ATLANTA (May 6, 2016) – Georgia Aquarium is proud to announce today the opening of new traveling art exhibition, Washed Ashore: Art to Save the Sea. Washed Ashore is a non-profit and community-based organization that aims to educate the public and create awareness about ocean pollution though artwork created entirely from marine debris.

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), marine debris is defined as any persistent solid material that is manufactured and intentionally or unintentionally disposed of into any marine environment. A common material that makes up marine debris is plastic. About 300 million pounds of plastic is produced globally each year, and less than 10 percent of that is recycled. Ocean pollution is a planet-wide issue, and The Washed Ashore Project staff and volunteers are working to increase awareness and help find a solution by creating thought-provoking artwork.

Georgia Aquarium is a partner of the Ocean Conservancy and a member of the Trash Free Seas Alliance, which helps to remove trash from the ocean and prevent it from reaching waterways in the first place. The Ocean Conservancy has reported that about 8 million pounds of plastic pollution enter the ocean every year and that within 10 years for every three pounds of fish in the ocean, there will be one pound of trash.

"Marine debris reaches every part of the ocean. Even though Atlanta is a landlocked city, plastic waste from our consumer actions here can and does reach the ocean through rivers that connect to the Gulf of Mexico; unfortunately, the ocean is downstream of everything.  We hope that the Washed Ashore artworks inspire people to think about the fate of plastic that they use every day and the impact that it has on the animals that you can see at Georgia Aquarium, out in the ocean,” said Dr. Alistair Dove, director of research and conservation for Georgia Aquarium.

Founded in 2010 and led by artist Angela Haseltine Pozzi, Washed Ashore works with community members and volunteers to clean beaches and create spectacular and eye-opening art pieces to be shared with others through the traveling exhibition. All of the Washed Ashore artwork, which represents sea life most affected by plastic pollution in the ocean, is constructed using trash collected during beach clean-ups. As of January 2016, Washed Ashore has processed more than 17 tons of marine debris and created more than 66 art pieces.

“We are excited to host Washed Ashore at Georgia Aquarium. This is just one of several new features for our 10th anniversary celebration, in addition to the recent opening of a new California sea lion gallery and revamped AT&T Dolphin Celebration presentation,” said Martin Gray, Georgia Aquarium’s chief marketing officer. “Our mission at Georgia Aquarium is to educate and inspire each guest that walks through the door, and Washed Ashore is a unique way to teach visitors about the dangers of marine debris and encourage them to become stewards for the ocean even after they leave the Aquarium.”

The exhibition at Georgia Aquarium will feature 13 Washed Ashore pieces, including Gertrude, a nine-foot penguin sculpture, a tropical coral reef replica, and walk-through whale bone ribcage. The larger-than-life sculptures can be found around the Aquarium in the outdoor plaza, Tropical Diver gallery, and near the 4D Funbelievable Theater. Each piece of art features educational signage to inform guests of all ages about the artwork and provides helpful tips on how to reduce, refuse, reuse, recycle and repurpose.

“It is a privilege to partner with the Georgia Aquarium to spread the sobering and educational message about marine debris and how all of us can make a difference,” said Angela Haseltine Pozzi, artistic and executive director of Washed Ashore. “Washed Ashore uses the international language of the arts to reach a wide range of people with a message of hope and inspiration. Having our exhibit here offers a unique artistic experience for visitors as they enter the aquarium’s spectacular world of the ocean and offers an opportunity for all of us to become more aware of how our consumer choices affect our environment.”

The Washed Ashore exhibit will be on display at Georgia Aquarium May 6 through Sept. 25. Access to Washed Ashore is included with general admission to Georgia Aquarium. To plan your visit and learn more about Washed Ashore www.georgiaaquarium.org.

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ABOUT GEORGIA AQUARIUM
Georgia Aquarium in Atlanta is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that contains more than 10 million gallons of water and has the largest collection of aquatic animals. Georgia Aquarium’s mission is to be a scientific institution that entertains and educates, features exhibits and programs of the highest standards, and offers engaging and exciting guest experiences that promote the conservation of aquatic biodiversity throughout the world. Georgia Aquarium is an accredited member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums and the Alliance of Marine Mammal Parks and Aquariums. For additional information, visit www.georgiaaquarium.org.