayton Beach, and the CAA plans to continue to select artists and add to the underwater collection annually.

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, so even in the absence of SCUBA divers, the Underwater Museum of Art is certain to have many visitors, including schools of baitfish, grouper, sea turtles and dolphins!

Making up the first sculptures to populate the Underwater Museum of Art are “The Grayt Pineapple,” by Florida-based artist Rachel Herring, a welded stainless steel statue of a deer called “Self Portrait” created by Justin Gaffrey, the “SWARA Skull,” created by Vince Tatum, Evelyn Tickle’s “Concrete Rope Reef Spheres,” the “Propeller in Motion” sculpture by Marek Anthony, Allison Wickey’s “Anamorphous Octopus,” and “JYC’s Dream,” a collaborative work by Kevin Reilly and the South Walton Montessori Academy students and teachers.

For more information on the Underwater Museum of Art and sponsorship opportunities, visit: https://www.culturalartsalliance.com/local-arts/underwater-museum-of-art

For more information on the South Walton Artificial Reef Association and upcoming projects, visit: swarareefs.org/

Media may use the following contacts for interview and further information:

Jennifer Steele, Executive Director of the Cultural Arts Alliance of Walton County:
Office: (850) 622-5970
Mobile phone: (850) 319-9743
Email: Jennifer@culturalartsalliance.com

Andy McAlexander, SWARA founder:
Mobile phone: (850) 259-8283

Allison Wickey, Selected Artist:
(850) 420-8419

David Demarest, Director of Communications at Visit South Walton
(850) 520-3001