State of the Arts has dedicated special episodes entirely to iconic New Jersey cities like Trenton, Montclair, and Princeton – now, it’s Atlantic City’s turn.

This historic boardwalk town is home to an emerging home-grown arts scene – poets such as Joel Dias-Porter, who writes and makes his living at Atlantic City’s famous poker tables, and Emari Digiorgio, who hosts poetry readings at the Noyes Arts Garage in Atlantic City, are two of our past features from this creative city. Plus, we’ve dived into the epic history of Boardwalk Empire. Now, State of the Arts is back at the shore, just in time for 48 Blocks and more.

Mural being created at 48 Blocks AC

48 Blocks is a yearly celebration of the arts in Atlantic City – encompassing 48 blocks, 48 projects, 48 hours. Every June, the community comes together to share murals, public arts projects, live performances, and even yoga. The program is organized by the Atlantic City Arts Foundation in partnership with Stockton University.

MudGirls Studio artists at work at a kiln in AC

Plus, meet the women of MudGirls Studios. Making art, after all, is a fulfilling and powerful way to support both your community and yourself.  Designer Dorrie Papademetriou founded MudGirls to provide jobs for women in need, and to give them the chance to learn the art of ceramics. Now, the MudGirls are selling their beautiful pottery, as well as creating tile installations at places such as Stockton University and the New Brunswick Performing Arts Center. To support this non-profit program, be sure to check out their store.

Created by MudGirls Studios

Up next is photographer Brian Rose, whose works juxtapose the different neighborhoods of Atlantic City’s 48 blocks. In particular, he captures the oversize presence of the casinos, exploring the lasting effects of Donald Trump’s failed businesses on the shore city. To hear more from the artist’s perspective, head over to Brian Rose’s blog, where he documented his experience filming with State of the Arts.

Photograph by Brian Rose

Next, Chicken Bone Beach Jazz honors the city’s African American history, performing jazz concerts right on the beach. Their name references the historical segregation of Atlantic City’s beaches – now, they present jazz concerts on this world famous shore, showing that jazz is “more than just musical entertainment; it is a progressive, gathering force of inclusion.”  2019 marks the 20th annual Jazz on the Beach series, which holds jazz concerts on Thursdays throughout the summer. Plus, they perform at the historic Claridge Hotel during the rest of the year.

Photograph by Brian Rose

Finally, on this special episode, meet Ralph E. Hunter, Sr., the founder of the African American Heritage Museum of Southern New Jersey at the Noyes Arts Garage. An avid collector, his apartment had been known as “The Museum” – nowadays, his important permanent collection of objects, art, and artifacts is available to be seen, discussed, and studied – along with rotating exhibitions by local artists, focusing on themes of civil rights, history, culture, and more. The museum has two locations, found in Newtonville and in Atlantic City.

Don’t miss this special episode, airing on your PBS stations.