World Oceans Day

By Louise Irvine

World Oceans Day is June 8 and we applaud the City of Hollywood for their plans to deploy an artificial coral reef in partnership with the Ocean Rescue Alliance and the 1000 Mermaids Project. The campaign to save the Florida reefs has inspired several WMODA artists. Local artist, Mirela Popovici, worked with WMODA visitors on Museum Day to create a coral reef in clay. Mirela is making good progress with this community project which will be on display soon. Glass artist, Josh Fradis, has installed a shell collecting octopus in its colorful coral reef habitat.

ORA helps save our oceans one reef at a time through the creation of artificial reefs designed to incorporate art, innovative designs, and safe materials to enhance marine habitats, protect coastlines and provide unique diving locations. Through their 1000 Mermaids Project, which is well known at WMODA, ORA puts the Art in “Art”ificial Reefs.

The Eco-Art project serves as an underwater destination for tourism, research, and coral restoration. The mermaid was used to raise awareness of marine conservation as these mythical beings have served as a symbol of humans’ connection to the ocean and its mystery throughout history. The mermaid selfie tail on loan to WMODA has become a popular museum attraction in addition to our Mermaid Quest scavenger hunt. Visitors young and old are enjoying the search for porcelain and glass mermaids in the museum collection. They are also enjoying Suzanne Barton’s beautiful underwater art photographs of mermaids in the Fantastique exhibition.

In partnership with Reef Cells, ORA uses cutting edge science and technology, including VR and 3D scanning to save the coral reefs. Research programs at ORA investigates artificial design improvements, coastal protection with wave reduction modules, coral restoration, oyster restoration, mangrove restoration, fish population dynamics and recruitment to contribute to effective restoration. ORA engages local communities in reef monitoring and coral restoration efforts through their citizen science program, Coral Rangers. Their goal is to spread awareness and create marine habitats that will last for generations to come.

The Hollywood artificial coral reef deployment has 20 reef modules including 5 art sculptures. The first reef structure is scheduled for deployment in 40 feet of water in the Central Beach area and will be accessible by boat. Future snorkel sites nearer the shore are planned for the future. The installation was originally intended for Dania Beach but there were problems with the ocean permits so a new location was sought nearby.

Read about Mirela’s community clay project


Read about Josh’s Shell Collecting Octopus.

The Octopus shell collector

Read more about ORA and 1000 Mermaids Project

The Dania Beach mermaids
1000 Mermaids
Save Our Tropical Paradise
Watch the ORA Video