Marine Debris Art


Artist Sarah Tucker received a $600 grant for her “awesome” idea to create a new sculpture out of sea debris. Tucker, who has made art out of sea debris before for the Dungeness Crab & Seafood Festival and others, was amazed when the Awesome Port Angeles Workshop selected her for the Awesome Port Angeles grant. Using ropes and other debris that have washed ashore, Tucker created a “Merpeople Picnic” that will be displayed throughout town beginning at the Crab Festival on Hollywood Beach.

What makes it unique, she said, is that her marine debris pieces start conversations about what washes ashore and the effort it takes to clean up the mess. “Sometimes with art, people just want to criticize it or see how much the artist wants for it,” Tucker said. “With this, everyone talks about it.”

She incorporated a merperson that she had previously created into the piece. That merperson has been on display at the Port Angeles Library in the past. Tucker also added another adult-sized gender-neutral merperson and a child-sized merperson to create the picnic.

She gets the bulk of her material from Washington CoastSavers, a group that cleans Washington’s coasts of debris, which Tucker happily accepts.

Tucker has created works of art for the Juan de Fuca Festival of the Arts and Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary.

In the main tent, look for Jennifer Bright’s popular 7-foot JELLYFISH, and Sarah Tucker’s OCTOPUS, a new sculpture which has been created with debris gathered by volunteers from the many organizations associated with CoastSavers.

Crab sculpture by Sarah TuckerJust outside the main tent, PUBLIC CRAB, by Sarah Tucker, will be displayed. PUBLIC CRAB will return to CrabFest festooned with fresh debris!

The art pieces invite us to consider our role in the debris that has invaded our marine environment, and the toxicity of marine waste.  They remind us to keep these critical environmental issues in the forefront of our minds and eco-decisions.

Local artists have mined the ever-burgeoning amount of marine debris in our oceans and rivers to create thought-provoking, fascinating, and unusual artistic statements.

Sara Tucker and fish friendFROM TRASH TO TREASURES
Local artists Sarah Tucker (pictured with fish friend) and Jennifer Bright will display their marine debris sculptures at CrabFest this year.

Marine debris is trash that somehow ends up in the ocean. Recognize this plastic water bottle? It could be the one you threw away several months ago – not at the beach, but at your home! It just blew out of your garbage, landed in a nearby waterway, and floated out to the coast. Now it’s degrading and poisoning our coastal wildlife. Or maybe a commercial fishing boat lost some gear in one of our notorious winter storms. No matter where you live or what kind of work you do, marine debris is everyone’s problem.

Jennifer Bright and her Jellyfish

Jennifer Bright and her Jellyfish

Jennifer Bright brings her masters degree in marine biology and her passion for the natural world together with her fascination of deep-sea organisms and combines them into artistic expressions.

Sarah Tucker brings 17 years of multi-arts experience in Port Angeles, especially working with recycled and repurposed materials.


Feiro Marine Life Center
Located on the festival grounds at City pier.
The admission fee is $4 for adults and $2 for youth ages 3-17. Children under 3 are free. Hours are 10am-5pm daily through October 8, 2017.

Olympic Coast Discovery Center
Located on the 2nd Floor of The Landing Mall adjacent to City pier.
The center is run by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and is open from 10:00am to 5:00pm Saturday and Sunday.