The Museum is open to the public. View COVID-19 Health & Safety Procedures.

Community Cleanups and a Parade Encourage the Public to Serve 

The Delaware Art Museum once again partners with the Wilmington community for Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service. Monday, January 18, 2021 honors the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. with a national day of service that celebrates the civil rights leader’s life and legacy, and the Museum invites the community to volunteer for One Village Alliance and West Side Grows outdoor cleanups in the morning and early afternoon, via pre-registration, and to participate in the Peace March beginning at 2 p.m.

One Village Alliance, whose mission is to grow historically marginalized youth into their true greatness through education, economic development, and the arts, is a frequent partner of the Museum. The Alliance has moved into a new Freedom Center at 31st and Market Streets and has asked the community to help make the new space beautiful on this annual day of service. Individuals, pods, or household groups will work outside, socially distanced, to paint walls, maintain landscaping, create chalk messages of peace, and help with exterior cleanup. 

Participants are asked to pre-register for a timeslot between 9 a.m. and 1 p.m. The outdoor event at 31 West 31st Street requires participants to wear a mask. In lieu of or in addition to volunteering, donations are also encouraged. During the cleanup, vocal artists will perform, starting at 11 a.m.

Museum Audience Engagement Specialist Iz Balleto, who helped organize the partnership with One Village Alliance, said, “It is important the Delaware Art Museum backs up the community, especially on MLK Day. It is a day of activism, and one in which we take a moment to listen to the people on the ground. What better way to begin to heal than to work together, physically restoring our own community?”

West Side Grows Together is a coalition of residents, businesses, churches, and local leadership from the Cool Spring, Hilltop, Little Italy and The Flats neighborhoods. During an annual Community Clean Up and Peace March, participants will clean and beautify the exterior of the Teen Warehouse, 1121 Thatcher Street, as well as Be Ready CDC, 1411 W. 4th Street, and Helen Chambers Playground, 600 North Madison Street. Volunteers will clean the Peace March route, which runs along 4th Street, under I-95, and near the Adams Four Shopping Center.

Cleanup of the Teen Warehouse will begin at 10 a.m., the Be Ready CDC and Helen Chambers Playground begins at 11 a.m. The Peace March will begin at 2 p.m. at the Hicks Anderson Center, 501 North Madison Street. Parking is available onsite.

Pre-registration is required for the cleanups, but not the march. Face masks are required for any in-person events.

Balleto added, “Through the partnerships we have built over the years with One Village Alliance and West Side Grows, it’s only right to extend our hand and to foster those who have made the sacrifice to assist others through community service…and applying artivism at the same time,” referencing the term for activism through art.

The Museum recommends other ways to serve for those who cannot volunteer: donating school supplies or purchasing a Museum Art Kit for a family. The public is welcome to drop off new or like-new supplies at the Delaware Art Museum before January 18, during open hours, for One Village Alliance to distribute to students in need. A $20 donation provides an art kit, full of fun art supplies and a project inspired by the Museum’s collection, to a family in need.

Partnering with community organizations on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day speaks to the Museum’s mission “to connect people to art, offering an inclusive and essential community resource that through its collections, exhibitions, and programs, generates creative energy that sustains, enriches, empowers, and inspires,” and its vision, which includes strengthened connections to the community.

This event is a partnership with One Village Alliance, Guerrilla Republik, Center for Interventional Pain & Spine, and 302 Guns Down. This organization is supported, in part, by a grant from the Delaware Division of the Arts, a state agency, in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts. The Division promotes Delaware arts events on www.DelawareScene.com.

Please contact Amelia Wiggins, Assistant Director of Learning and Engagement, at awiggins@delart.org or 302-351-8503.

About the Delaware Art Museum

For over 100 years, the Museum has served as a primary arts and cultural institution in Delaware. It is alive with experiences, discoveries, and activities to connect people with art and with each other. Originally created in 1912 to honor the renowned illustrator and Wilmington native, Howard Pyle, the Museum’s collection has grown to over 12,000 works of art in our building and sculpture garden. Also recognized for British Pre-Raphaelite art, the Museum is home to the most comprehensive collection of Pre-Raphaelite art on display outside of the United Kingdom and a growing collection of significant contemporary art.

Under the leadership of our Board of Trustees, the Delaware Art Museum is implementing a comprehensive approach to community and civic engagement. This exciting new strategic direction requires that we increase our value and relevance to all audiences. Visit delart.org for the latest exhibitions, programs, and performances or connect with us via social media.

This November, I had the wonderful opportunity to lead two “Inside Look” gallery talks at the Delaware Art Museum on Loïs Mailou Jones’s 1961 painting Parade de Paysans (Peasants on Parade). The painting is a recent acquisition by the museum and is representative of the institution’s commitment to acquiring works of art by women artists and artists of color. Because the pandemic prevented in-person programming this fall, the discussions took place over Zoom. Although I was initially skeptical about facilitating these talks virtually, I was pleasantly surprised at the nuanced observations and the depth of conversation that developed by closely looking at the painting. As the participants and I studied the work together, we noticed the sense of joy and movement emanating from the scene, which led to questions about Jones herself, her distinctive painting style, and her choice of subject.

Parade de Paysans depicts a Haitian market scene on a bright, sunny day. Over twenty figures populate the scene, coming to and from the market with products to sell. Most of the peasants carry their baskets, crates, and sacs on their heads, revealing an array of goods like lettuce, flowers, and bread. Two structures—likely storehouses—stand near the top of the painting. Also pictured to the right is a covered stand where peasants could set up their displays of goods. The painting probably depicts the market on Saturday, the largest and busiest market day of the week. Peasants would travel long distances from various villages to the nearest town to sell fish, grain, produce, and baked goods. Jones likely witnessed a scene like this in person, having travelled to Haiti regularly since 1954.

Museumgoers were quick to point out the painting’s vibrant colors and geometric style. For instance, they noted that the work could be read as a series of shapes, outlined by bold black lines. The work’s high horizon line and vertical format further flattens and abstracts the painting, tightly framing and pushing the scene towards the picture plane. These compositional choices allowed Jones to effectively capture the hustle and bustle of the market. One participant observed that the way in which Jones placed the figures produced a kind of rhythmic choreography, suggesting movement despite the static nature of the painting. We discussed how the figures functioned to lead the eye through the scene, beginning in the lower left corner and meandering up through the crowded market to the sea above. In general, we noted how the painting’s movement, color, and composition captured the energetic and festive nature of Haiti’s market and its peasants; we felt as if we were immersed in the scene, witnessing and listening to the sounds of the busy market.

In part, Jones’s distinctive style in Parade de Paysans is a testament to her early career as a designer. In 1927, she was the first African American student to graduate from the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, specializing in textile design. Parade de Paysans draws on Jones’s background as a designer through its abstracted shapes, bright colors, and compositional rhythm. One participant additionally identified a relationship between Jones’s style and Cubism, which she would have encountered during a nine-month visit to Paris in 1937.

Having discussed Jones’s training, we shifted to talk about the painting’s subject. After returning from Paris in 1938, Jones was encouraged to reevaluate her subject matter and to find inspiration in her African heritage. Spurred by her marriage to Haitian graphic designer Louis Pierre-Noel, Jones’s travels to Haiti played a transformative role in this decision. For Jones, Haiti served as a bridge to Africa. While there, she began painting works that more closely focused on the Black experience, drawing upon African themes, subjects, and objects. She explained that visiting the Caribbean island completely altered her style, shifting her palette to brighter and lighter colors in an attempt to capture the tropicality of the landscape and the spirit of the people. Parade de Paysans is a perfect representation of this shift.

The more we examined the painting, it became clear that Parade de Paysans was a celebration of Haiti, its people, and Jones herself. We also wondered if the work spoke more personally to the racial and gender biases she faced throughout her career. While Jones depicted a variety of peasants in Parade de Paysans, the majority of the figures are women. Perhaps Jones connected more closely with the women peasants, similarly selling her own “goods” (paintings) to make a living. Indeed, she was the breadwinner of her family, paying off Pierre-Noel’s debts and making a steady income. Jones was a true trailblazer, exhibiting her work, receiving awards, teaching, and making a name for herself as an artist despite the constant challenges she encountered as an African American woman. As we took the time to carefully look at the painting, we began to uncover the vibrancy of Jones as an artist and human.

Kristen Nassif
Ph.D. Candidate, Art History, University of Delaware

Image: Parade de Paysans (Peasants on Parade), 1961. Loïs Mailou Jones. Oil on canvas, 39 1/4 x 19 inches. Delaware Art Museum. Acquisition Fund, 2018. © Estate of Loïs Mailou Jones.

