Want to go to a museum but can’t bear to be indoors this summer? Now you don’t don’t have to choose. The Underwater Art Museum, the US’s first permanent underwater sculpture garden, has just opened to the public.
Located less than a mile off the coast of Walton County, Florida, the sculptures are situated roughly 60 feet underwater, which means visitors must also be certified scuba divers.
The inaugural exhibition was installed on June 25, with some 80 onlookers gathering to watch the submersion of seven sculptures, selected by a jury following an international open call. Artists designed each work using materials that will not only weather the underwater environment, but help promote the development of a healthy reef. Currently, the coastal waters in this part of the Gulf of Mexico are 95 percent barren sand flats. The museum was conceived of in the hope that the sculptures will help promote marine life, eventually creating a protective coral reef.