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Discover New Jersey

Exploring Asbury Park's Artistic Roots: A Look at the City's Vibrant Art Scene Through History

Updated: Apr 8, 2023

Asbury Park, New Jersey, is known for its vibrant arts and music scene. Over the years, the city has been a hub for various forms of art, from paintings to sculptures, photography, and more. In this blog, we'll take a closer look at the history of art in Asbury Park and how it has evolved over time.

Early Artistic Roots

Asbury Park's artistic roots can be traced back to the late 19th century, when the city became a popular destination for tourists seeking a beachside escape. As the city grew, so too did its artistic community, with painters and sculptors flocking to the area to capture the stunning landscapes and seascapes of the Jersey Shore.

One of the most notable artists of this era was William Trost Richards, a landscape painter who spent summers in Asbury Park and became a leading figure in the American Barbizon School. Richards' work, which often featured scenes of the ocean and beach, helped establish Asbury Park as a center of artistic activity.

The Rise of the Arts Scene

In the early 20th century, Asbury Park's arts scene continued to thrive, with a growing number of artists and creatives calling the city home. The Asbury Park Art Association, founded in 1910, was one of the first formal organizations dedicated to promoting the arts in the city. The group hosted exhibitions and art shows throughout the city, showcasing the work of local artists.

During this time, Asbury Park also became a popular destination for writers and musicians. The city's boardwalk and beach served as inspiration for many writers, including F. Scott Fitzgerald, who wrote about Asbury Park in his novel "This Side of Paradise." Musicians also flocked to the city, with performers like Count Basie and Duke Ellington playing at the city's famed Convention Hall.

Modern Art in Asbury Park

In the mid-20th century, Asbury Park continued to be a hub for artistic activity, with many modern artists making their mark on the city. The city's iconic Palace Amusements building, which featured a carousel, roller coaster, and other rides, inspired many artists and photographers, including Diane Arbus and Bruce Springsteen.

Asbury Park's arts scene continued to evolve in the latter half of the 20th century and into the present day. The city has been home to numerous art galleries, including the Parlor Gallery and Art629 Gallery, which showcase the work of local and national artists. The annual Asbury Park Art Walk, which started in 2013, brings together artists, musicians, and performers for a weekend-long celebration of the arts.


Asbury Park's rich artistic history has helped establish the city as a cultural hub on the Jersey Shore. From the early days of landscape painters to the modern-day art galleries and events, the city has been a destination for artists, musicians, and creatives of all kinds. Today, Asbury Park's arts scene continues to thrive, with new artists and performers adding to the city's vibrant cultural landscape.

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