Cape May, New Jersey Restaurant Hosts Coast Guard Festival Art Exhibit

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Historic Cape May, NJ Hotel and Restaurant hosts art show that honors the US Coast Guard in the community where the only recruit training base resides

Contact: Kay Busch – (609) 884-5970, ext. 301

Not every restaurant in Cape May offers a selection of original artwork to enjoy over dinner but the Mad Batter on Historic Jackson Street does exactly that. Rotating exhibits in the dining room, gallery, and terrace room feature local artists who work in variety of media, coordinated on a monthly basis by Pam Huber, who along with her husband Mark Kulkowitz own the Mad Batter and Carroll Villa Hotel.

The current exhibit in the terrace room focuses on the United States Coast Guard, a kick off to the annual Cape May County Coast Guard Community Festival the first weekend in May. Among the paintings is one of the USCGC Hamilton, a high endurance cutter named for Alexander Hamilton, the first United States Secretary of the Treasury and the founder of the Revenue Cutter Service in 1790. The Hamilton was decommissioned in 2011 after 44 years of service. Another painting depicts a Coast Guard ship in heavy seas coming to aid of a foundering vessel at night.

The Coast Guard has a long history with Cape May, as does the Mad Batter. Back in 1915, the Revenue Cutter Service and the Life Saving Service merged to become what is known today as the United States Coast Guard. Later, the Lighthouse Service was folded into the Coast Guard. Today Training Center Cape May (TRACEN) is the Coast Guard’s fifth largest base and the only site for recruit training.

Equally so, the Mad Batter and the Carroll Villa have a storied past. Built in 1882, the Italianate Villa style building was a seaside retreat house for families in the late 19th century. Fast forward to the 1970s when Harry Kulkowitz, an art dealer in Philadelphia, decided to buy the building with the goal to open a great restaurant and showcase art and music in beautiful surroundings. Decades later, it’s Harry’s son Mark, his wife Pam and their family continuing that legacy of amazing food, art and music.

Susan Hoffman, the festival director for the Cape May County Community Foundation, said that the response to the foundation's first art show has been remarkable.

“Amy Mahon, a local artist and business woman, eagerly volunteered to organize it. Mark and his son Kyle enthusiastically agreed to host it and artists from around the county readily submitted works.

"The level of involvement certainly illustrates why we call ourselves a proud Coast Guard community and we look forward to watching the show grow and evolve in the years ahead," Hoffman added.

The exhibit is open to the public at no charge. Many of the works are for sale through May 10 and all proceeds benefit the Cape May County Coast Guard Community Foundation.

Cape May County was designated a Coast Guard Community in 2015 by an act of the United States Congress and the United States Coast Guard, one of only three counties and 18 cities in the United States to be so honored, recognizing the special relationship between the Coast Guard and the residents of Cape May County. The festival, May 5 and 6, offers a variety of events - tours of TRACEN and the ships docked at the base, the Recruit Band and Drill Team, a search and rescue demonstration and activities for children.            

On Friday, May 4, ground will be broken for the Coast Guard Enlisted Memorial on the base, the birthplace of the Coast Guard’s enlisted corps. The memorial will include the names of more than 1500 Coast Guard men and women who perished in the performance of Coast Guard missions over the past 103 years. The event is open to the public.

The festival continues Sunday at the Cape May Lewes Ferry Terminal, 1200 Lincoln Blvd. in North Cape May.

Visit http://www.coastguardcommunity.org for a complete schedule of events.

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Deborah Bass
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