Every so often I stumble across a book in our library collection that is so beautiful it inspires me to try to find every other book by that designer that I can get my hands on. Burma, by Robert Talbot Kelly (1905), is one such book. The regal Art Nouveau peacocks with their swirling tail feathers had me entranced, and I immediately searched the cover for any sign of the binding designer’s signature. After carefully scanning every inch of the cover I finally found it: there, at the bottom of the spine and nearly impossible to see, was the distinctive scarab-like signature of artist Albert Angus Turbayne. Once I spotted it, I was hooked.

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Turbayne’s distinctive scarab monogram.

It turns out we already had a few other books in the collection designed by Turbayne, I just didn’t know it. He didn’t always sign his designs, which makes identifying them difficult and, despite being one of the most distinguished binding designers of the late-nineteenth century (an art director asserted that “the designs of A. A. Turbayne come nearest to perfection”), little is known about him today. Born in Boston in 1866, he moved to Canada in 1881, then to England in 1890, where he would spend the rest of his life. In 1898 he was appointed as a teacher of graphic design at the London County Council School of Photoengraving and Lithography, a position he held until 1920. During this time he also helped set up the Carlton Studio, which became one of the largest commercial art studios of its time in London, where he specialized in decorative lettering, initials, and motifs.

Turbayne began his career as a book designer in the late-1880s, a time when trained, professional artists were just beginning to turn their talents towards book design. The previous decades had witnessed sweeping changes in the publishing industry, inspired by technological advances and a significant growth in literacy. As the century progressed and the middle class grew, more people were reading for pleasure and were able to spend their income on books. Beautiful books became a status symbol for the middle class, and publishers were eager to capitalize on the increasing demand for affordable, attractive books.

In the 1890s Turbayne designed several covers for the “Peacock” edition of illustrated novels published by Macmillan, including those for the novels by Thomas Love Peacock. Here again Turbayne used an elaborate Art Nouveau peacock (a play on the author’s name) that was carried through to the series’ endpapers. With their artistic design, heavy use of gold stamping, and affordable price of 5 shillings (roughly equivalent to £20 today) these books were meant to be seen as well as read.

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Headlong Hall and Nightmare Abbey, by Thomas Love Peacock (London: Macmillan and Company, 1896). Helen Farr Sloan Library & Archives, Delaware Art Museum.

In 1901 British publishing firm A. & C. Black became the first to use the three-color printing process for color illustrations in its 20 shillings (£1) series of “Colour Books.” Black used watercolor artists to create the illustrations, and most of the volumes featured 70 or more color plates. Turbayne and his colleagues at the Carlton Studio were responsible for the majority of the covers as well as the overall design of the entire series. These books sold very well, boosted by their relatively affordable price (roughly equivalent to £78 today), colorful illustrations, and handsome bindings.

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Birds of Britain, by J. Lewis Bonhote (London: A. & C. Black, 1907) and Egypt, painted and described by R. Talbot Kelly (London: A. & C. Black, 1907). Helen Farr Sloan Library & Archives, Delaware Art Museum.

In all, the Helen Farr Sloan Library & Archives holds 27 books with bindings designed by Albert Angus Turbayne, though I am still adding more to the collection as I find them. A virtual exhibition, “Nearest to Perfection”: The Binding Designs of Albert Angus Turbayne, may be found on the DelArt website: https://delartlibrary.omeka.net/exhibits/show/turbayne/introduction, and several of his books are on view in the cases outside the Library on the lower level of the Museum. And if you’d like to own a Turbayne design of your very own, the DelArt Store is selling journals featuring the covers of Headlong Hall and Birds of Britain.

Rachael DiEleuterio
Librarian/Archivist

Top image: Burma, painted and described by Robert Talbot Kelly (London: A. & C. Black, 1912). Helen Farr Sloan Library & Archives, Delaware Art Museum.

Changes for 2020 Include Outdoor Setting, Masks, and Added Food and Beverage Options

Reenergizing a beloved annual event, the Delaware Art Museum will continue its tradition of a Winter Festival, this year situating it al fresco. DelArt invites the community to celebrate the season during a family-friendly market and entertainment event on the Museum grounds on Saturday, December 12 from 10 am to 4 pm.

The event is free for Members and $5 for nonmembers. To comply with social distancing guidelines, capacity is limited; therefore, reserved and timed tickets are required. Guests will be asked to wear masks unless seated and eating or drinking. A ticket also entitles the bearer to Museum admission that day.

Guests can shop from regional artisans and local fine food and beverage purveyors, and listen to festive music performed by traveling carolers. In addition to the unique, high-quality wares DelArt has always presented, guests can shop for consumable fine foods and local beverages. Vendor registration is not yet complete, but vendors to date include:

Anna Biggs Designs – Handcarved Gold and Silver Jewelry
Angela Colasanti of VIELA Jewelry – Jewelry, Keepsakes, and Greetings
Flowers by Yukie – Wreaths, Boxwood Trees, Holiday Plants, and Ornaments
SunSobo LLC – All Natural Hibiscus and Ginger Tea
John A. Styer – Turned Wood
Works of Art – Custom Pens and Fishing Rods
Sassy Bee Honey – Raw & Infused Honey, Natural Bath, Body & Beard Products, Beeswax Candles & More
Hope’s Caramels – Soft, Artsian Caramels and other Caramel Products
Crooked Hammock Brewery – Beer Samples and Takeaways
Fusions Taster’s Choice – Olive Oils, Vinegars, and Olives
Paper Greenhouse – Paper Botanicals
The Fairy Potter – Hand Built White Clay/Porcelain Fairy Cottages
Meaghan Paige – Original Handmade Designs and Accessories
Classic Elegance – Quality Leather Goods and Seating
Heather Ossandon, HEOS Ceramics – Ceramics
Wilmington Brew Works – Locally Crafted Beer
Visuelleculture – Knitwear

Director of Operations Heather Morrissey said, “This event has evolved from prior years to accommodate COVID safety guidelines. The biggest change is moving it outdoors, an idea we’ve toyed with for the past few years, and which has become a necessity. We are aiming for a more ‘vintage holiday market’ feel than just pop-up shopping.”

There will be outdoor heaters, but guests are also welcome to enter the Museum to warm up and visit the galleries and Museum Store for more unique gifts.

Should weather interfere with the event, Sunday, December 13 has been selected as the makeup date. DelArt’s weekend hours are 10 am to 4 pm. For more information, visit delart.org.

Sponsors

Event sponsorship provided by Shoprite Supermarkets. This organization is supported, in part, by a grant from the Delaware Division of the Arts, a state agency, in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts. The Division promotes Delaware arts events on www.DelawareScene.com.

Press Contact



Please contact Cynthia Smith, Marketing Manager, at csmith@delart.org or 302-351-8514.

About the Delaware Art Museum



For over 100 years, the Museum has served as a primary arts and cultural institution in Delaware. It is alive with experiences, discoveries, and activities to connect people with art and with each other. Originally created in 1912 to honor the renowned illustrator and Wilmington native, Howard Pyle, the Museum’s collection has grown to over 12,000 works of art in our building and sculpture garden. Also recognized for British Pre-Raphaelite art, the Museum is home to the most comprehensive collection of Pre-Raphaelite art on display outside of the United Kingdom and a growing collection of significant contemporary art.

Under the leadership of our Board of Trustees, the Delaware Art Museum is implementing a comprehensive approach to community and civic engagement. This exciting new strategic direction requires that we increase our value and relevance to all audiences. Visit delart.org for the latest exhibitions, programs, and performances or connect with us via social media.

Photographs of Local Heroes on View Starting November 11

The Delaware Art Museum will present a celebration of essential workers throughout Wilmington with a photography exhibition launching on November 11, 2020, in the Museum’s Orientation Hallway.

COVID-19 and the response to stop the spread of the virus reminded nearly the whole world just how much it relies on essential workers. The initial focus was on thanking first responders such as doctors, nurses, and emergency personnel. But it quickly became evident that so many other kinds of workers—bus drivers, grocery cashiers, farmers, dry cleaners, and more—are essential to supporting our communities.

This photography project, Essential Workers Photography Campaign, created by Operation Technician Iz Balleto and Teaching Artist and Curator in Residence JaQuanne LeRoy, shows the faces and voices of the many people who have kept our Wilmington community going since the start of the current health crisis. It will combine portraits with personal stories of working on the front lines, exploring what essential work entails and honoring those individuals who continue to dedicate their lives to their work every day.

Balleto, who lost a cousin to COVID-19, was inspired by his own experience as an essential worker at the Delaware Art Museum to create the campaign. Even a closed museum has critical operational needs.

“I was looking at empty walls in the Museum. I was essential, and still report every day. Apart from that, I thought about everybody else who was going to work. Not everyone had the opportunity to work from home: we had to get up no matter what.”

Balleto added, “What’s essential to a community is different than the definition of first responders. I wanted to highlight the people out here in Wilmington, the heroes in our community, who are more than just doctors and nurses. There are people who take care of children and the elderly; people who make sure we have food, from the bodega to the grocery to the bakery – they all matter. This is a love and a sacrifice.”

