ArtX

Guests walk around Northside Park on 125th Street during the second annual ArtX event last year. The 2020 festival will take place this weekend.

(Aug. 21, 2020) Artists and art enthusiasts may “Xpress” their artistic passions this Saturday and Sunday during the third annual ArtX festival at Northside Park on 125th Street.

“ArtX is one event that seems to still fit well as an offering under the 2020 covid-19 crisis and recovery,” Ocean City Special Events Director Frank Miller said. “This outdoor event allows patrons to spread out in Northside Park, enjoy the cultural offering and activities and take in a positive family friendly event. 

The festival will take place on Saturday from noon to 8 p.m., and from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Sunday.

ArtX, which stands for “Artistic Expression,” is a fine art show that has actually been active in the resort for 20 years under the monikers “Arts Atlantica” and then “Arts Alive,” the latter being retired three years ago. 

Since its original inception, the event – a collaborative effort between the city and the Art League of Ocean City – has slowly been rebranded to cater to a wider audience. 

“Over the years we’ve updated the event,” said Rina Thaler, Art League of Ocean City executive director. “Three years ago, under the leadership of Frank Miller, we decided to make it more of an art and music festival, make it more interactive and try to bring it to a younger demographic.” 

Last year’s festival drew more than 80 artists and vendors, and over 9,000 visitors — double that of the event’s inaugural year. 

This year, however, because of covid-19 there will only be around 50 artists and vendors in attendance. 

“ArtX is not immune to the effects of this difficult year and we made modifications to adhere to Maryland Department of Health expectations and requests,” Miller said. “Providing an environment where our patrons and vendors can enjoy the interactive experience, while feeling safe during their time on site is paramount.”

Thaler said this year’s live music will be less concert, more “ambient noise,” as a result of the state attorney general’s “no audience” performance rule, and the festival’s film component will also be gone. 

Nevertheless, Thaler said plenty of activities remain, as well as food, craft beer and wine.  

“We have substituted and done some other neat interactive things people can enjoy in a social distanced manner,” Thaler said. 

This includes tie-dye shirt making, chalk drawing contests, artist demonstrations, workshops and a youth plein air event.

“We have kits that we will hand out to kids and families and they can go around the park and find a spot and create a piece of art,” Thaler said. “We have prizes for that too.”

While many of the activities are free, participants must register for the workshops. The cost is $20 each.  

There is also a nominal fee to tie-dye shirts. 

Thaler said pre-registration for the workshops was encouraged, but not required, as space is limited. 

“People can stop by our workshop table at the park and drop in or register for classes there,” she said. “The registration for the classes are on our website listed under classes by date. The schedule has also been posted on our Facebook page and on the ArtX event page.” 

Friendly pets of all kinds are also welcome, Thaler said. 

“Northside Park is so beautiful and it’s right around the lagoon and it’s a green piece of land in the middle of Ocean City,” Thaler said. “That’s really what people enjoy about ArtX. It’s a very laid back atmosphere and spacious.” 

For more information or to pre-register for a workshop visit https://artleagueofoceancity.org/artx/ or call the Art League at 410-524-9433. 

Josh covers everything Ocean City government and crime. He graduated from the University of Richmond in 2019 with a B.A. in French and Journalism.

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