Newport Aquarium Celebrates Shark Week by Unveiling 35-Foot Sand Tiger Shark on #SharkWall Mural

NEWPORT, Ky. — In celebration of Shark Week, Newport Aquarium unveiled on Aug. 14 the 35-foot-long sand tiger shark to highlight the newly completed #SharkWall mural.


A 40’x50’ tarp covering the sand tiger shark dropped following a short countdown by Newport Aquarium employees, officially unveiling the completion of the #SharkWall to the tri-state area.

Animal Ambassador Ric Urban with Paula the penguin (The Enquirer/Patrick Reddy)

Ric Urban with Paula the penguin (The Enquirer/Patrick Reddy)

The unveil included photo opportunities of Paula the African black-foot penguin; Tilly the loggerhead sea turtle; and Gary the American alligator posing in front of the mural next to their likenesses.

Biologist Jen Hazeres with Tilly the turtle.

Biologist Jen Hazeres with Tilly the turtle.

ArtWorks Cincinnati produced the #SharkWall mural for Newport Aquarium as part of the aquarium’s 15-year anniversary.


A rendering of Mighty Mike, the 800-pound, 14-foot-long American alligator that resides at Newport Aquarium’s Gator Alley exhibit, is located near the center of the #SharkWall.

Completion of the mural, which occurred on Aug. 8, came to fruition thanks to the hard work of ArtWorks and its group of more than 15 dedicated artists, 12 of which were young artist apprentices from various neighborhoods throughout Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky.


The lead designer of the mural was Roz Tallmadge, a Cincinnati native and Walnut Hills High School alum. She named the design of the mural “Shining Seas”.

Rosalind Tallmadge leading ArtWorks’ efforts on Newport Aquarium’s #SharkWall

By Derek White, Newport Aquarium PR Aide

Roz Tallmadge

NEWPORT, Ky. — To someone without artistic experience, the thought of designing a 300-foot mural in possibly the most viral spot on the Northern Kentucky riverside would be frightening.

However, if you ask Rosalind Tallmadge, the designer and lead artist of the ArtWorks Cincinnati project known as #SharkWall currently underway at Newport Aquarium; she would tell you that it’s exciting.

Tallmadge, who is currently in her eighth summer in collaboration with ArtWorks Cincinnati, which orchestrates urban art pieces all over Greater Cincinnati.

Tallmadge and her team of 12 apprentices are working feverishly on the mural that is projecting to be done by the second week of August. She received support from her apprentices and teaching assistants, such as Jenny Ustick, who Tallmadge lovingly calls her “partner in crime” in all things art.

“(Jenny) is just amazing, supportive, encouraging, diplomatic and an intelligent women and she’s also just a great teacher,” said Tallmadge. “I’ve learned so much from working with her.”

Together this is the third project they have worked on together, each mural getting larger then the last, with #SharkWall being the largest according to Tallmadge.


With there being so many people working on the project at once, Tallmadge would tell you that working together is the key.

“It’s definitely a team activity. No one has their own particular area they are working on. We try to just switch things up,” said Tallmadge, who added the team has really made a big difference to help keep progress moving quick.

“We’re on task,” said Tallmadge. “This is the best team of apprentices I’ve ever had. They have a really strong work ethic and they take initiative and they are very skilled. I’m really lucky on this project.”

Tallmadge cites ArtWorks as the program that has really made things happen for the #SharkWall. She also cites ArtWorks as a great program for aspiring artists. Not only are the painting experiences at ArtWorks invaluable, the organization also has other programs to help young artists. Tallmadge knows well what they can do for artist apprentices; she has worked off and on with the organization since 2005 as a student, assistant and teacher.

“It’s a really great professional opportunity and ArtWorks teaches resume and portfolio building in workshops for students, ” said Tallmadge, citing that as a perk of being a part of ArtWorks.


“We also teach them a lot of different techniques and processes,” said Tallmadge. “They also have interaction with publicity and visitors.”

Tallmadge also says that a great thing about ArtWorks is that the organization helps artists break the mold of what most think the stereotypical artists is to society.

“Artists aren’t just like this inspired romantic figure working alone; it’s more about collaboration and putting yourself out there, being professional and learning you can have a career in the arts; that it’s realistic.”

Progress Continues at Newport Aquarium’s #SharkWall

By Derek White, Newport Aquarium PR Aide

Sand tiger shark

Sand tiger shark

NEWPORT, Ky. – The second week of work on Newport Aquarium‘s new #SharkWall began Monday (June 30), with the ArtWorks Cincinnati artists focusing on the underpainting of the wall.

The #SharkWall underpainting consists of darker colors, such as brown and gray, that go over all the animals to add overall depth to the mural once the rest of the colors are added later.

Currently underpainting work on the largest penguin on the far right of the wall and the shark ray on the far left are well under way and should be completed Wednesday. The plan for the artists is to work from the outside and meet in the center.



Once the first layer of underpainting is completed, they will begin adding colors over the current layers to get the animals to their finished look. This will be followed by a translucent gloss that will give the #SharkWall an underwater appearance.

