One of Rusty Silverman’s first summer jobs in 1968 was working alongside Atlantic City lifeguards as a medic — and he knew almost immediately there was something there worth capturing that translated to art.
Once Silverman took up photography a few years later, he came back and started shooting. Decades later, he still hasn’t stopped.
“I was the medic at one of the lifeguard tents, so I knew about the lifeguard culture from that, although even as a child, I watched and admired what they did,” says Silverman, a physician and Atlantic City-based photographer who recently published a book, “Lifeguard Art.” “I feel like I have a skill to read the ocean. I like the beach, and I admire the lifeguards, and as part of my medical practice, it kind of goes together.”
Silverman is one of 10 artists participating in the fifth annual At The Shore Wine Tasting Art Show, taking place 5 to 8 p.m. Wednesday, Feb 5, at the Atlantic City Country Club in Northfield. The show provides an opportunity for local and regional artists, such as Silverman, to showcase and sell their work.
The Greater Atlantic City Concierge Association and the CRDA’s Atlantic City Convention & Visitors Authority Foundation produce the Wine Tasting Art Show, which is sponsored by the Press of Atlantic City’s At The Shore magazine. The event raises funds for scholarships for hospitality students at colleges and universities in the region.
The show includes a tasting selection of red and white wines from Gallo Wines accompanied by hors d’oeuvres from Atlantic City Country Club and live jazz music provided by the Richard Stockton College of New Jersey’s faculty band.
“We try and make it a little different each year,” says Doreen Prinzo, manager of marketing partnership at the ACCVA. “This year we’re expanding the silent auction. We have the arts garage section — all of those artists in one section. And because it’s the fifth anniversary … Gallo Wines will be bringing out a special 5th anniversary line.”
In addition, the venue will feature two wine bars this year instead of one, Prinzo says. Attendees will each receive a punch card to try every wine once. There will not be a tasting room this year.
About 15 hospitality students will volunteer their services at the show, and the scholarships are available to students attending Richard Stockton College of New Jersey, Atlantic Cape Community College and Farleigh Dickenson University who are majoring in hospitality. Since the show began five years ago, 31 students have received scholarships totaling $27,000.
Nicholas LaRotonda, 21, an ACCC student, was one of last year’s scholarship recipients, receiving $1,000 for his education.
“I do work full time in the industry — I work to pay for my tuition and that (scholarship) helped me financially,” says LaRotonda, a volunteer fireman and a front desk shift manager at the Golden Nugget Atlantic City. “It made things a lot easier — it’s less of a burden.”
Cheryl Knowles-Harrigan, an associate professor of art at Atlantic Cape Community College, enjoys painting landscapes and buildings, mostly using watercolors or oils. She will have both framed and unframed matted watercolors for sale at the show, in addition to a few small oil paintings, she says.
Knowles-Harrigan, who entered the art show for the first time last year after she came across a call for entries, called her first art show experience exciting.
“The place was very busy,” says Knowles-Harrigan, of Milmay. “There were a lot of people, there was live music, and of course the wine to taste. I got to see some of my students, some of my colleagues, some retired colleagues. It was a very fast couple of hours, and just a very nice experience.”
“I sold some work,” Knowles-Harrigan says, “But, I teach for a living, and really it’s about what we can do for the students. And it’s nice to see students who had moved on.”
Chris Ford, a surrealist artist from Ventnor, will display a few complex modern pieces at the show, he says.
“I’m inspired by everything,” says Ford, a two-time show participant who is also currently designing for PUSH Clothing from Philadelphia. “Everything around me. A sentence someone says, or looking at something. There are a lot of things I see every day that are in a lot of my paintings.”
The show has expanded this year to include a more diverse roster of artists in the new “arts garage” section. Artists include Diamond Frandsen, a fiber artist and basket designer; Ulviye Asal, a crochet jewelry artist; and master basket maker Debra Simpson.
“It has grown so much — and the event itself has grown,” Prinzo says. “When we first started, there was no place for artists to showcase. We’ve opened it up to different styles this year. I’m very happy with the choices this year, and I think it’s going to be successful and fun.”