VENTNOR - There are probably few upscale art galleries where thousand-dollar paintings and sculptures share floor space with a sports section.

A game-used Pete Rose bat and signed Joe DiMaggio baseball are among items in a glass display at the Holtzman Gallery, which owner David Holtzman opened in February.

A trained artist and local businessman, Holtzman, 61, said the sports artifacts offer a unique element of surprise among the artwork.

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"I always wanted to open an art gallery," he said. "My dad passed, he had a lot of sports stuff, so I brought some of that out. Men and women both love art, but it seems like a lot more women are attracted to it. And then the guy comes in and sees the sports stuff."

This gallery's open house was one of a series of events that took place in Ventnor over the weekend, aimed to draw more attention to artwork and music in the city.

A rainy and windy start Friday dampened some plans, but the return of sunny weather later helped bring people out, some local artists said.

Art in the Park - a public arts gathering held the fourth Friday of the month from May to September - was moved from the park to inside the Ventnor Cultural Arts Center on Friday because of rain.

Ventnor Arts Weekend took place Saturday and Sunday.

"The potential is here. All we need is people to know about what's going on here," said Janet Bodoff, a Ventnor artist who helped coordinate the arts weekend. "I think when people are looking to purchase art, if they know Ventnor is a town that supports arts and artists, they would come looking here."

Holtzman, whose own artwork is among the pieces for sale, said he feels Ventnor is well-suited for an arts scene.

"It has that earthy, not snobbish kind of atmosphere people kind of shy away from, a real mix of people, which is why I love it here," he said.

"The first decent day of Memorial Day weekend I sold a lot of art, a lot of jewelry," he said.

A few doors down Sunday, live music was being played outside North Beach Gallery and Gifts, a gallery showcasing local artists.

Kim Romantino, of Margate, opened there in September, shortly before Hurricane Sandy struck.

Romantino said her store escaped damage, but it had been a slow off-season until very recently.

"It was very, very slow for me, but yesterday and today we had music outside. We've had a lot of patrons come in and lot of artists," she said Sunday.

"I was afraid because of all the rain. But we're doing really good," she said.

Contact Brian Ianieri:

609-272-7253

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