If you think you’ve had a rough winter, consider the plight of “Shark Girl.”
Through the November Storm and the coldest February in Buffalo history, the popular public sculpture sat frozen solid to her rocky perch at the edge of the Buffalo River, bearing the full brunt of nature while entertaining a steady stream of adoring fans.
In the process, she suffered a few minor nicks and scratches that will require her removal from Canalside on Wednesday for “light conservation,” according to Maria Morreale, communications director at the Albright-Knox Art Gallery. She is expected to return to Canalside in a new spot near the Commercial Street Bridge by Memorial Day.
“Fear not, fans of ‘Shark Girl,’ she will be returning shortly – refreshed, and ready for a selfie-filled summer,” said Aaron Ott, public art curator at the Albright-Knox, in a statement.
A quick look at the sculpture on Tuesday afternoon revealed a few minor abrasions on the sculpture’s hands and left side of the blue dress as well as mysterious scuff marks on the candy-apple red shoes. Otherwise, the sculpture looks just the way it did on the July afternoon when it was unveiled.
After it was unveiled last summer, the sculpture, by Cincinnati-based artist Casey Riordan Millard, became a local phenomenon on social media and drew throngs of curious citizens to Canalside for an endless and ongoing stream of selfies and sepia-toned Instagrams.
The sculpture was the first of a new series of high-profile public art projects across Erie County resulting from a collaboration by the Albright-Knox, Erie County and the City of Buffalo.
Earlier plans to move the sculpture closer to the Canalside ice rinks were complicated by the frigid winter temperatures, which never relented for long enough to allow its extrication from the frozen ground near the riverside boardwalk.
“When she comes back she’ll be in a little more high-trafficked area,” Morreale said. The new spot overlooking Canalside’s newly constructed canals, according to a release, “will provide year-round visibility for the work for the more than one million visitors to Canalside that are expected this year.”