Underwater Museum Of Art: North America’s First Underwater Museum

Florida is a home to a lot of places, that attract visitors. But, there is one more fascinating destination to add to the must see list. Underwater Museum of Art or UMA, is the North America’s first underwater museum.

Located in the Gulf of Mexico, 0.7 miles off the shore of Grayton Beach State Park, in a town of South Walton, the museum is set at a depth of 60 feet. The place is not just a potential tourist destination, but a place to create a wildlife.

Underwater museums have been around for awhile, however what differs UMA from others is, that it has been created with a marine habitat in mind. All sculptures are made with an environmentally friendly materials and have no toxins or plastic. So, the sculptures compliment the environment; not damage it. Furthermore, they are an artificial reefs, so they help restore marine life. Eventually, the sculptures will be covered in coral and marine growth. So, it will be for sure one of the best thing to see underwater.

SWARA Skull being submerged. Image by We Create LIFT

So far, the installation has seven sculptures, that were chosen to be deployed underwater. JYC’s Dream, Self Portrait, Propeller in Motion, The Grayt Pineapple, SWARA Skull, Concrete Rope Reef Spheres and Anamorphous Octopus are the sculptures and future homes for a wildlife.

JYC’s Dream is a tribute to Jacques Cousteau’s “Aqualung”. Artist Kevin Reilly explains: “It was Cousteau’s dream for all people, especially for future generations, to access the underwater world”. The sculpture is a diver’s head, wearing Cousteau’s invention.

Self Portrait is a sculpture of Justin Gaffrey. Surprisingly, it is not a sculpture of a human, but an eight feet tall deer.

Propeller in Motion is a 3D design by Marek Anthony. It is constructed with pieces of propeller shaped concrete, melded on a steel. The sculptures allows a light, water ans fish to pass through.

Propeller in Motion being lowered into the sea. Image by Spring Run Media

Rachel Herring’s sculpture: The Grayt Pineapple, may seem like a Spongebob’s place, but it is meant to be for other inhabitants. The sculpture, is an eight feet tall, stainless steel hollow pineapple, which will become home to a various sea creatures.

SWARA Scull by Vince Tatum, is a huge scull, with coral friendly limestone covering on top. SWARA stands for South Walton Artificial Reef Association.

Concrete Rope Reef Spheres by Evelyn Tinkle are a concrete mix of spheres. The formula of the concrete is developed by the artist herself. It matches a chemical makeup of an oyster shell, so it will be a perfect place for oyster to attach.

The sculptures will act as anchor points for marine life to thrive. Image by Spring Run Media

Anamorphous Octopus by Alison Wickey is a sculpture of an octopus, but, as the name suggests, it is an anamorphic. It looks distorted at first, but it needs to be viewed from a certain point, to really see an octopus.

One of the pieces, entitled Anamorphous Octopus, in place under the water. Image by Spring Run Media

Admission to the museum is free, but visitors pay to enter state park. Obviously, the Underwater Museum is only seen by divers, so the certificate is required.

The coordinates for the centre sculpture are Latitude N 30 18.754 Longitude W 86 09.522. More information about the Underwater Museum of Art is available at the official website.

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