Written by Logan Dubel
As 2021 draws to a close, the Art League of Ocean City is reflecting on another successful year of creativity and collaboration. From the Arts Center on 94th Street and beyond, the nonprofit organization has inspired people of all ages across the Delmarva community. Take my own personal story, for example.
My path to the Art League is highly unconventional, but it has been one of the most joyous and pleasurable experiences of my life so far. About 18 months ago, as the Covid-19 pandemic raged on, I sought to make a difference by informing the community. As a high school sophomore and aspiring broadcast journalist, there were few opportunities to put my skills to the test at such a young age. Since then, I have had the privilege of serving Ocean City residents and tourists as a reporter for Oceancity.com.
While covering local news and culture, I began highlighting the Art League’s programs and success, beginning with the Ocean City Film Festival’s drive-in movies. In December 2020, after many wonderful conversations with Art League executive director and fearless leader Rina Thaler, I joined the Art League as a monthly writer. This evolved into a summer internship and now, a lifelong relationship.
After a challenging school year, I loved spending time at the Art League and making conversation with every new person that walked into our double glass doors. Interns are stereotypically known for grabbing coffee and using the copy machine, but that was surely not the case for me. I loved being in an environment where my input was valued, and my passions were fueled.
First and foremost, my time here has made my writing stronger and more emotive. I have gained a strong mentor in Elaine Bean, the Art League’s experienced Marketing and Publicity Director. She has guided me through all my assignments, and even arranged an interview with Maryland First Lady Yumi Hogan on my birthday. Elaine always looks out for me.
All these amazing relationships and opportunities came from an organization dedicated to the visual arts, but I am no artist. However, this group has provided me with a home to write about the things that make ordinary people smile. The truth is that no matter your passion, the Art League will make room for and support you.
We often say that art has the power to change lives, but it is not just a cliche. I saw it in action this year during our summer camp. I will never forget when a mother dropped off her daughter and told us about her struggles during virtual learning, but that by taking classes and volunteering during camp, she had seen a sense of brightness in her that was missing for far too long. As you reflect this holiday season, please consider donating to the Art League so that we can continue sharing success stories like these.
The results are undeniable, with over 1,100 members, 3,300 students served, and 10,000 visitors in 2021. The group has welcomed exhibits of all kinds, featuring varied perspectives and techniques, all while grabbing the attention of Maryland’s finest, including Comptroller Peter Franchot and First Lady Hogan. The Art League even adapted during the pandemic to host online classes and offered nearly 600 classes either in-person or online this year.
In addition to hosting countless classes, the Art League is home to Art Adventure Camp, the Sand Castle Home Tour, Plein Air, as well as the Ocean City Film Festival. Each year, the group has managed to expand its reach in the visual arts scene, becoming a beacon of hope that extends far beyond the canvas. From granting scholarships, beautifying OC, and most importantly, providing a creative outlet, the Art League is a cultural hub in the resort town.
Since moving into its state-of-the-art facility in 2013, the organization has grown tremendously through the hard work and dedication of staff and volunteers, as well as loyal patrons. To continue serving the community and making a difference in peoples’ lives, the Art League needs your help.
There are numerous ways in which you can support the Art League. First, simply donate online by visiting https://interland3.donorperfect.net/weblink/weblink.aspx?name=E330306&id=2. Donations are also accepted via phone or mail. If you are looking for something more rewarding, volunteer at one of the Art League’s events and feel the joy of immersing yourself in the arts. Additionally, consider sponsoring an exhibit or providing a grant for scholarships.
In all realms, the possibilities are truly endless at the Art League of Ocean City. If you have not yet checked out this hidden gem on 94th Street, be sure to visit – you will not regret it!