Anchorage Museum’s marine debris exhibition receives $90,000 in foundation grants

Posted on February 7, 2013 

Image caption: Elizabeth Leader, "Tires Underwater," pencil drawing. Leader is one of the artists who will be featured in the "Gyre" exhibition at the Anchorage Museum.


Anchorage Museum’s marine debris exhibition receives $90,000 in foundation grants

The Anchorage Museum has been awarded a $50,000 grant from the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation and a $40,000 grant from The Paul G. Allen Family Foundation, both to support “Gyre.”

The Gyre project, a collaboration with the Alaska SeaLife Center, addresses the problem of marine debris through a 2013 scientific expedition and a 2014 contemporary art exhibition. Marine debris is any man-made object that litters the coastal or marine environment, from a single plastic bottle washed up on a beach to the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, a floating raft of garbage the size of Mexico.

In summer 2013, an international team of artists, scientists and educators will travel the Alaska coastline to observe, document and collect marine debris. In February 2014, a 7,500-square-foot exhibition at the Anchorage Museum will tell a global marine debris story through the work of more than 20 artists. These include Los Angeles’ Cynthia Minet, who re-purposes plastic containers into life-size animal sculptures, and San Francisco’s Susan Middleton, who photographs the effects of marine debris on animals. Other well-known artists who have committed to the exhibition include Alexis Rockman, Mark Dion and Edward Burtynsky.

An exhibition section specific to Alaska will feature the 2013 expedition’s resulting scientific discoveries, as well as art created from the marine debris gathered on Alaska’s beaches during the journey.

The Robert Rauschenberg Foundation was formed by artist Robert Rauschenberg to promote awareness of the causes close to his heart, particularly philanthropy programs that intersect art with environmental protection.

The Paul G. Allen Family Foundation was launched by Microsoft co-founder Paul G. Allen and Jo Lynn Allen to transform lives and strengthen communities by fostering innovation, creating knowledge and promoting social progress.

Learn more about the "Gyre" project at Donations to the project are being accepted online here



The Anchorage Museum is the largest museum in Alaska and one of the top 10 most visited attractions in the state. The museum’s mission is to share and connect Alaska with the world through art, history and science. Learn more at


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