The worlds of marine conservation and ocean art will be joining forces in Chicago this coming Spring 2018 in an effort to raise funds for citizen submarines and to bring ocean awareness to an urban, Midwestern community.

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Marine Mural by Wyland

“Globally recognized marine life artist, Wyland, will share his visionary artwork as a mural on the currently blank brick wall of the Bronzeville Artist Lofts hosted by Gallery Guichard in Chicago’s Bronzeville neighborhood.” This will be the focal point of a fundraising event spearheaded by Alex Rose, founder of Blue Ring, to expose people to the ocean in a new way while generating funds for the construction of two submersibles. The subs, capable of depths to 1000-meters, will be symbols of hope, dedicated to exploring places never before witnessed, as well as bringing to the public’s attention news and evidence of the human impact on the ocean.


Mery the Ocean!!

BlueRing alex rose icon ocean conservation through artAlex founded Blue Ring at the beginning of 2017 to create a new method of ocean conservation accessible to and inclusive of everyone who wants to better understand and protect our seas.  Blue Ring is a Benefit Corporation that will allow people to “marry” the ocean. Instead of using “marry” with the conventional spelling, it is instead spelled “mery” because of its correlation with the root word “mer” meaning “sea”, and is a term used to denote ones ongoing and committed relationship with the ocean.

blue Ring cropped alex rose marine conservation through artParticipation costs $25 annually and includes a digital “Meriage Certificate” along with a blue silicone ring to show off ones commitment. People under the age of 18 can be “adopted” by the ocean and become “children of the sea” and can receive a pendant instead of a ring. Each year, the money raised goes towards funding a different ocean initiative in its entirety. The first goal is to raise $5 million for two, dual-classed submersibles built by Deep Ocean Exploration and Research (DOER). This will require 200,000 people to mery™ the ocean.


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“We will conserve only what we love”

The reason for this choice boils down to a single quote: “In the end we will conserve only what we love; we will love only what we understand; and we will understand only what we are taught.” These words were spoken by Senegalese environmentalist, Baba Dioum, in 1968 in reference to agricultural development and natural resource management, but they are no less pertinent now when considering the state of our world ocean.

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Subs to explore “Hope Spots”

burt jones ocean conservation through artOnce the subs are built, their exploration will focus on “Hope Spots”. Hope Spots are special areas of the ocean that need to be aggressively protected due to their unique and/or particularly important features that are crucial to maintaining the health of our seas. By establishing and defending these Hope Spots we’re providing the ocean and its many inhabitants a chance to rest and recover in a safe place that is off limits to destructive human activities.

Some Hope Spots are already marine protected areas (MPAs) and others are just being discovered, but all are places where conservation, research, and sustainable development must interconnect to preserve them for the future. Conscientiously managing our ocean’s health requires a unified global effort centered around the continued establishment and unwavering protection of a growing number of these Hope Spots. (photo – Burt Jones, Maureen Shimlock)


Wyland mural is centerpiece of first Blue Ring fundraiser

Wyland graciously accepted an invitation to be part of the first annual Blue Ring fundraiser, and his vibrant artwork will be the centerpiece of the event. WylandGuichard mural part crop 1 ocean conservation through artWith paints donated by Sherman Williams and a wall kindly provided by Frances and Andre Guichard, founders and owners of Gallery Guichard and extremely active and generous members of the Bronzeville art community, a life-sized marine mural will emerge over the course of a two-day media extravaganza aimed at engaging urban youths with the ocean world.


WylandGuichard mural part crop 2 marine conservation through artTickets to the event will range from $50 to $175. Every ticket purchased entitles attendees to a Blue Ring membership, entrance to the opening event, and the opportunity to meet Wyland, while the more expensive options will also include a VIP reception with cocktails and light snacks and their name incorporated into the ocean wall. Additionally, there will be a silent auction and raffle prize. More information about this event will be available soon at as well as on the Blue Ring FaceBook and Instagram pages.

By Alex Rose, a Blue Ocean Network contributor


About Alex Rose

Alex holds a B.S. in Biology, a M.S. in Aquatic Biology, and has a wide variety of experience in the biological sciences including but not limited to bioacoustics research, exhibit construction, science writing, teaching, public presentation, and aquatic animal husbandry and breeding. Alex is also a professional violinist, photographer, Explorers Club Fellow, PADI Divemaster, and lover of all things aquatic. She is currently the Science Editor and a principle writer for Ocean Geographic Magazine, the Managing Editor for Ocean Geographic Explorers (OGX) and is a free-lance science writer and editor as well. Alex also composes violin pieces for use in ocean themed films and exhibitions. Her driving goal is to find ways to protect our world’s precious marine habitats through diving, writing, photography, education, and research.


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