Deborah Rolig



The month-long interactive exhibit celebrates the joys and challenges of being a woman

Written By: Robbie Tarpley Raffish | Photographer: GRANT L. GURSKY

Deborah Rolig is exhausted. “Sometimes I think I bit off more than I can chew,” said the organizer of the new interactive art exhibit The Divine Feminine, opening at the Art League of Ocean City this May. “But even if our vision sometimes exceeds our abilities, we have to reach for the stars, right?”

The Divine Feminine seeks to “empower women through artistic expression,” and Rolig is quick to point out that it is not a “typical art show, where you walk in, hit the food trough and wine bar, then stand in the middle of the room and criticize the art. It’s a very different experience.”

The month-long exhibit includes a number of interactive pieces, such as a 360-degree installation by Katie Armstrong that visitors walk through, experiencing animation, music, birdsong and Armstrong’s own singing. There’s a selfie corner with a throne, stocked with boas, tiaras and a frame with the title “I Am Divine,” so visitors can represent their inner goddesses, and an altar piece at which people can light a candle to the Divine Mother.

“We want people to come in and constantly be looking around and saying ‘What is that? What’s happening over there?’” said Rolig.

Quilter Maryellen Bradley has a piece in the show, as does Rolig’s sister, Diane Gray, who is showing an “assemblage” piece. Photographer Selina Mellot will debut a slide show of images from the recent Women’s March on Washington.

The exhibit also includes what Rolig calls a “neglected art in the gallery scene”: writing. The Divine Feminine — An Anthology has been curated by author Kathleen Martens, who pulled together a group of 27 female writers from Ocean City and Rehoboth Beach. It includes prose, poetry and short stories, and 100% of the profits from the sale of the book will benefit local women’s causes.

On opening night, May 5, from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m., even the food and drink will be part of the show. “I don’t want to give away too much, because it is part of the experience, but think pink!” said Rolig. That night includes a Women’s Marketplace, at which local artisans will exhibit and sell their jewelry and fine crafts. It will also be open May 6, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Another way for women to participate will be through a series of events to be held throughout May at the Art League. A “Sound Bath” workshop led by Chrissy Earhart of Zenna Wellness will feature the healing tones of Tibetan singing bowls. A Tuesday-night series will offer speakers such as clinical psychologist Dr. Judith Pearson, discussing how to “step into the embrace of the Divine.” Seminars led by Rolig and Gray will teach how to use art and writing to tap into empowerment. 

“This is really out-of-the-box, and the inspiration came from my being frustrated because there was no real venue here for us to show in,” said Rolig. “Nothing against plein-air painters and traditional artists, but people are fed a steady diet of it, and it’s time to update the diet and spark the imagination. It’s my duty as an artist for myself and others. We want to be accepted in the art community as valued artists… it’s time to give people a new approach and something to think about.”

Guests will even leave with a little gift: a hot-pink wristband imprinted with “Empower Women.” 

The exhibit is free through the month of May at the Art League of Ocean City. For more information, visit  

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