Cape May Stormy Past

Cape May Stormy Past

Joan Green inspects Cape May stormy past

Joan Green has seen a lot of Cape May history, storms included. Joan, a lifelong resident of Cape May, graduated high school here in 1947. “I remember having to show identification to get back on the island after some of these storms, Green said.

Green was referring to the historical storms such as the 1962 nor’easter and hurricanes Hazel, Gloria, Irene and Sandy, documented in the Mid Atlantic Center for the Arts and Humanities newest exhibit, Cape May’s Stormy Past.

At the southernmost tip of New Jersey, Cape May is especially vulnerable to the elements. Hurricanes, Nor’easters and blizzards have all left the city with a flood of memories and haunting images of utter devastation.

Ben Miller, author of Exit Zero’s bestselling book, The First Resort, curated the latest exhibit at the Carroll Gallery located at the Emlen Physick Estate’s Carriage House. The exhibit which opened last Friday, April 28th is open to the public and runs till Friday October 6th.

“This is an art exhibit within a history exhibit,” describes Miller, of the hundreds of images he collected from contributors.

The exhibit showcases storms and their impact on Cape May over the years. Photographs chronicled hurricanes, nor’easter and snowy nor’easter. Artists Dave Clemans, Lou Riccio, and Jim Ross offered watercolors and pastels as interpretations of the weather.  Mary Stewart, chairperson of the Cape May County Cultural Heritage Foundation, herself a contributor, welcomed the opportunity to showcase local talent within the exhibit.

“The biggest challenge was to find artists who painted bad weather” Stewart said. “Most said I only paint in good weather,” continued Stewart.

“This exhibit represents the inaugural launch of our new design team” said Michael Zuckerman, Director of the Mid Atlantic Center for the Arts and Humanities.  Jean Barraclough, manager of MAC’s website and publications, mounted the individual photographs and added commentary text. Art direction for the exhibit was handled by volunteer artist Catherine Bosna.

Personal Contributions

Exhibits like this take a ton of volunteer effort and time. I was told that Catherine Bosna practically lived at the Physick Estate assembling the exhibit. I had completely forgotten how many images I had donated for consideration. I was completely blown away at seeing them included. Werner Tedesco, a brilliant local photographer remarked that we don’t realize when we are living history that we will return to visit.

“Bad weather provides an opportunity to connect with people who are here during challenging times,” said Fishing Creek, New Jersey resident Edward O’Neill. O’Neill contributed photographs from Hurricane Sandy.

“I gave them a whole lot of pictures, newspaper clips and information and they made it beautiful,” Ben Miller said in his remarks referring to the collaboration of the design team of Mary Stewart, Jean Barraclough and Catherine Bosna.

The Mid-Atlantic Center for the Arts & Humanities (MAC) is a multifaceted not-for-profit organization committed to promoting the preservation, interpretation, and cultural enrichment of the Cape May region for its residents and visitors. MAC membership is open to all.

For information about MAC’s year-round schedule of tours, festivals, and special events call 609-884-5404 or 800-275-4278, or visit MAC’s Web site at

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  1. Ben Miller
    May 1, 2017 / 11:39 am

    Great report on all the exhibit. It really is a team effort and I was blessed to have a absolutely amazing team to work with pin Cape May’s Stormy Past.

    Like I said in my remarks, I gave them a whole lot of materials, along with a design plan that was something like 15 pages. They took all that stuff, made some fantastic layout decisions, equally fantastic graphic decisions with the signage, and worked really hard to put it all together.

    I’m very grateful to Catherine, Jean, and Mary, asking with everyone else at MAC who made this exhibit cone to life. I’m really appreciative of all the kind words from Michael and Mayor Lear, at the opening. Thank you!!!