The Ocean City tradition features artists from up and down the East Coast.
Art shows along the ocean have been an annual Ocean City tradition for 50 years this summer when the Ocean City Boardwalk Art show kicks off in the first week of August, bringing together more than 50 artists from all over the East Coast to America’s Family Resort.
“For me, it’s number one in the U.S. and I do shows from Key West to Cape Cod,” says Donna Elias from Brigantine.
Featuring two-dimensional art in watercolors, acrylics, oils, drawings and hand-pulled photography, artists have a chance to show off send sell some of their best work.
“I guess it’s because I’m local,” says Elias, “and my art reflects that.” Besides all of the New Jersey lighthouses, Elias has painted dozens of pieces that capture the summer at the Jersey shore.
“Beach chairs, shore birds, surfboards and the like,” she says. “All you have to do at the show is look behind my tent and out to the beach to see what I love and what I paint. Anyone who likes coastal art will love this show.”
The Ocean City Arts Center gives more than $2,000 in awards to participants. They include: Best of Show, Mayor’s Choice, Four Awards of Excellence, a Student Award and Five Honorable Mention Awards. Chuck Law, of Linwood, started displaying his artwork in the show in 1993 while he was living in Ocean City and has won a few of the awards including the Aubery Dutton Mayors Choice Award for best portrayal of an Ocean City Scene.
According to Law, winning isn’t something one can plan on but is “always a delight” when it happens.
“Painting was a hobby then, but I had dreams,” says Law. “My set up was a couple of chicken-wire frames and it was the first time I had publicly shown my work since high school. I sold a few pieces, but what I liked the best was the experience of meeting and getting to know fellow artists.”
Law moved and then returned to the area 10 years ago, painting professionally and having invested in a big white tent with all the trimmings.
“It was a different experience [when I first doing the show] perhaps because more was at stake, but the rewards were still the same ... getting to know fellow artists, and now meeting art collectors and families that I would start seeing year after year.”
In honor of the 50th Ocean City Boardwalk Art show, local artist Nancy Palermo, known for her magnificent murals in the Ocean City library and throughout the island, has created an acrylic painting depicting the masses of summer visitors, artists and their tents that encompass the annual show in the beach resort.
“The Boardwalk Art show has maintained a strong following for 50 years,” says Arlene Fisher, of Lancaster, Pa., who is doing her 40th Boardwalk Art Show this summer. “Many of our artists have sold their work at this show for more than a decade.”
Several categories have been added to the show, including pottery, sculpture and handmade furniture.
“I love this show not just for the people I’ve become friends with over the years, but the setting along the sea is beautiful,” adds Law. In fact, most artists and attendees agree that the setting is their favorite part of the show.
For Law, on the final day of the show he brings his bathing suit and hits the ocean before heading back home to Lindwood. Throughout the year he works on various oil paintings of Ocean City from right on location.
“A lot of my paintings are done on the beach right within a block or two from where I set up my tent for the art show at the end of 7th Street,” he says. “I know firsthand all of the hard work the Arts Center staff puts into making this happen.”
From Friday to Sunday (Aug. 3, 4 and 5), the art show hits the Boardwalk running between 6th and 14th streets (8am to 8pm Friday and Saturday; 10am to 6pm Sunday).
“Time honored tradition may sound cliché,” says Law, “but it really is the truth when it comes to the Boardwalk Art Show. I wouldn’t miss it for anything.
OCEAN CITY EVENT CALENDAR 2012
Thurs. Aug. 2 to Sun. Aug. 4
The 12th Annual Art of Surfing
Music Pier, Moorlyn Terrace and Boardwalk. A free family event featuring original art from surfing’s biggest names, live music, and a chance to meet artists from across the country. Thurs. 7-10pm, Fri. & Sat. noon–10pm. 744-3229.
Friday, Aug. 3 to Aug. 5
50th Annual Boardwalk Art Show
Boardwalk. Leading Artists from throughout the East Coast exhibit and sell their work. Free. Hours: Fri. and Sat., 10am-6pm, Sun. 10am-4pm. 399-7628.
Sunday, Aug. 5
Carolyn Arends In Concert
Ocean City Tabernacle, 550 Wesley Ave. vocal recording artist, with Spencer Capier. Free. 7pm. 399-1915. octabernacle.org.
Ocean City Pops - ‘An Evening of Mozart’
Music Pier, Moorlyn Terrace and Boardwalk. “An Evening of Mozart” with glorious singers and the award-winning pianist Claire Huang Ci playing Concerto No. 23 in A. $15/$10. 8pm. 525-9300, ocnj.us.
Monday, Aug. 6
From lifeguard races, the completion of the Ocean City-Somers Point Bridge, sand sculpting contests and a themed boat parade, everyone has their favorite summer memory.