The free art show, which began Friday and ends Sunday, had 60 artists from the tri-state area, representing different niches in acrylic, oil, pastel, photography and abstract art on a variety of medium. The show spanned from 7th to 10th streets on the Boardwalk.
By Selena Vazquez, The Press of Atlantic City
OCEAN CITY — Hundreds of people enjoyed the art, local artists and the positive atmosphere present at the 59th annual Boardwalk Art Show presented by the Ocean City Arts Center on Saturday.
The show was slightly smaller than last year’s (10 fewer vendors) since the Ocean City Arts Center is trying to focus more exclusively on fine arts and photography.
“We’re reasserting our integrity,” said Jack Devine, president of the board of trustees for the Ocean City Arts Center. He noted the original purpose of the Boardwalk Art Show was to feature imaginative, aesthetically pleasing, intellectually stimulating content that is considered fine art. “Crafts are wonderful, but we want to focus exclusively on fine arts and photography.”
There were a handful of jewelry vendors, but the arts center hopes to move jewelry outside the art show by next year so it can have another show specifically for jewelry, Devine said.
“We’re compelled to fulfill the original mission of the art show by emphasizing fine arts,” said Chase Jackson, executive director of the Ocean City Arts Center.
Devine said the Ocean City Arts Center was founded because of the Boardwalk Art Show. The show also adds a cultural aspect to the city, due to the diverse artists, their experiences and different artistic perspectives that onlookers who come to the city get to witness.
“The show allows you to stretch your mind and stretch your legs,” said Devine, noting the beach, Boardwalk and friendly atmosphere were also draws to the show. “It gives you a new way to look at things.”
Jim and Ruth Cottingham, both retired, are artists from Pitman, Gloucester County, who came to Ocean City on Saturday morning to check out the show for the first time, having missed last year’s show due to COVID-19 worries.
“We actually came to scope out the show and see if we should enter next year,” said Jim Cottingham, a retired high school art teacher who taught for more than 23 years and now gets commissioned to do oil paintings of classic cars.
Ruth Cottingham paints watercolors on papers and has even illustrated a few children’s books. She said the show brings people and artists from all over just for the show.
It was Heather Lynn Gibson’s 10th time being featured in the Boardwalk show.
“Nothing makes an artist happier than when somebody falls in love with your work,” she said of her repeat customers. “The painting picks the person. The person never picks the art.”
Gibson is an “alla prima” oil painter, which means she doesn’t layer her pigments on canvas. She mixes her pigments on her palette to achieve the color she wants and applies them to canvas with a single layer, unlike other oil painters who create their art with multiple layers of paint.
This year, her oil painting “Sunhat & Sunglasses” won the Arlene Fisher Best of Show award, which came with a $500 cash prize.
“The Ocean City art show is great,” said Gibson, who lives in Berlin, Camden County, and spent many of her summers in Ocean City while visiting her grandmother. “It’s on the Boardwalk, everything I can possibly eat is right here, and the people are great.”
Gibson also said the show was great for new artists because of the amount of people that attend, the energy of the crowd, and how smoothly the event runs due to the Ocean City Arts Center running it.
Molly Goehring, of Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania, was one of the many artists who decided to participate in the Ocean City Boardwalk Art Show for the first time.
Goehring and her family spend every summer in Ocean City, so her first time participating in the show was “a happy accident in planning,” since the art show coincided with her family’s first day of vacation.
“I’ve been really excited being here,” said Goehring, who she nabbed an honorable mention for her abstract “Sewing Machine Art,” which featured paint on canvas and sewing thread scribbles.
Goehring primarily does mixed media art and two-dimensional paintings that mix classical art with abstract characteristics. Although she said she felt like an outlier at a show where many artists have beach-inspired art and photography, the other artists and people made her feel at home.
“There’s a strong sense of community here. The artists have been super helpful, and everyone’s been super supportive,” said Goehring.
Sandi Gelona comes to the show every year for the art and camaraderie.
“I love meeting the artists and interacting with them,” said Gelona, a show visitor who also is an artist. “The artists are friendly and willing to share. It’s much different than looking at their work on a wall of art.”
Gelona has participated in numerous art classes, including ones at the Ocean City Arts Center. She likes to paint still-life art and photos she takes.
Although Gelona only does art as a hobby, she said Ocean City was one of the best places for photos and inspiration. She said always leaves with a full camera.
“The art show not only draws people the Ocean City, but it also enlightens people to multi-talented people in our area that are willing to share their work,” said Gelona.
The 59th annual Ocean City Arts Center Boardwalk Arts Show ends Sunday at 8 p.m. For more information about the event, visit Ocean City Arts Center.