Washed Ashore which runs June 7 – September 28, uses giant sea life sculptures made entirely of marine debris collected from beaches to graphically illustrate the tragedy of pollution in our oceans. Under the artistic direction of Angela Haseltine Pozzi, thousands of volunteers from Oregon and other West Coast beaches have collected tons of marine debris to create the enormous sea life creatures to create several traveling exhibits of Washed Ashore.
Virginia Aquarium Executive Director Lynn Clements said, “The Aquarium’s non-profit foundation is pleased to showcase this exhibit here, especially in the summer where locals and visitors can see these amazing artistic creations. With our Stranding Response Team, we are very much aware of the impact of marine debris in our local waterways and we are eager to show others that this is an international issue we all need to address to save our oceans.”
“Lidia,” a 10 ft. tall seal sculpture will greet visitors near the Aquarium’s outdoor seal exhibit and entice visitors to see the remaining 13 sculptures, mostly located in the changing exhibit gallery. Along with unique art pieces, the exhibition includes educational signage and programs that encourage reducing, refusing, reusing and recycling. The exhibit is free with Aquarium admission thanks to the sponsorship of the Lee A. and Helen Gifford Foundation, The Oceanfront Inn, and TFC Recycling.
The Washed Ashore Project: Ocean Awareness Through Art is a non-profit organization based in Oregon. Their mission is to educate and create awareness about marine debris and plastic pollution through art. They do this by collecting plastic waste from beaches and repurposing 98% of it into aesthetically powerful works of art that educate people about the problem and engage them about solutions.
The Virginia Aquarium Foundation is a private, non-profit organization dedicated to inspiring conservation of the marine environment through education, research and sustainable practices. The Foundation was formed in 1981, three years before construction on the Aquarium even began. Over the years, the Foundation’s role in support of the Aquarium has not only included garnering financial support to pay for the Aquarium’s exhibits, but it has expanded to include funding of education programs, and research and conservation efforts such as the Virginia Aquarium Stranding Response and Sensible Seafood™ programs.