48 Blocks art event shows off community pride in Atlantic City

ATLANTIC CITY — As the dancers prepared to demonstrate their ballet skills Saturday morning at Kennedy Plaza, the sun was trying to break through the clouds.

A morning downpour had set the performance back by a few minutes, but an audience already was gathering.

The Atlantic City Ballet was performing as part of 48 Blocks, a celebration of artists spanning the city’s six wards.

Lisa Honaker, dean of arts and humanities at Stockton, organized 48 Blocks with Joyce Hagen, Atlantic City Arts Foundation’ executive director.

“Our idea is to provide pop-up art experiences all over Atlantic City to bring the community out,” Honaker said.

Atlantic City's 48 Blocks

48 Blocks took place on Saturday,  featured art installations and creative projects including ballet, mural, Tai Chi, etc.  

48 Blocks on Saturday, featured art installations and creative projects including ballet, mural, Tai Chi, etc. The Atlantic City Ballet was held at Kennedy Plaza on the Boardwalk which included Sara Lonngren (left),34 of Medford, Fabio Mariano,24 of Brazil and Taylor Smolen,23 of Georgia performing on stage. June 24, 2017 (Craig Matthews / Staff Photographer)

Severe weather concerned them. Some displays had to be canceled due to the rain.

Weather did not deter Bob Smith, 66, of Lancaster, Pennsylvania, though.

“It’s a great idea — civic pride,” Smith said. “We’re here all day.”

Donna Dietrich, of Atlantic City, came with her mother to get a glimpse of the ballet.

“I like that they brought the arts,” said Dietrich, 62. “We’re going to take the jitney and go to Gardener’s Basin. I’m excited.”

Dietrich said she is an artist, so she appreciates the opportunity to see other artists on display throughout the city.

Gateway Head Start center on Bacharach Boulevard displayed a mural depicting children as superheroes. Artist Mariana Smith, of Manahawkin, Stafford Township, helped children at the Atlantic City Police Athletic League create the work last summer.

Aisha Oliver, of Atlantic City, site director for the Galloway Township Head Start, handed passers-by information. Oliver said she was happy to be part of the event.

“It incorporates all six wards of Atlantic City and involves the community as a whole,” she said.

Stephanie Brennan, 30, of Linwood, brought her son and her niece to see the mural. She painted an Adirondack chair as part of the event.

“It’s something that the city needs to get the community involved,” Brennan said. “It really brings the community together. It’s so uplifting.”

Derek Cason, 60, of Atlantic City, was helping to organize several artistic events at St. James AME Church on New York Avenue.

“It’s a fantastic concept,” Cason said. “One of the things that has been missing in Atlantic City is to have a strong cultural and artistic base.”

 

The original article can be found on The Press of Atlantic City.