GREENPORT, New York -- For as long as Cindy Pease Roe can remember, art has been a part of life.
In addition to her passion for the arts, she loved the outdoors, especially the ocean.
During Roes early twenties, she lived on a sailboat and traveled throughout the Caribbean Islands, where she was inspired to create art from the variety of fish she had seen.
This newfound appreciation for marine life became a part of her work and has been ever since.
10 years ago, she was walking her dogs on one of the Long Island beaches and was shocked by all the plastic washed up onshore.
From painting, she pivoted to sculpting, creating art pieces with the trash she would collect from the beaches.
Now on a mission to stop marine pollution and educate others with art, she created the non-profit, UpSculpt.
"UpSculpt is the combination of upcycling and sculpture," said Roe. "What upcycling means is to create something of value that actually has no value. In our case, at UpSculpt, we use marine plastics that we pick up off the beach, and we use it to bring awareness to the problems that are facing the oceans today concerning plastics."
At her art studio in Greenport, instead of paintbrushes and blank canvases, you can find an assortment of cleaned trash.
In her studio, the trash she has collected or donated from people get cleaned and organized by type, color, and shape.
Some of these materials include tampons, bullet-casings, liquor bottles, straws, and even beach sandals.
"I want it to be something that catches your eye so that when you see it you go, oh what is this," said Roe. "You get closer, and then once you're there, I got you!"
"I think it's sad at first to realize the impact that we have had as human beings in the environment," said Kara Hoblin, UpSculpt communications. "Like I'm a really big believer that you can't dwell on the past. You can only really live in the present and make choices that can positively affect the future. We're giving it a new life so it can inspire someone to make a small change."
Roe knows that as a society, we are nowhere near picking up every piece of plastic on earth, but she is happy her art pieces can create a dialogue to be better when it comes to our oceans and beaches.
"Find out more about plastic pollution and what you can do where you live in your community," said Roe.
Contact Community Journalist Alex Ciccarone