World-Renowned Schmidt Ocean Institute, Robert Downey Jr.’s FootPrint Coalition, and Philippe Cousteau, Jr. to accept awards at AltaSea’s Second Annual Blue Hour


Contact: Jacob Scott


Blue Hour: Ocean of Inclusion will blend art with ocean conservation in a visual journey, beginning at Angels Gate Cultural and ending next to the Korean Bell of Friendship, overlooking the Pacific Ocean.

LOS ANGELES, CA (September 9, 2021) – AltaSea at the Port of Los Angeles, together with LA City Council District 15, is hosting its second annual Blue Hour, an event that will amplify and promote the benefits of a healthy ocean and growing blue economy, as well as educating the next generation on ocean exploration and conservation, through the work of world-class artists. Blue Hour: Ocean of Inclusion will be a two-part visual experience, with artist exhibits preceding the main event. The event will take place at Angels Gate Park in San Pedro on October 9, with the artist exhibits from 4:30-6 PM and the main event from 7-9 PM. Tickets to the event are on sale now. More information can be found here:

AltaSea – a unique public-private ocean institute that convenes and nurtures the best and brightest pioneers and organizations in science, business, and education – hosted the first-ever Blue Hour in 2020, a drive-in experience that included a first-of-its-kind art installation projected onto the USS Iowa, a retired battleship-turned-museum moored on the San Pedro waterfront.

“As Jacques Cousteau once said, ‘The sea, the great unifier, is (our) only hope.’ Blue Hour: Ocean of Inclusion will celebrate that very thought in one of the most unique events in Los Angeles,” said AltaSea CEO Tim McOsker. “Art has the ability to cross barriers and unite us, and by blending art and ocean sustainability, this event will inspire and promote our mission of advancing the blue economy while preserving the ocean for future generations.”

For this year’s Blue Hour, AltaSea is partnering with the Korean Cultural Center of Los Angeles, the Korean Friendship Bell Preservation Committee, Angels Gate Cultural Center, and the Department of Recreation and Parks.

AltaSea will present three awards throughout the evening, recognizing select individuals who have both paved the way and inspired the next generation:

  • Explorer Award, Schmidt Ocean Institute
  • NextGen Award, EarthEcho International
  • Innovation Award, FootPrint Coalition

Accepting the Explorer Award for the Schmidt Ocean Institute will be Dr. Jyotika Virmani, Executive Director of the Schmidt Ocean Institute (SOI). Dr. Virmani, the first executive director of SOI, leads the global nonprofit in its work to advance the field of oceanographic science through innovative research and technology. Since its founding by Wendy and Eric Schmidt, the former Google CEO, in 2009, SOI has worked to advance oceanographic research, discovery, and knowledge, and catalyze sharing of information about the oceans.

Philippe Cousteau, Jr., co-founder of EarthEcho International, will accept the NextGen Award. Cousteau, inspired by the legacy of his grandfather, famed ocean explorer Jacques Cousteau, is a multi-Emmy-nominated TV host, author, speaker, and social entrepreneur. During his career, he has hosted many TV programs for BBC, CNN, Discovery, Travel Channel, and others. His organization, EarthEcho International, was founded in 2005 with his sister, Alexandra, in honor of their father, Philippe Cousteau Sr., to provide knowledge and develop tools in youth around the world that drive meaningful environmental action to protect and restore the ocean planet. With a reach of over 2 million people in 146 countries, EarthEcho supports the next generation to become environmental leaders who will transform the future.

Accepting the Innovation Award will be Rachel Kropa, Managing Director, FootPrint Coalition. FootPrint Coalition – founded by actor, producer, and activist Robert Downey Jr. – makes investments, provides grants, and creates media for the purpose of advancing and scaling environmental technology. Kropa, the former head of Creative Artists Agency Foundation, leads FootPrint Coalition’s scientific and philanthropic initiatives.

The event will feature multiple art exhibits, including a gallery from Schmidt Ocean Institute’s Artist-at-Sea program. Like the Blue Hour, the program seeks to use art to help conceptualize and broaden the awareness of the important research Schmidt Ocean Institute is doing on-board their research vessels.

Dr. Carlie Wiener, the Director of Communications and Engagement Strategy of SOI, will host a Q&A session on the Artist-at-Sea program at the VIP Salon. Dr. Wiener has over thirteen years of experience in marine science communications. Dr. Wiener has taught several courses throughout her career, specializing on communicating oceanography and marine science to the public. She has over twelve publications printed in top scientific research journals across the country.

A highlight of the evening will be a sneak preview of four-time Emmy award-winning filmmaker and marine biologist Rick Rosenthal’s upcoming nature series PLANET CALIFORNIA, offered exclusively for Blue Hour attendees. Combining the visual arts with natural history, the series celebrates California’s wildlife and wild places, especially its stunning ocean habitats.

Hosting the Blue Hour will be multi-Emmy award-winning journalist, Val Zavala. Zavala spent 30 years as a broadcast journalist at KCET in Los Angeles, winning numerous journalism awards. During her career, Zavala has covered a broad spectrum of Southern California issues, including politics, the environment, and the economy. Over the past year, Zavala has served as moderator for many webinars in AltaSea’s Project Blue webinar series.


About AltaSea at the Port of Los Angeles

AltaSea at the Port of Los Angeles, located on 35 acres at North America’s leading seaport by both container volume and cargo value, is dedicated to accelerating scientific collaboration, advancing an emerging blue economy through business innovation and job creation, and inspiring the next generation, all for a more sustainable, just, and equitable world.

For more information on AltaSea, please see our website:


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