April Highlights Youth and Community Engagement

Abbey Whitelock

Every month we feature new exhibits at the Ocean City Center for the Arts. This month’s shows have special meanings to John and me, as they are two projects we have nurtured from the beginning.

Twenty years ago in 2002, I spear-headed our Corporate Partner Program to engage local businesses in the arts. At the time, the Art League had about 200 individual members but no business members. My background in business combined with my passion for the arts led me to realize the arts are essential to Ocean City’s cultural reputation and tourism.

This April, the Art League presents the 20th Annual Corporate Partner Juried Show to honor our Corporate Partners and celebrate their support for the arts.  Always one of our most anticipated and competitive shows, we received more than 150 entries, and juror Chris Harrington of UMES will choose the best to show.

We designed our Corporate Partner program to increase awareness of the Art League in the community while providing membership benefits to the small businesses who pay a yearly fee. We are proud that today more than 50 local businesses are our Corporate Partners, allowing us to serve our community with valuable programs. 

Our president, John Sisson, is sponsoring the annual Animé/Manga Youth Art Show for the 8th year, on display opening weekend and featuring artwork from middle, high school, and college students —and even some college professors.  As an educator, the creativity of youth is always near to John’s heart. He spent several years teaching in Japan and also led American student groups to Japan to learn about their culture, including the Animé/Manga style of art often found in animation or comic books. This artform has become a phenomenon with young artists, and our exhibit contains a broad array of styles. Often fans will attend our art shows in “cosplay,” wearing a costume of their favorite character, making it all the more fun.

We invite you to visit the Ocean City Center for the Arts to see these dynamic shows near and dear to our hearts and experience all the wonderful exhibits, classes, and events filling the Arts Center in April.

Rina Thaler 

Art League of Ocean City Executive Director