"People do this kind of thing in California all the time," says Kristin Myers, "and it's happened a couple of times in New York City, but anywhere else on the East Coast—it's pretty much unheard of."
Myers, gallery manager at the Long Beach Island Foundation of the Arts and Sciences (LBIF), is talking about an upcoming exhibition of ocean-related art. "It's not surf art," she adamantly says. "It's just amazing art that's driven by the ocean."
"Where Oceans Converge," which is completely exclusive to the gallery in Loveladies, N.J., seeks to unite not only LBI's surf and art communities, but also the East and West Coasts. Myers explains that Julie Goldstein and her husband Mark Tesi were the first to try to do this.
"Being from LBI and being a surfer, I've always felt it was a necessity," Goldstein says. She and Tesi joined forces with Farias Surf and Sport to found Pine Surf Shop and Gallery in the May of 2008. "The original concept for Pine was to connect the community to art and the ocean; to give the people of LBI a place to learn what we do as artists and surfers," she says. "We really made it happen."
The gallery exhibited work from both locally and California-based artists, along with some New York City street art.
Pine (and the precious art inside) burned down only six months later.
"Some of the artists lost several thousand dollars worth of art," says Myers. "The insurance covered the building but it didn't cover the artwork. It's almost hard to talk about. What happened at that place was just a tragedy."
On the evening of July 31st, LBIF will host a film, Hanging Five, and an auction to benefit the artists who lost work in the fire at Pine. Four of the artists featured in Hanging Five will have work on display at the LBIF gallery this month. Myers managed to secure some well-known names like Andy Davis, Kassia Meador, and Ty Williams for the show, which will be open to the public from July 28th until August 17th.
Goldstein says surfing occupies a very different place in Each Coast culture. "On the East Coast, surfing is so raw. The overall population does not connect to surfing as a culture. It’s more of a rebellious sport. I never understood this, since surfing creates camaraderie. In California, it is a part of the culture," she says. She is thrilled that the show unites right and left coasters.
LBIF is also presenting Jersey-centric surf flicks (A Pleasant Surprise, Dark Fall) in conjunction with the exhibition. Myers hopes the films will draw a variety of local residents–especially those who don't usually visit the gallery.
"You don't have to go to New York—or any cities, really—you can see [quality art] right here on the island," she says. For more information, visit "Where Oceans Converge" on Facebook.