The culmination of a 6 month project and hundreds of students’ work will be on display in the Heritage Centre at the Old Sardine Factory on Friday 21st June from 6:00pm. The Marine Art Exhibition project, coordinated by the Looe Marine Conservation Group, has worked with local secondary and primary schools to encourage young people to think about the threats that face our oceans on a global scale. The pieces range from different styles of printing work with recycled materials to a life size kelp forest using ghost fishing gear. The majority of the materials used to create the art have been collected from local beaches during the Looe Marine Conservation Group’s regular beach clean series. Amelia Bridges, chairperson of the group, says “the driving force behind setting up this project was the need to get young people thinking about the challenges our oceans face now, but also how we can create solutions for the future. There is an incredible wealth of talent in Looe from people who understand the oceans having been raised next to them. To see young people taking such an interest in this gives me great hope for the future”.

To cover all student age ranges, the project has engaged with two, local young women studying marine art-related courses at university. Charlotte Guest and Amber Palfrey both grew up in Looe and now study Marine and Natural History Photography at the University of Falmouth. Charlotte says “it’s fantastic to have been involved in a project that brings together my two passions – the ocean and photography. To see such global issues like plastic pollution and overfishing being discussed by young people with a view to solving these issues is just great”. Both Charlotte and Amber will have their own section of the exhibition to display their most recent work, along with Rob Arnold, creator of the East Island Head made of marine microplastics. Thanks to donations from both West and East Looe Town Trusts, exhibition books are being compiled containing professionally taken photographs of each student’s work during the project. Amelia says “we’re hoping that these books will give the project a sense of longevity, rather than being just a one-off event”.

During the day, the Heritage Centre will be hosting the students involved for private viewings, including running educational workshops about some of the issues they’ve been thinking about. The exhibition will then be opened to the public from 6:00pm. Entry to the event is free and includes a complimentary drink and nibbles.