Resort Seeking Sponsors For Trash Can Art

OCEAN CITY- Ocean City officials continue to hash out design plans and sponsorship strategies for a series of painted trashcans that will be tested on the resort’s beaches this spring.

In a Coastal Resources Legislative Committee, or Green Team, meeting last week, Councilman and committee chair Tony DeLuca relayed ongoing efforts to implement an art project of sorts that would beautify the beaches and incentivize visitors to throw away their trash.

The idea was introduced to committee members in a prior meeting, after DeLuca discovered a similar nonprofit program in Cocoa Beach, Fla., called “Creative Cans in the Sand.”

“We thought it had application here in Ocean City,” he said.

In response to the committee’s support for the program, DeLuca said he met with Public Works Director Hal Adkins, Ocean City Development Corporation Executive Director Glenn Irwin and Rina Thaler, executive director for the Art League of Ocean City, to help guide the initiative into a testing phase.

“My objective is to cluster three to five cans in strategic places on the beach by the spring,” DeLuca said.

Sun Signs has agreed to conduct a bidding process for the project in order to understand what the cost would be, according to DeLuca. The public works department, however, has agreed to produce the first test can free of charge.

“We want to get some costs associated with this thing,” DeLuca said. “That would be the first step.”

The cans will have painted designs that are wrapped around the top and bottom of the barrel, with a possible blank spot in the middle for trash trucks to collect the cans without damaging the artwork. DeLuca said this particular design will increase the longevity of the barrels.

Sandi Smith of the Maryland Coastal Bays Program asked DeLuca if businesses would be a part of the program.

“Do you think potentially businesses might sponsor them if we come up with criteria on it?” she asked.

DeLuca responded that they would like to approach businesses for sponsorship opportunities, but only after they know the associated costs.

“The thing I didn’t mention with my objective is three to five clusters on the beach with no cost to the taxpayers,” he said. “That was the bottom line.”

According to DeLuca, businesses that decide to partake in the program will have their names, and possibly their website, listed on the top of the barrels.

“If a business has that on there, I think some businesses will really step up,” he said.

Melanie Pursel, executive director with the Greater Ocean City Chamber of Commerce, said the concept will do well for carry-out businesses that deliver to the beach. Ryan James, owner of Mother’s Cantina, added that the idea would be an asset to businesses.

“It’s an immediate return on investment for a business to get even your website around the top of the can,” he said. “The possibilities are endless.”

DeLuca added another incentive is the cost savings associated with the program.

“(Thaler) also said, once we find out the cost, if a business was to pay her for the can it would be a tax deduction,” he said.

In moving forward, DeLuca tasked the Green Team with proposing names for the art project and approaching businesses. Thaler will be spearheading the project.

Not all 800 trashcans will be painted, according to DeLuca, but the pilot program will determine the effectiveness of both the suggested designs and sponsorship plans, and ultimately what direction the project will take.

“If I’m going to bring this to the City Council, it’s going to be an art program,” he said.

About The Author: Bethany Hooper

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Bethany Hooper has been with The Dispatch since 2016. She currently covers various general stories. Hooper graduated from Stephen Decatur High School in 2012 and the University of Maryland in 2016, where she completed double majors in journalism and economics.