The Cultural Arts Alliance of Walton County (CAA) in partnership with the South Walton Artificial Reef Association (SWARA) join two of Walton County’s most cherished resources, the arts and the Gulf of Mexico, with the Underwater Museum of Art (UMA). Named by TIME Magazine as one of 100 of the “World’s Greatest Places,” the UMA is the first and only permanent underwater sculpture museum in the United States. Artists are invited to submit proposals for the sixth art installation to be deployed Summer 2024. The UMA is located in Northwest Florida, less than one mile off the coast of Grayton Beach State Park in South Walton, Florida.
A 2023 CODAaward winner in the inaugural Collaboration of the Year category, the UMA has been featured in online and print publications including National Geographic, Lonely Planet, Travel & Leisure, Newsweek, The New York Times, and more. Part of the CAA’s Art In Public Spaces program, the UMA also augments SWARA's mission of creating marine habitat and expanding fishery populations while providing enhanced cultural, economic and educational opportunities for the benefit, education, and enjoyment of Walton County residents, including students and visitors. The project is supported by Visit South Walton, the Florida Division of Arts and Culture, the National Endowment for the Arts, Visit Florida, and The Alys Foundation.
This opportunity is open to artists and artist teams with a demonstrated history of collaboration completing large and small scale public art projects. Following the application deadline, the CAA will convene a panel of arts and marine environment specialists to review the applications and select proposals for completion and installation. The selected artists will be commissioned to develop design proposals and create a 3D piece of original artwork to be permanently installed in the Underwater Museum of Art. Each artist will receive a $7,500 stipend inclusive of design fees, materials, labor, fabrication, construction, packing materials, shipping, and transportation.
Once selections are made, artists will be notified and have approximately six months to complete and safely deliver work to Walton Marine in Orange Beach, AL to be attached to custom pedestals. Select sculptures may be exhibited on land prior to their deployment. Sculptures will be transported by barge to the Gulf and carefully submerged to the floor of the Gulf of Mexico.
The UMA is produced in conjunction with SWARA’s existing USACOE and FDEP permitted artificial reef project that includes nine nearshore reefs located within one nautical mile of the shore in approximately 58 feet of water. The first phase of the UMA project included seven pieces of sculpture installed in June 2018 and the fifth installation occurred in July 2023, bringing the total number of UMA sculptures to 40.
Artists may learn more about the project, see photos and video of the previous installations, and submit online proposals through October 6, 2023 at UMAFL.org. Interested artists must be registered with Submittable where the artist call and details are posted. For project sponsorship information, visit UMAFL.org.