If you’ve been to Bluffton within the past couple of years, you’ve likely stumbled upon at least a couple of the large, decorated oyster sculptures planted around town. I feel like every time I’m out and about, I stumble across another I know I haven’t seen…
Being a local, and a local art lover and appreciator, I wanted to know more about the sculptures and the artists that painted them. Guess what! Upon a quick Google search I found that the “Shell Art Trail” has its own website and Facebook page!- Let’s dive in.
I learned that all around Bluffton, not just Old Town, there are 21 individual oyster sculptures. Each oyster is 4 feet tall, made of fiber glass, painted and/or adorned by a local artist, and is sponsored by a local business.
I loved this project because of the local artisan support! But I was pleasantly surprised when I took a closer look— Each sculpture is adorned with a plaque on its base that includes interesting facts that bring awareness and education about our favorite saltwater bivalve mollusks and local ecological restoration efforts. Oyster beds are crucial to our local landscape, providing storm surge and erosion protection. And the oysters themselves also do their part by filtering sediment and pollutants out of our local waterways. Not to mention, raw on the half shell or fried, they’re a local delicacy! (to some 🤷🏼♀️, not to me personally… 😅)
Visit lowcountryoystertrail.org and click on Shell Art Trail to download a map of all of the oysters and start your scavenger hunt to answer some trivia questions. I promise you’ll learn a lot and get to take in some pretty creative, local art. Taking “shell-fies” with the oysters and tagging @lowcountryoystertrail are also encouraged.