LeRoy was selected to curate the campaign, tapping photographer Luna Visions to shoot the subjects, and creating a questionnaire for the subjects as a way to collect information for the captions. Luna Visions’ work can be found on Instagram under @lunavisions.

LeRoy said, “Corner store bodegas represented an area of essential work that stood out for me. Growing up in Wilmington, the bodega was a staple, meeting your immediate needs without having to go to a grocery store.”

He added, “Understanding most of those are small businesses run by families and the risk they undertook to be open for the community, I thought that was very special and was happy to see as a part of this campaign. Those decisions where you might have to groom someone else to step up and be more involved when elderly people are at risk changes that family dynamic.”

Like Balleto, LeRoy experienced the effects of COVID-19 in his family. His uncle works for the Wilmington Port Authority, where fresh fruits and food supplies come into the community, and upon learning his uncle was in the hospital with the coronavirus, LeRoy’s perspective on who an essential worker was changed.

Molly Giordano, Interim Executive Director, said, “So many people have supported us in 2020, ensuring that our needs are met and our families remain healthy and cared for. We believe art is an essential resource, and by utilizing the arts, we connect and celebrate our community.”

The exhibition is set to open on Veterans Day. The Museum is open every Wednesday through Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. with hours extended to 8 p.m. on Thursdays.

Sponsors

Sponsored by M&T Bank. Support provided by Center for Interventional Pain & Spine. In partnership with Guerrilla Republik. This organization is supported, in part, by a grant from the Delaware Division of the Arts, a state agency, in part, by a grant from the Delaware Division of the Arts, a state agency, in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts. The Division promotes Delaware arts events on www.DelawareScene.com.

Press Contact

Please contact Cynthia Smith, Marketing Manager, at csmith@delart.org or 302-351-8514.

About the Delaware Art Museum

For over 100 years, the Museum has served as a primary arts and cultural institution in Delaware. It is alive with experiences, discoveries, and activities to connect people with art and with each other. Originally created in 1912 to honor the renowned illustrator and Wilmington native, Howard Pyle, the Museum’s collection has grown to over 12,000 works of art in our building and sculpture garden. Also recognized for British Pre-Raphaelite art, the Museum is home to the most comprehensive collection of Pre-Raphaelite art on display outside of the United Kingdom and a growing collection of significant contemporary art.

Under the leadership of our Board of Trustees, the Delaware Art Museum is implementing a comprehensive approach to community and civic engagement. This exciting new strategic direction requires that we increase our value and relevance to all audiences. Visit delart.org for the latest exhibitions, programs, and performances or connect with us via social media.

One of the Delaware Art Museum’s most striking works in the British Pre-Raphaelite galleries was actually designed and produced by Americans: our Tiffany stained-glass Spring and Autumn window set. The Spring and Autumn windows were commissioned by Samuel Bancroft, whose collection forms the core of the Museum’s Pre-Raphaelite holdings. In the early 1890s, Bancroft expanded his home in order to better hold and display his growing collection of Pre-Raphaelite art. The Philadelphia architect Frank Miles Day was employed to design the structure, and a significant portion of the decorative scheme was carried out by the Tiffany Glass and Decorating Company. While Tiffany Studios glasswork has been associated with the vision of Louis Comfort Tiffany, the owner and main artistic designer of the company, the Spring and Autumn windows were actually designed by one of the many women he employed over the course of his career: Lydia Field Emmet (1866-1952).

Behind every great man is a woman, as the saying goes, and behind the success of Tiffany are numerous women whose artistic skills and business acumen helped his company in all its iterations earn great acclaim and popularity. Early in his career, Tiffany launched a business with textile designer Candace Wheeler, before becoming head of design at his father’s firm, Tiffany and Co. The history of women artists at the turn of the 20th century was also connected to the popularity of the Arts and Crafts Movement, with which Tiffany Studios was associated both artistically and politically, and to the American decorative arts industry in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. In turn, women artists entering the workforce and the Arts and Crafts movement were also influenced by developments in organized labor in the United States, meaning these three concepts are all intertwined.

At the company’s height in the late 1890s, Tiffany employed some 40-50 women in a special glass-cutting division. Tiffany’s desire to hire so many women may have been a testament to what one writer called his “progressive spirit.” The popularly-held view that women had a better sense for decoration and took direction better than their male counterparts was also a factor, as were their status as non-unionized workers. The Women’s Glass Cutting Department was established in 1892 and was responsible for the production of some of Tiffany’s most successful and delightful lamps and window patterns. Led by the indomitable Clara Driscoll and her strong sense of design, the department originated the “Dragonfly,” “Wisteria,” and “Butterfly” lampshades, among other notable Tiffany glass products. It’s not known for certain whether Lydia Field Emmet was considered one of Driscoll’s so-called “Tiffany Girls,” but she became known as an artist and art worker in her own right, as well as a part of the Tiffany legacy.

Aside from designing stained glass windows like Spring and Autumn, Emmet exhibited oil paintings, designed wallpaper, illustrated articles for Harper’s Weekly, taught painting at the Shinnecock Summer School of Art, and even created murals for the Chicago World’s Fair in 1893. Many of Tiffany’s female workers, including Emmet, arguably exemplified the promise of the critic and progressive reformer John Ruskin’s conception of the “Unity of Art,” excelling in multiple disciplines and blurring the lines between creating fine art and craft.

During Ruskin’s era, the Industrial Revolution changed the nature of work and employment in major cities, replacing manual labor with rapid machine production of all sorts of goods. In response, the Arts and Crafts movement (led by William Morris in Britain) sought to reinvigorate the role of the artist and artisan in everyday life, and in so doing, improve the conditions of workers and of society as a whole. In the pursuit of pure profit, these theorists argued, creative labor was discouraged and devalued, its dignity lessened; mass-produced objects honored neither the skills of the worker nor the pursuit of beauty.

John Ruskin (who starred in DAM’s Wyeth/Ruskin show a few years ago), “felt that society should work toward promoting the happiness and well-being of every one of its members, by creating a union of art and labour in the service of society.” In other words: instead of working repetitive, menial, even dangerous manufacturing jobs and being paid a pittance for them, workers should be given the opportunity to manufacture items with the full force of their creativity and skill behind them, and should be fairly and justly compensated for doing so. Ruskin’s Unity of Art model disregarded hierarchies among what we consider today “fine art”—painting, sculpture, architecture—and “decorative arts” or “crafts”—embroidery, illustration, glasswork, pottery, textiles, and other media. Artists and artisans were both equal in Ruskin’s mind as creators of beauty and meaning.

The Arts and Crafts movement in Britain and the United States thus combined issues important to artists, craftsmen, and organized labor in opposition to industrial capitalism. Progressives of all social classes therefore had a stake in the game: the Unity of Art espoused respect for labor as significant and creative, and touted art work as a form of labor that should be properly compensated. Women artists and art workers in cities like New York thrived under the Unity of Art ideal, and worked in numerous industries and media, creating everything from magazine illustrations to paintings for exhibition halls.

The “Tiffany Girls,” therefore, represent a partial success of the Unity of Art, and of women’s growing recognition as artists and art workers at the turn of the century. However, while the proliferation of women artists in professional employment represented a victory for these women, it came at a cost for other members of society, and for the labor movement as a whole. Labor unions, responsible for the establishment of such now-commonplace workplace concepts as the weekend and the eight-hour day, did not generally accept women among their ranks. Therefore, women were often hired at firms like Tiffany as strike-breakers, and they were paid less than their unionized male counterparts. So while Tiffany hiring women in his glass department may have been influenced by the changing view of women’s capabilities and value outside the domestic sphere, it also allowed Tiffany to use them as a cudgel against labor unions demanding fairer wages and working hours. (To this day, women are still less likely to be unionized than their male counterparts.)

The Unity of Art ideal allowed Lydia Field Emmet to make a career as an artist and an art worker, but its popularity as a scheme for incorporating art into larger societal ideals did not last. Replaced in esteem by the concept of “Art for Art’s Sake,” which placed a premium on art “[capable] of producing pleasurable impressions in the viewer” (Masten 245), the mindset that had allowed Emmet to both paint murals and design wallpaper fell out of vogue, with commercial arts industries knocked down a peg on the ladder of prestige. Indeed, ideas about how labor should be compensated, how the creation of art should be compensated, and indeed, whether art work is a form of labor, continue to be furiously debated and negotiated to this day.

