Art of Surfing Festival returns to Ocean City Music Pier

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Steve Miller, Art of Surfing Festival organizer and founder, is ready for the 12 annual show. Steve Miller, Art of Surfing Festival organizer and founder, is ready for the 12 annual show. OCEAN CITY — Featuring original art from surfing’s biggest names, live music and a chance to meet artists from across the country, Steve Miller said he is proud of the art show he and his friend started over a decade ago.

The 12th annual Art of Surfing Festival opened on Thursday evening and continues noon-10 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Aug. 3-4 at the Ocean City Music Pier.  Admission is free.

Miller is listed as the event coordinator on his business card, but he and business partner Phil DeAngelo are also the founders the Art of Surfing Festival. He explained that it all started one day in 2000 when the friends were out surfing.

“My friend Phil and I were out in the lineup surfing and we owned an art gallery in downtown Ocean City,” Miller said.

The store, Sagemore Gallery on Asbury Avenue, opened in 1998 and was a joint venture between the two friends, who, at the time, lived in Egg Harbor Township.

Miller said he was the businessman in the partnership and DeAngelo was the artist.

That day surfing, the two developed the idea of hosting an art show all about surfing at their gallery. The first event, in 2001, was held around Christmastime and had a turnout of about 300 people, Miller said.

“We were like, ‘Oh my God, could you imagine what it would be like if we did this in the summer?’” Miller said.

The gallery hosted the Art of Surfing Festival for the next few years, until moving to the Music Pier, it’s current location, to accommodate the large turnout.

In the meantime, after 10 years in business, Sagemore Gallery closed its doors in 2008. Miller said it was the result of the economy.

“It was like losing a child. It was really a hard decision,” he said.

Since closing, DeAngelo, who grew up in Ocean City, has moved to North Carolina; Miller now resides in Mt. Laurel.

Although DeAngelo doesn’t live close, Miller said he still helps with the art show where he can.

Twenty different artists are showing their crafts at this year’s festival.

“The goal has always been to bring the awareness to the surfing art that’s happening locally and not so locally,” Miller said.

Almost everything at the show is for sale.

“We try to have a price range for everybody,” Miller said.

Ocean City Primary School art teacher Aaron Bogushefsky, also known at “Bogy,” began selling his artwork at the Art of Surfing Festival when he was still in college.

“2004, I did the Boardwalk Art Show and during that show I had my surfing stuff,” he said. From there, Sagemore Gallery contacted him about participating in their surfing art show. “Ever since then, I’ve been a part of it.”

This year, he is also hosting a children’s art area to let kids get their hands dirty and create some art at the festival.

Miller said the show has evolved in the last 12 years with its offerings.

 “We basically have opened it up to artists from all over the country,” he said.

“We’re trying to shine a positive light on surfing,” he said, admitting it gets a bad rap at times.

Miller said the Art of Surfing Festival is truly a family event.

“And Ocean City is America’s Greatest Family Resort,” he said.

While surfing and art are the stars of the exhibition, musicians also have a chance to shine with live musical performances in the Music Pier pavilion throughout the festival.

On Friday, the White Walls perform 7-9:30 p.m. and on Saturday, Jason Andre, The SlotCars and the Sharkskins will perform.

In the spirit of surfing celebration, the Ocean City Free Public Library teamed up with Miller to host a “Gidget” book signing and documentary showing.

“The Ocean City Public Library brought us in Gidget, who’s our star for the evening,” Miller said.

The real Gidget, Kathy Zuckerman, will appear noon Saturday, Aug. 4  in the main lecture room of the library, 1735 Simpson Ave., and will discuss her new documentary, “Accidental Icon” along with the movie's producer Brian Gillogly. On Friday and Saturday, 7-9 p.m., Zuckerman and Gillogly will also appear at the Art of Surfing Festival for a book signing.

“Everybody joins together,” Miller said. “It has really turned into this community thing and taken on a life of its own.”

When the festival first moved into the Music Pier, the only weekend available was at the end of August. But when Ocean City saw the turnout of about 10,000 people, they offered Miller a better weekend coinciding with the Boardwalk Art Show, now in its 50th year.

“This is a great weekend. The Boardwalk Art Show, it kind of works out well,” Miller said. “It’s all for art.”

Miller said he was once told: “The surfers are like artists themselves on the waves, using the surfboard as a brush painting on the water,” and that really stuck with him.

He said his favorite part about the festival is that his children enjoy it as much as he does. Miller’s two sons, ages 9 and 20, have been helping out for a long time, he said.

“And I always thought that they we’re working so hard at this festival,” he said. “My one son turned to me and said, ‘Dad, I love the festival.’”

More information about the Art of Surfing festival can be found here.

Art of Surfing festival Ocean City Music Pier Paul Amaranto of Bridgeton paints a canvas using acrylic paint during the Art of Surfing Festival’s opening night Thursday, Aug. 2.

Art of Surfing festival Ocean City Music Pier The real “Gidget,” Kathy Zuckerman stands with Steve Miller, Art of Surfing Festival event organizer and founder, and shows off her book.

Art of Surfing festival Ocean City Music Pier Bill Simon of Egg Harbor Township displays his surfing memorabilia, which he has been passionately collecting since 1985.

Art of Surfing festival Ocean City Music Pier Malcolm Matheson, 12, of Egg Harbor Township and his brother Miro, 8, at Malcolm’s stand at the festival. Like the Tom’s Shoes of skateboarding, Malcolm Matheson designs and sells skateboards, then uses the money to provide skateboards to orphan children in Brazil. See www.shredtheloaf.com for more information.

Art of Surfing festival Ocean City Music Pier Danny Scannapieco of Baltimore, Md., who works as a lifeguard in Sea Isle City, creates Moragami, wax string art.

Art of Surfing festival Ocean City Music Pier Melanie Marhefka of Somers Point, Chuck and Jennifer Smith, with daughter Lyla, 1, of Brigantine with artist Mike Kuharik and son Jason, 13, of Smithville. Kuharik, under his trade name Harmony Surfboards, creates wooden display surfboards.

Art of Surfing festival Ocean City Music Pier The 12th annual Art of Surfing Festival opens in the Music Pier Thursday, Aug. 1.

Art of Surfing festival Ocean City Music Pier Beth O’Brien of Ocean City with her children Gracie, 4, Owen, 1, and Colin, 7, create art at the Art of Surfing Festival at the Music Pier.

Art of Surfing festival Ocean City Music Pier Ocean City Primary School art teacher Aaron Bogushefsky, also known at “Bogy,” sells his artwork at the Art of Surfing Festival. He has been participating in the event since 2004.

Art of Surfing festival Ocean City Music Pier The Glenn Taylor Band performs in the pavilion of the Music Pier Thursday.


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