FUNTOWN

An animated video commission pays homage to the life and death of the boardwalk amusement park, captured in all its thrills and anxiety.

Funtown Pier was an actual place.

Artist Joe Peragine spent his summers there, having grown up in New Jersey and vacationed on the beaches and boardwalks of the state’s Seaside Heights waterfront community. Connected by a boardwalk, Funtown Amusement Park sat on one of two piers jutting out into the Atlantic Ocean from Seaside’s shores. After the area was ravaged by Hurricane Sandy in October 2012, destroying the boardwalk and inundating the piers, the tops of Funtown’s roller coasters stood up above the waves, the attractions rising up menacingly from the ocean. In September 2013, while the boardwalk was being reconstructed, a fire fanned by coastal winds consumed the boardwalk yet again, thoroughly destroying the would-be Funtown for the second time in less than a year. (Some questioned the source of the fire; authorities deemed it purely accidental, the result of faulty electrical equipment compromised by Hurricane Sandy’s floodwaters.)

Funtown will not be rebuilt. This decision was made in July 2016 after Seaside Park’s Planning Board voted to limit ride heights to 100 feet, ruling out the 200 – 300 foot rides that Funtown’s owner believed to be crucial to the economic viability of a pier already struggling to retain visitors. In March 2018, a pool complex with a 7500 sq ft pool and cabana complex was approved for development on the former Funtown site.

Joseph Peragine’s paintings, sculpture and animation have been presented in galleries, museums, and film festivals throughout the USA and internationally. Recent exhibitions include Love Me Till My Heart Stops at Marcia Wood Gallery Midtown and Transitions: States of Being at the Zuckerman Art Museum at Kennesaw State University. His animation Patriotic Drawings for Children was recently screened as an official selection of the Garden State Film Festival in Asbury Park, NJ. Peragine lives with his family in Atlanta and is a professor in Drawing, Painting and Printmaking at Georgia State University, where he was recently appointed Director of the Ernest G. Welch School of Art & Design.

Peragine’s current solo exhibition, After the Hunt, will be on view at Marcia Wood Gallery in Atlanta through June 30, 2018.

Use fullscreen for ultimate Funtown experience.

sign with lit up yellow letters and a hand against a dark backdrop
partial pink and blue lit up sign of a woman against a grey backdrop