By Joan Slowey Dellett ~
“ANYTHING YOU DO TO MAKE THE WORLD MORE BEAUTIFUL MAKES YOU AN ARTIST” – Anonymous
Hidden in the outskirts of town, the Belmar Arts Council is a treasure waiting to be discovered.
In 2004, a group of likeminded Belmar residents, encouraged by then mayor Ken Pringle, decided to create a place where they could gather and share their art with their fellow artists and the community. Originally housed on 5th Avenue, the township of Belmar offered up the former Boatworks on River Road to the BAC. With help from many volunteers to create the studio space, the building became an ideal location for all the BAC Board of Trustees hoped to present to the town of Belmar and artists everywhere.
With the support of the Belmar Business Association, local government, businesses and individuals in the way of grants, sponsorships, membership fees and donations, the Belmar Arts Council has been able to develop a well-rounded curriculum with which to engage professionals, beginners and even the casual appreciator of art.
With 350 members from all over the country and a newsletter that reaches over 2500, the BAC strives to present 12-14 exhibits a year. The types of exhibits are determined at the beginning of the year and trustees attempt to showcase art that represents ALL art forms (mostly visual art). Criteria is different for each show. Some shows are just for members while others are open to everyone. There are Juried shows with blind judging by art professionals from all over the country and Open shows, with a committee chair determining which submissions will be shown. The Annual Juried show receives over 200 submissions.
One of the BAC’s most ambitious events is the annual Art Walk in the spring. Businesses throughout the town of Belmar invite artists to set up and work in their stores. Store patrons can view the artwork in progress as they conduct their business or anyone can walk through town and stop at individual businesses hosting the artists.
The Belmar Arts Council also constantly works to offer a diverse selection of classes and workshops for members and non-members. There is the Shared Interest Group – not a class but an informal learning experience where people with similar interests meet to share experiences, tips, ideas and critiques in such varied areas as photography, creative writing and costume model drawing. Guests are always welcome for any two meetings but after that, membership purchase is required. There are classes for, among other things, framing, wine basket making, woodcutting, yarn bombing (google it!) and Ukrainian egg decorating. There is also the Young Rembrandts classes, an 8 week drawing program for 5-12 year olds.
You can learn to crochet, practice restorative yoga, participate in Fiber Fridays, become a Storyteller, enjoy a musical showcase with Jody Joseph or enjoy “Pizza, Pints & Pixels”. Bringing people together to discover, create, learn and celebrate the arts is what the Belmar Art Council is all about. And if you have an artistic passion you want to share, the BAC can give you that opportunity by providing the space to do so.
On Saturday, November 17th, the BAC will again hold their “Celebrate the Arts” – a one day holiday market featuring the works of artists, artisans, musicians, poets and authors gathered to help you get a jump start on your holiday shopping while enjoying refreshments and entertainment in the Belmar Arts gallery.
There is a trove of treasure waiting to be discovered within the vibrant, mural-covered walls of the Belmar Arts Council. For more information and a schedule of events and classes, go to belmararts.org.
608 River Road, Belmar NJ 07719