The Palm Beaches are known as Florida’s Cultural Capital because of the abundance of art and culture produced here, and soon that art will also be on view underwater. Palm Beach County is launching an underwater sculpture park on Friday, June 19 at 10 a.m. in the Lake Worth Lagoon at Phil Foster Park in Riviera Beach.
Artist Tom McDonald, a part-time resident of Palm Beach County, worked with Palm Beach County’s Department of Environmental Resources Management (ERM) to launch this project. McDonald donated the three cement hammerhead shark sculptures, which weigh 15-hundred-pounds each, and will be placed in about ten feet of water during high tide using a crane on a barge. “At high tide it will look like an aquarium down there,” says ERM Deputy Director Daniel Bates.
“We are thrilled the arts are expanding to all facets of life in The Palm Beaches,” says Cultural Council President and CEO, Rena Blades. “This artificial reef adds yet another reason for travelers to visit The Palm Beaches and enjoy the creativity of the art scene here.”
Phil Foster Park’s snorkel reef was chosen because of its proximity to the Gulf Stream. It is hoped the clarity of the water will attract a great deal of sea life. Information about the project and the history of the beach and science behind it will be placed in a kiosk at the park. Within a few months snorkelers and divers will see significant growth of algae on the sculptures, and possibly coral – which will enhance the beauty of the existing reef. More projects connecting the arts and sea life are in the works and include cement sculptures depicting sting rays and sea turtles.
Artists interested in submitting ideas for future habitat restoration ideas can contact Palm Beach County’s Department of Environmental Resources Management or the Cultural Council of Palm Beach County.
Note to Editors: Photo opportunities of preparation for the sculpture installation begin at Phil Foster Park at 9 a.m., with the actual placement taking place at 10 a.m. on June 19 – depending on weather conditions.
Contacts for reef placement:
Dan Bates, deputy director, ERM, firstname.lastname@example.org, office (561) 233-2400
Carman Vare, environmental program supervisor, ERM, email@example.com
office (561) 233-2444, cell (561) 386-9612
Contact for arts and tourism:
Marilyn Bauer, director of marketing and government affairs, Cultural Council of Palm Beach County, firstname.lastname@example.org
direct line: (561) 687-8727, main number: (561) 471-2901
About the Cultural Council of Palm Beach County: The Cultural Council is the official support agency for arts and culture for Palm Beach County serving non-profit organizations, individual artists and arts districts. The Council promotes the county’s cultural experiences through an integrated program of advertising, public relations and marketing activities to both visitors and residents. Each year, the Council administers more than $3.6 million in grants, supports arts and cultural education, provides capacity building training and advocates for funding and arts-friendly policies. Located in the historic Robert M. Montgomery, Jr. building in downtown Lake Worth, the Council mounts a series of group and solo exhibitions featuring Palm Beach County artists and provides other programming. Connect with the Council at palmbeachculture.com, or (561) 471-2901.
About the Palm Beach County Department of Environmental Resources Management: The Department of Environmental Resources Management’s mission is to establish, maintain and implement programs for the protection, preservation and enhancement of the land and water resources of Palm Beach County. Through its diverse environmental programs, the department works to promote a quality environment for Palm Beach County’s residents and visitors. The department’s programs cover the county from the Atlantic Ocean to Lake Okeechobee. For more information, visit pbcgov.com/ERM.