By Morgan Pilz, Staff Writer
(Sept. 19, 2019) The doors will open to 10 private residences during the Art League of Ocean City’s 15th annual Sand Castle Home Tour, today and Friday, from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.
The self-guided tour takes participants to residences ranging from private family, vacation and retirement homes, at their own pace. The tour homes are located throughout Ocean City, West Ocean City and Ocean Pines.
“The home tour is a chance for people to take a self-guided tour through 10 area homes in the Ocean City area,” said Rina Thaler, executive director of the Art League of Ocean City. “Each year we go to a different neighborhood. There’s always a variety of homes.”
Volunteers will be in each home to guide visitors through the rooms and outdoor spaces, and to answer questions.
“The tour gives them a glimpse of what it’s like to live in Ocean City and showcases the many decorators, designers, architects, furniture stores in the area and also the Ocean City lifestyle and the people who opened the doors to their home,” Thaler said.
Originally, the Art League of Ocean City created the home tour to build the new Center for the Arts on 94th Street, which was constructed eight years ago.
The tour continues to benefit the Art League and allows the organization to remain free to the public.
“We were trying to figure out a way how we could get Ocean City to partner with us to build an art center,” Thaler said. “We didn’t want to go to them empty handed and say, we want you to lay out all the money … The first seven years, we saved all the money that we made on each home tour and then we went to the Town of Ocean City and asked them to partner with us on building this art center. Now it continues to be a sustaining fundraiser for us.”
The houses are selected by members of the Art League; the process can take an entire year to complete.
While the homes featured on the tour are not for sale, it can help people who are interested in relocating or retiring to the area get an idea of what it’s like to live here.
Artists have also painted portraits of each of the homes on the tour.
“Each homeowner whose house is on the tour gets – as a gift from the Art league – will have an artist do a portrait of either their home or their view from their home,” Thaler said. “Some people want the view. If they live on the water, they’ll ask for it to be done of their view instead of their house.”
The homeowners will also receive a floral arrangement, which is displayed during the home tour.
The Ocean City Center for the Arts is the home of the Art League of Ocean City, a nonprofit organization dedicated to bringing the visual arts to the community through education, exhibits, scholarships, programs and community art projects.
“It’s a really pleasant way to spend the day,” Thaler said. “The people who take the tour are so gracious and really appreciate that others are opening their homes to them, and the people who put their homes on the tour we appreciate so much because it does allow us to do all the programming and keep the art center open and free to the public.”
The event is limited to 1,000 people. The cost is $30, which includes a guidebook, driving directions and special offers. Guests are encouraged to purchase tickets in advance, as a limited number are available.
Tickets can be purchased at www.artleagueofoceancity.org, by calling 410-524-9433 or by visiting the Ocean City Center for the Arts.