Rosalind Tallmadge, the designer of the #SharkWall, is happy with the progress she sees. Tallmadge, who is in her eighth summer with ArtWorks Cincinnati, is very excited to be working on the project. This is the first mural she’s designed of this size and admits that it’s the most in-depth and, with its location, the most visible mural she has ever worked on.

The mural will be approximately 300 feet wide, 35 feet high on the far left and 25 feet high on the far right.

ArtWorks apprentices Shealyn Hollingshead, a student at Ohio University, and Kara Crowe of St. Henry High school, are excited to see the progress of the #SharkWall.

According to the duo, it’s taken nearly three days to finish the underpainting process, with the final touches to be completed by midweek.

For those stopping by to check out the progress in the coming weeks, ArtWorks employees have been fielding questions from the public. Apprentice Jenna Webster, a soon-to-be Northern Kentucky University student, has emerged as the designated person guests would want to speak with.


Like many of the apprentices, Webster discovered the opportunity through her school and she is thrilled about her involvement.

“I’m really, really enjoying this so far and we’re making a lot of progress,” said Webster.

So if you happen to walk by while they’re working, say hello to Webster and the team as they continue working!


Spectators can already be seen walking slowly to picture just how the many soon-to-be filled-in lines will come to life. One of many who were admiring the work this week is Leigh Whitaker, a Newport Aquarium Annual Passholder.

“I like it so far, it looks great! I wish I could do that, I wouldn’t even be able to do that on a small scale,” said Whitaker as she walked from end to end checking out the progress.

Whitaker says she will definitely be back to keep up with progress now that they’re starting to take shape.

“I’ll have to bring my daughter out here, she loves art,” said Whitaker.

The ArtWorks Cincinnati team believes it will be putting in the finishing touches on the #SharkWall in just four week.

Newport Aquarium shares Whitaker’s enthusiasm and looks forward to seeing the final product.

Paint Brushes Hit the Wall at Newport Aquarium for ArtWorks’ Longest Mural in History

Over 300-foot-long #SharkWall to feature aquatic marine life


NEWPORT, Ky. – A 35-foot-long sand tiger shark is coming to Newport Aquarium this summer.

The massive ragged-toothed shark will be the cornerstone of an aquatic-marine-life-themed mural to be displayed on the Newport Aquarium exterior wall facing the Ohio River in celebration of the aquarium’s 15-year anniversary.


The #SharkWall will be produced by ArtWorks as part of the Cincinnati-based nonprofit’s 2014 Public Art campaign.

“Partnering with ArtWorks for this project provides a great opportunity for local youths in the Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky communities to showcase their artistic talents while developing their professional and life skills,” said Newport Aquarium VP/Executive Director Eric Rose. “The SharkWall is another example of Newport Aquarium’s continuous efforts to engage the community and we believe it will spark interest in marine aquatic life and conservation.”

With heights up to 35 feet and spanning more than 300 feet in length, the #SharkWall is ArtWorks’ longest mural project in the organization’s history.

The #SharkWall was designed by professional artist and Cincinnati native Roz Tallmadge, a 2006 graduate of Walnut Hills High School and former ArtWorks artist apprentice. Tallmadge will oversee a team of 10 local student artist apprentices that will work on the mural over a 10-week span. The apprentices began preliminary work on the #SharkWall this week. The project is scheduled for completion in August.

Roz Tallmadge is the lead artist for Newport Aquarium's #SharkWall.

Roz Tallmadge is the lead artist for Newport Aquarium’s #SharkWall.

Featuring aquatic marine life from around the world – including a 25-foot-tall African penguin – the #SharkWall will bring the experience of Newport Aquarium outside the building. It will serve as a focal point for the Newport riverfront, seen by thousands each day from downtown Cincinnati, boaters on the Ohio River, visitors to Newport on the Levee, and pedestrians on the Purple People Bridge and Taylor Southgate Bridge.


Upon its expected August completion date, the #SharkWall will provide unique experiences from different vantage points. From downtown Cincinnati, viewers will recognize some of Newport Aquarium’s most popular animals. Newport on the Levee pedestrians will have an entirely different experience – discovering hidden treasures that only close examination will reveal.

Track #SharkWall Progress: Newport Aquarium is encouraging the public to take photos and post them to social media networks using the #SharkWall hashtag throughout the summer to help track the progress of the project.

About ArtWorks: Founded in 1996, ArtWorks is an award-winning non-profit organization that employs and trains local youth and talent to create art and community impact through three strategic programming areas: Public Art, including an extensive mural program; an art therapy division, ArtRx; and an entrepreneurial arm, Creative Enterprise.

For more information on Newport Aquarium, visit or call toll free 800-406-FISH (3474).


Newport Aquarium, the No. 1 aquarium in the country according to USA Today’s, has showcased thousands of animals from around the world in a million gallons of water since 1999. Named a top U.S. aquarium by US City Traveler in 2014 and by Travel Channel in 2013, Newport Aquarium is a Herschend Family Entertainment company and an accredited member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. Newport Aquarium is open to the public 365 days a year and is located across the Ohio River from downtown Cincinnati at Newport on the Levee.

Find us on: | Twitter: @NewportAquarium

One Aquarium Way | Newport, KY 41071 | 859-261-7444