Washed Ashore

Washed Ashore, art to save the sea at Audubon Aquarium of the Americas

Giant aquatic sculptures made from plastic pollution are coming to the Aquarium.

Washed Ashore: Art to Save the Sea
Audubon Aquarium of the Americas

July 27, 2018 through April 30, 2019

This limited-time special exhibition features larger-than-life aquatic animal sculptures crafted from plastic trash collected from beaches. The exhibit is spread throughout the Aquarium and designed to educate a global audience about the threat that plastic pollution poses for the world’s oceans and waterways.

Made entirely of debris removed from Pacific Coast beaches, the “Washed Ashore’’ traveling exhibit offers 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 plastic in every color of the rainbow. Examples include sculptures of a 10-foot Sea Jelly, a 10-foot-long leaping Marlin, and a 1,500-pound Great White Shark. 

At the Zoo
As part of the exhibit, Sebastian James the Tufted Puffin is currently on display at Audubon Zoo.

Washed Ashore will be included with a general admission ticket to Audubon Aquarium of the Americas.


About the Art

Angela Haseltine Pozzi, Artistic Director and Lead Artist for the Washed Ashore Project, said “It is a great privilege to bring the Washed Ashore exhibit to Audubon Zoo and Audubon Aquarium of the Americas, and to partner with such a historically significant organization which has conservation at its core. Working with the Audubon team, we hope to convey the powerful message about how our everyday choices affect plastic pollution in the ocean and waterways and do it in a way that will engage all ages." Pozzi added: “Having our marine debris sculptures next to the animals affected by this tragedy is a great opportunity for people to stop and think about how they can make a difference. We are also very excited to have such a significant exhibit next to the Gulf and the Mississippi!’’

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 in the project, 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.

Watch the Video


Audubon's Commitment

The Aquarium is proud to host Washed Ashore: Art to Save the Sea, with its powerful message that single-use plastic trash is one of the ocean’s deadliest predators. In support of this initiative the Aquarium garnered special recognition from the City of New Orleans in 2017 for efforts to address the growing plastics crisis in our oceans. It’s all part of the “In Our Hands” consumer campaign of the Aquarium Conservation Partnership, a coalition of 19 aquariums taking action together to advance ocean and freshwater conservation. In addition, the Aquarium has stopped using plastic shopping bags, cups, straws, and lids saving an estimated 210,500 plastic items from landfills last year.


Plastic Facts:
  • About 300 million pounds of plastic is produced globally each year and less than 10 percent of that is recycled.
  • The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration estimates that 80 percent of the debris found on beaches comes from land via rivers and waterways.
  • Every year, mankind adds millions of pounds of plastic into our oceans that collect in gyres, which are large, slow-spinning vortexes of ocean currents caused by trade winds and the earth’s rotation.
  • Sea birds, whales, sea turtles and other marine life die regularly after ingesting plastic or becoming entangled in it.
  • Plastic pollution has spread into all marine habitats and every level of the food chain.
  • According to a report by the World Economic Forum, at the current rate, we can expect to have more plastic than fish, by weight, in the world’s oceans by 2050.