The Cultural Arts Alliance of Walton County (CAA) in partnership with the South Walton Artificial Reef Association (SWARA) and support from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Alys Foundation, and Visit Florida joined two of South Walton, Florida’s most beloved attractions – the arts and the Gulf of Mexico – with the introduction of The Underwater Museum of Art (UMA), North America’s first underwater permanent sculpture exhibit.
The UMA is the first presentation of the CAA’s Art In Public Spaces Program and will augment SWARA’s mission of creating marine habitat and expanding fishery populations while providing enhanced creative, cultural, economic and educational opportunities for the benefit, education and enjoyment of residents, students and visitors in South Walton.
Currently, Gulf coastal waters off Walton County are 95% barren sand flats. Deployment of sculpture as artificial reefs will provide a source of biological replenishment and protective marine habitat where none exists. The UMA will be 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 approximately 50-60 feet of water. A one-acre permit patch of seabed off Grayton Beach State Park has been dedicated to the CAA for the purpose of a permanent underwater sculpture exhibit.
The CAA and SWARA are proud to reveal the seven sculpture designs selected by jury for permanent exhibition in the first installation of the UMA.
The 2018 Installation includes the following sculpture: “Propeller in Motion” by Marek Anthony, “Self Portrait” by Justin Gaffrey, “The Grayt Pineapple” by Rachel Herring, “JYC’s Dream” by Kevin Reilly in collaboration with students from South Walton Montessori School, “SWARA Skull” by Vince Tatum, “Concrete Rope Reef Spheres” by Evelyn Tickle, and “Anamorphous Octopus” by Allison Wickey.