BELMAR, NJ — For six weeks this summer, children in Belmar’s summer camp started each day at their “happy place” — overlooking the beach and ocean at Taylor Pavilion.

To remember the experience, a group of young campers used the picturesque setting as their canvas to create artwork that is now part of the Belmar Arts Center's (BAC) current exhibit, “Love the Shore … Oceans First” — an all-media show to “honor, reminisce and help preserve the shore.”

For several weeks during camp, K. Dorsey Lucas, chair of the show’s committee, visited the 6- to 10-year-old students to help them artistically capture their visions of the Jersey Shore.

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“The children really enjoyed this because for the last eight weeks at Belmar Summer Camp we have called the ocean and the beach, ‘Our Happy Place,’ ” said camp director Colleen Dillon.

Currently, their creations are on display in the Lounge Gallery of the arts center, where the shore-themed exhibit runs through September 14.

The show features pieces that “speak to the fragile and degrading conditions of our oceans and shorelines.” And to love the shore, “then we all must truly love the Shore and be responsible and proactive for its welfare and longevity,” according to its call for art.

In that spirit, the show’s opening reception featured a silent auction of original artwork that benefited Clean Ocean Action, the Highlands-based nonprofit group dedicated to clean and protect the oceans and other waterways. In addition, the BAC gift shop is currently showcasing Jersey Shore items made from “real” seaside finds with proceeds to benefit the organization as well.

Located at 608 River Road in Belmar, BAC is situated at the corner of Seventh Avenue and River Road, near the railroad tracks. Gallery hours are Tuesday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., and Thursday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

For more information, visit BAC’s website, email or call 732-749-3360.


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