Underwater Museum of Art (First in the Nation)
Gulf of Mexico off Grayton Beach
The Gulf waters off Grayton Beach in South Walton just became home to the first underwater museum of art in the country. The UMA (as the Underwater Museum of Art is called) rests on the seafloor about 55 feet below the surface and currently consists of seven unique sculptures created by local and nationally-
recognized artists who applied and were chosen by the Cultural Arts Alliance (CAA) of Walton County.
The sculptures, which act as both a habitat for fish and a destination for scuba divers, were attached to heavy concrete pedestals and were permitted and shipped into position thanks to the South Walton Artificial Reef association, which has also created many near-shore snorkeling reefs and diving and fishing reefs farther offshore. However, no other reefs in the country have quite the artistic appeal of this underwater sculpture garden, which is about 0.7 miles off the coast of Grayton Beach.
That’s good news not just for scuba-diving art lovers, though – in addition to providing a unique dive spot, the sculptures are designed and selected for their suitability as marine habitat, so even in the absence of scuba divers, the UMA is certain to have many visitors, including schools of baitfish, grouper, sea turtles and dolphins. This is just the beginning for UMA, since the CAA says they plan to continue to select artists and add to the underwater collection every year!
Cool Factors: First in the nation, creating a habitat for fish and a destination for divers.