Annual Shared Visions Exhibit Returns To Ocean City

Annual Shared Visions Exhibit Returns To Ocean City
Members of the Ocean City Writers Group are pictured at Tuesday’s Shared Visions exhibit at the Ocean City Center for the Arts. Photo by Bethany Hooper

OCEAN CITY – Local writers joined with visual artists this week to read prose and poetry inspired by work on display at the Ocean City Center for the Arts.

On Tuesday, members of the Ocean City Writers Group and artists from the community came together for the sixth annual Shared Visions exhibit at the Ocean City Center for the Arts.

The yearly events began in 2013, after officials from the center and the Ocean City branch of the Worcester County Library met to discuss a collaborative event among writers and artists.

That meeting ultimately paved the way for the annual Shared Visions art show, in which artists and writers inspire each other’s work.

This year, artists submitted their work and writers then created a piece of prose or poetry to accompany them.

“Every year we switch,” said writers group facilitator Ruth Alcorn. “Sometimes the artists go first, and the writers reflect and sometimes the writers go first, and the artists reflect.”

At this year’s show, 30 artists submitted works that 18 writers interpreted through their commentary. Visual art featured this year incorporated sculpture, oil paintings, photography, fabric and more.

“What’s interesting is it’s a reflection,” Alcorn said. “It’s not going to pinpoint what the artist was trying to achieve, but it’s what the writer was inspired to write.”

Writer Pat Black, who has participated in Shared Visions since its inception, said her pieces, “My Mother’s Vase” and “My Witness Tree,” were inspired by artwork from Beverly Andrion and Bob Weston.

“I find the event immensely interesting because you write something the artist may not see,” she said. “It’s like an aha moment for them.”

Writer Bonnie Hiewsky said she joined the group and its Shared Visions event six years ago. She said it was a natural transition after years of writing poetry.

“It’s a lot of fun because what you see and what you write, someone might see something completely different,” she said.

Hiewsky noted that Shared Visions has taught her the value of visual arts.

“It made me appreciate art more,” she said.

Writer Susan Rosskopf, who also has pieces of artwork on display at the Center for the Arts, said she joined the writers group to develop her writing.

“I like it because you get feedback on your writing,” she said, “but it’s kind.”

Rosskopf also praised the Shared Visions art show.

“I would encourage anyone to try it,” she said.

Alcorn said the Shared Visions event provides an opportunity for the writers and artists to learn from each other.

“Each time we do this we are getting closer to the artists …,” she said. “We’ve just learned a lot and the bond has strengthened.”

Alcorn said interest in the Shared Visions exhibit has grown in recent years. Since its inception, more than 9,300 guests have come to see the art, prose and poetry.

“Our reading is only for one night but the displays are up in the exhibit the entire month of January,” she said. “We have a lot of people from the community come in and support it.”

Alcorn added the Shared Visions event offers a unique opportunity for the community.

“The community wants the arts, and I think it’s wonderful because sometimes the arts get hidden,” she said. “I couldn’t be more proud of this event.”

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.