Bandon is known for breathtaking beaches and a world-class golf course. Now the Coos County town is attracting attention for another reason: The Washed Ashore Project.
If you’ve driven the stretch of Route 101 south of Bandon, you’ve seen the art firsthand: Avery, a giant seabird, who greets passing traffic from his roadside perch. Lots of drivers stop to take a closer look. When they do, they discover that the colorful sculpture is actually made out of trash.
Angela Haseltine Pozzi, Washed Ashore’s lead artist and educator, explains, “First you just want people to stop and look at the art. And then you want to have them stop and think about the problem.”
Here’s how it works: Volunteers gather marine debris from twenty miles of beaches north and south of Bandon. They bring it all to Washed Ashore, where it’s cleaned, sorted, and processed, and then cut and drilled and stitched into sculptures of sea creatures. Then they send the sea creatures out into the world with their message.
As the project’s influence grows, it’s becoming a role model for how communities can work together. Washed Ashore’s visionary use of the arts to advance environmental education is a true inspiration and one more badge of honor for Oregon culture.
Editor’s Note: This is the second in an eight-part series of the Oregon Cultural Trust’s Field Guide to Oregon Culture, which spotlights cultural attractions around the state. The Cultural Trust supports more than 1,300 nonprofits statewide in the development of arts, heritage, and humanities programs. Learn how your free contribution can enrich lives at CulturalTrust.org.