Deborah Krieger
Curatorial Assistant, 2017–2019
MA in Public Humanities at Brown University, Class of 2021

Sources and further reading:

April F. Masten, Art Work: Women Artists and Democracy in Mid-19th Century New York(Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2008)
Martin Eidelberg, Nina Gray, and Margaret K. Hofer, A New Light on Tiffany: Clara Driscoll and the Tiffany Girls (New-York Historical Society, 2007)
Joseph G. Rayback, A History of American Labor (New York: The Macmillan Company, 1964)
Eileen Boris, Art and Labor: Ruskin, Morris, and the Craftsman Ideal in America (Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1986)
Philip S. Foner, Women and the American Labor Movement: From Colonial Times to the Eve of World War I (Free Press, 1979)
Meredith Tax, The Rising of Women: Feminist Solidarity and Class Conflict, 1880-1917 (University of Illinois Press, 2001) Mark Bassett, “Breaking Tiffany’s Glass Ceiling: Clara Wolcott Driscoll (1861-1944),” Cleveland Institute of Art news site, January 1, 2012: https://www.cia.edu/news/stories/breaking-tiffanys-glass-ceiling-clara-wolcott-driscoll-1861-1944/
Amelia Peck and Carol Irish, with Elena Phipps, Candace Wheeler: The Art and Enterprise of American Design, 1875–1900 (Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2001). Downloadable here: https://www.metmuseum.org/art/metpublications/Candace_Wheeler_The_Art_and_Enterprise_of_American_Design_1875_1900
Jeffrey Helgeson, “American Labor and Working-Class History, 1900–1945,” Oxford Research Encyclopedias: American History, August 2016: http://americanhistory.oxfordre.com/view/10.1093/acrefore/9780199329175.001.0001/acrefore-9780199329175-e-330?rskey=5l9Ed5&result=2
Alex Hass, “Design History,” in Graphic Design and Print Production Fundamentals, B.C. Communications Open Textbook Collective, 2015: https://opentextbc.ca/graphicdesign/chapter/chapter-2/
“Lydia Field Emmet,” National Gallery of Art, https://www.nga.gov/collection/artist-info.1267.html
“The Simple Truth about the Gender Pay Gap,” American Association of University Women, http://www.morsemuseum.org/louis-comfort-tiffany/tiffany-studios-designers)
“Women in Unions,” Status of Women in the States, https://statusofwomendata.org/women-in-unions/


Image: Spring and Autumn, c. 1892. Lydia Field Emmet (designer, 1866-1952) for Tiffany Studios Leaded glass, 37 × 51 1/2 inches. Delaware Art Museum, Samuel and Mary R. Bancroft Memorial, 1935.

The Delaware Art Museum (DelArt) has received a $20,000 grant from Bank of America to support the arts in our community. This generous contribution will help the Museum connect people with the arts and each other through virtual and hybrid programs.

This fall, DelArt plans to continue providing safe arts engagement to our community. Programs like virtual school tours and art activity kits will provide standards-based arts education for youth in Wilmington. Other programs like our Healing through the Arts help participants heal from trauma through virtual slow art tours. In addition, we are extending our popular Happy Hours into the fall season and showing drive-in movies with DelArt Cinema. These and more innovative programs can be found on our website: delart.org.

Bank of America’s gift along with donations from DuPont and the National Endowment for the Arts’ CARES Act are supporting DelArt as we provide invaluable, community-centered programs during this pandemic. “Bank of America has been advancing the arts in our community for over 20 years,” says Molly Giordano, Interim Executive Director at DelArt. “We really appreciate Bank of America’s continued support–especially during this difficult year.”

“The coronavirus pandemic has put a strain on many cultural organizations, and it is important to provide our support to ensure their continued viability,” said Chip Rossi, Delaware market president for Bank of America. “The Delaware Art Museum plays a significant role in our community and we are committed to assisting their mission of connecting people to culturally enriching experiences.”

This enduring partnership helps make Wilmington a more vibrant place to live. The 2017 Arts & Economic Prosperity 5 report for the state of Delaware from the Americans for the Arts calculates economic impact of arts institutions. According to this study, each year DelArt creates 160 full-time equivalent jobs, $4,508,167 in resident household income, $67,096 in local government revenue, and $338,248 in state government revenue.

The grant is part of Bank of America’s philanthropic giving efforts in local communities. Awardees were selected for their commitment to addressing basic needs, medical response, and workforce development for individuals and families, in particular during the coronavirus pandemic.

Sponsors

This project is supported in part by the National Endowment for the Arts. This organization is supported, in part, by a grant from the Delaware Division of the Arts, a state agency, in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts. The Division promotes Delaware arts events on www.DelawareScene.com.

About the Delaware Art Museum

For over 100 years, the Museum has served as a primary arts and cultural institution in Delaware. It is alive with experiences, discoveries, and activities to connect people with art and with each other. Originally created in 1912 to honor the renowned illustrator and Wilmington-native, Howard Pyle, the Museum’s collection has grown to over 12,000 works of art in our building and sculpture garden. Also recognized for British Pre-Raphaelite art, the Museum is home to the most comprehensive Pre-Raphaelite collection on display outside of the United Kingdom, and a growing collection of significant contemporary art.

Under the leadership of our Board of Trustees, the Delaware Art Museum is implementing a comprehensive approach to community and civic engagement. This exciting new strategic direction requires that we increase our value and relevance to all audiences.

Visit delart.org for the latest exhibitions, programs, and performances or connect with us via social media.

About Bank of America

At Bank of America, we’re guided by a common purpose to help make financial lives better, through the power of every connection. We’re delivering on this through responsible growth with a focus on our environmental, social and governance (ESG) leadership. ESG is embedded across our eight lines of business and reflects how we help fuel the global economy, build trust and credibility, and represent a company that people want to work for, invest in and do business with. It’s demonstrated in the inclusive and supportive workplace we create for our employees, the responsible products and services we offer our clients, and the impact we make around the world in helping local economies thrive. An important part of this work is forming strong partnerships with nonprofits and advocacy groups, such as community, consumer and environmental organizations, to bring together our collective networks and expertise to achieve greater impact.

Learn more at about.bankofamerica.com, and connect with us on Twitter (@BofA_News).

For more Bank of America news, including dividend announcements and other important information, visit the Bank of America newsroom and register for news email alerts. www.bankofamerica.com

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What happens when you place two unrelated works of art from different continents, centuries, movements, and artistic backgrounds next to one another on a gallery wall? Something magical it seems. Even when works of art have a 150-year gap in their creation and stylistically come from different eras, relationships can form between them if they connect visually or tell similar stories that strengthen their bond.

The way that a museum is able to share these stories with the community is through the practice of collecting. This idea has become the basic premise of the upcoming show Collecting and Connecting: Recent Acquisitions, 2010-2020. Over the past ten years, the Museum’s curators have worked hard to expand each of the collections (American Illustration, British Pre-Raphaelites, American Art to 1960, Contemporary Art, and the Helen Farr Sloan Library and Archives), which has resulted in the acquisition of more than 1,500 new works. Always keeping the existing artwork in mind, the curators have actively shaped the collections to emphasize stories of women, artists of color, LGBTQ+ communities, local artists, and works which express innovative creativity.

Viewing artwork is an interpretive and subjective experience because everyone brings a different perspective to the table. This is the main reason why the works that will be shown in Collecting and Connecting are organized into groups based on visual, contextual, and emotional connections instead of by collection or chronological order. This way, we hope to create juxtapositions with artwork which extend past the barriers of time, movement, collection, country, style, or medium, and focus on what viewers physically see in the moment.

When beginning to plan the exhibition, it was difficult not to organize by collection, chronological order, or overarching theme, which is how most shows that feature recent acquisitions are laid out. The organization by theme was appealing, but felt forced, and we wanted to give the audience as much freedom for interpretation as possible. This quickly evolved into what the basis of the show will be: creating strong relationships between unrelated works through interesting juxtapositions. After looking through all 1,500+ works, a few significant relationships began to appear, one of which was that between Jerry Pinkney’s Cover Study for The Old African,” 2005, and John Everett Millais’s The Bridge of Sighs, 1857.

Take a moment to view these two works. With no background or context, what are you seeing? What stories do you think they are telling independently? What story do you think they tell together?

Pinkney, a successful illustration artist, created this watercolor as a study for the cover of Julius Lester’s children’s book, The Old African, published in 2005, which tells the reimagined legend of the Old African, a slave who uses mystical powers to free and lead a group of his fellow slaves on a journey back to their homeland of Africa.[1] Pinkney illustrated the entire book, creating stunning visuals that revealed both the horrors of slavery and the magic of hope in a way that still engages and educates readers of all ages. Expressing his desire to tell stories through images, Pinkney states on his website, “I’ve made a concerted effort to use my art making to examine as well as express my interest in Black history and culture—the tragedy, resilience, courage, and grit of African American people in their contributions to this country’s development. This deep dive into my own roots also bridged my interest in other cultures and histories of people who have been marginalized.”[2]

Both this study and the final version feature the main character, the Old African, gazing out into the ocean horizon where ships are sailing by, presumably on their way to deliver or pick up slaves. The ships are deceptively colorful albeit their ominous nature. Pinkney chose to depict a scene that sits in the interim of the story’s action—between fleeing the plantation and arriving in Africa. The energy and emotion of a scene that shows the Old African in contemplation is palpable. Pinkney filled this moment with vibrant colors to possibly represent the spiritual nature and magical abilities of the Old African, but also to express an optimistic attitude that good will conquer evil. The Museum acquired this piece in 2018 for a number of reasons, one of which was its visual relationship to Howard Pyle’s colorful pirate works, such as An Attack on a Galleon (1905), a work already in the Museum’s collection.

