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MOCA’s Boardwalk Art Show Presented by PNC Bank Awarded 3rd Best Art Show in the Nation by Sunshine Artist Magazine

Thursday, August 10, 2017

(Virginia Beach, Va.) August 8, 2017 — The Virginia Museum of Contemporary Art’s (MOCA) Boardwalk Art Show presented by PNC Bank was awarded third place out of 200 art shows nationwide by Sunshine Artist magazine in the Fine Art and Design Show category. The annual ranking appears in the September issue, distributing this week. Sunshine Artist magazine is the leading publication for art and craft show exhibitors, promoters and patrons.

Sunshine Artist magazine has published the list of top 200 shows in the nation for 25 years. Art show designation is determined by artist subscribers of the magazine who are asked to list their top 10 shows from the past year (January 1, 2016 – December 31, 2016) using revenue as their largest criteria. According to the magazine, many of these artists attend 30 plus shows annually, so other factors like artist amenities, helpful staff and volunteers, clear communication and good weather also play a role in their voting.

“We are overjoyed by this designation,” said MOCA’s Executive Director, Debi Gray. “I can’t tell you how hard the staff at MOCA and our volunteers work to make this four-day event happen each year.”

“MOCA’s Boardwalk Art Show is our largest fundraiser and how our organization was founded close to 63 years ago, making it the city’s longest running oceanfront event. Achieving this placement is an incredible recognition for everyone involved and our region,” concludes Debi.

“MOCA’s Boardwalk Art Show has been ranked in the top 40 for the past 10 years, and last year ranked 29th, which was fantastic - but to jump to 3rd place is a remarkable accomplishment,” said MOCA’s Art Show Director, Jennifer Golden. “Weather certainly played a role; we had a breezy, sunny weekend with temps in the 80’s last year, though credit also resides on the quality of artwork presented, a well-defined marketing plan (which included out-of-market support from the Virginia Beach Convention and Visitor’s Bureau) and consistent communication to artists before and throughout the show. I made sure to introduce myself to each artist – a smile and a handshake can go a long way.”

Golden went on to explain the show’s increased success is also due to the support of their sponsors including, PNC Bank, who has presented the show for the last five years. The Virginia Beach Hotel Association also donates the “Best in Show” prize fund, which is one of the largest in the nation. Another large draw for artists. Additional in-kind donations from local businesses, like Steinhilber’s Restaurant, as well as multiple media partners and over 300 volunteers all contribute to the prosperity of the show.

“It is also such an honor for our show to be recognized by artists since our organization is such an advocate for artists,” concludes Golden.

Three past Boardwalk Art Show “Best in Show” winners have ties to current or upcoming exhibitions at MOCA. 2016’s winner, Ashely Sauder Miller currently has a solo show “There’s Always a Lull” at MOCA’s Satellite Gallery at Towne Pavilion II (a short walk from the museum). Richmond, Virginia artists Overstreet and Kranitzky won two years in a row (1993 and 1994) and will be featured in MOCA’s upcoming fall exhibition, “Small Works, Tall Tales” along with 1989 “Best in Show” winner Deborah G. Rogers.

The 63rd annual MOCA Boardwalk Art Show is slated for June 14-17, 2018. This summer tradition spans Father’s Day weekend, hosting close to 300 artists from across the nation, international cuisine and family events along Virginia Beach’s historic boardwalk.

View spread in Sunshine Artist magazine

For more information about the show, visit:

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In 1952, local Virginia Beach artists hosted the first Boardwalk Art Show to raise funds for an artist friend who suffered a stroke. The network of artists eventually became the Virginia Beach Art Association. They merged with the Virginia Beach Museum of Art in the 70’s and the Virginia Beach Art Center was formed and moved into an old WWII “Hospitality House” on Arctic Ave. The Center moved to where MOCA currently resides at 2200 Parks Ave. in 1989. The Center changed its name in 1996 to the Contemporary Art Center of Virginia Beach – identifying the focus of the organization. In 2011, through a five-year accreditation effort, the Center was renamed and rebranded The Virginia Museum of Contemporary Art.



In 2013, as part of the City of Virginia Beach 2026 Vision to becoming a “Community for a Lifetime,” the Strategic Growth Area’s Resort Management Office along with the Convention and Visitor’s Bureau analyzed a series of festivals, shows and activities operated within the Resort Strategic Growth Area for economic and fiscal impact. The results of the study showed that MOCA’s Boardwalk Art Show had the largest economic impact, generating 80 to over 117 million in revenue over the course of the four-day festival. Approximately 300,000 visitors attend the show each year.