Gulf Coast Unveils "Shark Spotting" gift to the City of Venice

The Shark Tooth Capital of the World. The annual Shark’s Tooth Festival. Sharky’s on the Pier.

Megalodon Sculpture

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. 

Boy about to begin Shark Spotting

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!

Members from TheCity of Venice, Gulf Coast, Mote Marine Laboratories, and Bronzart Foundry

“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



One Year Stronger, Together

Published: We’ve collected many hopeful stories from our heroic nonprofit partners after Hurricane Ian struck. One year later, learn how these nonprofits are moving forward thanks to the assistance of Gulf Coast Community Foundation.

One Year Stronger - $3.5 Million in Hurricane Ian Relief

Published: We are recognizing the one-year anniversary of Hurricane Ian with a reflection on impact, our heroic nonprofit partners, and the ongoing rebuilding and recovery.

SRQ Daily: Twelve Days

Published: Read our President | CEO Phillip Lanham's latest SRQ Daily column recognizing that in just 12 days, on Sept. 28, one year will have passed since our region was struck by Hurricane Ian. Learn how we came together to improve the lives of the people we serve.