The Arts are Alive in Southern Delaware
Most of us immediately think about the beaches in Rehoboth, Dewey and Bethany when someone mentions southern Delaware; however, I am here to tell you that this area of the 1st state in the Union has “state of the art” galleries, theaters and music venues spread out all over Sussex County.
I was fortunate enough to be invited to attend a whirlwind tour of over 16 locations scattered between Rehoboth, Lewes, Milton, Milford, Ocean View, Millville and Seaford. The venues are comprised of painters, sculptors, jewelers, photographers, boat builders and live performance venues as well as Delaware’s only single screen theater located in Dagsboro. While we didn’t spend much more than 15-20 minutes at each location, I want to try to give each of the venues that hosted us a brief highlight. I am thankful for the information provided by each venue and Southern Delaware tourism. Hopefully this will entice you to map out a weekend trip with a few of the places that catch your eye.
Heidi Lowe Gallery – 328 Rehoboth Ave.
“This is a contemporary art jewelry gallery exhibiting works by owner, Heidi Lowe, and by numerous artists from around the world. The gallery hosts a variety of exhibitions including solo and group shows of both emerging and mid-career artists, the annual Multiples Show, and pop-up gallery and trunk show events. Also learn about Mosaic, the Rehoboth Beach Gallery Collective.” Heidilowejewelry.com
Heidi’s own jewelry creations are fabulous but I perceived another of her major strengths also lies in how passionate she is about helping others in her same field – she so obviously loves what she does.
Kevin Fleming Photography – 239 Rehoboth Ave.
“Delaware native, Kevin Fleming has covered the world as a photographer for National Geographic and has been recognized as America’s Best Observer by Readers Digest. Kevin has photographed the diverse wildlife living in the Delaware, Maryland and Virginia area. You can see these creatures in his book Wild Delmarva. His most recent book is titled The Beach, which captures the wildlife, nature and beauty of coastal Delaware. Kevin has published twenty-three books to date.” KevinFleming.com
Many of you may have seen Kevin’s work since I know there are several in our readership who frequent Rehoboth on a regular basis. He has an incredible eye and shared with the group that one of his trade secrets is photographing at sunrise.
Rehoboth Art League – 12 Dodds Lane – Henlopen Acres
Founded in 1938, the Rehoboth Art League is a membership-based teaching and exhibiting non-profit arts organization dedicated to encouraging and preserving the arts in Southern Delaware. Located on over 3.5 acres of natural wooded landscape, beautiful gardens and historic buildings, the League offers a variety of art classes, open studios, exhibitions, and art events that are open to residents and visitors to the area. Rehobothartleague.org
The location that the league resides on is almost fairy tale- like. You almost expect a Hobbit to jump out of the woods. It is a perfect location for what they do and would be a great place to take the family on a day that you aren’t hitting the beach.
Clear Space Theatre – 30 Baltimore Ave.
“Clear Space is comprised of a remarkable team of full-time, part-time, and volunteer administrators, artists, and educators. The company includes The Acting Company who are professionals; The Arts Institute – their educational arm – and On Tour – their community touring group. Clear Space celebrates it’s 10th Anniversary in 2014.” Clearspacetheatre.org
We were treated to excerpts of “Thoroughly Modern Millie” that runs November 14-16 and “She Loves Me” which will be up next on November 28 – December 14. I truly wish that I could attend either or both of these performances. I may have to juggle some prior commitments.
Abraxas Studio – 123c 2nd Street
“Since his first painting was sold at the age of fourteen, Abraxas’ works have been collected by fine art connoisseurs from around the world. Revered for their clarity, luminism, and society’s timeless appreciation for realism, Abraxas has achieved great success in his twenty three years as a professional artist.” AbraxasArt.com
This young man has some truly extraordinary pieces. A visit to his gallery is well worth the stop.
Peninsula Gallery – 520 E. Savannah Road
“Peninsula Gallery is one of the largest fine arts galleries in Delaware with 3,000 square feet of exhibition and framing space. The gallery, currently in its 16th year is located in the shops at the Beacon Motel, on East Savannah Rd in historic Lewes Delaware. It features over twenty- five local and regional artists showing their work on a continuing basis. In addition the gallery provides an exhibition space for monthly shows which allows them to bring visiting artists’ work to the area.” Peninsula-gallery.com
You have to watch the schedule at Peninsula since the exhibits are changing monthly. This really is fantastic exhibit space even though the location is a tad odd. This is also the place to have your art framed. Really may be worth hauling your canvas with you. Pastel Progressions by Nick Serratore is on exhibit through the 25th.
Lewes Historical Society Complex – 110 Shipcarpenter Street
“The Lewes Historical Society Wooden Boat Building Program began in 2009 to draw attention to the more than 200 year old tradition of shipbuilding in Sussex County. Utilizing all natural materials, an all-volunteer crew transforms raw materials into a functioning example of historic craftsmanship.” Historiclewes.org
This was a particularly fun stop for me since I did some volunteering at Old Town Alexandria’s very own Seaport Foundation and got to witness several boats being built some years back. This is a fantastic program wherever it takes place. A good stop to educate future sailors on the construction of a vessel from stem to stern.
