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Ocean City Area Features

Ocean Gallery World Center

  By: Leah Lancione

To say that the Ocean Gallery World Center is an Ocean City landmark and that owner Joe Kro-Art is a visionary art icon is an understatement. Celebrating 50+ years in business, the gallery is entering its “Golden Age” into the world of entertainment. The gallery has been spotlighted in movies, on TV and in countless magazines and newspapers for decades and has fans across the globe. The worldwide renown Ocean Gallery has garnered is the culmination of Kro-Art’s passion for art and his commitment to making it fun and accessible to everyone. “Art is fun,” declares the gallery owner, who is regularly referred to as the “P.T. Barnum of fine art.”

Like the famous showman and circus originator, Kro-Art’s goal has always been to entertain and make people smile. His “art is fun” philosophy is a means to educating people in a way that isn’t intimidating. “I introduce people to art in a way that is comfortable so they can explore the different forms and choose for themselves what is good,” says Kro-Art, who relishes the fact that he has served three generations of patrons. “Often, customers start out with a poster and then move on to paintings, photographs or other fine art.”

An artist for over 50 years and a true visionary, Kro-Art built the Ocean Gallery on the boardwalk at 2nd Street as an artistic expression. The building is constructed out of visually stimulating and entirely recycled materials. The eye-catching, quirky structure embodies the phrase, “It’s astounding!” It’s a must-see for visitors to the boardwalk and, thanks to a new webcam, the world can catch a glimpse of the gallery and the boardwalk as well.

Another Ocean Gallery attraction is the “Batmobile” often parked outside. True art innovators, Kro-Art and his son Joey transformed the family car into this popular “art car.” The car is just another example of his desire to challenge people to appreciate the different mediums for art.

The former Baltimore art teacher-turned-spirited gallery owner has come a long way from the days of selling his own paintings on the Boardwalk. And now, Kro-Art wants to take his fans on a new adventure. The Ocean Gallery World Center is now entering the realm of show business. The gallery is featured in two major motion pictures and plans for a reality TV show are in the works.

Humbled and motivated by fans’ enthusiasm for Ocean Gallery, the bigger-than-life Kro-Art, who has a reputation for performing outlandish acts in the name of entertainment, also stands by the professionalism of his business. “It’s my job to make art fascinating and to break down some of the barriers that have kept people from really enjoying fine art,” says Kro-Art, who has recently put a collection of his original paintings on display. “Ocean Gallery truly connects with people. Life is art.”

Ocean Gallery World Center is located in Ocean City on the Boardwalk at 2nd Street and at 26 Wilmington Avenue in Rehoboth, DE. 

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