Texas State Aquarium and Reliant Team Up to Encourage Children to Get Creative and Help Clean Up Local Beaches


“Plastic Free Sea Art Contest” honors Earth Day and invites local children to create artwork from plastics and recyclable material found on the shore.

In honor of Earth Day as thousands of visitors get ready to spend summer along Texas’ iconic beaches, Reliant is partnering with the Texas State Aquarium to highlight the impact trash and debris have on the Gulf coast and marine life. The “Plastic Free Sea Art Contest” is a new competition featuring artwork made by local children from single-use plastic and other recycled material gathered from Corpus Christi-area beaches.

Kicking off on Earth Day, April 22, Reliant and the Aquarium are inviting children under 12 years old to participate in a virtual art contest showcasing artwork made from material collected from their local beaches. The winner will receive four admission tickets to the Aquarium, a plush from the gift shop and the artwork will be displayed as part of the “Washed up Texas” installation at the Texas State Aquarium until September 2021. Reliant will also award $2,000 to the winning student’s school.

“We are honored to be a part of a fun, educational event with the Texas State Aquarium, an organization we have loved supporting over the years,” said Elizabeth Killinger, president of Reliant. “Partnering with the Aquarium to help the next generation of Texans learn to care for the Gulf coast and marine life through this creative initiative will make a lasting impact on our children, families and the community at large.”

It has been estimated that by 2050 there will be more plastic in the ocean than fish, and this event is designed to highlight the devastating effects of marine debris in Texas oceans while promoting the steps community members can take to protect the environment. The Texas State Aquarium regularly features exhibits showcasing the urgency of the situation and this event will allow children to participate and feel the impact they can have on a small scale.

"We're grateful to Reliant for encouraging students across the Coastal Bend area to engage in unique conservation opportunities," said Tom Schmid, Aquarium president and chief executive officer. "As a wildlife conservation-based organization, it's vital that we not just inspire our students to learn about our oceans, but that we take a direct role in ensuring they take action in the care to have a future in their natural habitat's survival."  

The art contest will open April 22 and close May 24. To qualify for the contest, applicants must be 12 years or younger and live in San Patricio or Nueces Counties. Submitted artwork must be made from recycled materials and smaller than 24 inches by 24 inches. A photograph of the artwork will need to be submitted through the Texas State Aquarium website for consideration with the artist’s name, age, school they will attend in the fall, parents’ name, contact number and list of materials used. The finalists and winners will be announced via social media on June 1.

For more information about the contest and how to sign up, visit texasstateaquarium.org/become-a-beach-ball-sponsor-2/artcontest/