Anyone looking to combine their passions for ocean conservation with art appreciation can see the debut of Washed Ashore: Plastics, Sea Life and Art at The Marine Mammal Center
located in the Marin Headlands, in the Golden Gate National Recreation Area June 25 through October 15. Visitors to The Marine Mammal Center will be able to see and interact with the 15 colossal sculptures installed throughout the hospital and visitor center.
We think this exhibit will engage our visitors with the pretty ugly truth about ocean trash and help them make the connection between their health, the health of our oceans and how their actions have an impact on both, said Dr. Jeff Boehm, executive director at The Marine Mammal Center. On average, 8-10% of our patient admissions are due to human interactions including those related to entanglements in trash.
The Washed Ashore community project is the vision of artist and educator Angela Haseltine Pozzi. This community art project has turned the ugly reality of ocean trash into beautiful sculptures of the marine life that is most affected by this hazard, inspiring citizens to rethink their use and consumption of plastics and change their recycling habits. Angela Haseltine Pozzi is the lead artist and director of the Washed Ashore project, based in Bandon, Oregon. Pozzi has been an exhibiting artist and educator for more than 30 years and now chooses to use art as a powerful tool for community and environmental action about her true passion - the ocean.
I came to the ocean to heal, but I found an ocean that needed healing, remarked Angela Haseltine Pozzi, artist, educator and director of the Washed Ashore community project. Like many people, I walked with blinders on, past the garbage, wanting to only see the oceans beauty. When I finally stopped and really saw the debris on the beach, my heart and mind opened to the problem. The problem of plastic pollution in the ocean is huge, so the artwork had to be massive in order to get the message across. This was the birth of Washed Ashore: plastics, sea life and art.
Pozzi and her team of community volunteers collected approximately 7,000 lbs. of trash from 20 miles of beaches along the Oregon coast to make the sculptures. Through community art workshops at Pozzis Artula Institute, citizens young and old are taught how to clean and sort the bits and pieces of plastic caps, bottles, netting, flip flops and other trash that make up the art supplies. They then assemble the ocean trash into shapes and configurations that are incorporated into the gigantic sculptures. Sadly, there is a never-ending source of art supplies for future sculptures, but someday, The Marine Mammal Center and Pozzi hope that will change.
Facts about trash:
Americans use approximately 1 billion disposable shopping bags, creating 300,000 tons of landfill waste each year. (Clean Air Council. (2009, May). Why Plastic Bag Fees Work.)
The average American produces about 4.4 lbs. of garbage a day, or a total of 29 lbs. per week and 1,600 lbs. a year. (Environmental Protection Agency. (2009). http://www.epa.gov/epawaste/nonhaz/municipal/pubs/msw2009-fs.pdf)
Every year, Americans throw away enough paper and plastic cups, forks, and spoons to circle the equator 300 times. (Wills, A. (2010, June 21). Recycling To-Go Plastics., from http://earth911.com/news/2010/06/21/recycling-to-go-plastics)
Rethink your consumer purchases. Reduce the amount of waste you produce. Reuse your own water bottle, coffee mug, silverware and bags. Recycle all aluminum, glass, paper and plastic products. Reinvent trash by making it into art or functional items. Refuse single‐use plastics -- buy in bulk and bring your own containers.