8K-Plus Visited New Ocean City Center For the Arts In Summer

8K-Plus Visited New Ocean City Center For the Arts In Summer

OCEAN CITY – The Ocean City Center for the Arts welcomed more than 8,000 visitors from May to September, exceeding officials’ early expectations.
Art League of Ocean City (ALOC) Executive Director Rina Thaler attended Tuesday’s Mayor and City Council work session to give an update on the activities and educational services of the new center.
“I have nothing but good things to report to you,” Thaler said. “The art center has been extremely well received … Every day we are adding different ways to become part of the fabric and fiber of Ocean City.”
According to Thaler, from May through September, over 8,000 people visited the arts center on 94th Street. Visitor reactions have been positive, as people are often overwhelmed with the beautiful space that awaits them. The center has become an economic engine by providing income for local artists, artisans and art instructors.
“Ocean City has reached new heights with the addition of the Ocean City Center for the Arts,” she said. “We are grateful for the opportunity to fulfill our nonprofit mission of promoting the arts in Ocean City in a wonderful new building as we celebrate the 50th anniversary of the founding of the ALOC.”
Thaler reviewed some of the many programs the art center offers in the new facility, such as the multiple gallery spaces that have presented a variety of art exhibits featuring local and regional artists while simultaneously introducing the community to artists and mediums.
The art center provides an artist-in-residence studio that offers a different artist each month the opportunity to have space to create and exhibit their art as well as interact with the public and teach while they are in residence.
The exhibit space has featured the work of both UMES and Salisbury University faculty and students and Worcester County school children. This month the visual and literary arts are being featured through the OC Library Writers group to interpret the paintings of Pete Crosby and Randy Hofman through poetry and prose.
The art center provides art education through a variety of art classes, which hundreds of children and adults have attended. The facility has also hosted a professional development day for the Worcester County Public School art teachers and held a free intergenerational art experience to promote sensitivity to the aged and the issues they face.
The art center provides community meeting space and has hosted a number of meetings and events for numerous community members, groups and condo associations, including Little Salisbury Community Association, The Ocean City Life Saving Museum and the PNC Foundation.
Since 2011, the ALOC has offered art camp in partnership with the Ocean City Recreation and Parks Department and one week of camp was held with 52 campers. This year, due to the new center, 175 children attended camp over a four-week period.
Since 1991, the ALOC has offered a yearly scholarship to a Stephen Decatur High School senior. This year the ALOC has raised additional funds, expanding the scholarship program to offer multiple scholarships to graduating high school students wishing to study art.
On Oct. 26, ALOC will partner with the Mid-Atlantic Symphony to present “Artistry in Motion”, a gala event that will include performances by members of the Symphony and artist demonstrations. In January, ALOC’s “Empty Bowl Project” will raise money for Diakonia’s food pantry, through the creation of bowls in the center’s pottery studio.
“More space means more ability to serve the community needs. In our first seven months of operations, we have far exceeded expectations. All of our programs are open to the public and many of them are free. We are unique in Ocean City as we are an art destination, offering a cultural amenity that was formerly lacking in the resort,” Thaler said. “We serve children and adults, locals and visitors to the town. We are open seven days a week, year-round. Our beautiful new facility sends the message that Ocean City is a well-rounded resort, ready to meet the needs of all who live and play here.”
Mayor Rick Meehan congratulated the ALOC.
“It was the vision that you all had and worked so hard to bring forward to have everyone buy into the concept and support,” the mayor said. “What you have proved is the arts are alive and well in Ocean City, and they are continuing to grow.”
Prior to Thaler’s presentation, the council accepted bids for the 94th Street water tower painting project where each bid included three cost estimates for the painting of the  water tower, painting and the inclusion of the Ocean City logo, as well as painting and the inclusion of the Ocean City Art League logo. The council postponed the decision on what will be painted on the tower until after staff review.
Thaler pointed out while the center has been well received by those who have come across the facility there are many unaware of where it’s located.
“Because we are tucked away back on 94th Street, the water tower signage could be critical in having people aware that we now have this cultural amenity,” she said.