How Does the Water Speak to You?

June 1, 2021—September 7, 2021.

nc maritime museum at southport and frank harr foundation logos

The staff at the museum collaborated with the Frank Harr Foundation to identify and include members of the LGBTQIA+ communities who also intersect with the maritime community. Following a community campaign, these five artists were selected to share their connections with the water.

Alexander Brooks (He/Him)



The figure in the piece is seemingly relaxed, a slight smile on her face, even as those things hold her in the rising waters. The tenseness of her shoulders suggests she is consciously aware of her predicament but is determined to ignore those entanglements that threaten her very existence in an effort to maintain the facade that everything is perfect.

Artist Bio: Alexander Brooks’ earliest memory of considering that he might be an artist one day was at the age of three when his father “bought” anything he drew for a quarter to hang on the walls of his store. By the time his father sold the store when Alex was seventeen, the walls were completely covered in artworks and Alex was already exhibiting in galleries in the region, including at the North Carolina School of the Arts and the Sawtooth Center in Winston-Salem. Always preferring mixed media pieces, Alex has often found his art tends towards a more illustrative and whimsical feel, even when the themes present may be dark. “To me, art is about exploring the human condition, the ways our minds work,” he says. “Sometimes it’s the sheer enormity of a child’s imagination while at play; sometimes, it’s the damage that’s inflicted by others, our environments and ourselves.”

Alex studied fine arts and scene painting at North Carolina School of the Arts and Appalachian State University while graduating with degrees that have absolutely nothing to do with either of those fields. The majority of his art is commission-based and can be found in collections globally, and one day he sincerely hopes to have enough time to actually produce more art for himself. Alas, as long as people keep paying him, he’s agreed to keep painting what they want because he has a weird addiction to food and a roof over his head.

Robin Douglass (She/Her)

Driftwood Sailboats & Painted Wine Cork Buoys

driftwood, cloth and cork

Sailboats of all shapes and sizes made from found pieces of driftwood and shells from the freshwater and salty shores of lakes and oceans up and down the eastern seaboard. Additionally, wine corks are repurposed as “buoys” and made into customizable Christmas Tree ornaments, keychains, jewelry, etc. No two sailboats are alike. Commissioned one-of-a-kind pieces are welcomed.

Artist Bio: Robin, originally from New Jersey, has been creating sailboats and “all things driftwood” for more than 25 years under the recent name of “Buoys, Boats, ‘n Moor.” She enjoys creating custom sails for the driftwood frames of her boats, using the sails to show off specific college pride colors, Maritime pride, or the many different LGBTQ+ pride color variations in the sails of her boats or in the colors of her wine cork “buoys.” Robin creates decorative ornaments from driftwood, seashells, sea glass, salvaged or recycled materials and wine corks, to name a few. All pieces are handmade and one-of-a-kind.

Achilles Hack (They/Them)

Patroclus and Achilles


A sweet scene of the famous hero Achilles and his lover Patroclus on the beach.

Artist Bio: I’m Achilles, I’m 15 and nonbinary. I’m an avid reader with an obsession with witchcraft, Greek mythology, anything shiny and anything collectible. I want to be a freelance illustrator when I’m an adult and live off commissions.

Campbell Idol (He/Him)

Hidden Identity

acrylic paint on canvas

Artist Bio: Campbell Idol is a nineteen-year-old artist native to Wilmington, North Carolina.  He is currently studying creative writing with a minor in studio art at the University of North Carolina–Wilmington.  Campbell is self-taught and has been creating artwork since his early childhood, and often uses themes such as identity, sexuality and social justice in his work.

Hannah Marley (She/They)

Small Treasure

glass and found objects

A collection of objects found at the beach. I found the bottle buried in the sand as a child and noticed the rainbow sheen to it. I thought it was magic. From then on anything else ‘magical’ that I found that fit through the neck went inside—everything from sharks’ teeth and pottery to lost jewelry and beads. The bottle has accompanied me for almost 20 years.

Artist Bio: I grew up in Southport, North Carolina, and currently live in McClellanville, South Carolina. Both are places where the ocean provides treasures. Still looking for things to put in my collection of washed-ashore bottles.