LBI Arts Council on a Mission to Foster Local Culture

Dec 03, 2015

The seeds of the LBI Arts Council were planted years ago with the goal of cultivating a robust and thriving arts culture throughout the Long Beach Island region by developing arts and artists and keeping the creative heartbeat of the community alive.

Now, the independent nonprofit council has formed a board of trustees, comprising artists and art supporters dedicated to developing, maintaining and promoting the arts. Spearheading the effort and serving as board president is Matt Burton, artist and owner of the m.t. burton gallery & 19th St. Clay Studio in Surf City.

The council’s signature event is the LBI Artist Open Studio Tour, a summertime tradition now in its 11th year, which invites the public on a self-guided tour of more than 20 studio/gallery locations and an inside peek at the artists who work and exhibit on the Island. The council also contributes to the Southern Ocean County Chamber of Commerce’s #beachcultureredefined campaign, which promotes the community’s independent and creative spirit. For more information on upcoming activities, visit and the LBI Arts Council community page on Facebook.

In 2012, with an Our Town grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, a Creative Placemaking Plan was drafted and implemented to sustain working artists, attract patrons and establish a cultural district on the Island. Creative placemaking is a concept that goes beyond public art installations and performing arts centers. “It is about making places better for everyone,” according to the National Consortium for Creative Placemaking.

It is about vitality – creating opportunities to do and experience more, building a visibly artful environment and social scene, perhaps with murals, sculptures, art fairs, performances, movies, signage and amenities.

The goals of the LBI Arts Council, as Burton outlined, include enriching the regional quality of life; creating and sustaining the arts, here and elsewhere; providing artists with a platform of support through community outreach, camaraderie, professional development and networking; and creating and maintaining a database of visual and performing artists, exhibit and performance venues and collaboration with independent artists, businesses, nonprofit organizations and local leaders to meet the needs of the art community.

On the board: vice president Alice McEnenery Cook, artist and educator; Angela Andersen, Long Beach Township environmental coordinator; secretary Linda Feaster, manager of the Long Beach Island branch of the Ocean County Library; Lynne Berman, resident potter and liaison to the Long Beach Island Foundation of the Arts and Sciences; Lori Pepenella, destination marketing and communications director at the chamber of commerce; Michael Rose, attorney; Mary Tantillo, artist and owner of SwellColors Glass Studio; and Linda Ramsay, artist and owner of Willow Graphics.

The representatives of LBIF and Long Beach Township are important connections for the council, Burton explained, to ensure ease of communication and sharing of ideas.

“We share similar goals but have different resources,” he said. “By collaborating we hope to be more efficient and effective in helping artists, businesses and the community. We invite others who want to get involved to reach out by email at, or stop by the gallery.”

— Victoria Ford

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