The Underwater Museum of Art in the Gulf of Mexico off the Florida coast, featuring seven sculpture designs, is now officially open.

On June 25 nearly 80 onlookers — including many of the artists — were on site to view the sculptures’ installation.

Cultural Arts Alliance of Walton County Executive Director Jennifer Steele said:

“After nearly two years of planning and fundraising, it was a surreal hour watching the artwork being lowered into the Gulf of Mexico. From the moment Allison Wickey, our board president, brought this idea to the table as a co-project with SWARA, we have been encouraged by the excitement from and support by our local community and the national and international interest it has received. It has been a wonderfully challenging experience for the CAA to reach outside our comfort zone to make this vision a reality, and it could not have happened without our partnership with SWARA and contributions from Visit South Walton, the National Endowment for the Arts, The Alys Foundation, Visit Florida and all of the sculpture sponsors who wanted to be a part of this unique project.”

The sculptures were installed approximately 60 feet/18 meters deep about a mile/1.6 km off Grayton Beach State Park in Santa Rosa Beach, Florida. You need to be a certified diver to see them.

For more info, check out the UMA website at umafl.org.