Sharks Draw the Line

The first SHARKS: Draw the Line! event took place July 28-29, 2012 in the parking lot of the Greater Cleveland Aquarium. Using life size shark templates, volunteers created 2,500 chalk outlines that filled an area larger than a football field. The completed line-drawn sharks spoke to an epic ecological loss currently under way. On Sunday, visitors participated in a giant chalk art event, filling in the line-drawn sharks with color to create a bright mosaic and helping turn the tide in public awareness. Punctuating the space was a series of mounted kinetic sculptures, created by Go Big co-founder Jim Gundlach that represent various shark species. Swimming in the wind, the sculptures bring the event to life. One of them has no fins.

Sharks: Draw the Line! participants can’t help but begin to consider the problem at hand. Humans kill an average of 3 sharks every second, thanks in large part to the trade in shark fins for food. Scientists estimate that more than 90 percent of the worldwide shark population has been wiped out in recent decades. And the beauty of the work itself, as fleeting as its medium, prompts observers to reconsider definitions of beauty in the natural world. To facilitate the dual goals of educating the public and having fun, SHARKS: Draw the Line! also includes a variety of creative, interactive and interpretive “Sharktivities” designed to provide more information about the decline of sharks.

It is time to draw the line!