A statue of a blue mermaid sitting on a starfish in front of a fountain
Photo by Laurel Bookhardt

See the Mesmerizing Mermaids of Venice

FantaSea Venice invites you to stroll among hand-painted mermaids and sea horses throughout downtown.

September 24, 2021

Looking for a selfie with a life-size mermaid? Then float on down to Venice.

A whimsical, larger-than-life collection of colorful creatures of the deep, FantaSea Venice is bound to inspire visitors and locals alike to explore the seaside town in depth. The collection of fiberglass statues – which will eventually total 30 seahorses and 22 mermaids – brings the work of local artists to the surface for a public art project that’ll infuse downtown Venice with local color inspired by the sea. 

And it’s all for a good cause. Eventually, the statues will be auctioned to raise money for the Venice Art Center.

In the meantime, you can stroll among them to find your favorite, and don’t forget to take tons of photos!

Here are some highlights of this exciting project (explore in detail here, or see map and full sculpture list). 

Dr. Veronica-Olivia and the Unsung Heroes

Artist: Dough Michalski

Inspired by the healthcare workers of America, this mermaid dons a lab coat and stethoscope; her tail is painted with the stars and stripes. Her starfish is features depictions of first responders and other healthcare professionals. Location: Venice Regional Bayfront Health, 540 The Rialto

Gifts from the Sea

Artist: Barry Zahnd

A true piece of nautical art, this mermaid, along with her starfish and the coral on which she sits, is encrusted with hundred – if not thousands – of shells just like the ones that make Sarasota County beaches such a perfect destination for shell-seekers. The beautiful shells add unique dimension to this lovely mermaid’s presence. Location: Whittaker & Associates CPAs, 304 Venice Ave., #300

Gondo

Artist: Mike Moffatt

Inspired by the gondoliers of old Venice, this seahorse sculpture sports a gondolier hat and a red-and-white-striped shirt. Its sponsor was, of course, The Venice Gondolier-Sun, the area’s local newspaper. Location:  Venice Gondolier-Sun, 200 Miami Ave. E.

Mirabella – The Siren of Snake Island

Artist: Suzanne Havens

With her deep turquoise hue and golden accents, Mirabella looks exactly like a brass sculpture left to turn green from exposure to the elements. She’s named after Snake Island, the spoil island popular with boaters, and can be found perched on her coral boulder in front of Roberts Insurance Group. Location: Roberts Insurance Group, 211 Nokomis Ave. S.

Steinway

Artist: Heather McCullough 

Covered nearly head to tail with piano keys and adorned with accents of coastal hues and flowing waves, this statue captures the exuberance music can invoke. Sponsored by Barbara Freeman and the Venice Symphony Orchestra. Location: William H. Jervey Jr. Venice Public Library., 300 Nokomis Ave. S.

U. Gogh Girl

Artist: Mary Moscatelli

Inspired by Vincent Van Gogh’s Starry Night, this beauty is accompanied by a starfish that pays tribute to the masterpiece – and a sunflower that serves as a more subtle tribute to the master Impressionist’s work. Location: E. Venice Ave. between Nokomis & N. Tamiami Tr.