OCEAN CITY – Blue trash cans adorned with themed artwork will be placed along the beaches of Ocean City within the next two weeks as part of a pilot program that promotes both an anti-litter campaign and a beautification initiative.
The pilot program, entitled Art “Can” Clean Beaches, takes its inspiration from a Florida-based nonprofit program called “Creative Cans in the Sand.” The Ocean City program will utilize business sponsorships, state grants, partnerships with the Maryland Coastal Bays Program and the Ocean City Surf Club, and the work of local entities to create and install decorated trash cans along the beach.
The goal of the program is to provide a form of public artwork that encourages individuals to throw trash into waste bins and not on the beach.
Councilman Tony DeLuca, who originally presented the idea to the Coastal Resources Legislative Committee, or Green Team, earlier this year, said several trash cans in groups of three will be placed on beach blocks south of 4th Street and will be monitored throughout the summer to see how the cans handle both the elements and the big machines that are used to empty them.
“We are hoping that it is successful so that we can start pushing it,” he said.
DeLuca said a $5,000 grant from the state will be used to pilot the project along the southern end of the resort while additional trash cans will be funded through business sponsorships.
The Art League of Ocean City is currently administering the pilot program and has already received multiple sponsorships for the
Art “Can” Clean Beaches program.
Rina Thaler, executive director of the Art League, said businesses like Mother’s Cantina, Pit and Pub, Gateway Grand and Old Pro Golf are currently sponsoring either one, or multiple, decorated cans. One can is currently available for a $260 sponsorship and three cans are available for $750.
“I’m really pleased at the response we’ve gotten from businesses reaching out,” she said.
While $10 of every sponsored can will go toward the Green Team’s cleanup efforts along the beach, Thaler said most of the money will pay for the cans’ designs and accompanying business logos.
Thaler said local artists Barbara Schmid, Reeves Dark and Patricia Dubroof are providing the artwork that will adorn the trash cans and Ocean City’s Sun Signs is laying out the artwork onto wraps that will cover both the top and bottom of each can. The middle portion will be left blank to accommodate the machines that are used to grab and empty them each day.
Thaler said 11 of the 25 trash cans funded through the state grant are already completed and will be placed on the beach this week. The remaining 14, along with the sponsored trash cans, will be completed and placed within the next two weeks.
“I was really pleased with the way they came out,” she said. “The artwork works really nice.”
Thaler explained that the Art “Can” Clean Beaches program is just one of the many initiatives in Ocean City to incorporate public art. She said the trash cans now accompany a series of painted utility boxes in the downtown area and a traveling art mural, which is currently located at the tennis court facility on 94th Street.
“It makes Ocean City look like a place where art is an important part of the community,” she said. “It’s nice not to just add art to our building, but also to the community and in public spaces.”
Thaler said the Art League is still taking sponsorship forms from local businesses that are interested in the program.
DeLuca expressed his enthusiasm for the pilot program.
“I’m excited about it,” he said. “It’s probably going to give us the opportunity to showcase some local talent … and it’s just going to make the beaches cleaner.”