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Ocean conservation is the focus of Clearwater art exhibit

Bill DeYoung



Art by Washed Ashore. All images provided.

Manatee by Russell Ronat

A unique exhibit focusing on marine life and conservation has taken over the Clearwater Marine Aquarium’s fourth floor. ArtSea Conservation consists of paintings, sculptures and installations.

The eight-foot paintings, which vividly depict manatees, right whales, dolphins, sea turtles and more swimming freely, are by Colorado artist Russell Ronat.

The mission of the Oregon-based Washed Ashore program is two-fold: To clear the Pacific beaches, through the work of dedicated volunteers, of human-made debris and trash. A team of artists then transforms the carefully-cleaned material into sculptures that (ideally) inform and educate the public about the need to protect the ocean and its inhabitants.

The sculptures, made from such items as discarded bottles, shoes and lighters, will be exhibited on the fourth floor, and elsewhere around the CMA campus.

Said Brad Parks, the organization’s conservation education director: “It’s a beautiful solution to an ugly problem.”

Morean Arts Center

St. Petersburg’s Morean Arts Center has contributed glass and clay pieces to go alongside five “Art Aquariums.” This collaboration was funded by a grant, designed to serve the Center’s underserved summer camp students.

ArtSea Conservation will remain on the CMA’s fourth floor through March.

Clearwater Marine Aquarium website


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