Shark Girl needs some extensive beauty treatment and will get a two-month makeover under the auspices of the Albright-Knox Art Gallery.
The popular sculpture will undergo up to $49,900 in repairs and maintenance for eight to 10 weeks after Labor Day, the Erie Canal Harbor Development Corp. announced today. That cost covers the temporary removal, repair work and re-installation of the shark-headed girl.
The contract with Albright-Knox ensures Shark Girl will remains at Canalside, according to the agency.
Shark Girl has taken shorter, routine vacations for touch-up and minor repair work, but this project will be her longest sabbatical from Canalside.
“Shark Girl is a beloved, whimsical year-round fixture at Canalside but needs some rejuvenation after flashing her toothy grin for so many selfies over the years,” said Robert Gioia, the agency's board chairman. “This agreement with the Albright-Knox will allow Shark Girl to better handle all her fans interacting with her, as well as stand up to harsh Buffalo winters, for years to come.”
Shark Girl was unveiled at Canalside in summer 2014 as part of a public art initiative between Albright-Knox, Erie County and the City of Buffalo. The sculpture by artist Casey Riordan Millard quickly became a social media darling. In early 2018, Shark Girl made Huffington Post's list of "35 Instagram-worthy Subjects, Renowned to Obscure, in the Northeast USA."
County Executive Mark P0loncarz, an ex-officio member of the board, said Shark Girl has proven to be a popular attraction and sound investment. The artwork has become an indelible part of the Canalside experience.
"I think if Shark Girl was not here there would be a rebellion," Poloncarz said.
"It is amazing what a young lady's influence can have on a community," Gioia added.
As the star of thousands of photographs and selfies, Shark Girl is beginning to show excess wear and tear that is beyond repairing with standard maintenance work, according to Erie Canal Harbor Development. The sculpture will be repaired with Millard's oversight.
Money from the New York Power Authority relicensing agreement will cover the project's cost.