Shipwreck Park Adds Pirates’ Treasure Chest Sculpture

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Did you know about a mile and a half off Pompano Beach there’s an underwater art exhibit? Sure all of nature could be considered art, but Shipwreck Park adds a little flair for those who like to get deep underwater.  Shipwreck Park has, according to their website, “created an underwater park system establishing artificial reefs, utilizing public art to raise awareness of the need to preserve and conserve our natural coral reef system”.

In 2016 they sunk, Lady Luck  a 324-foot tanker vessel, that was surrounded by 16 other existing wrecks covered with marine life. Their aim was to make Shipwreck Park, a unique underwater cultural arts park with rotating underwater art exhibits that would please both Jacques Cousteau and Steve Zissou.

Shipwreck Park recently added its newest addition, Pirates’ Treasure Chest. The 500 pound chest was sculpted by Donald Gialanella, a St. Petersburg based artist, and was commissioned by the Pompano Beach Arts Public Art Committee. Pirates’ Treasure Chest had been sitting on the Great Lawn on the beach for the past year. The intention was always for it to end up underwater, but COVID precautions kept delaying the sinking. But now  Pirates’ Treasure Chest is finally sleeping with the fishes at Shipwreck Park.

A press release described the artist’s process as thus, “Gialanella immediately got to work on a series of orthographic drawings that described the chest from all sides. This sculpture was going to be more architectural than his usual style of depicting animals and human figures and he needed to exactly quantify all its dimensions before going into the complex job of fabrication. The drawings were then transferred to digital files where they could be refined and prepared as CAD templates for the laser cutter. Each of the many aluminum parts were then laser cut with computer precision and fitted together before being disassembled and individually powder coated in three different colors. The chest was then reassembled, riveted, and welded into its final form.”

If you’ve got a boat and scuba gear you can check it out for yourself.

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David Rolland

David Rolland edits The Jitney blog. He is the author of the novel The End of the Century.