In 1857, John Everett Millais etched the scene in The Bridge of Sighs based on the poem of the same name by Thomas Hood, which was originally published in 1844. The poem tells the story of a woman driven to suicide because of her status as an impoverished, homeless, vagrant living on the streets of Victorian London. In this print, Millais depicts the woman contemplating her decision. The common archetype that developed in Victorian England of the “fallen woman” was a woman who was cast out by her family because of a sexual transgression and/or who lacked opportunities provided to men, such as a proper job or housing.[3] This woman, according to social myth, would then go to the city where she became a prostitute, eventually throwing herself off of a bridge out of guilt, and then literally falling to her death.[4]

The Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood and related artists chose to depict confrontational scenes of modern life, contrary to the Royal Academy’s preference for sentimental genre scenes. The fallen woman was depicted by many Victorian artists in various stages of their plight, with many artists seeking to arouse empathy in the viewer for the difficulties a modern woman faces. Many artists also sought to warn their audience about what can happen if a woman is led astray from the social norm. In Dante Gabriel Rossetti’s unfinished Found (1854), the woman has already fallen but is being rescued, whereas in George Frederic Watts’s Found Drowned (1848-50) the woman has already completed suicide by jumping from a bridge. Millais’s work, however, shows a woman between these two possible endings, not yet rescued but not yet having lost all hope. It is a moment of anticipation in which the viewer can imagine the woman turning her life around and recovering or suffering the same fate as many others.

While planning and selecting works for the exhibition, there were a few visual relationships that we identified right from the start and used as the basis for creating other connections between work of art. Even when we did not have a clear idea of how this show would be presented, we knew that the relationships we were seeing were important and shared the story of the Museum’s collections in a different way. It has been a fascinating exercise to look at the museum’s 1,500+ recent acquisitions and see how much a work from 1857 and one from 2005 can tell the same story or have a very similar composition.

Like Pinkney’s study, Millais’s print also shows a moment of contemplation and anticipation. Both the Old African and the fallen woman have been horribly abused and mistreated by society at large, abandoned and left to their own devices. Whereas the Old African chooses to see hope and fight for freedom, the fallen woman sees endless despair and will ultimately choose to accept her tragic fate.

Compositionally, the figures in Pinkney’s study for The Old African and Millais’s The Bridge of Sighs sit on opposite sides of their framed scenes and face opposite directions. The woman in Millais’s work is in standing on the right and gazing out on the environment to the left with her face open to the audience, most likely because she has nothing to hide anymore. Alternately, Pinkney’s Old African stands waist deep in the water on the left, while looking out on the ships and expanse of ocean to the right and is turned away from the audience, adding to the mystery of the character. Pinkney’s work is a bright, colorful day scene, whereas Millais’s is a black and white, shadowed nocturne. Although the two artists lived more than 100 years apart and in different continents, they each used their artistic talents to meaningfully share a story that would educate, create empathy and understanding, and potentially have an impact on their community. Cover Study for The Old African and The Bridge of Sighs make for an unlikely pairing, but have a deeper visual and contextual relationship that instantly made them a vital part of Collecting and Connecting: Recent Acquisitions, 2010-2020.

Collecting and Connecting: Recent Acquisitions, 2010-2020 will run from March 13 to September 12, 2021, in the Anthony N. and Catherine A. Fusco Gallery, with additional recent acquisitions installed and highlighted throughout the Museum and Copeland Sculpture Garden.

Caroline Giddis
2020 Alfred Appel, Jr. Curatorial Fellow
MA in Art History, Savannah College of Art and Design

Above, left to right: Variant of or study for the cover of “The Old African”, 2005, for The Old African by Julius Lester (New York, Dial Press, 2005). Jerry Pinkney (born 1939). Watercolor and graphite on paper, 12 1/4 × 10 3/16 inches. Delaware Art Museum, Acquisition Fund, 2018. © Jerry Pinkney. | The Bridge of Sighs, 1857. John Everett Millais (1829-1896). Etching, plate: 4 ½ x 3 ½ inches, sheet: 16 ¾ x 11 inches. Delaware Art Museum, Acquisition Fund, 2015.

Sources/Endnotes

1. Publisher’s Weekly, “The Old African, Julius Lester, Author, Jerry Pinkney, Illustrator,” book review, Publisher’s Weekly, October 24, 2005, https://www.publishersweekly.com/978-0-8037-2564-5.
2. Jerry Pinkney, What’s New?, JerryPinkneyStudio.com, 2019, accessed September 21, 2020, https://www.jerrypinkneystudio.com/frameset.html.
3. Linda Nochlin, “Lost and Found: Once More the Fallen Woman,” in Feminism and Art History: Questioning the Litany, ed. Norma Broude and Mary D. Garrard, 1st ed., (New York: Harper and Row, 1982), 226-229.
4. Lynn Nead, “The Magdalen in Modern Times: The Mythology of the Fallen Woman in Pre-Raphaelite Painting,” Oxford Art Journal 7, no. 1 (1984): 30-32.

A Museum is more than what’s inside its walls and from September through November, the Delaware Art Museum will connect people to art both outdoors and online.

Happy Hour on the Museum Terrace takes place every Thursday from 5–7:30 pm through October 15 (weather permitting). These free events feature cool beverages from the cash bar and live music and performances such as Joseph Whitney on steel drums (September 24), Toni “Big Cat” Smith Quartet (October 1) and Dance Works in Progress (October 15). Food provided by Los Taquitos De Puebla, with a menu that includes several kinds of tacos and vegetarian offerings. Following Happy Hour on September 24, Spokey Speaky reggae concert will perform a free concert at 7 pm which will also be live streamed.

On September 26 and 27, Delaware Shakespeare will present Shakespeare in the Garden; theatrical selections performed in the Copeland Sculpture Garden. At 4:30pm and 6pm each night, Delaware Shakespeare actors will perform in front of six sculptures during a 60-minute walking tour of the Copeland Sculpture Garden. Tickets are $25 for Non-Members. Beer and wine will be available for purchase.

Alternating Thursdays in September and October also invite movie lovers to drive-in for classic films presented in partnership with DelArt Cinema: The Maltese Falcon, September 17, The Birdcage, October 1, North by Northwest, October 15, and Frankenstein, October 29. Rain dates are on subsequent Friday nights. Start times vary from 8–8:45 pm. Tickets begin at $17 and include popcorn and soft drinks, with upgrades available. Advanced purchase only.

Marking the change of season, the community is invited to take a special meditative walk through the Museum’s labyrinth at the Anthony N. Fusco Reservoir on the annual Fall Equinox Labyrinth Walk, September 22 from 10­–11 am.

On Family 2nd Sunday, October 11, families are invited to enjoy a Story Walk in the Copeland Sculpture Garden. The children’s story Tar Beach by Faith Ringgold will be installed along the Museum’s outdoor pathways for families to discover.

To honor ancestors and lives lost to COVID-19, the Museum is hosting a free outdoor Día de los Muertos event on Saturday, October 31 from 1–4pm. We will observe the holiday with a ceremony and labyrinth walk, ofrenda installations for guests to contribute pictures and quotes to, Azteca dancers, vendors, and food by Los Taquitos de Puebla.

While outdoor events are mostly taking place on evenings and weekends, online events offer opportunities to foster creativity throughout the week.

Every third Thursday at Noon, Art Chats take place on the video platform Zoom. The topic of Plant LIFE in the City is planned for September 17. Environmental Social Scientist Dr. Jame McCray and JaQuanne LeRoy, Teaching Artist and Curator in Residence for the Delaware Art Museum, Delaware College of Art and Design, and Chris White Gallery will discuss an art-science exploration that engaged local artists in the subject of environmental justice. Additional Art Chats are planned with curators and other special guests on October 15 and beyond. Art Chats are free for Members, and $7 for non-Members.

The Museum’s monthly slow art tour goes virtual, and adds a meditative artmaking experience. Healing Through the Arts: Virtual Slow Art and Artful Meditation takes place September 20. Registration is free, and participants will receive a Zoom link upon registration.

Experience the Delaware Korean Festival from the comfort of your home starting October 2. The Museum will virtually co-host this year’s free festival through on our website and social media. The 30-minute program includes how to make Japchae (Korean noodles), Korean martial arts, an introduction to the Korean language, and a short film about a second generation Korean-American’s life. This program is produced by the Delaware Korean Association with support from the Korean government.