Mispillion Art League – 5 N. Washington Street
“Since 2004, Mispillion Art League (MAL) has been a staple of the Arts’ presence in Downtown Milford. Their mission to provide community-wide access to a quality visual arts program is achieved through exhibits, workshops and classes for children through adults, and public art.” mispillionarts.org
The MAL is hosting their 11th Annual Members Show through November 22nd. The artwork was on display during our tour and the judging had taken place so we were lucky enough to see who won. There are some very clever pieces on display.
Live Cheap and Make Art Studios – 39 N. Walnut Street
“Bob and Rosemary Connelly, a fine art photographer and water media artist who espouse the motto to “live cheap and make art,” strive to live a simple life, prizing experiences over stuff. Their work includes images of travels near and far, of botanicals and Rosemary’s Watercolor Journals, a subject she also teaches.” Livecheapmakeart.com
These two are really livin’ the dream! So much so that you have to schedule an appointment to check out the current display in their studio. I will say that you will not be disappointed if you do so.
Gallery 37 – 8 S. Walnut Street
“Gallery 37 is owned by painter/instructor Marcia Reed. The twenty-five artists that she also represents have an extensive professional exhibiting background. Her partnership and concept behind the Gallery is that she knows all of the artisans personally from the ACC shows where they all have exhibited for many years.” firstname.lastname@example.org
This was another of my favorite stops on the tour. Marcia has a great eye for presentation and the way the art and artifacts are displayed at the gallery indicates as such. She is another gallery owner who is very supportive of other artists that she displays.
Second Street Players – Riverfront Theater – 2 S. Walnut Street
“Second Street Players is a year-round community theater, which produces shows covering nearly every genre. They include musicals, dramas, comedies, original works, our Children’s Dessert Theatre and cooperative productions with other cultural groups and schools. The theatre is handicapped accessible and can accommodate the hearing impaired.” Secondstreetplayers.com
This fun little theater would be a great place to watch “It’s A Wonderful Life” this holiday season. The show runs Nov 28-30 and Dec 5-7.
Art on the Riverwalk
“12 permanently displayed sculptures based on the Milford-built 1927 yacht Augusta, decorated to the City of Milford’s branding “River Town. Art Town. Home Town” and located along the Mispillion River’s Riverwalk. Each sculpture is decorated by local professional artists who mentored local high school students.” Downtownmilford.org
We didn’t have time to take the full stroll but this is something I would like to return and do. We have one of the boats featured in this layout that gives you an idea of the detail that the participating artists and students put into their decorating.
Seaford, Milton, Ocean View, Dagsboro, Millville
Gallery 107 – 107 N. Pine Street, Seaford
“Gallery 107, located in historic downtown Seaford, is the member’s art gallery of the Nanticoke River Arts Council representing over 50 local artists and artisans. NRAC formed in 2007 with the goal of promoting the arts in western Sussex County, Delaware. Enjoy artwork in oil, watercolors, acrylic, etchings, mixed media, photography, jewelry, woodcarvings, pottery, hand woven baskets, wood turnings, and scale lighthouse models.” Nanticokriverartscouncil.org
This fun gallery is literally almost on the river bank of the Nanticok. The art on exhibit while we were there was very representative of the membership. Definitely worth a stop on your next Southern Delaware road trip.
Milton Theatre – 110 Union Street – Milton
This cool place is a bit off the grid but I am thinking well worth a stop, especially if you are in the Milton area. They are a “sister” theater to the Premier Center for the Arts in Middleton. They pride themselves on education as well as entertainment. I am thinking that the “Broadway Cabaret Night” would be fun to participate in. pcade.com
Gallery One – 32 Atlantic Ave.- Ocean View
“Gallery One is a fine art gallery owned and operated by a group of local artists hailing from the Delaware/Maryland shore area. The gallery was established in 2005 and moved to its current location in 2009, nearly doubling its exhibit space. More than 22 artists and artisans fill the space with original work and fine art reproductions ranging from paintings and multimedia flat art to glass, photography, pottery, sculpture, and textiles. “ galleryonede.com
Dickens Parlour Theatre – 35715 Atlantic Ave. – Millville
“Hosted by Rich and Susan Bloch, Dickens Parlour Theatre is the arena for magicians from around the world to entertain you in Millville, Delaware. “The Parlour”, an adjoining meet, greet and eat spot, opened in February 2011, where the fun continues after the theater performance in the ambiance of a cozy Victorian salon filled with antiques, secret bookcases, and more to delight and intrigue the magical spark in each of us.” dptmagic.com
Many of you may remember that we featured Rich in a Personality Profile column a few months ago. He is one talented individual. I can personally guarantee that you and yours will not be disappointed in his “magic” and the talent of all show perform at Dickens.
Clayton Theater – 33246 Main Street – Dagsboro
“As Delaware’s ONLY single-screen theatre still in operation, The Clayton Theatre offers today’s movie goers a rare opportunity to see first-run movies in a charming hometown atmosphere.” Theclaytontheatre.com
We were treated to a showing of the “Maze Runner” while on the tour. This theater has a “step back in time” feeling for sure. Grab some popcorn and Junior Mints in the lobby and enjoy.
Space for this column doesn’t allow for me to pontificate on the music and restaurants that I was fortunate enough to partake in on this trip. Go to our website for information about those venues. Oldtowncrier.com They are all good subject matter for a future Road Trip.
Written by: Lani Gering