Once described as the “all you can eat” beach destination on the Shore, Ocean City, Maryland has always been known for its sandy beaches and vibrant boardwalk, but it offers much more than sun and surf. This coastal gem has developed a thriving cultural scene, with a variety of artistic activities and venues to delight residents and visitors alike. There are three big players that are the foci of a cultural tour of the Ocean City area: the Ocean City Art League, the Freeman Arts Pavilion, and the Ocean City Performing Arts Center.
The Ocean City Art League‘s Art & Activities
Nestled in the heart of Ocean City, the OC Art League serves as a hub for artistic expression and creativity. Established in 1963, this nonprofit organization has been nurturing local talent and fostering a love for the arts in the community for decades. The league features a gallery that showcases an impressive array of artworks, including paintings, sculptures, ceramics, and photography. It hosts regular exhibitions that provide a platform for emerging and established artists to display their masterpieces, inviting viewers to immerse themselves in the world of visual art. In addition to exhibitions, the OC Art League also offers a diverse range of workshops, classes, and educational programs, catering to both children and adults. They sponsor the Ocean City Film Festival and offer other performances throughout the year in a variety of locations. Whether you’re a seasoned artist or simply an art enthusiast, a visit to the OC Art League promises an enriching and inspiring experience.
The Freeman Arts Pavilion – Champion of the Arts on Delmarva
Only 15 miles from Ocean City, in nearby Selbyville, Delaware, lies the Freeman Arts Pavilion, a world-class venue for performing arts and a program of the Joshua M. Freeman Foundation. This outdoor amphitheater, nestled amidst the picturesque coastal landscape, showcases a variety of artistic disciplines, including music, theater, dance, and more. From intimate concerts by renowned musicians to captivating dance performances and theatrical productions, the Freeman Arts Pavilion brings a diverse range of cultural experiences to the region. The venue’s state-of-the-art facilities, coupled with its idyllic setting, create a unique and immersive atmosphere for attendees.
Local Craft Beer & the Arts
Because the Ocean City and the Eastern Shore are a thriving craft beer destination, you can combine your favorite craft beers with the arts throughout the Ocean City area. Burley Oak Brewing serves many of their local craft favorites to attendees of the performances at the Freeman Stage. Their brewery is located in Berlin, MD another great destination for live music and great food. Other breweries dot Ocean City and Delaware, from the newest brewery, The Other One Brewing, located in the Embers Center in Ocean City to the wildly popular and much larger Dogfish Head brewing in Rehoboth Beach and Milton and more than 20 breweries worth a look – or a taste! Download the Shore Craft Beer App to find a local craft brewery near you!
Arts Access Programs for Local Schools
The Freeman Arts Pavilion also sponsors the arts access programs for local schools and the community at large ensuring that this cultural identity that has developed in the Ocean City area will continue for decades to come. Whether you choose to relax on the lawn, secure a seat in the covered seating area, or sponsor the arts in our community, you’re sure to be captivated by the incredible talent that graces the stage and the staff at the Freeman Arts Pavilion.
For those seeking a smaller, indoor and perhaps more traditional performing arts experience, the Ocean City Performing Arts Center is the place to be. Located within the Roland E. Powell Convention Center, this modern and spacious venue hosts a wide range of performances, including Broadway shows, concerts, comedy acts, and dance recitals. With its comfortable seating and superb acoustics, the Ocean City Performing Arts Center provides an ideal setting for enjoying world-class entertainment. The center’s diverse programming ensures there’s something for everyone, attracting both local talent and internationally acclaimed performers. Whether you’re a fan of musical theater, a lover of classical music, or simply looking to be entertained for the holidays, the Ocean City Performing Arts Center promises a memorable and enchanting experience.
Special Events Programming in Ocean City
In addition to these notable cultural destinations, Ocean City also hosts a variety of festivals and events throughout the year that celebrate art, music, culture, and fun. From the Springfest and Sunfest, which bring together live music, local artisans, and delicious cuisine, to the ArtX and Art’s Alive showcases, which highlight the talents of regional artists, there’s always something happening to engage and inspire visitors. For more information on the events happening in and around Ocean City, check out OceanCity.com’s event listings.
Ocean City, Maryland, is a coastal paradise that offers more than just sun and sand. Its vibrant cultural scene, represented by the OC Art League, Freeman Arts Pavilion, and Ocean City Performing Arts Center, showcases the immense talent and creativity present in the community. Whether you’re a resident or a visitor, immersing yourself in the rich cultural activities of Ocean City is a must-do experience. So, next time you find yourself in this charming coastal town, take a break from the beach and explore the artistic treasures that await you.