Atlantic City was once again an open house gallery for those who appreciate art during the 3rd annual 48 Blocks community arts festival.

Over the weekend, area businesses and community spaces supported the artistic endeavors of local and world-renowned artists including guided tours of Atlantic City’s growing mural displays.

The city’s mural art project began in 2017. Since then, Atlantic City has become home to more than 50 murals, including five recently completed large-scale paintings.

This year was the second year the Atlantic City Arts Foundation gave guided tours of the murals on jitneys.

Sunday’s tour kicked off at Brown’s Park, heading from the city’s downtown area into the Ducktown neighborhood.

Jitney driver David Murillo navigated the city streets, while volunteer tour guide Kate Warren-Ogden pointed out the murals found on buildings throughout the city.

“A lot of the art sends a message that this is a nice city to visit,” said Murillo, who was curious to learn more about the city’s art so he could tell his future riders about the murals. “I hope people come back to see more.”

Warren-Ogden, an art history professor at Stockton University, became involved with the Atlantic City Arts Foundation through her friend, Joyce Hagen, the foundation’s executive director. This was Warren-Ogden’s first year giving the tour, and she said she learned a lot about the murals and was impressed by the stories behind the artists’ work.

While on the tour, Janet Garrarty, of Galloway Township, took several photos of the city murals and even contributed to one along Sovereign Avenue.

The “Before I Die” mural painted by Genesis Sandoval was inspired by New Orleans-based artists Candy Change and features a fill-in-the-blank style phrase.

48 Blocks provided the touring jitneys with chalk so participants could add their aspirations to the wall.

Garraty wrote that she hoped to one day see the Great Wall of China.

Along with seeing the most recently added murals to Atlantic City, the tour stopped at one of the larger murals, “Jelly Fish” by Brigantine artist Charles Barbin.

The mural was completed as a part of last year’s 48 Blocks, but still is a major draw due to its optical illusions as the painted tentacles of the jellyfish pop when using red and blue 3D glasses.

After approximately a 90-minute tour, there were still plenty of 48 Blocks activities to be a part of, including improvisation comedy skits, yard bombing and a ceramics workshop with the MudGirls Studios

“I really wanted to see the revitalization project going on,” Garraty said on why she wanted to take the tour. “And I can’t wait to see more of it.”

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Staff Writer

Joined the Press in November 2016. Graduate of Quinnipiac University. Previously worked as a freelance reporter in suburban Philadelphia and news/talk radio producer.