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University of Maine, Sea Grant Project


6th, 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th, 11th, 12th, AP® / College


Science, Biology, Visual and Performing Arts

Resource Types

  • Artwork
  • Articles and Websites

Regional Focus

Global, North America, United States, USA - Northeast, Maine

Seaweed Inspires Art: Q & A With John Ewen

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  • This written interview with artist John Ewen discusses his method of making pressed-seaweed artwork, his scientific curiosity, and his hopes of increasing the appreciation and awareness of this important marine species.
  • The site includes beautiful images of his work and links to learn more.
Teaching Tips


  • Students may appreciate learning about the multi-step process to create this artwork.
  • There are links to the posts of the artwork highlighted for the Sea Grant calendar that students can view.

Additional Prerequisites

  • Younger students may need some words defined for them prior to reading the interview.
  • Access to the Internet and social media is required to view the posts.


  • Art students can explore the technique described by the artist and then apply it to a local plant species in their area.
  • Science classes can use the artist's inquiry about the seaweed he collected to connect to lessons about habitats, invasive species, environmental conditions, or marine ecosystems.
  • Consider having students create artwork for a gallery walk based on one type of marine species, with each piece containing a description of the species's habitat, nutritional needs, and how changing ocean conditions may affect the species.
  • Connect this resource to climate change by discussing the increasing frequency of strong storms, higher ocean temperatures, changing ocean currents, and increasing ocean acidification.
Scientist Notes
This question and answer session with artist John Ewen from the University of Maine's Sea Grant program discusses their collaboration to create 12 pieces of art featuring seaweeds found in Maine's coastal waters. Ewen was inspired to start creating seaweed art after attending a Maine Sea Grant conference and learning about the seaweed industry size and opportunities. His artistic process involves pressing and drying seaweed for several weeks, scanning the images, and experimenting with different presentations. Ewen's work merges art and science, raising questions about marine algae and their habitats. His art serves as a means to explore and raise awareness of the environmental importance of marine plants. This resource would be a great addition to a classroom discussion about the importance of sea plants and the potential effects climate change could have on them, and it is recommended for teaching.
  • Common Core English Language Arts Standards (CCSS.ELA)
    • Reading: Informational Text (K-12)
      • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.6.2 Determine a central idea of a text and how it is conveyed through particular details; provide a summary of the text distinct from personal opinions or judgments.
  • National Core Arts Standards
    • Visual Arts: Standard 7 - Perceive and analyze artistic work.
      • VA:Re7.1.8a Explain how a person's aesthetic choices are influenced by culture and environment and impact the visual image that one conveys to others.
    • Visual Arts: Standard 9 - Apply criteria to evaluate artistic work.
      • VA:Re9.1.6a Develop and apply relevant criteria to evaluate a work of art.
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