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USF College of Marine Science Unveils “Current Collections”

St. Petersburg’s newest public art display, a sculpture created with marine debris from local waterways, installed downtown in Poynter Park.

Video by Katy Hennig | USF News

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (Oct. 15, 2014) – A community engagement project designed to create awareness about litter in our waterways has blossomed into a collaborative masterpiece, now installed in downtown St. Petersburg’s Poynter Park.

The sculpture is the result of a partnership between University of South Florida's College of Marine Science and local municipalities and was designed by artists from Georgia State University (GSU) to look like an ocean gyre or “vortex” in which plastic bags and debris get caught.

The goal of the Clean Community Clean Coast program is to engage youth, educators, and local organizations in the effort to address local littering problems, develop new programs and support recycling to protect the wildlife and coastal ecosystems. Children throughout the city have had a hand in turning the trash into colorful elements for the structure throughout the summer.

“Current Collections” spans 40 feet across and reaches 30 feet into the air. Five branching steel arms are covered with a multi-colored translucent plastic skin, made from melted bags and debris collected from area waterways by the City of St. Petersburg and volunteers in coastal cleanups.

The sculpture is an integral part of the Clean Community-Clean Coast youth and community education program, which is led by the University of South Florida’s College of Marine Science, and substantially funded by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Marine Debris Program’s Prevention through Education and Outreach grant/cooperative agreement.

The sculpture, located on the north side of the park, was installed to be a new attraction for visitors to the Oct. 17-18 St. Pete Science Festival and will remain indefinitely on the waterfront for visitors to enjoy. Poynter Park is located on 3rd Street South, between 8th and 11th Avenues South across the street from the Poynter Institute for Media Studies.

Program collaborators include: University of South Florida College of Marine Science, the Georgia State University (GSU) Ernest G. Welch School of Art and Design (with faculty and students in the Embodied Energy Studio LLC), the USF St. Petersburg College of Education (COE), USF College of Behavior and Community Sciences (CBCS), the City of St. Petersburg Parks and Recreation Department and Engineering Department, Keep Pinellas Beautiful (KPB), Tampa Bay Watch (TBW), The Poynter Institute for Media Studies and the St. Petersburg Science Festival.

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