“Taking tacky to new heights,” is how amusement park owner Jack Morey describes artBOX, a new attraction at his Adventure Pier in Wildwood.
But what is artBOX?
“It’s a group of artists … on the pier, in boxes … tiny boxes,” said painter Pete Bieling Sr., one of five artists who have set up shop here for the summer. He spoke slowly and carefully, as if thinking about it for the first time. But artBOX is more than the sum of its parts.
Eleven brightly colored shipping containers have been artfully stacked near the entrance to the pier and converted into studios and shops. Visitors can watch the artists work and purchase their one-of-a-kind pieces, alternatives to the mass-produced souvenirs available in boardwalk shops. For snacks, one of the containers has been converted into a sushi bar.
Overhead, rides like Springshot and Skyscraper hurl humans through the air at sickening speeds and angles. Nearby, vendors hawk their games of chance, offering for rewards gigantic plush donuts and hot pink stuffed dolphins wearing sunglasses.
What artBOX looks like is Wildwood raising its pinky in mock pretension while it continues to glorify time-honored diversions: screaming thrill rides, naughty T-shirts and hermit crabs with brightly painted shells.
Ladies and gentleman, step right up! See the artists in their tiny boxes. Watch them work. Watch them create. This way to the egress! Don’t forget a souvenir!