Island Heights

Historical   Site





   Ocean County Artist's Guild

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    The Ocean County Artists Guild had its origin in Island Heights. Having been an active member of the art league in the community where she had lived prior to coming to Island Heights, Edna Thompson Feerick was surprised to learn there was no organization of artists in this area. Finding a need for such a group and recognizing the potential for future growth. Mrs. Feerick started the Ocean Arts and Crafts Club. The year was 1957 and there were six others who shared an interest in painting. They met Tuesday afternoon in the First Aid Squad building where they sketched, painted and shared ideas.

    Most of the original members were Island Heights residents- Elizabeth Hughes, Jean Keir, Jano Taber, Irene Pearce, and Roberta Ellis, Florence M. Johnson of Cranmoor Manor was also a founding member.

    This small group, with a few additional members the following year, were very ambitious. With Edna Feenick's Inspiration they held a dinner and art show at the Edgewater Hotel which was enthusiastically attended by artists and friends. They staged their first Outdoor Art Show in 1958 at the corner of route 37 and Central Ave. Because of many like activities, interest in the club was widened and the number of members increased steadily. In 1960 it was decided to incorporate and change the name to the present Ocean County Artists Guild.

    Expansion brought the need for a larger meeting place for planned programs, for conducting business and for fund raising for a future home! After meeting for several years in several places in Toms River and for a short time in Forked River, the guild came back to Island Heights. For the following fifteen years meetings were held at the United Methodist church on Ocean and Simpson Avenues.

    The realization of the much needed "Home" for the Guild came about in a spectacular way- the kind of happening one reads about in a story but never dreams could take place in real life.

    One of the wonderful Victorian summer houses that are synonymous with Island Heights was given to the C.A.G. for its use. Mrs. Edith M. Grace, who formally lives on Maple Avenue, purchased the house on the corner of ocean and Chestnut Avenues which had been the Barraclough home for three generations. Mrs. Grace then deeded the house and house and grounds as a gift to the guild in 1974. The lovely old house has been keep Victorian as much as is practical and retains most of its early charm. Some beautiful and typical antique furniture pieces that came with the house add to the atmosphere created by the original architect.

    Since acquiring a home of its own, membership in the Guild has increased to over 250 artists and supporters of the arts. Most member's reside in Ocean County, some live in other areas of New Jersey, other states even out of the United States. Membership is not limited to artists - anyone who wants to support the activities and aims of the Guild may join. Art instruction for all ages , informative and entertaining programs, many kinds of social events, Sunday afternoon artist's reception and informal get-togethers are all offered for the members and public participants.

    Art work by Ocean County Artists Guild members is on display at all times in the pleasant galleries. One-person shows by member and guest artists alternate with group shows, special events and continually changing shows of members' work. 

    Reprinted from the Island Heights Centennial booklet.    

If you would like to be a member click the link at the top left that says "Membership".