Other opportunities to take a deep dive into art, virtually, include Art is Tasty on the first Friday of the month at Noon and two Inside Look discussions in November. The October 2 Art is Tasty will discuss the Museum’s Labyrinth over a 30-minute Zoom chat. Free for Members; $7 for Non-Members.

Inside Look: Parade de Paysans takes place virtually on Friday, November 20, Noon, and Sunday, November 22, 2 pm. This free, in-depth dialogue will focus on Loïs Mailou Jones’ painting, led by University of Delaware Art History graduate student Kristin Nassif.

Even free events may require registration, so visit each event’s page on delart.org for further details. Events may have capacity limits and Zoom events require registration in order for participants to receive their Zoom links.

Acknowledgement of Support

This organization is supported, in part, by a grant from the Delaware Division of the Arts, a state agency, in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts. The Division promotes Delaware arts events on www.DelawareScene.com. Support provided by Art Bridges.

Press Contact

Please contact Cynthia Smith, Marketing Manager, at csmith@delart.org or 302-351-8514.

About the Delaware Art Museum

For over 100 years, the Museum has served as a primary arts and cultural institution in Delaware. It is alive with experiences, discoveries, and activities to connect people with art and with each other. Originally created in 1912 to honor the renowned illustrator and Wilmington-native, Howard Pyle, the Museum’s collection has grown to over 12,000 works of art in our building and sculpture garden. Also recognized for British Pre-Raphaelite art, the Museum is home to the most comprehensive collection of Pre-Raphaelite art on display outside of the United Kingdom and a growing collection of significant contemporary art. Embracing all disciplines, the Museum’s Performance Series ranges from concerts by Pyxis Piano Quartet, resident ensemble of over ten years, to cutting-edge, multi-disciplinary artists committed to social justice and pushing the boundaries of artistic practice.

Under the leadership of our Board of Trustees, the Delaware Art Museum is implementing a comprehensive approach to community and civic engagement. This exciting new strategic direction requires that we increase our value and relevance to all audiences. Visit delart.org for the latest exhibitions, programs, and performances or connect with us via social media.

Event on October 1 features an in-person panel with a professional film crew

WILMINGTON, Del. — Since 2018, the Conversations with Women Making a Difference series has brought audiences to the Delaware Art Museum for vibrant discussions among women leading change and breaking boundaries. The Museum is one of the recipients of funds raised by this event.

The Delaware Art Museum is committed to expanding their collection of art by female artists and to increasing solo exhibitions by female artists. This reflects the Museums mission to address race, gender, and diversity gaps within the museum field and to represent more fully the range of individuals that shape the history of art.

For the first time, on Thursday, October 1, 2020, Blue Blaze Associates will present a virtual conversation.  Carol Arnott-Robbins, founder of series sponsor NEWS4Women,will moderate the in-person panel and discussion will be streamed live on Zoom by a professional film crew at The Mill.

Virtual attendees will enjoy a live discussion and Q&A session followed by networking opportunities with the panelists. Tickets are $25, and all 2020 proceeds benefit the Delaware Art Museum and Fund for Women. Visit www.BlueBlaze.org for tickets and event details.

“We have received rave reviews for the unscripted and candid conversations we’ve hosted in the past,” comments Wendy Scott, co-founder of Blue Blaze Associates. “Our priority in moving to a live stream environment is to preserve the authenticity of these events. With the panelists and facilitator together in real life, we’re looking forward to the same engaging and thought-provoking experience our audiences have come to appreciate.”

The three panelists for October 1 will be:

Colleen Perry Keith – President of Goldey-Beacom College

Colleen Perry Keith is the new president of Goldey-Beacom College and the first woman to hold the position in the school’s 133-year history. In addition, she was the first woman president at the last two colleges where she worked.

Before coming to Delaware, Colleen served as president at Pfeiffer University in North Carolina and as president of Spartanburg Methodist College in South Carolina. Under her leadership, Pfeiffer significantly increased enrollment, created the Office of Digital Transformation and Technology, launched two graduate health science programs, and moved the University from NCAA Division II to Division III athletics. Her strong financial management also led the institution to substantial debt reduction and significant support from USDA for capital projects and debt refinancing.

Colleen holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Political Science from State University of New York, University Center at Binghamton; Master of Education Degree, Education Counseling from University of Pittsburgh; and a Doctorate of Philosophy in Higher Education Administration and Student Affairs from The Ohio State University. She is also a breast cancer survivor.

Melody Phillips – Director of Operations for The Warehouse

Melody Phillips is the director for a new teen center being developed in northeast Wilmington. Run for teens and by teens, The Warehouse will offer comprehensive after-school opportunities for up to 700 teens in one of the city’s most underserved neighborhoods. Teens are empowered to lead, prototype, and design programming that they believe will have the greatest impact on their success as they transition from adolescence to adulthood.

The Warehouse is part of a multi-million dollar community revitalization project planned by REACH Riverside. In addition to her DOO role at The Warehouse, Melody serves as Chair of the Workforce Development Committee for REACH Riverside.

Melody is also the Co-Founder and Board Chairwoman of I Am My Sister’s Keeper, an organization that provides rites of passage curriculum, leadership development, and social-emotional skills training to girls 12 to 18 years old.

She holds a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice from Saint Joseph’s University and a Masters of Arts in Forensic Psychology from the Chicago School of Professional Psychology. In 2019, Delaware Today honored Melody with a Women in Business award.

Latifa Ihsan Ali – CEO and Head Designer of LiaWear Action

Latifa Ihsan Ali is a Muslimah American fashion designer and entrepreneur who is passionate about helping women get active and keep modest. Her company, LiaWear Action, was born out of the desire to empower Muslim women to pursue the activities they love. The hijab solutions she designs allow women to strengthen themselves through exercise, travel, and adventure. She launched her line of modest swimsuits and sportswear in 2011 and has been encouraging women to get out and run, jog, kick, bike, hike, swim, splash, dive, and dance their way to fitness.

Latifa’s designs are inspired by her travels abroad, including Middle Eastern countries, as well as popular American trends in athletic wear. Her creations were showcased in the Haute and Modesty Fashion Show of DC Fashion Week, the Faith and Fashion Forum held at F.I.T. in New York, the International Sisters Network Annual Fashion Show in Maryland, and the Annual UMM Sisters Fashion Show in Philadelphia. She was awarded the Golden Minaret Award for Best in Fashion from the Academy of Muslim Achievement in 2017.

Latifa is from Wilmington and graduated from John Dickinson High School. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Apparel Design from the University of Delaware.

Conversations with Women Making a Difference in Delaware is a series presented by Blue Blaze Associates and sponsored by NEWS4Women. Each event features a different panel of inspiring women discussing a variety of topics including career highlights, life lessons, and hard-earned wisdom. Proceeds are donated to nonprofits.

For additional updates, find us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ConversationswithWomenDE/.

Presenter: Blue Blaze Associates is a full-service marketing & design agency. We’re a certified Women-owned Business Enterprise (WBE) serving a variety of clients in the for-profit, nonprofit, and government sectors. We’re passionate about building distinctive brands that are authentic, relevant, and memorable.

Panel Facilitator & Series Sponsor: Carol Arnott-Robbins is the founder of NEWS4Women (Network to Encourage Women’s Support 4 Women), an initiative to build collaborative community and economic opportunities for women, and to support local nonprofit organizations. She is also a realtor with Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Fox & Roach.

2020 Partners & Beneficiaries: Delaware Art Museum, Fund for Women Delaware, and Spur Impact

2020 Media Sponsors: Delaware Today, Delaware Business Times, and Delaware Business Now

Wilmington, DE — In a continuing effort to connect people to the arts during COVID-19, the Delaware Art Museum has partnered with DelArt Cinema to offer biweekly drive-in movies on the Museum’s grounds in the Copeland Sculpture Garden. Film buffs can enjoy socially-distant, crowd-pleasing classics in genres ranging from noir to spy to comedy to vintage horror. The movies, which take place every other Thursday (with subsequent Friday evenings dedicated to rain dates), are scheduled through October 29, weather permitting. Admission is $19 per person and includes food and beverage, with a discount extended to Museum members; admission by advanced purchase only.

The September selections are Pulp Fiction and The Maltese Falcon, and the movies begin at approximately 8:45 p.m. October selections are The Birdcage, North by Northwest, and Frankenstein, and begin at approximately 8:30 p.m. After check-in, guests select food and drinks, which are handed to them in their vehicles. Moviegoers are asked to arrive no later than 20 minutes before show time; late arrivals will be parked at the Museum’s discretion. Gates open at 7:45 p.m. for all shows. FM radio transmission is required to hear the movies, and masks are required for interaction with staff and restroom visits.

Marion Jackson, Director of Operations for DelArt Cinema, described the film selection process, “With so much of the world in disarray, it makes the current day feel morbid. We wanted to offer a selection of films that allows our guests to break out of that headspace. We tried to pick stories that are strong enough to make the world around them melt away, if only for an hour or two.”

