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Screen Shot 2021 05 12 at 2.16.19 PMThe Patton Marine Science Education Center is currently under construction with an anticipated opening in summer of 2022. 

Location: 855 East Cotter Ave. (on the way to the beach) Maps & Directions

 

 

Celebrating the Texas Gulf Marine Environment in Art

Interdependency-smInterdependency,” a sculpture by renowned artist Kent Ullberg, adorns the main entrance of the University of Texas Marine Science Institute. From a distance, “Interdependency” is a 10-foot long tarpon leaping out of the sea, but a closer look reveals more than 50 marine plants and animals that fuse together to create the giant fish.

The sculpture, which was unveiled on July 21, 2012, was made possible by a generous donation from the Jack and Valerie Guenther Foundation.

Ullberg decided to depict a tarpon because it is a symbol of Port Aransas (which, until 1910, was named Tarpon, Texas) and a symbol of the Gulf of Mexico marine environment. Forming the tarpon from a diverse array of marine life was inspired by the famous Renaissance painting Vertumnus by Giuseppe Arcimboldo, which hangs in the national museum in Ullberg’s native Sweden. Arcimboldo’s 1590 oil painting uses fruits, vegetables, grains, and flowers to create a portrait of Emperor Rudolf II of the Holy Roman Empire. Just as in the painting, Ullberg’s tarpon comes together as a fusion of sea life that ranges from microscopic plankton and seaweed to fishes, whales, and birds.

Ullberg described “Interdependency” as the most challenging individual sculpture of his career. While incorporating so many different plants and animals and making sure they all were scientifically correct, he had to maintain the form of the tarpon. But as he puts it, the Institute got “50 sculptures for the price of 1.”

Ullberg hopes his work will be fun and educational. Children can make a game of finding each of the different creatures in the sculpture. They will also learn something about the interdependency of marine life when they see the osprey carrying a mullet in its talons, a crab nipping the tail of the redfish, or the remora attached to the shark.

The sculpture, which was unveiled on July 21, 2012, was made possible by a generous donation from the Jack and Valerie Guenther Foundation.

Related information: 

University of Texas College of Natural Sciences News Release (July 23, 2012)
Port Aransas South Jetty newspaper (July 26, 2012)