26th April 2017
Jason deCaires Taylor, an acclaimed international artist, will visit North Queensland in early July to scope out the potential for an underwater art museum off the Townsville coast. The unique gallery concept has been hailed as a game changer and has the potential to boost the region’s marine tourism industry.
Set to include intertidal art installations on Magnetic Island and along The Strand, the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Underwater Art Museum also has plans for major underwater art sites on the outer reefs off Townsville and at Palm Island. Travel groups predict that should the scale of investment be large enough, the unique art museum has the ability to create a marine tourism industry that’s not currently present.
By providing something that’s never been done before, the underwater art museum is expected to bring hundreds of thousands of divers to the region annually and will encompass both the region’s indigenous heritage and arts community. Spearheaded by Reef Ecologic, James Cook University, SeaLink Queensland, Townsville City Council, Palm Island Shire Council and Townsville Enterprise, the museum would be the first of its kind in the southern hemisphere.
Jason deCaires Taylor created the first underwater art museum in the world in 2006 off the coast of Grenada and later created the Museo Subacuático de Arte in 2009 off the coast of Mexico’s Cancun. Nation Geographic now lists the Grenada museum as one of the Top 25 Wonders of the World and Mexico’s underwater art saw in increase of almost 400,000 visitors annually.
Still it’s not just Great Barrier Reef holidays that the rare museum is set to improve. Reef Ecologic director Dr Paul Marshall said it would also provide engagement and education opportunities to draw attention to and support the efforts of protecting the national treasure of the Great Barrier Reef.
“The fate of coral reefs is front and centre both nationally and internationally — an underwater art museum opens up a whole new suite of options for locals and tourists to connect with the reef,” he said.