By Maddy Vitale
Sisters Tracy Butcher and Tammy Haley had their Friday set. They packed enough for a day trip, put their bicycles on the racks, left their Cumberland County homes and headed for Ocean City.
“We came down to ride bikes on the Boardwalk,” Butcher, of Maurice River Township said. “We had no idea there was an art show. We were happy to stumble upon it.”
The 56th annual Boardwalk Art Show started Friday morning and will go through Sunday between Eighth Street and 13th Street. Artists showcased their watercolors, acrylic paintings, photography, along with handmade jewelry.
Butcher and Haley come down to Ocean City every August to honor their late mother Bonnie D’iorio, who they said loved Ocean City.
They said the art show, like other events in the resort, really add to their enjoyment of coming down.
“I’m going back for some magnets,” Butcher said. “There are a lot of great things to see.”
Haley had her eye on something special.
“I like this picture with the bike,” she said. “We started riding bikes later in life, so when I see a picture with a bike that I like, I buy it.”
The Boardwalk was packed with people strolling or riding their bikes. Customers stopped in the tents to view a variety of artwork and speak with the artists.
Ray Scheetz, of Palmyra, P.a., is an art collector.
“I’m also a naturalist,” he noted.
When he came across a drawing of an orange wildflower by Alexa Gryga, he said he had to have it.
“I will hang it up in my cabin,” he said. “I like to collect art.”
Gryga, an art teacher in Philadelphia, lined the walls of her art show tent with beautiful pastel and other muted colored pieces.
Her dad, Alex Gryga, said they have a home in Sea Isle and visit Ocean City often.
That appeared to influence some of Alexa Gryga’s works on display, especially a watercolor of an Ocean City life boat.
“I love Ocean City and have spent a lot of time down here,” she said.
It wasn’t hard to spot artwork by Jon Bandish. The surf and seascape themed paintings were bright oranges, yellows and blues. It created a lively tent display that brought in customers.
Bandish, whose fiancé Avery Day, helped him at the show.
“I call myself the Jimmy Buffet of seascapes,” he said with a laugh. “I paint a lot of waves, surfers and pineapples.”
He said he wants people to see in his paintings his love of the water and the beach.
Some artists offered customers a look at items that could not be easily duplicated.
Lori Persa, owner of Sensational LLC, said her items are primarily one-of-a-kind. The display of nautical and beach inspired pieces, intrigued patrons who asked her what they were made of.
Some pieces were done on wood with wire, others on wood pallets. Most of them were done using tempered glass.
She explained to customers how she and her husband Jeff Persa work to make their creations unique. Many of the pieces were, bright, shiny and looked touchable.
“I didn’t put up the ‘Do Not Touch Sign,’” Lori Persa said with a laugh, adding that the pieces do look inviting.
A group of young girls filled one vendor’s tent to check out anklets. Other people were more interested in crafts. There was even a tent with sports photography. Some people enjoyed flipping through photography.
Terry Ann Cain, of Hamilton Township in Mercer County and Ocean City, fell in love with some of Mark Miller’s photographs. Miller, who specializes in fine art photography, displayed pictures from his travels through the United States and Europe.
“I’m not done traveling yet,” Miller said. “I have a lot more places to go.”
The art show continues from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. For more information call the Ocean City Arts Center at 609-399-7628 or visit www.oceancityartscenter.org.