Buffalo, NY – Shark Girl, the wildly popular sculpture that is part of the Albright- Knox Art Gallery’s Public Art Initiative—an innovative partnership with Erie County and the City of Buffalo—will take a few weeks off for some well-deserved pampering in the form of light conservation. Beginning today, she will temporarily depart her current location at Canalside, as she prepares to look her best for the thousands of selfies in which she will be featured this summer.
Shark Girl will be back before Memorial Day, and she will reside in a new location—overlooking the canals at the Commercial Street Bridge. This new setting will provide year-round visibility for the work for the more than one million visitors to Canalside that are expected this year.
“Fear not, fans of Shark Girl, she will be returning shortly—refreshed, and ready for a selfie-filled summer,” Curator of Public Art Aaron Ott said.
Shark Girl, 2013, was created by artist Casey Riordan, and was among the first works to become part of the AK’s Public Art Collection. The character appears in nearly all of Riordan’s sculptures, drawings, and paintings, and has been described as “a blend of whimsy and alarm, half Lewis Carroll’s Alice, half great white shark.” The sculpture is made of painted fiberglass and has an accompanying seat in order for art lovers and sightseers to take pictures with her. She has rapidly become popular throughout Western New York.
The Public Art Initiative is a partnership between the AK and Erie County that was established in 2013. The City of Buffalo joined the partnership in 2014. The goal of the Initiative is to create opportunities for social engagement that empower individuals, create stronger neighborhoods, and establish Western New York as a vibrant cultural community.
Other recent projects by the AK Public Art Initiative include Tape Art’s 2014 installation of Buffalo Caverns, a massive, temporary mural-style drawing made with painter’s tape on the exterior walls of the Central Library in downtown Buffalo, artist Matthew Hoffman’s You Are Beautiful billboard campaign throughout Erie County in a unique partnership with Lamar Advertising, and artist Charles Clough’s collaboratively produced Arena Painting, which will be installed in the newly constructed wing of the Hamburg Library. The Public Art Initiative has also distributed 30,000 art kits to students throughout Erie County.