UMA to Install 12 New Pieces in 2019
The Underwater Museum of Art (UMA) is the first permanent underwater sculpture garden in the U.S. Located in the Gulf of Mexico, off of Walton County, Florida, the museum lies at a depth of approximately 60-feet and at a distance of .7-miles from the shore of Grayton Beach State Park. Each year, a juried selection of sculptural works, drawn from artists throughout the world, is installed in the underwater garden.
UMA was named by TIME Magazine as one of 100 “World’s Greatest Places” for its innovative, underwater immersion experience. It was created as a joint project between the Cultural Arts Alliance of Walton County (CAA) and the South Walton Artificial Reef Association (SWARA). It continues SWARA’s mission to create art that will also become part of the marine habitat. It will serve to expand fishery populations while providing creative and educational opportunities for residents and visitors alike.
The sculptures quickly attract a wide variety of marine life and, over time, metamorphize into a living reef. This eco-tourism attraction not only entices art lovers and divers from around the country and around the globe, it provides a much-needed habitat for local marine life and fisheries as well as providing marine scientists, wildlife management professionals, ecologists, and students, with an opportunity to study marine life and measure the impact of artificial reef systems on the Gulf ecosystem.
A total of 12 new sculptures will soon call the Underwater Museum of Art their permanent home. The winning entries were selected by a jury, and they comprise the second installation at the award-winning museum. The selected installations come from all over the United States, and from as far away as Sao Paolo, Brazil.
The 12 sculptures that will become a permanent part of this unique endeavor include:
- BUTTERY: a 12-foot tall replica of one of Alys Beach’s iconic butteries that flank the entrances to the town. Today, the real-life butteries house 16 mosaic murals.
- TO REPLENISH WITH WATER: this innovative sculpture brings attention to the ongoing issue of ocean degradation due to coral bleaching.
- WAVE!: this giant hand sculpture will be created from Kansas fencepost limestone, which will facilitate coral growth.
- EL PLASTICO: this large replica of a plastic bottle will help marine life instead of harming it the way everyday plastic can.
- SAGUARO: an eight-foot high stainless steel sculpture will mesh the arid desert and underwater marine life in a new way.
- DEPTH OF DECISION: this series of doors, each in varying degrees of openness, reflect the challenges we face in making choices in our daily lives. Marine life will be able to swim through and around the figurative decisions we all make.
- I FOUND IT!: a giant replica of a diamond ring will be the centerpiece of the larger-than-life pirate treasure that awaits discovery.
- LET’S NOT BLOW THIS: a delicate dandelion represents the Earth, and the man’s hand represents our potential to protect and restore our environment.
- LOVE THYSELF: a woman standing in front of a mirror reflects our own needs to love and to be kind to ourselves.
- ASPIRATION: the silhouette of a young girl’s face not only blends artistic interpretation of looking toward the future, but it creates an environment for coral growth and for marine life to thrive.
- MUTA: in a nod to the giant barrel sponge (scientific name Xestospongia muta), this sculpture imitates nature in the form of cement sprayed over rebar.
Images from: UMA Florida