Late last week, eleven new sculptures were added to the nation’s first permanent Underwater Museum of Art (UMA) in the Gulf of Mexico off the coast of Grayton Beach State Park in South Walton, Fla.

Recently named by TIME Magazine as one of 100 “World’s Greatest Places,” the UMA is the first presentation of the Cultural Arts Alliance of Walton County (CAA)’s Art In Public Spaces Program and is produced in collaboration with the South Walton Artificial Reef Association (SWARA). The purpose of the UMA is to create art that becomes marine habitat, expanding fishery populations and providing enhanced creative, cultural, economic and educational opportunities for the benefit, education and enjoyment of residents, students and visitors in South Walton.

With support from Visit South Walton, The Alys Foundation, Visit Florida, and the Florida Department of State Division of Cultural Affairs, the sculptures were deployed with SWARA’s existing USACOA and FDEP permitted artificial reef project that includes nine nearshore reefs located within one nautical mile of the shore in 58-feet of water. The 2019 installation joins the seven sculptures deployed last June on a one-acre permit patch of seabed off Grayton Beach State Park, expanding the nation’s first permanent underwater museum. The UMA patch will continue to be filled with several new sculptures annually.

Read the full press release on the UMA website.