Case Study: Trash as Treasure – The Washed Ashore Project and Healthy Oceans

Art is a transformative experience that changes behavior and habits.
– Cindy Chin, CEO & Founder

The Washed Ashore Project is an educational, community art project and traveling exhibit that brings awareness to the pressing problem of marine debris in our oceans. Art is a transformative experience to change behavior and habits. The exhibit was showcased at The Marine Mammal Center in Sausalito, CA, but it didn’t have a clear marketing or fundraising strategy to take the next steps.

The Challenge
In August 2011, CLC Advisors, LLC partnered with Sullivan Street Designs, Productive Concepts International, and Senta Creative to create a global tour and to develop a branding and marketing strategy for The Washed Ashore Project. After a needs assessment and analysis of combined network partners and corporate sponsors, it was determined to launch a global awareness campaign and tour as part of The AC Healthy Ocean’s Project at The America’s Cup.

Specific campaign and launch strategy included:

  • Increase awareness visually in recycling and motivate behavioral changes through the art as a transformative experience.
  • Drive fundraising, branding and marketing using traditional marketing techniques and social media to attract new donor pools, government and corporate sponsors.
  • Inspire science and environmental reform in companies and individuals worldwide.
  • Promote art in this medium.

If successful, the campaign launch and tour would pave the way for Washed Ashore to build relationships, increase visibility, and raise funds on a global level.


  • Funds were raised to support the Washed Ashore Project’s tour launch and raised awareness.
  • Procurement partners were acquired to help store and transport the art from Marin County to San Diego.
  • The global awareness campaign and tour was successfully launched at The America’s Cup World Series races in San Diego, CA from November 16-20, 2011, as part of The AC Healthy Ocean Project.
  • Engagement of global business leaders in finance, aviation, environment, and the military to support the launch in the Healthy Ocean’s Project at The America’s Cup in San Diego, CA.
  • The Washed Ashore Project exhibit was at The Chula Vista Center in southern California from December 2011-September 2012.
  • The Washed Ashore Project was highlighted at the Our Ocean Summit at the U.S. Department of State in September 2016.

About The Washed Ashore Project
The Washed Ashore Project is an educational community art project and traveling exhibit that brings awareness to the pressing problem of marine debris in our oceans. Art is a transformative experience. The global awareness campaign launched with the intent to change behavior and habits.

What is art?

Artists are human beings who are doing the brave and scary work, doing something original and human that has a risk to it that changes someone else for the better.
– Seth Godin 

In this video, best-selling author Seth Godin discusses what an artist is and increasingly, value flows only to the originals who have created something.

Here at CLC Advisors, LLC, we look for clients and projects who value the creativity and risk of being an original and the ingenuity of innovation when time calls for change.

A Landscape of Fine Arts Fundraising

By Alexandra Palmer

An interesting fundraising market to explore will be Europe, England specifically. Historically, art institutions in the United States and Europe developed in opposition, so their fundraising tactics diverge, as well. On the one hand, being supported by the State in Europe, people feel like the art is theirs. Whereas in the United States museums and similar institutions are primarily supported by generous private donations.

While this has its benefits, it can be perceived as elitist. Adding that to an unfortunate suspicion of education, there is no space for a unified or required art curriculum in our schools. Because of this, there is no baseline from which we can communicate about art, and no general feeling of ownership over our collections: art is considered rarified and not democratic. Which actually couldn’t be farther from the truth.

On the flip side, however, American cultural institutions have the advantage in these tough times. European institutions have always thought that the State would take care of them, but with the austerity measures now in place and it cannot continue at the same historic rate.

As a result, European institutions are looking to America for guidance in setting up American-style fundraising. In fact, at the Institute in London where I received my MA in Art History, they hired an American girl from my graduating class to be an alumni/ae development officer. Prior to her that position didn’t exist and she has done an absolutely astounding job getting it started and running it. No one other than an American could have pulled that off.

Two good books to read to explain these binary approaches are ‘The Curator’s Egg‘ by Karsten Schubert, and ‘Religious Literacy – What Every American Needs to Know—but Doesn’t’ by Steven Prothero. The former discusses the divergent development of museums in America and Western Europe, and the latter explains where this aversion to intelligence, education and by extension, arts and culture came from in America.

There will be diverging approaches to fundraising in India and China. Not necessarily to the same effects as in Europe and America, but perhaps because of similar causes. In India there is a stable democratic government and a ranking importance of family, education and religion. In the same way that microfinance has taken hold there will be similar opportunities for art funding.

Alexandra Palmer is a Cataloguer in the Prints Department of Sotheby’s in New York City. She was formerly a Prints Researcher at The Whitney Museum of Art. She holds two Masters in Art History from The Courthauld Institute of Art and Christie’s, and a B.A. in Art History from Wellesley College.