A couple of “Big Fish” were presented to environmental honorees at the Annual Riverkeepers’ Fishermen’s Ball in New York City on 20 May, 2015. Among those honored at the event include reproduction artist Jeff Koons. The Riverkeepers honor individuals and companies whose commitment to environmental protection serves as an inspiration to the Riverkeepers’ work.

Ann Billingsley PhotographA leading advocate for clean drinking water in New York City, Koons has been a faithful supporter of the Riverkeepers’ Waterkeeper movement. He has raised awareness of global water problems, a feat as notable as his unbelievable works of art.

Artistically, Koons is known for his replicas of ordinary objects, such as balloon animals, produced in stainless steel with colorful mirror-finish surfaces. In 2013, Koons’ Balloon Dog sold at the Christie’s Post-War and Contemporary Art Evening Sale in New York City for $58.4 million, setting the world record for the most expensive work by a living artist sold at auction.

Fellow artist Bruce Larsen has been commissioned to create the “Big Fish” awards that are presented to these notable environmental activists by the Riverkeepers. These fish are created from driftwood and other random objects, which is not a surprise as a large portion of Larsen’s art consists of sculptures created out of many different found objects.

Larsen’s sculptures are collected by presidents, royalty, and music legends, as well as museums around the country. His work can also be found all along the Gulf Coast, including the many sculptures he has created for the Academy’s Sport Sculpture Park. Currently, he is working on large pieces of work for Airbus, an aircraft manufacturer that has just been stationed in Mobile, Ala.

Most recently, Larsen has been commissioned to create a new sculpture for the Academy’s campus in Daphne, Ala. This new addition to the unique collection will depict golf in recognition of the sports return to the 2016 Rio Olympic Games for the first time in over a century. This new sculpture will be unveiled in conjunction with the Annual Meeting of the Board of Trustees and Academy’s Awards of Sport Program being held from 5-6 November 2015.

The Academy honored Larsen in 2009 as its Sport Artist of the Year. Since that time, he has created many sculptures for the Academy, including the “Iron Bowl Monument” made in commemoration of the historical rivalry between the Alabama and Auburn football teams, and “Nastia the Gymnast” modeled after Nastia Liukin and her Gold Medal win at the Beijing Olympics.

The United States Sports Academy is an independent, non-profit, accredited, special-mission sports university created to serve the nation and world with programs in instruction, research and service. The role of the Academy is to prepare men and women for careers in the profession of sports. For more information about the Academy, call 251-626-3303 or visit www.ussa.edu