Inspiration is everywhere at Somers Point’s annual Art in the Park | Local News

SUZANNE MARINO For The Press

SOMERS POINT — Henri Matisse once said, “Creativity takes courage.” Creativity emanated throughout Kennedy Park on Saturday; the Somers Point Arts Commission saw to that.

Children played games, painted on a giant canvas, made make-believe swords and castles from discarded cardboard, and participated in a clothesline art show during the commission’s annual Art in the Park.

Students from Charter Tech High School for the Performing Arts entertained the crowds at the annual event, which the Arts Commission bills as a celebration of creative talent and summertime recreation.

Artists set up their booths to share their creations and hopefully sell some as well. Many were veterans of previous Art in the Park events, but for others, like Sharon Schmidt and Susan Piso, it was their very first show.

Piso, a retired chemist from Whiting, Ocean County, planned to go to the beach and paint when she retired. She followed her plans and says she loves it. She said her favorite piece, “Living My Sunset Years,” is exactly what she is doing, and her art makes her feel free and creative.

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Piso works with acrylics, but artists brought their art to Kennedy Park in a variety of mediums. Alexis Flack’s work is inspired by nature. She creates art by using cross-cut sections of fallen trees. “A tree’s rings are like a fingerprint; each one has its own characteristics. She uses a torch to seal the wood and bring out its distinct rings. Flack also leads nature-inspired workshops through her Wild Grown Art Studio. She and Shana Kestrel, also of Somers Point, will collaborate on a show this fall at the Nashville North Studio in Linwood.

You might say Wayne Russell is the consummate recycler. “I look at things other people walk right past, and I try to think of what I can make with it,” said Russell, of Estell Manor.

His booth was filled with fun and whimsical creations that he found a way to put together, like a dartboard clock made up of pieces from classic games like checkers, Monopoly and backgammon. People around to see and hear about his gathered art.

King El is 14 years old and just completed his freshman year at Egg Harbor Township High School. He said he has been drawing seriously for three years. His subjects are the things and people that catch his eye.

Judy Harper is a waitress by profession and an artist by avocation. “When the pandemic hit and we had to stay home, I started decorating cigar boxes,” said Harper as she stood in front of a table filled with repurposed boxes. “They saved my sanity during that time. I really enjoyed creating something very different.”

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