Plastic Pollution
October 21 2015

Art + Activism

by Holly Parker

What happens with you mix public art and activsm? The Suncoast Chapter of the Surfrider Foundation in collaboration with world renowned Installation Artist Ya La’ford executed a visually stunning sculpture, as beautiful as it was powerful, intended to educate the public on the impacts of plastics on our oceans, waves, and beaches.

“Having the opportunity to work shoulder to shoulder with the Suncoast Surfrider Foundation, and to demonstrate first hand to children how ocean environments are confronting real ecosystem challenges was impactful. As an artist advocate, its important to gain the support of scientists, educators, and community leaders to educate the public and discover new ways to improve our relationship with the natural world”, said Ya La’ford.

The Suncoast area was recently galvanazed by a viral video sharing concerns on plastic straws by a mother and child duo on St. Petersburg beach. The young activst helped spark a broad conversation about single-use plastics and how the community can work to ban plastic straws. While the city has yet to adopt a ban on all plastic straws, at least six beach-side businesses have mad pledges to ditch plastic straws and switch to paper.

“This project really captures the essence of communicating the dichotomy of our beautiful oceans with the sad fact that pollution is an all too common sight. Ya and her team did an amazing job with the local community to really drive the message and hopefully give people the realization that small steps like refusing plastic straws, bags and other single use products can really make a global impact”, says Chair of the Suncoast Chapter, Thomas Paterek.

The Suncoast Chapter approached this project with a vision of sharing the many connections between our oceans and the people who love them. Each piece of reclaimed wood is unique in its self and represents the uniqueness the ocean offers us. The Chapter hopes to inspire a conversation around the piece that will spark an emotional connection with ocean lovers and make the community aware of the far reaching impacts of single-use plastics.