Lauren McMahon, Delaware Art Museum’s Event and Rentals Manager, said, “While the Museum is open Wednesday through Sunday for visitors, these outdoor, after-hours events align with the Museum’s commitment to balancing relevance and sustainability. We are offering our beautiful campus in a safe way to community members for whom film is a source of enjoyment and bonding.”

Dates and synopses for each film:

Pulp Fiction, September 3. This 1994 neo-noir black comedy features innumerable stars, most notably, Samuel L. Jackson, John Travolta, and Uma Thurman. It won the Palme D’Or at Cannes and took Best Picture and Best Original Screenplay Oscars, landing it on the National Film Registry. The source for scores of humorous memes and an iconic dance routine, the movie also prophetically introduced the realities of opioid use into the common American vernacular. Rated R.

The Maltese Falcon, September 17. Continuing the noir theme, this 1941 film showcases Humphrey Bogart as a private eye, with John Huston at the directorial helm. Bogart’s Sam Spade navigates the criminal underworld in search of a bejeweled bird. It was one of the first 25 films on the National Film Registry, and is considered by some to be the first major film noir. The studio asked for Bogart’s lines to be delivered faster, thus setting the stage for the noir genre’s signature “rat-a-tat” speaking pace. Said blinged out bird was sold to a movie memorabilia collector for $4 million in 2013. Not rated.

The Birdcage, October 1. While by no means noir, this 1996 film, starring Robin Williams and Nathan Lane, nonetheless relies on secret identities to drive its plot: boy’s two “out” dads meet girl’s conservative mom and dad. The introduction of gay and drag culture into conservative settings as a punchline may strike some as dated in 2020, but in 1996, as in 1983 when La Cage aux Folles became a Broadway hit, it was groundbreaking. Mainstream films that delved into the humanity of gay couples were few and far between, as were drag performers portrayed through something other than the man-in-a-dress gag. The Screen Actors Guild awarded the cast an Outstanding Performance award. Rated R.

North by Northwest, October 15. Sure, this 1959 Hitchcock spy thriller hits all the genre’s important buttons: mistaken identity, a conflicted femme fatale, smuggling a microfilm (a “MacGuffin”) of government secrets on a moving train, kidnapping, and murder. But it’s a don’t-miss for another reason: Cary Grant and James Mason may have two of the most recognizable voices in movie history. Another National Film Registry pick and number 40 on American Film Institute’s 100 greatest movies of all time, it’s the first movie to feature extensive kinetic typography in its opening credits and has a 99% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes. GQ magazine named Grant’s movie costume the best suit in film history and the most influential on men’s style. Not rated.

Frankenstein, October 29. This 1931 film features Boris Karloff as Dr. Frankenstein’s monster. It is on the National Film Registry and sits at number 87 on the American Film Institute’s 100 greatest movies of all time. While the film’s subject is widely known and its horror may seem tame to modern viewers, Kansas censors requested as many 32 scenes cut from the reel due to accusations of blasphemy. Rated PG.

Reflecting on previous Delaware Art Museum drive-in movies, Jackson added, “We have gotten some great feedback from our guests. A couple that came to see Some Like It Hot gleefully remarked that, in their younger years, their first date was a drive-in. We’ve had parents, excited to relive a piece of their childhood, introducing their own kids to drive-in films for the first time. Evoking those kinds of feelings and bringing some light into these dark times was exactly what we hoped for when we chose our films.”

Every paid ticket entitles the guest to a popcorn and a soda or water. Ticket upgrades include candy or snacks such as chocolate bars, gummies, pretzels, nuts, cookies, crackers, or chips, as well as beer or wine.

No sitter? While not all of the movie topics are family fare, kids ages 6 and under are free, so they could, theoretically, snooze in the back seat. Museum restrooms will be available in the studio wing.

This program is supported, in part, by a grant from the Delaware Division of the Arts, a state agency, in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts. The Division promotes Delaware arts events on www.DelawareScene.com.

IF YOU GO:

WHAT: Delaware Art Museum and DelArt Cinema Present Drive-in Pulp Fiction
WHEN: Thursday, Sept. 3, 2020 (rain date Friday, Sept. 4), approximately 8:45 p.m., gates open 7:45 p.m.
WHERE: Delaware Art Museum Copeland Sculpture Garden, 2301 Kentmere Parkway, Wilmington, DE 19806
COST: Free—$19 (food upgrades available; discount for members)
INFO: delart.org

WHAT: Delaware Art Museum and DelArt Cinema Present Drive-in The Maltese Falcon
WHEN: Thursday, Sept. 17, 2020 (rain date Friday, Sept. 18), approximately 8:45 p.m., gates open 7:45 p.m.
WHERE: Delaware Art Museum Copeland Sculpture Garden, 2301 Kentmere Parkway, Wilmington, DE 19806
COST: Free—$19 (food upgrades available; discount for members)
INFO: delart.org

WHAT: Delaware Art Museum and DelArt Cinema Present Drive-in The Birdcage
WHEN: Thursday, Oct. 1, 2020 (rain date Friday, Oct. 2), approximately 8:30 p.m., gates open 7:45 p.m.
WHERE: Delaware Art Museum Copeland Sculpture Garden, 2301 Kentmere Parkway, Wilmington, DE 19806
COST: Free—$19 (food upgrades available; discount for members)
INFO: delart.org

WHAT: Delaware Art Museum and DelArt Cinema Present Drive-in North by Northwest
WHEN: Thursday, Oct. 15, 2020 (rain date Friday, Oct. 16), approximately 8:30 p.m., gates open 7:45 p.m.
WHERE: Delaware Art Museum Copeland Sculpture Garden, 2301 Kentmere Parkway, Wilmington, DE 19806
COST: Free—$19 (food upgrades available; discount for members)
INFO: delart.org

WHAT: Delaware Art Museum and DelArt Cinema Present Drive-in Frankenstein
WHEN: Thursday, Oct. 29, 2020 (rain date Friday, Oct. 30), approximately 8:30 p.m., gates open 7:45 p.m.
WHERE: Delaware Art Museum Copeland Sculpture Garden, 2301 Kentmere Parkway, Wilmington, DE 19806
COST: Free—$19 (food upgrades available; discount for members)
INFO: delart.org

The 1920s were a heady time in fashion illustration. Magazines like Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar featured illustrated covers and pages of articles highlighting the latest styles. National ready-to-wear clothing companies hired top illustrators to promote their brands with eye-catching, full-color layouts. The Museum has a fascinating collection of fashion illustrations from the 1920s. I’ve been exploring them lately as work toward an upcoming exhibition on Jazz Age Illustration.

Vogue commissioned top-notch illustrators like Sarah Stilwell Weber and Helen Dryden to design creative, playful covers in the teens and twenties. These covers didn’t always showcase current styles—Dryden’s 1922 Cover for Vogue (see below) seems to evoke an earlier era—but they convey a stylish sensibility and enthusiasm for fashion. Interior images, like Manuel de Lambarri’s straightforward graphics, generally related more directly to current questions of what to wear.

Image Above: Cover for Vogue, December 15, 1922. Helen Dryden (1882–1981). Gouache, ink, and watercolor on paper, 19 × 15 1/2 inches. Delaware Art Museum, Acquisition Fund, 1992.

By the twenties, fashion illustration permeated American culture, appearing well beyond the publications dedicated to fashion. Even the most ordinary products—men’s shirts and suits, hosiery for women—were promoted with striking visual campaigns that appeared in widely circulated general-interest magazines like The Saturday Evening Post. J.C. Leyendecker’s Arrow Collar Man was one of the most iconic images of the period. Strikingly handsome and impeccably turned out, the Arrow Collar Man supposedly received bags full of mail from admiring women. Ads often pictured him encased in an oval—his chiseled features perfectly framed by a white collar and necktie. A recently accessioned sketch in the Museum’s collection may be a study for an Arrow Collar ad. The model for the Arrow Collar Man was Charles Beach, Leyendecker’s partner in business and life for 50 years.

Image Above, left to right: Portrait Head (Possible Study for Arrow Collar Advertisement), c. 1925. J.C. Leyendecker (1874–1951). Graphite on coated canvas, 10 3/8 x 7 5/8 inches. Delaware Art Museum, Gift of Helen Farr Sloan, 1984; Accessioned, 2020. | Figure Study for a Kuppenheimer Advertisement, 1929. J.C. Leyendecker (1874–1951), Oil on (linen) canvas, 22 x 9 1/4 inches. Delaware Art Museum, Acquisition Fund, 2016.

