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Underwater Museum of Art Call to Artists

Call to Artists (Public Art)


Deadline November 8, 2019
Sponsor Cultural Arts Alliance of Walton County
Location Santa Rosa Beach , FL



The Cultural Arts Alliance of Walton County (CAA) in partnership with the South Walton Artificial Reef Association (SWARA) join two of South Walton, Florida's most cherished resources, the arts and the Gulf of Mexico, with the Underwater Museum of Art (UMA), the first and only permanent underwater sculpture museum in the United States. Artists are invited to submit proposals for the third art installation to be deployed Summer 2020. The UMA is located off the coast of Northwest Florida, specifically .9 miles off the coast of Grayton Beach State Park in South Walton, Florida.

Recently named by TIME Magazine as one of 100 “World’s Greatest Places,” the UMA is an ongoing collaborative project between the CAA and SWARA. Part of the CAA’s Art In Public Spaces program, the UMA 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.

Currently, Gulf coastal waters off Walton County are 95% barren sand flats. Deployment of sculpture as artificial reefs provides a source of biological replenishment and protective marine habitat. The sculptures quickly attract a wide variety of marine life, and over time, become a living reef. This eco/arts-tourism attraction not only entices art lovers and divers from around the world; it also provides a much-needed habitat for local marine life and fisheries and an opportunity for marine scientists, wildlife management professionals, ecologists, and students to study marine life and measure the impact of artificial reef systems on the Gulf ecosystem.

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 60 feet of water. A one-acre permit patch of seabed off the shore of Grayton Beach State Park has been dedicated for the purpose of a permanent underwater sculpture exhibit. The first phase of the UMA project included seven pieces of sculpture installed in June 2018, and the second installation of ten sculptures took place June 27, 2019.



This opportunity is open to all artists and artist teams. While a demonstrated history of completing large- or small-scale public art projects is ideal, all artist applications will be considered. Artist teams should have a demonstrated history of collaboration. Following the application deadline, the CAA will convene a panel of arts and marine environment specialists to review the applications and select seven proposals for completion and installation.

Once selections are made, artists will be notified and have approximately five months to complete and deliver work to Walton County, FL where it will be exhibited on land before being transported to Walter Marine in Orange Beach, AL to be attached to its custom pedestal. Sculptures will then be transported by barge to the Gulf and carefully submerged to the floor.

Artists previously chosen to produce a sculpture for the UMA are eligible for consideration twice in a three-year period.

Artists may submit more than one design for consideration, but a separate application must be completed for each design.


Work must be the artist’s own creation, not a copy or replica, and adhere to the following:


There is no one-size-fits-all rule, but artists should keep in mind that bigger/taller/heavier/less detailed sculptures will fare better at 60’ water depths. If a piece is too short or small, it is less likely to be noticeable or sustainable in these waters.

Dimensions (may vary slightly with approval)

Minimum dimensions: 5 feet x 5 feet

Maximum dimensions: 12 feet x 12 feet

Minimum weight: 500 lbs

Max weight: 3,000 lbs. Delivered (without permanent base)

*also see flange requirements below

Note: If sculpture is, for example, 8 feet wide x 4 feet tall, it can still be mounted as long as it has a substantial flange. All sculptures will be embedded about 6 inches into the pedestal so they need some sort of flange on bottom (the bottom 6 inches will be lost to sight in the pedestal system). This will ensure there is enough material to embed into the pedestal so the unit will stay attached and upright.

Approved materials

Clean concrete and limestone are the only approved materials to be used for the bulk of the sculpture. Stainless steel and aluminum may be incorporated into the design, but it must be ½” gauge or greater. All materials will be vetted to conform to permit. Artists should take into account the presence of boat anchors in and around the UMA site and should make their best effort in the design to mitigate risk of damage to artwork by anchors.


DO NOT CREATE YOUR OWN PERMANENT BASE. After delivery, each sculpture will be permanently affixed to a concrete pedestal that weighs approximately 3,000 lbs and measures 8 inches tall. The dimensions of the base will conform to the design of each piece of work. After the sculpture is attached, the pedestal top is embedded with limestone to attract corals.

Turtle Escape

Hollow, voluminous designs must include a top-side turtle escape of 36 inches or greater in size.


There is no design theme to which your proposal should conform. However, no political, religious, or discriminatory designs will be considered. Link to images and more info:


Artwork must be received on May 4, 2020. Deployment CANNOT be guaranteed if artwork is not received by this date. Artists will be given a point of contact for delivery and will provide details to point of contact when they are available, including method of transportation, bill of lading, packaging, disassembly and reassembly requirement, etc.).


The UMA is a dive site located in the Gulf of Mexico off the coast of Northwest Florida, specifically in Walton County .7 miles from the shore of Grayton Beach State Park. However, all sculptures will be delivered to an above-ground location at the ArtsQuest Fine Arts Festival for public exhibition from May 5 - 10, 2020.


Center of Patch Reef Area #3: 30* 18.754’N / 86* 09.562’W (see attached map)

Distance from Grayton Beach State Park

Coordinates above are .93 nautical miles at 198° heading.


About 57 feet (+/- 3 feet)


Visibility depends on local weather conditions but average 10-50 feet most of the year.

Average water temp

At the nearest NOAA buoy water temp is 76.7 F (high is 88.2 F in August, low is 62.4 F in February)

Request for Proposals: September 20, 2019 -November 8, 2019

Artist Notification: November 15, 2019

Contract deadline: November 25, 2019

Progress Report 1: December 20, 2019

Progress Report 2: February 7, 2020

Progress Report 3: March 27, 2020

Sculpture due onsite: May 4, 2020 (Mandatory - deployment cannot be guaranteed if artwork is not received by this date)

Public exhibition: May 5 – May 10, 2020

Sculpture Transport to Walter Marine: May 11, 2020

Installation: Summer/Fall 2020* weather permitting

How to Participate

Interested applicants should register with Submittable in order to view the application. Deadline for submissions is November 8, 2019 at 11:59 pm CST. Submittable registration is free to artists, and there is no application fee.


Complete a separate online application for each submission at

1. Schematic drawing or scale model of design concept OR image of proposed constructed piece. Please note this image may be posted publicly on the UMA website, social media and included with international press release.

2. Artist statement and detailed description of the proposed piece, including title, materials to be used, weight, dimensions, intention, meaning, inspiration, and any other details that will set your proposal apart.

3. Six (6) digital high-resolution images of completed work by the Artist, including any commissioned pieces that have been completed. Please include any past large- or small-scale public art projects by the artist or artist team. Artists who have not completed past public art projects should provide representative images of their past work even if it is not 3D.

4. One (1) video, edited to no more than two (2) minutes in length, may also be submitted, but is not required.

5. Annotated Image List: An annotated image list that includes the title, media, year completed, dimensions, location (if site-specific), project budget (if applicable), timeline, and client or commissioning entity for each corresponding image.

6. Artist’s resume or curriculum vitae (CV)

7. If applying as an artist team, a list of key team members and their roles/affiliations, including fabricators. Please include the physical address of where the sculpture will be constructed.

This opportunity has been submitted by Melissa Wheeler. The listing of the opportunity does not imply endorsement by the Division of Cultural Affairs or the Department of State. Contact Cultural Arts Alliance of Walton County with questions or for more information.