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Asbury Park, NJ: A Town Rich in Art and Culture

The weather was beautiful this weekend. So we decided to spend the day in Asbury Park, NJ, where there is plenty of sights, sounds, and flavors to take in. Our first stop was Barrio Costero, for brunch. We had egg, chorizo tacos, heavenly bacon and a breakfast ahagoda (ship over eggs, bread, and avocado with paprika). It was delicious and our waitress Jennifer was great. We decided we'd definitely be back for dinner, before leaving Asbury. (Yes it was THAT good, I suggest you go) Then we walked Asbury Park stopping in a number of art galleries.

My favorite in particular was The Parlour Gallery, which showcases a number of local urban, surreal and lowbrow artists. I fell in love with Victor Gasso's work and also enjoyed a piece by Ray Sell, called 'Growing Up' with a kid being measured against a can of Colt 45. After leaving Parlour we wandered into 9 Surf Editions, a print shop and gallery run by Tom and Lois White. Tom was kind enough to show us his process, and explain the work behind printing, photographing and creating high quality giclees and limited edition prints, for artists locally and internationally. I will be certain to consider having them handle any of my reproductions in the future. His wife, Lois, gallery

owner of Exhibit Number 9 offered me some of her wisdom, and took a look at my art stating that she liked my piece "Spoonful of Sugar", and thinks I should take that direction, more with my work. We decided to stop in Rock$tar bakery and snack on a cupcake, which were so sweet and delicious. Next we decided to walk over to Ocean Grove and do a little shopping. We stopped in Comfort Zone, spoke to the owner Steve, who Jeff knew as a friend of the family, and we listened to him reminisce on fond memories of his uncle. Then we decided to make a circle over to the boardwalk where, live music could be heard playing out of the iconic Stone Pony. I stopped and photographed the beautiful mermaid murals by

Porkchop, that adorn the outside of the old casino and are such a well known landmark of Asbury Park. Right beside the old Casino was the this spinning art contraption called the "spindorato'. Michael Indorato and a local musician were balanced on opposite sides of this thing. One playing guitar and singing, while the other was dripping paint onto the canvases below.

I took this short video, and spoke to Laura Buchetti, who accompanied Michael. Laura told me that Michael was an art teacher at Neptune, as well as being an artist. I also found out that she is the founder of Caring Canvas, a unique non-profit organization that gives children the opportunity to become immersed in art, in Asbury Park. After talking with her for a bit, and sharing contact information, and the possible idea of future projects together. Jeff and I decided to walk back to Barrio Costero for dinner and a few drinks (brunch was

SO good, we seriously had to try dinner). I ordered a rum based cocktail called 'Hotel National', which came with this cute little rabbit on the top (their logo), it was quite good. Everything was, the food, the drinks, the art. All a wonderful day. You'd think we were done, but we made one more stop in Belmar, at Torche Gallery. It was luckily open and we had the chance to meet artist Roddy Wilderman. We got to see him working one of his composite memory wood masterpieces and he stopped to chat with us about his work, and about upcoming projects he is working on, in NY and NJ. I really enjoyed our time in Asbury Park. I love that this city embraces its local art community and the artists have shaped it into this unique beach town full of character. It's really bounced back from the rundown Asbury, into a thriving town full of art, music, good food and beautiful beaches. If you ever get the chance, be sure to visit Asbury Park, it is a unique town, full of art and culture.

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