Art Box launched at Adventure Pier

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Photo by Christie Rotondo/Will and Jack Morey smash a champagne bottle against one of the shipping containers to mark the launching of Art Box. Photo by Christie Rotondo/Will and Jack Morey smash a champagne bottle against one of the shipping containers to mark the launching of Art Box. WILDWOOD – With the smash of a champagne bottle, Art Box, the brainchild of Jack Morey, was launched Thursday at Adventure Pier.

Since rumors of the plan first surfaced earlier this year, locals and visitors have been curious about the artists village made from upcycled shipping containers. On June 20, they got their first glimpse before the official opening July 2.

“Wildwood is one of the last really great, tacky with a capital ‘T’ amusement towns,” Morey said during the preview. He said that Art Box will help the island embrace that unique tackiness.

He and his brother, Will Morey, along with Jack Wright of Exit Zero, smashed two champagne bottles against the Art Box shipping container. The tradition of breaking a champagne bottle against a ship began in England; it symbolized wishes for good luck and a safe voyage.

Husband and wife Ed and Hong Peahota, David MacComber, Pete Beiling Sr. and Pete Beiling Jr. are the artists who will use the Art Box as their studios this summer.

MacComber is a surf artist from Cape May who blends his surf photography with mixed media work. He has worked with Morey’s Piers previously, when he was commissioned to spray-paint murals on shipping containers at Adventure Pier last year. 

On Thursday, he was packaging prints in him makeshift “studio” – a shipping container outfitted with a small counter, dozens of cans of spray paint, pieces of wood and a folding work table. His artwork hung on the walls.

Around him, visitors sampled tuna avocado rolls from the Tokyo 4B sushi café, which operates out of one of the other shipping containers, and sipped craft beer from Cape May Brewing Company.

“It just seemed like a unique opportunity,” MacComber said. “It’s interesting to get immediate feedback as you’re working.”

He said he enjoys explaining his process to the public. MacComber takes surf photographs in the water with his friends, his Canon Rebel protected in waterproof casing. Then he puts the photos on skateboards and various wood cutouts, some cut the shape of New Jersey, and decorates them with paint and drawings.

“When most people think of surf art, they think of paintings of sunsets and the beach,” he said. “This is a little edgier.”

One of the art boxes serves as the Exit Zero Museum Shop. Jack Wright, the publisher of Exit Zero, joined with the Morey’s to create Art Box.

He said the Wildwood boardwalk is “part of the broader Cape May experience,” but unlike Cape May, there was nowhere in Wildwood to purchase merchandise from the resort’s past and present.

The museum shop carries prints of vintage tourism photos – including an iconic shot of women in bathing suits under a neon Wildwood sign – as well as coffee table books of amusement park rides and old wheels from Morey’s Piers roller coasters.

The official Art Box opening July 2 will feature the unveiling of a 8- by 30-foot enlargement of a painting by 12-year-old professional artist Autumn de Forest on the attraction’s vertical shipping container.

Christie Rotondo can be emailed by This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or you can comment on this story below.

Photo by Christie Rotondo/Pete Beiling Jr. demonstrates glass art making in his studio. Pete Beiling Jr. demonstrates glass art making in his studio. Photo by Christie Rotondo/ Surf artist David MacComber places his prints in plastic sleeves at his shipping container studio in the Art Box. Surf artist David MacComber places his prints in plastic sleeves at his shipping container studio in the Art Box.


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