A little-known Atlantic City walkway in the Marina District will be transformed this summer into an illuminated trail filled with original sculptures.
Announced Monday, the sculpture project is the latest in a recent string of artistic developments intended to attract a new type of visitor to the resort. Officials said they hope the move will create a more walkable Marina District, attracting visitors to the bayside properties for what will be called The AC Waterfront Sculpture Walk.
Partially a landscaped concrete sidewalk and partially a Boardwalk-inspired “baywalk,” the already existing pathway links the three Marina District casino properties — the Borgata, Harrah’s Resort Atlantic City and the Golden Nugget Atlantic City. Yet many aren’t aware that it exists, officials said.
Some runners and walkers currently use the path, but it hasn’t been marketed as a destination, nor is there specific parking for patrons who wish to visit the trail without parking at a casino.
“Roughly at least 80 percent of the people who stay in the Boardwalk-side properties explore the Boardwalk. We think there’s an opportunity to really geometrically increase the number of people who, when they come to the Marina District, will start to explore this beautiful walkway, which ... has the best sunset view probably in the city,” Atlantic City Alliance President Liza Cartmell said.
A collaboration between the ACA, the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority and the Noyes Museum of Art at Richard Stockton College, the walk will eventually have 40 sculptures added during the next four years. Plans call for the project to open in July with 25 sculptures. The Noyes Museum will now begin taking submissions from artists who wish to have their work displayed.
Exact costs of the project weren’t available Monday. Funding will come from an existing $6 million allocation from the CRDA for several “flex field” art projects in the resort, such as the Artlantic installation at the the former Sands casino site on Dr. Martin Luther King Boulevard. ACA’s contribution to the art projects is flexible, but it is currently estimated at roughly $6 million as well, Cartmell said.
The already existing walkway features some landscaped areas, shrubs, trees and a section that resembles the Boardwalk. It begins at the Farley State Marina at the Golden Nugget and extends underneath the Brigantine Bridge. Construction occurred in phases with the the newest extension opening in 2003 to coincide with the opening of the Borgata.
Casino properties own the portions of the trail at each of their locations, officials said.
The development announced Monday is the latest in a stream of art-related announcements that have taken shape in recent months as officials continue an attempt to diversify nongambling attractions in the resort. The move is in keeping with Gov. Chris Christie’s call to make the city cleaner and safer, establish more nongambling draws and market itself better.
Art has become a focal point of that effort with millions being spent to transform vacant lots into artistic attractions throughout the city. An arts-retail space on the first floor of The Wave parking garage on Mississippi Avenue is expected to open in September as an anchor for an arts district. The Noyes Museum and the Atlantic City Arts Commission are also sponsoring a Boardwalk Art Show on Sept. 7.
“The governor was very clear in his desire to have more nongaming attractions developed in Atlantic City,” CRDA Executive Director John Palmieri said. “The extension of arts-based attractions within the Tourism District provides a unique nongaming opportunity while building on the momentum of Artlantic installations along the Boardwalk.”
The Artlantic art project features a faux pirate ship, beach grass and large illuminated words scattered over hills. It continues to grow with new additions, and on Monday, Provincetown, Mass.-based, artist Peter Hutchinson was at the site for a live installation of his work. The 83-year-old creates landscape art by throwing a rope. A line is spray-painted where the rope falls, and then flowers and shrubs are planted along the pattern.
“I like the idea of selective chance,” said Hutchinson, who saw Atlantic City for the first time Monday and said staying at the Tropicana was certainly an experience compared to his usual surroundings in Cape Cod.
Recent Stockton graduates Patrick Judd and Sarra Mazur were among those who attended Monday’s demonstration. Having recently started a theater production company, XYXee, the two said they hope the arts momentum continues in the resort. The pair hopes to host a theater production at the Artlantic installation. Officials have said they hope to incorporate live performances there this summer.
“Art is very much about community involvement. If no one wants to see it, then what’s the point?” Judd said.
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Sculpture walk submissions
To submit artwork for the sculpture walk, artists can respond to a request for proposals found online at www.noyesmuseum.org. The deadline for submissions is June 7.