Project Seawall Interpretive Trail (SIT) is a beautification program on Galveston’s (Texas) Historic Seawall. The program transformed 70 concrete benches with educational mosaics providing an interpretation of Galveston Island, Galveston Bay, and the Gulf of Mexico. These benches tell the story of coastal and ocean processes, natural resources, recreational opportunities, coastal heritage, and multiple uses of our coast. Each bench therefore builds awareness and inspires action to conserve our natural resources.
Enjoy Project SIT today by doing your own self-guided tour by walking or biking along Galveston’s beautiful Seawall Blvd. These benches are spread out along the Seawall from 6th Street to 60th Street.
Project SIT was completed by commissions to artists through a juried process and student work created during Artist Boat Eco-Art Residencies. Bench beautification began with bench sponsorship. Artist Boat then sent out a CALL TO ARTISTS to submit a design. Designs had to: interpret the theme (visual or text), be accurate, and beautiful. The Jury was made up of six professional artists and scientists that are also community stakeholders. The jury reviewed each submission before approval was given to the selected artist. The artists were provided with tiles, glazes, and brushes to complete their bench. Upon completion, artists returned tiles to the Artist Boat office for firing and installation. Artist Boat contracted a professional tile company to repair benches and install mosaic tile.
Project SIT stands to be an important educational legacy in Galveston. The Seawall is an important vacation destination and a cornerstone of Galveston’s tourist economy. In the 2014 fiscal year, 6 Million visitors came to Galveston and generated $145 million in tax dollars during their stay. Seawall construction began in 1902 and since has become a cultural landmark that defines Galveston’s pride and resilience. Project SIT is a once in a generation opportunity to leave a culturally significant legacy on the Seawall for many years to come.
Since 2011, all 70 benches were sponsored. The artists were supported through private donations and Artist Boat’s Eco-Art Residency program. Collectively, students from KIPP Coastal Village, Satori School, Crenshaw Elementary, Yorkshire Academy, Jefferson, Dowling, and Lyons Elementary painted seventeen benches, while individual artists painted the remaining benches. Artist Boat raised over $270,000 to complete Project SIT including large contributions from Reliant (an NRG energy), the City of Galveston, Federal Transit Administration, the Galveston Island Park Board of Trustees, and Harris County Department of Education. Smaller contributions from over 30 individuals, groups, and families contributed nearly $100,00.