Welcome to Ocean County

Arts, Creative Placemaking

Welcome to Ocean County

Arts, Creative Placemaking

Recognizing the resiliency of the residents after the devastation caused by Superstorm Sandy.

The People

Classically-trained Master Sculptor Brian Hanlon first rose to national recognition in the early 1990’s with the installation of “Olympian.” In the decades since that pivotal work, Hanlon has become one of the most prominent contemporary realism artists of his generation with more than 300 permanent installations. His work is viewed by millions each year and has created countless 21st Century trending viral moments.

The Project

The Welcome to Ocean County monument was unveiled on August 14, 2014, in Ocean County. It recognizes the resiliency of the residents after the devastation caused by Superstorm Sandy, and welcomes everyone back to the revitalized, beautiful Jersey Shore, as they travel the Route 37 corridor.

The Grunin Foundation and Hanlon Studios collaborated with people throughout the Ocean County community to find out how they wanted the area to be portrayed. The final artwork, constructed entirely by Ocean County contractors, features a monumental bronze sculpture of a family on the boardwalk mounted to a granite base that has seemingly risen above the water around it. The waves surrounding the sculpture, and the scallop shell serving as the backdrop is custom-carved from blocks of granite. A stainless steel silhouette of a ferris wheel in the background appropriately displays the message “Welcome to Ocean County.”

The Impact

This monument truly represents what our community stands for: family, great recreational offerings, and people that rise above adversity regardless of the obstacle.

On a larger scale, creative placemaking leverages the arts and culture to drive growth and transformation that ignite economic development in a community, bringing together partners from the public and private sectors. When you add more exhibits like sculptures, you increase tourism. Visitors will see something else that strikes their interest and remember it next time they’re looking for a place to take a day trip. When folks come to see the sculpture, they will notice the local businesses, stop and get something to eat at a nearby restaurant or attend an event happening in town. Creative placemaking projects like this sculpture spur positive economic impact by creating more interest in the community.

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