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“Washed Ashore: Art to Save the Sea,’' Now on Display at Audubon Aquarium of the Americas

Sculptures on Exhibit Through Spring 2019

For the next three months, Audubon Aquarium of the Americas will be home to six of artist Angela Pozzi’s creations, including sculptures of a 10-foot Sea Jelly, a 10-foot-long leaping Marlin named "Flash'' and a 1,500-pound Great White Shark named "Greta.'' Sebastian James the Tufted Puffin has been on display near the entrance to Audubon Zoo for about a month.

In October, nine more sculptures will be added to the collection at the Aquarium and one more will join the Tufted Puffin at the Zoo. The sculptures will be on display through April 30, 2019.

The traveling exhibition features larger-than-life aquatic animal sculptures crafted from plastic trash collected from Pacific Coast beaches.

The exhibit by Pozzi is designed to educate about the threat that plastic pollution poses for the ecosystems of the world’s oceans and waterways.

Assembled entirely from plastic trash, the sculptures offer visitors a powerful, visual reality of the proliferation of pollution in the world’s waterways through marine animal representations that use thousands of pieces of debris in practically every color of the rainbow.

A close look at the sculptures will reveal the myriad of items used to construct the artworks – everything from a toilet seat to a car bumper to buoys, bleach bottles, bait traps and flip flops.

Pozzi, Artistic Director and Lead Artist for the Washed Ashore Project, said she hopes that placing her marine debris sculptures near some of the animals affected by this tragedy offers an opportunity for Aquarium visitors to stop and think about how they can make a difference

Plastics have entered all marine habitats and every level of the ocean food chain and whales, fish, zooplankton and numerous other animals are eating the trash.

Experts estimate that 80 percent of marine debris comes from land-based sources – streets to streams to rivers to oceans.

Audubon Nature Institute is reducing single-use plastics by phasing out plastic straws from concessions and plastic bags from gift shops. Since 2017, more than 200,000 individual pieces of single-use plastics have been eliminated.

The not-for-profit Washed Ashore Project was created in 2010 after Pozzi witnessed mounds of plastic trash piling up on formerly pristine beaches along her native Oregon coast. She organized all-volunteer cleanups and used the collected trash – washed and sorted – to create massive, realistic sculptures of sea animals most affected by the pollution.

Since the project began, more than 10,000 volunteers have participated, collecting, washing and hand stitching parts of sculptures. More than 42,000 pounds of plastic pollution have been collected from over 300 miles of beaches and turned into more than 70 sculptures that tour the country.

The exhibit will be included with a general admission ticket to the Aquarium.

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Audubon Nature Institute

Audubon Nature Institute operates a family of museums, parks and research facilities dedicated to celebrating the wonders of nature. Through innovative live animal exhibits, education programs, and scientific discovery, Audubon makes a meaningful contribution to preserving wildlife for the future. Audubon Nature Institute flagships include Audubon Park, Audubon Zoo, Audubon Aquarium of the Americas, Entergy Giant Screen Theater, Audubon Butterfly Garden and Insectarium, Audubon Louisiana Nature Center, Freeport-McMoRan Audubon Species Survival Center, Woldenberg Riverfront Park and Audubon Wilderness Park. Ron Forman is President and CEO of Audubon Nature Institute.