Washed Ashore: Single-use plastics on display in jaw-dropping exhibit at Metropolis at Metrotown

Tomorrow something pretty spectacular is coming to Metropolis at Metrotown, something that is free and educational for the whole family. Metropolis will be hosting a Washed Ashore exhibit starting February 23rd to April 30th, 2022. This one-of-a-kind fully sustainable art exhibit made entirely out of plastic waste from the Pacific Ocean is the perfect way to educate families about the impacts of single-use and disposable plastics and to encourage a shift in your home recycling choices.

Washed Ashore logo

We all know that when it comes to plastic waste, we’re fighting a bit of an uphill battle against large corporations that aren’t making it a priority to lower their waste, so when we talk with A about our choices at home, we focus on the small steps make big impacts. Having previously seen the Douglas Copeland Vortex exhibit at the Vancouver Aquarium many times, she’s been on board with more sustainable choices we continue to make at home. Have you ever considered what happens to items that are too small and missed in recycling programs? Think toothbrush handles, tampon applicators, straws, food wrappers… where do they end up? You guessed it, swimming with our ocean friends.

Washed Ashore: art to save the sea, works with communities to clean up, educate and create jaw dropping art pieces. Collecting donations from community beach cleaning efforts; the amazing artists behind Washed Ashore get to work creating impactful sculptures from marine debris. These pieces take a lot of time and effort to create, in fact: Octavia the Octopus, a 9 ft x 12 ft Octopus weighing 1200 lbs., and Grace the Humpback Whale Tail, spanning 10 ft high and 12 ft long, weighing 1800 lbs. They are not small creations and Metropolis will be showcasing 9 of these giant marine life sculptures for families to experience up close and for free.

Washed Ashore Salmon art piece

As a non-profit organization committed to combating plastic pollution through art and education, Washed Ashore’s mission is to build an exhibit that is aesthetically powerful. To create art to educate a global audience about plastic pollution in their oceans and waterways in order to spark positive changes in consumer habits. Their team of volunteers is dedicated to cleaning our oceans, educating families and making something beautiful out of marine debris. 

The Washed Ashore Exhibit is a beautiful and impactful art display, created to educate visitors on the importance of sustainability and reducing plastics from our oceans,” says Alice Wong, Marketing Manager for Metropolis at Metrotown.

Washed Ashore has made a huge impact on cleaning our world’s oceans. In fact 300+ miles of beaches have been cleaned, 38,000 pounds of debris has been processed and over 14,000 hours have been contributed by volunteers since they started their organization! These exhibits have been at some incredible venues including the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History in Washington, The Kelly Clarkson Show, Disney, and many Zoos, Aquariums, and Botanical Gardens across the United States. Now we get a chance to see these up close, at no cost and right here in Burnaby until April 30th at Metropolis at Metrotown. Be prepared for a eye-opening experience!

Washed Ashore shark piece on display in ocean background

This exhibit will be especially amazing for homeschoolers giving them a chance at a free educational field trip. This will be a great catalyst for discussions on marine life, pollution, consumerism impacts and even some math lessons! How do you ask? Let’s give you a few ideas to help you get the most out of this experience. 

Ways to incorporate the Washed Ashore exhibit in your homeschooling curriculum:

Math Focuses:

  • Comparing the sculptures weight to the animals real life weight, size etc.
  • How much marine debris does each sculpture contain? Convert those measurements. 

Science Focuses:

  • Use each sculpture as a talking point to learn about each animal. What is that animal’s habitat like? What is their diet like? How could items in their diet be confused with plastic items that are ending up in the ocean?
  • What type of plastics/garbage are you seeing? This is a great chance to do a scavenger hunt for items if you are with the younger kids who love game focused learning. Ask them to find items that you would commonly find in your own home
  • For the older kids, ask them what sort alternatives you could incorporate at home to eliminate some of the most seen single-use plastics on display.

Art Focuses:

  • Use this experience to inspire up-cycled art projects at home. Ask your children what items you could start collecting around the home that could be turned into an ocean dwelling animal.
  • Use found items to make your own 2-D art piece or get really ambitious and try to create your own sculpture as a family. 

Additional Focuses:

Washed Ashore wants to make education accessible for everyone and has created an in-depth curriculum to accompany the exhibit, ways to incorporate an ocean clean up in your area and ways that you can up-cycle and re-purpose found items in your own community and much more. This curriculum, just like the exhibit, is completely free with lesson guides, supply lists and more available in pdf format on washedashore.org/curriculum.

Washed Ashore Metropolis Art Exhihibit February 23-April 30

Washed Ashore at Metropolis at Metrotown will be astounding for families who are homeschooling or who just want an educational experience as a family that encourages talking points about protecting our planet. All visitors are encouraged to take photos of their experience at the exhibit, share on Instagram, and tag #METWashedAshore @metropolisatmet for a chance to win a weekly prize package, including a Metropolis gift card. You’ll have until April 30th to see these 9 sculptures in the Grand Court of Metropolis at Metrotown so don’t miss it, A and I will be sure to check it out a couple times before it is gone. 

Tara Jensen
Tara is a parenting influencer based on the West Coast. With her full time career in health care, she focuses on green living, healthy family choices and encouraging families to live a fabulously frugal lifestyle. She lives on coffee, cuddles and post-its, generally in that order. When she isn’t working, she can be found outdoors exploring beautiful British Columbia with her family.