People have always been fascinated by the ocean in general, and even more so by the Emerald Coast. The gorgeous, shimmering waters draw in visitors from all over the world. In addition to its beauty, the mystery of the ocean has captivated humanity for as long as can be remembered. Countless sea-faring adventures have been told through the years, and infinitely more will continue to be told. The ocean has fulfilled a longing in humans, and quite likely always will. As long as there are mysteries to behold and adventures to be had, people will be exploring the sea!
About a mile off the shore of Grayton Beach lies an entire world that many people, locals and tourists alike, are unfamiliar with. The Underwater Museum of Art sits as an unexpected treasure at a depth of 58 feet. It is giving people all over North America the chance to experience life from a different perspective.
Each year, a selection of sculptural works, which are drawn from artists all over the world, is installed in the underwater garden. Each art piece is carefully observed before a final selection is made. Once the selection is made it goes through the process of “deployment” where it is carefully unloaded from a ship and added to the underwater museum.
The UMA provides an opportunity to experience the beauty of a variety of sculptures, while at the same time furnishing a much needed home for marine life, as well as an easy way to study lifeforms in the area. The sculptures, once in place, quickly become marine life habitats, growing coral and serving as safe havens for animals in need.
The purpose of the Underwater Museum of Art is to create art that becomes a marine habitat, and expands fishery populations. Through this the museum provides enhanced creative, cultural, economic, and educational opportunities for residents, students, and visitors in South Walton.
These deployments are typically paid for by the organization’s annual “Under the Sea Fundraiser,” however due to the Covid -19 pandemic the Cultural Arts Alliance of Walton County (CAA) was unable to host it. Instead, this year the fundraiser went virtual, and is still accepting donations towards the next deployment. Any amount is welcome, from $5 to $500. Two sculpture sponsorships are also available.
The UMA currently has a total of twenty-five sculptures, each one providing a safe haven for marine life to both live and be observed. Visitors who would like to view the museum can do so by boat, with the exact location of the museum being found on the UMA’s website: www.umafl.org. For an up close and personal view, however, the museum asks that visitors be certified divers and comfortable in open waters. Dive30A provides expeditions to the UMA multiple times throughout the year. All of the expeditions leave from Grayton Beach State Park. For more information, contact Dive30A at (850) 460-1442.
Make an impact today through your donation and visit to the Underwater Museum of Art! For general information about the museum contact Jennifer Steele at (850) 622-5970 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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