BELMAR, NJ — It’s a coming-of-age moment for the Belmar Arts Council.
While the nonprofit group is currently hosting its largest-ever Juried Art Show, it recently marked the opening of a highly anticipated artisan market at its Belmar Arts Center. At the same time, one week remains before its ever-growing annual ArtWalk will make its splash along Main Street on Saturday, April 29.
These are impressive milestones for BelmarArts, which was founded 13 years ago with one major mission: To bring people together to discover, learn and celebrate the arts;
And one major vision: To develop the Belmar Arts Center as an inclusive and enriching hub of arts activities and education.
“While it’s important for the Belmar Arts Center to continue to host our traditional shows like our Juried Art Show, we also strive to evolve and present programming that is fresh and reflective of current themes,” said Executive Director Rebecca Szabo. “Both are important factors in sustaining the organization and attracting new members and visitors to Belmar Arts Center.”
Currently on exhibit at the center is its signature event — the 13th Annual Juried Art Show, which features 82 chosen pieces, selected from 184 total submissions. “It’s our most-significant show because the number of entries we received is the highest ever, representing all types of media,” Szabo said. These works of art include paintings, drawings, photography, sculpture, ceramics and printmaking pieces, all of which adorn the walls and displays throughout the center.
While there is no one theme for this show, the inspiration of the shore is clearly evident in many of the pieces. There are beaches and seashells, boardwalks and boat docks, and of course, a rendering of Tillie, the infamous grinning face that was painted in 1955 on the side of Palace Amusements in Asbury Park.
For this year’s show, Asbury Park artist Richard Buntzen served as its juror. After choosing his top 84 from the 182 entries submitted digitally, Buntzen came to the Belmar Arts Center after the artwork was installed by volunteers in order to make his final award-winning selections.
“Attention was given to the originality, compositional design and executed technical skill of each work of art,” Buntzen said. “Mindful deliberations for artworks that were engaging and thought provoking, as well as works that fostered curiosity and elements of surprise, were components of final decisions.”
Nine award winners — three Juror’s Merit Awards and six honorable mentions — shared a record $1,000 in cash prizes. The show runs through Friday, May 5 at Belmar Arts Center, located at the corner of Seventh Avenue and River Road. Gallery hours are 1 to 5 p.m., Wednesday through Saturday.
Artisan Market Store Now Open
The Belmar Art Center recently opened its artisan store, featuring creations from many of the vendors who attend its spring and summer markets. The store has been three years in the making — the outgrowth of the demand for handcrafted items by visitors to the council’s spring and summer markets.
“We were having people coming to the center looking for the items being sold at our seasonal markets,” Szabo said. “Now, we have that permanent store located right here. So people can come here year round for those items, while at the same time enjoy our gallery exhibits and events.”
The retail space is brimming with handcrafted creations — from jewelry and ceramics, to posters and soaps — as well as the perennially popular collections of custom-printed T-shirts, tote bags and notecards.
For more information on the art show or artisan market, visit the Belmar Arts Council’s website at http://www.belmararts.org, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 732-749-3360.