Last week, I (editor, MR) had the pleasure of communicating with Megan Burak (MB), the Educational Assistant and Social Media Manager for the Art League of Ocean City (ALOC). Within our monthly newsletter for the past couple years, we’ve enjoyed featuring events and exhibits from the ALOC and sharing the local arts opportunities in the Delmarva area with our audience. Below, I’ve included the miniature interview I conducted via email with Burak where she discussed the foundation of the ALOC and what they’re all about.
MR: When was the Art League founded?
MB: The ALOC, originally the Ocean City Art League, was founded in 1963 by a small group of local artists. During the summer of 1964, the ALOC was granted use of the current City Hall Building at 3rd & Baltimore Avenue for its headquarters. The first exhibit was held in the 2nd floor ballroom. In 1974-75, the ALOC used a Boise Cascade building between 49th and 50th Streets (now the Ocean Pines Beach Club) for its headquarters and in 1976-78, they moved to the old Mt. Vernon Hotel (later Kate Bunting’s Seafood Restaurant) on Talbot Street. Then in 1978-84, classes and workshops were held in rooms above the Talbot Street Café. In 1984 board member Alfred Harrison was instrumental in obtaining approval from the Town of Ocean City for a permanent conditional use for the Art League to renovate an abandoned building on 94th street and in 2013 funds were raised to construct what is now our current building.
MR: What are some of the main goals of the ALOC?
MB: The Art League’s main goal is to promote artistic expression and appreciation for the creative arts in our community and to be a cultural center and regional catalyst, inspiring creativity, providing accessibility to and promoting an understanding of the value of the arts.
MR: What kinds of events, classes, and exhibits does the League typically feature?
MB: The non-profit Art League of Ocean City facility features a spacious two-story gallery, a pottery studio, classrooms, art library and five working artist studios. The galleries display new exhibits of regional and local artists monthly, some of whom are Art League of Ocean City members. Exhibits kick off with an opening reception from 5-7 PM on the first Friday of each month. The receptions, as with all of our activities, are open to the public. In addition, we offer workshops for artists of all ages and skill levels, a summer art camp program and community events like our Plein Air Painting Competition and Sand Castle Home Tour. Affordable community meeting space, with beautiful views of the bay, is available for rent for your next gathering.
MR: How does the process work when looking for artists to feature in those galleries or exhibits?
MB: Each month one of the galleries at the Ocean City Center for the Arts features artwork by local and regional artists, many of whom are members of the Art League. This provides an opportunity for artists of all levels and mediums to show their work in a professional gallery. Cash prizes and ribbons are awarded by qualified judges and artists may choose to sell their works. The ALOC is committed to featuring a broad spectrum of artists from diverse backgrounds (including race, gender identity, sexual orientation, age, religion) and encourage all to participate.
MR: Is there anything the general public might not know about the ALOC?
MB: The Art League is open year-round, seven days a week, and admission is always free! Becoming a member offers many benefits, including 10% all purchases, 20% off classes, advance notice of special events, quarterly and monthly newsletters mailed to your home, and opportunities for artists to sell and display their work online and in-person.
Burak was kind enough to also mention information about the League’s First Fridays, saying that these First Friday Opening Receptions “kick off our new monthly exhibits on the first Friday of every month from 5-7pm.” You’ll have the opportunity to meet the artists, enjoy hors d’oeuvres, and check out the new exhibits from a variety of local artists. These First Fridays are free and welcome to all.
Finally, I’d love to encourage everyone to mark their calendars for two incredible events.
Artists Paint OC: A Plein Air Event
Weds-Sun, August 10th-14th
Artists will paint the picturesque spots of the Ocean City area Wednesday through Saturday. Then gather at the Arts Center on Saturday to hang your best work and offer it for sale from 5-8 p.m. at a free reception open to the public. The entries juried in will continue on display at the Arts Center through September 2022. Go here for more information.
Sand Castle Home Tour
In-Person: Thurs and Fri, Sept. 29th and 30th
Online: Sept. 29th-Oct. 31st
The 18th annual Sand Castle Home Tour is back in-person and online for 2022! Go here for more information.