The Ocean City Fishing Club will celebrate its centennial in 2013 with an assortment of events, the first a January art show focused on its iconic 14th Street fishing pier and clubhouse. The artwork for the show was created by members of the Ocean City Fine Arts League and is on display at the Ocean City Arts Center, located on the second floor of the Ocean City Community Center. An official exhibit opening and meet-the-artists reception is planned for Jan. 11.
Ocean City Fine Arts League President Rae Jaffe, who painted a couple of en plein air — or “open air” — paintings of the pier for the exhibit, said the league artists are honored to partner with the fishing club and help promote its history.
“It’s great exposure for us,” said Jaffe, adding that she learned a lot about the history of the Ocean City Fishing Club and its fishing pier while touring the clubhouse and creating paintings of the pier.
Promoting the club’s history is the main purpose of the centennial events, including the art show, said Ocean City Fishing Club trustee and public relations director George Ingram, of Ocean City.
The Ocean City Fishing Club was formed in the summer 1913 and is the oldest continuously operated fishing club in the country, Ingram said. Its private fishing pier and clubhouse opened three years later. The pier also is the only on-ocean fishing pier in Ocean City, extending 635 feet southeast from the Ocean City Boardwalk over sand into the Atlantic Ocean, with an outer platform tee that is 50-feet wide and 30-feet long and an elevation of about 24 feet.
All of this makes the fishing pier one of Ocean City’s most photographed landmarks.
Ocean City Fishing Club member Don Smedley came up with the idea for the art show. His wife, Connie, is a board member for the Ocean City Arts Center.
“Everyone’s always photographing it and taking pictures of their loved ones on the pier,” Smedley said. “I’m a big supporter of the Arts Center and the Fishing Club, so I thought why not bring the two together and promote them both.”
Jaffe said the art show work will show a variety of perspectives on the pier.
“Depending on the perspective the artist, where they stood, the artwork tells a different story,” she said. “(League member and artist) Deb Spinella enhanced the colors and gave hers a beautiful sky, Kathy Arleth took a unique perceptive underneath the pier looking up at it.”
Arleth, of Somers Point, said she took photographs of the pier early one morning, which she then used as a model for her painting.
“It’s from the perspective of a person standing on the beach and looking out at the pier,” she said. “So you have the morning shadows of the pier onto the beach, and you see a lot of the pilings shooting up. It’s an interesting perspective.”
Ingram said he was at the fishing club clubhouse when a couple of artists, including Jaffe, were in the process of painting.
“One was working in the sand, another set right on the Boardwalk right across from Bob’s (Grill),” he said.
He said he’s yet to see the completed exhibit, but based on the half-finished paintings he saw, he predicts it will be a great show.
“Art’s a good way to help share our history,” Ingram said.
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