America’s first Underwater Museum of Art has opened in Florida for those willing to take the dive into the deep sea.
The museum is in the Gulf of Mexico, off the coast of Grayton Beach State Park located in South Walton, Florida. UMA is the first demonstration of the Cultural Arts Alliance of Walton County’s Art in Public Spaces Program, according to a press release from the Cultural Arts Alliance of Walton County.
UMA’s purpose is to make art that turns into marine habitat by expanding fish populations. The museum also provides visitors and explorers the opportunity to benefit from the creative, cultural and educational aspects that the art brings to the deep sea, the release said.
Placing the sculptures underwater gives viewers a different perspective.
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“The intent of the project was proven within an hour of deployment when we could see schools of bait fish swarming the structures, completely validating the entire effort. I have never been prouder to have had the privilege to work with such talented and visionary people in my life. This project has changed my perspective towards art” said South Walton Artificial Reef Association Board President Andy McAlexander said in the release.
Seven sculptures were placed into UMA on June 25. Those include:
- “Propeller in Motion” by Marek Anthony
- “Self-Portrait” by Justin Gaffrey
- “The Grayt Pineapple” by Rachel Herring
- “JYC’s Dream” by Kevin Reilly
- “SWARA Skull” by Vince Tatum
- “Concrete Rope Reef Spheres” by Evelyn Tickle
- “Anamorphous Octopus” by Allison Wickey
Admission to UMA is free, there are no tickets or reservations required in order to visit. There is a fee to go to Grayton State Beach Park, $5 per vehicle and $2 for pedestrians.
Once at the park, those who wish to visit the museum can take a dive boat a little under a mile off the coast to begin their dive to the artwork.