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A new piece of functional art was revealed Jan. 22 at Venice Beach. The 9-foot by 9-foot aluminum sea turtle will help collect plastic waste and be a way of educating the public on recycling. A contest is underway to name it.

VENICE BEACH — Gulf Coast Community Foundation has a poll started to name its new turtle sculpture at Venice Beach.

The foundation unveiled the large aluminum “functional artwork” in January as a place for recyclables to go and a way to remind visitors that recycling is necessary.

On social media on Tuesday, Gulf Coast Community Foundation noted it has received more than 250 submitted names and “have narrowed it down to five finalists,” it said.

The finalists include:

• Timothy

• JoJo

• Tortilla

• Akiro — which is Japanese for “Bright Boy”

• Speckles

The poll can be found online at

“They were done very creatively,” Gulf Coast Community Foundation Director of Strategic Marketing Kelly Carlstein said.

The poll runs through March 30 and an announcement on the winner’s name will be made March 31, she said. Students and kids who supplied the original 250 names included children at the Venice YMCA; Sky Academy Venice; Englewood YMCA; Sky Academy Englewood and children in the Early Learning Centers, Carlstein said.

They already have more than 100 votes, Carlstein noted.

Weighing in at about 400 pounds, it was made with durable aluminum because of its exposure to salt air, Asolo Theatre Production Manager Vic Meyrich explained.

The sculpture was created through the teamwork of Gulf Coast Community Foundation and the Asolo Theatre along with the city of Venice.

There may be a few more creations like it in the future. There is an interest from officials to have them set up at Manasota Key and Lido Key, officials said.


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