By Maddy Vitale
Grace Kelly exhibits at the Ocean City Historical Museum and Ocean City Art Center, will offer guests a glimpse into the life of an elegant beauty with a classic style, who captured the love of fans with her acting and took them on a fairy-tale adventure when she married a prince.
Kelly, Philadelphia born, left Hollywood at age 26 to marry Prince Rainier III of Monaco in 1956.
But she continued to vacation at her family’s two homes at 26th Street and Wesley Avenue and on the beachfront.
Ocean City historians say Kelly, who died in 1982, remains Ocean City’s royalty.
“There was just an aura about her and a mystique,” Carol Dotts, a museum board member said, while showing some memorabilia in the permanent exhibit at the museum Tuesday. “She was very classic. She had such style.”
The Grace Kelly exhibit has been a favorite in the museum for many years. A replica of her wedding gown draws the attention of museum patrons, year after year.
Additional memorabilia will delight guests in a month-long exhibit which runs from June 8 through July 31 at the museum.
Kelly was an Oscar-winning actress, so it was only fitting that there would be a red carpet with photos and memorabilia lining the entrance into the museum for the special exhibit titled “I remember Grace,” said Jeff Granahan, executive director of the museum.
This is the first year the museum and the art center joined forces to bring a Grace Kelly-themed dual event to the community center, 1735 Simpson Ave.
Granahan contacted Ocean City Arts Center Executive Director Rosalyn Lifshin and discussed putting the two events together and she agreed it was a great idea.
The museum exhibit is titled and will feature memorabilia, photos and other interesting pieces that were part of Kelly’s life.
The art exhibit titled “Remember Grace Kelly,” which runs from June 8 through June 30 will feature local artists depictions of Kelly.
“This is an expansion, more than a separate exhibit, since it is in conjunction with the arts center. We are trying to connect both the exhibits because our permanent exhibit is deep in the museum,” Granahan explained. “We will have a red carpet to grab peoples’ attention. They will be able to walk the red carpet into the museum.”
He said they selected the perfect person to act as the guest curator.
Anthony LoRusso, who vacations in Ocean City in the summers, will explain what he knows of the life of Grace Kelly and provide some.
LoRusso is an avid Kelly memorabilia collector. He also has various newspaper clippings and photos of the beauty as well as Grace Kelly Barbie dolls and other items that will be on display.
The exhibits at both the museum and art center opens at 7 p.m. June 8 with a reception and light refreshments.
Guests will get to mingle downstairs at the museum exhibit and then venture upstairs to see some of the Grace Kelly inspired artwork.
Lifshin said 30 of the finest artists in Cape and Atlantic counties will showcase their works.
“Each June we have an invitational exhibit where we invite artists to paint a theme and this year’s theme is “I remember Grace Kelly,” she said.
Lifshin said the art center is very excited to be able to do the exhibit with the museum and added that there are some wonderful works that will be featured.
Some of the images involve scenes in Kelly’s films, including Rear Window and To Catch a Thief. There are paintings of the princess walking with her children on the beach in Ocean City and strolling on the Boardwalk.
“Amazing Grace” by G.J. Moyer, is a mixed media piece with a painting of Kelly in the middle and clippings of her movies and photos of her surrounding it.
To kick off the Grace Kelly events, the Ocean City Historical Museum will host a Grace Kelly Tea at the Flanders Hotel at 2 p.m. June 6. Reservations are required for the tea and tickets are available until June 1.
For more information for the Ocean City Historical Museum visit www.ocnjmuseum.org
and for the Ocean City Art Center go to www.oceancityartscenter.org.