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Art Exhibit Washes into Galveston with a Stark Message

“Octavia,” from Washed Ashore: Art to Save the Sea / courtesy VisitGalveston.com
“Greta the Great White Shark,” from Washed Ashore: Art to Save the Sea
courtesy VisitGalveston.com

Washed Ashore: Art to Save the Sea is a traveling art exhibit currently on display in Galveston that features sculptures made entirely of plastic collected from beaches. They’re grand sculptures of sea creatures and their undersea habitats, most measuring more than six-feet tall. Their scale, detail, and colors are certain to catch your eye, but don’t miss the message! These sculptures were created to highlight the scale of the plastic pollution problem around the world. 

Eight to 14 million metric tons of plastic makes its way into the ocean every year, contributing to the deaths of an estimated 100,000 marine animals and one million seabirds per year, and a global ecosystem in peril. The Washed Ashore: Art to Save the Sea sculptures are made from the more than 60,000 pounds of litter that a group of volunteers collected from Pacific Northwest beaches, but plastic pollution isn’t an issue confined there — trash and litter are unfortunately very common pollutants in our watershed too! Fortunately, there are several organizations working to keep our local waterways clean. Here are a few of those that we encourage you to explore for opportunities to volunteer or causes to support:

Partners in Litter Prevention (PLP) is a group of organizations that all work to investigate, prevent, and remove debris in the area – consider joining to ensure work is being done collaboratively. Galveston Bay Foundation is dedicated to preserving and enhancing Galveston Bay, including through their marine debris program which conducts surveys, hosts cleanup activities, and provides ways to report pollution. Trash Bash, Texas’ largest single-day waterway cleanup event, will hold its annual event on March 25 – volunteers are encouraged to sign up today to protect their watershed. SPLASh, a partnership between the American Bird Conservancy, Gulf Coast Bird Observatory, and Black Cat GIS addresses the overlap of bird conservation and pollution in the region — learn more about their Surfside Cleanup on Dec. 17. The Houston Advanced Research Center investigates and reports on regional environmental and social issues, and works to track and interpret litter and trash data to make a long-term difference. Keep Texas Beautiful accomplishes its mission through beautification, litter prevention, waste reduction, and recycling, and has a variety of litter and trash programs throughout the state.

The Washed Ashore: Art to Save the Sea event is the result of a partnership between the Galveston Park Board and Oregon-based Washed Ashore and will be on display through March 5. We hope you make a point to visit the event, but also that you engage in the message and do your part to keep litter and trash out of our waterways.