Whales (And A Few Sharks) Return To The Park

by Tim Wood

For the first time in several years, the annual Art in the Park exhibit includes two highly recognizable marine species — whales and sharks.

Town officials had put the kibosh on sharks several years ago, concerned about the implication of promoting the apex predators, common visitors to Cape waters for many years now. But this year, the select board agreed to allow a limited number of sharks along with the artistically decorated whales that have been the mainstay of the Chatham Chamber of Commerce and Merchants Association summer display in Kate Gould Park for a while.

A dozen sharks can be seen among the 60 or so whales, along with helpful educational information about both species courtesy of the Atlantic White Shark Conservancy and the Center for Coastal Studies. There are quizzes scattered among them as well.

Using a variety of styles and media, artists have created a fun and entertaining experience for park strollers. Some are serene and peaceful, depicting local landmarks and beach scenes, while others take a more cerebral approach (a shark decorated with mirrors, for instance). There are nods to local seafood, hydrangeas, golf and Van Gogh, and a googly-eyed whale by artist Joey Mars. And, of course, tributes to “Jaws,” which will be playing at the Chatham Orpheum Theater next week.

Representatives of the exhibit’s educational partners and many of the artists who created the pieces will be at the park on Tuesday, July 9, for a meet and greet. Refreshments will be provided by Bluefins Sushi and Saki Bar. The free event runs from 5:30 to 7 p.m.

All of the art in the park is available for bidding through the Bidding for Good website. A QR code posted at the exhibit links to the auction website, or find the link at chathammerchants.com/events. Half of the auction proceeds to the artists, with the other half helping to fund chamber and merchants events throughout the year.