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Tampa Bay Artist Launches Plush Toy on Kickstarter to Promote Shark Conservation

Artist and Ocean Advocate Jessica Adanich releases a fuzzy shark plush toy to help change the perception of sharks and aid in their conservation.

TAMPA – Every year, around the world, about 100 million sharks are killed for their fins. Even though they are vital to the marine ecosystem, the issue often gets overlooked. Local artist and entrepreneur, Jessica Adanich, imagines if sharks were fuzzy, people would care more about their survival.

Adanich, known for her installation, Fuzzy Sharks, which is based on the theory of biophilia started creating this work in 2006 while working on her BFA at the Cleveland Institute of Art. She moved from Ohio to Florida in 2019 to fulfill a lifelong dream of living near the water to help inspire change right where the ocean touches land.

Biophilia is the idea that we are drawn and attached to things that are adorable and aesthetically pleasing. As a result, her installation begs the question, if sharks were fuzzy, would we care more about their conservation?

“Sharks are an incredibly important species in our ocean ecosystems. Through history, there have been cultural events that have negatively altered the way we view them,” said Adanich. “They are amazing creatures that are heavily misunderstood. Through my artwork my mission is to change people’s perception of sharks and educate them.”

Adanich has introduced a mini fuzzy shark plush toy to help change their negative shark reputation to a positive one where people, children and adults alike, can begin to embrace and aid in their preservation. A family-friendly fundraiser will be open to the public at the Palma Ceia Beef 'O' Brady’s on August 31 at 2819 MacDill Avenue in Tampa from 6-8pm. The event will be full of games, prizes and shark education.

You can support the Fuzzy Shark Kickstarter campaign at here.

About Fuzzy Sharks:

Artist and Ocean Advocate Jessica Adanich created the Fuzzy Sharks art installation as a way to educate and inspire individuals to care about sharks. Fuzzy Sharks is just one of many art pieces that Jessica has created to promote shark conservation. This classic and popular installation has become Jessica’s campaign name for her work. She hopes to educate, inspire and create action for our shark species.

By combining art and science, an unforgettable experience is created and viewers are walking away contemplative, having truly understood the message.

Jessica Adanich Bio:

Jessica Adanich is an alumnus of the Cleveland Institute of Art where she studied industrial design, graphic design, sculpture and glass. She spent her early career working with renowned brands such as Vitamix® and Hasbro NERF®. She spent the next six years leading the design and marketing department of Mace® Brand. As a seasoned veteran, Jessica yearned for a creative agency of her own, which lead to the founding of DesignPod Studio while she was still Cleveland in the late fall of 2018. Jessica moved to Tampa Bay in October 2019, where she leads DesignPod Studio as well as her shark conservation endeavor called Fuzzy Sharks ( where she creates artwork to educate individuals on shark conservation.

Jessica has won a number of design awards including an A ‘International Design Award, Best Personal Security Design Specialist, Gold Ben Franklin Print Awards and a 4 Under 40 Rising Star Award from the American Advertising Federation. She is also a published author and illustrator whose work includes “Journal+, For Positive Thinking” and “Behind the Glass with Sherman the Shark”.

Jessica currently resides in Tampa, Florida with her Doberman puppy Zoey. In her spare time, she enjoys SCUBA diving, gardening, creating artwork and traveling.

Fuzzy Sharks is by Design Pod LLC. For more information, please visit


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