Washed Ashore - Art to Save the Sea
Nestled in the lively Old Town section of Bandon, Oregon awaits a one-of-a-kind gallery, Washed Ashore, whose mission is Art to Save the Sea. What better place than a popular seaside town to raise awareness about the discarded, lost and thoughtlessly tossed away trash that is clogging our oceans?
Thousands of tourists pass by the doors each year and most are curious enough to step inside and see the awesome flotsam on display.
Angela Haselton Pozzi, artist and founder of Washed Ashore, was dismayed by the amount of plastic debris that washed up on the beaches around her hometown. With the help of many volunteers she began collecting the trash and creating larger than life sculptures of ocean denizens.
Since its beginning in 2010, more than 70 sculptures have been created, using 38,000 pounds of marine debris.
Under Pozzi’s direction, volunteers clean miles of beaches, wash and sort the debris and assist in building the giant sculptures. They use only what the ocean delivers in creating the colorful, whimsical figures.
Upon entering the gallery, the first sculpture one sees is a 12-foot long whale rib cage suspended from the ceiling. A closer look reveals it to be made entirely of white plastic bottles. Other sculptures include Tula the Turtle, Bella the Angelfish on a Reef, Finn the Mako Shark, Steve the Weedy Sea Dragon and several bleached coral reefs made from styrofoam. All the sculptures are made entirely from ocean debris collected on Pacific beaches.
At the rear of the gallery is a volunteer workshop. Ongoing volunteers and one-time visitors of all ages are welcome to help build parts of new sculptures that will be sent around the country in traveling exhibits to raise awareness of the problem of ocean pollution and how to stop it.
If you’re not able to visit Bandon yourself, consider hosting an exhibit in your town in concert with your local zoo, aquarium or museum.
Details are at Washed Ashore’s website (www.washedashore.org).