Underwater Art Museum

A partnership between the Cultural Arts Alliance and the South Walton Artificial Reef Association

In late June of 2018, the first Underwater Museum of Art in the USA opened in the Gulf of Mexico 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 (SWARA), 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, with the museum's central sculpture (the SWARA Skull) located at Latitude N 30 18.754, Longitude W 86 09.522. 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 (2005 Visit South Walton Artist of the Year), 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 (2011 Visit South Walton Artist of the Year) “Anamorphous Octopus,” and “JYC’s Dream,” a collaborative work by Kevin Reilly and the South Walton Montessori Academy students and teachers.

Follow these links for more information on the Underwater Museum of Art and Sponsorship Opportunities.

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