The Shark Tooth Capital of the World. The annual Shark’s Tooth Festival. Sharky’s on the Pier.
Venice, Florida, is internationally known for its association with sharks, especially fossilized shark teeth. Now, Gulf Coast Community Foundation, which was established in Venice in 1995, has partnered with the City of Venice to celebrate and enhance that heritage by creating Venice Shark Spotting.
To mark Gulf Coast’s 25th anniversary year, the foundation has funded a permanent, interactive, family-friendly public-art installation throughout historic downtown Venice. It features small bronze sculptures of 10 species of living and prehistoric sharks native to the area—think reef shark, thresher shark, tiger shark, and even the massive prehistoric Megalodon. Internationally known fine artists at Sarasota's Bronzart Foundry were commissioned to create these true works of art.
At the unveiling of the project, Gulf Coast's Jon Thaxton announced a special contest for youth made possible through a partnership with the Sarasota Herald-Tribune and Mote Marine Laboratory. The first three school-aged youth to capture selfies with all 10 shark sculptures and correctly identify the species can win prizes—including Gulf Coast grants in their names to the environmental nonprofit of their choice!
“We hope this will allow the young person to become acquainted with the joy of giving, and the art of philanthropy while having fun and learning something along the way,” Jon said.
Inspired by Greenville, South Carolina’s Mice on Main project, Venice Shark Spotting invites visitors to explore historic Venice while seeking out all 10 sculptures. The installation aims to add fun and education to the City's already vibrant downtown, all in recognition of a charitable organization created a quarter century ago in the community it continues to serve today.
Shark Spotting In the News
Herald Tribune - Spot the sharks in downtown Venice