Beach modeled for many of Leyendecker’s advertisements, likely including this over-the-top Kuppenheimer Suits promotion. The Museum owns a Figure Study for this luxurious spread. A famous illustrator whose signature style dominated the covers of The Saturday Evening Post in the pre-Rockwell era, Leyendecker himself brought a gloss of glamour to the ad campaigns he created. According to one critic, he crystallized “the refined American male look of the first 30 years of the 20th century.”

C. Coles Phillips brought his ideal of the fashionable modern woman to advertisements and magazine covers. Phillips designed many ads for Holeproof Hosiery, featuring women displaying their flawless stockings. In his cover for The Saturday Evening Post (top) a stylish woman must cope instead with impromptu repairs to her hosiery. Everything about her—the dropped-waist dress, bobbed hair, and chic shoes—made her an aspirational image for contemporary women.

Even as these beautiful images were appearing in American magazines every week, change was brewing. In 1923, Edward Steichen became chief photographer for Vogue and Vanity Fair. Steichen became one of the pioneers of fashion photography, pushing the field in new artistic directions. By the early 1920s, photography was making inroads within magazine layouts, and in 1932, Vogue printed its first photographic cover. Issues with photographic covers soon outsold ones with illustrated covers. A period known as a “golden age” of fashion illustration was coming to an end.

Heather Campbell Coyle
Curator of American Art

Top: Cover for The Saturday Evening Post, October 2, 1920. C. Coles Phillips (1880–1927). Watercolor, gouache, and graphite on illustration board, 20 × 16 inches. Delaware Art Museum, Acquisition Fund, 1988.

Along the Harlem River, 1925. Malvin Gray Johnson (1896–1934). Oil on canvas board, 12 × 16 inches. Delaware Art Museum, Acquisition Fund, 2017.

Art history has a bias toward “mature work” and signature styles. Within our public galleries, most artists are represented by a single work, so museums tend to seek out and exhibit the most characteristic examples of an artist’s career. But I have to confess my affection for many artists’ early works. I love it when you can see an artist discovering their interests and talents. One of the things I admire most about the living artists I work with is how they constantly solve problems. I love a work that still has traces of that problem-solving labor and experimentation.

Upstairs in the gallery dedicated to modern American art, early works by Malvin Gray Johnson and Hughie Lee-Smith hang side by side. The Johnson is an impressionist glimpse across the Harlem River, and it was painted in 1925 when he was still a student. Johnson died of heart failure at age 38 and may never have settled on a mature style. Active at the heart of the Harlem Renaissance, he was a relentless experimenter who quickly moved on to incorporate elements of cubism and African art into his work in the late 1920s. In 1934, he headed south, recording the daily life of rural African Americans in watercolors. His experiments with modern styles may have started with impressionism in works like Harlem River.

Hughie Lee-Smith lived a long life and gained fame for his psychologically charged depictions of isolated figures in urban settings. Holland Cotter described Lee-Smith’s work in the artist’s obituary in the New York Times:

Mr. Lee-Smith’s paintings usually have spare settings suggestive of theater stages or bleak urban or seaside landscapes. Walls stretch out under gray skies. Men and women, as lithe as dancers, seem frozen in place. Most are dressed in street clothes; some wear exotic masks. Children frequently appear, as do props reminiscent of circuses. The work has an air of mystery associated with the paintings of Giorgio de Chirico and Edward Hopper.

imageThe Bouquet, 1949. Hughie Lee-Smith (1915–1999). Oil on Masonite, 23 3/4 × 17 3/4 inches. Delaware Art Museum, Acquisition Fund, 2018 © Estate of Hughie Lee-Smith / VAGA for ARS, New York, NY.

DelArt’s painting by Lee-Smith, The Bouquet, has the artist’s characteristic bleak landscape and air of mystery, but it has a stronger implied narrative than many of his best known later works. There is urgency and energy in the figures’ interaction that is echoed in the rough, textured paint of her dress. It seems like a picture of young love gone wrong. The artist was about 34 when he made it. Four years later, Lee-Smith would launch his career, finishing his bachelor’s degree at Wayne State and winning a top prize for painting at the Detroit Institute of Art.

Heather Campbell Coyle
Chief Curator and Curator of American Art

About Copyright: Through the protection of Fair Use (Section 107, title 17, U.S. Code), the Delaware Art Museum is able to place low-resolution images of works of art in our collection for which we do not hold the rights on this blog. We assert that these images are for educational research only, and follow guidelines for digital thumbnail images outlined by the Association of Art Museum Directors . The Delaware Art Museum respects the intellectual property rights of others, and is committed to researching which works in the collection are protected under copyright and to clearly providing that information where necessary.

The Delaware Art Museum is pleased to announce the Creative Spacers Youth Art Contest, a continuation of the Creative Spacers project. Delaware residents between the ages of 6-19 can submit works of original art that creatively convey a theme of hope, love, social distancing, or pandemic safety. The contest, which will be open from July 20 to August 10, is intended to spread awareness of safety practices as well as encourage, engage, and celebrate young artists during the current COVID-19 pandemic.

“All submissions must be original, 12 x 12 square 2D works.” The five works in each age category (6-13 and 14-19) that are most effective and creative at conveying the themes will be compensated with a gift card to a local art supply store. Scans of the artwork will be displayed at the Museum in late August. The originals will be retained by the Museum for use in the 12 x 12 Student Exhibition in 2021.

The Creative Spacers Youth Art Contest aligns with the Museum’s commitment to civic engagement through community outreach and participation. “Aside from commissioning a diverse group of local adult artists for the Creative Spacers project, we wanted to include a younger generation of aspiring artists during a time when many are stuck at home,” says Lillia Schmidt, Community Engagement Intern, who is working closely with Jonathan Whitney, the Museum’s Manager of Performance Programs and Community Engagement, on the contest.

For more information on eligibility, requirements, and submission instructions, click here.

Please contact Cynthia Smith, Marketing Manager, at csmith@delart.org or 302-351-8514.

This program is supported, in part, by a grant from the Delaware Division of the Arts, a state agency, in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts. The Division promotes Delaware arts events on www.DelawareScene.com.

Scheduled for late March, the opening of Layered Abstraction: Helen Mason and Margo Allman was delayed due to Covid-19 and the Museum’s subsequent closure. Now, with our recent reopening, Layered Abstraction is on view for the public.

For more than 50 years, Margo Allman and Helen Mason have challenged traditional expectations for contemporary art in the greater Wilmington area. The Delaware Art Museum celebrates these two pioneering artists with a Distinguished Artist Series retrospective in its premier exhibition gallery space through January 17, 2021.

Both Allman and Mason have dedicated their artistic careers to exploring the infinite possibilities of abstraction. Margo Allman’s work was first exhibited at the Museum during its 43rd Annual Delaware Show in 1956. Since then, Allman has participated in countless juried and curated shows at the Museum and throughout the region. Her prints, paintings, and sculptures, which are inspired by nature, bring form to the invisible. Layered Abstraction will feature more than 50 of Allman’s works of art, including her early 1950s avant-garde prints; her sculptures in marble, wood, concrete, and synthetic fiber from the 70s and 80s; her signature series of ovoidal paintings; and her graphic drawings dating from 2004 to 2019.

Helen Mason, who arrived in Delaware in 1967, has exhibited at the Delaware Art Museum and played an active role on the Delaware State Arts Council—all while teaching generations of students at the Tatnall School in Wilmington. Materiality is a consistent inspiration for Mason, as is Minimal art and the Japanese techniques of layering, bundling, gathering, knotting, and folding. Layered Abstraction will feature more than 80 works of art by Mason, including her jewelry, paintings, and ceramics from the 1970s through today, and selections from her 1988 Delaware Art Museum./

About Margo Allman

Margo Allman is an abstract artist who works in painting, printmaking, and sculpture. She attended Moore College of Art and Design in Philadelphia where she studied with the abstract expressionist artist Leonard Nelson. She also pursued further study with Hans Hofmann. Since 1954, Allman has participated in countless solo and group exhibitions in the United States and abroad, including at the Delaware Art Museum, the Biggs Museum of American Art, and the West Chester University Art Gallery. Her work is also featured in many regional collections, including the Delaware Art Museum and the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

“My life in art and its driving preoccupation is to both explore and form my emotions, my yearnings and the mysteries of nature,” says Allman. “My never-ending goal is to enrich others with the quality of my true and unique talents.”

About Helen Mason

Helen Mason received her MFA from the University of Delaware and her BFA from the Rhode Island School of Design/Brown University. Among her many honors are a National Endowment for the Arts/Delaware State Arts Council Individual Artist Fellowship, a Gulbenkian Foundation Grant, and a Delaware Art Museum Purchase Award. She was appointed by the Governor to the Board of the Delaware State Arts Council serving two terms, served on the Board of the Delaware Center for the Contemporary Arts, and directed the Art Program as Chairman at the Tatnall School in Wilmington. Mason’s work has been exhibited nationally and internationally at the American Craft Museum (MAD) in NY, the National Museum of Women in the Arts in DC, the Biggs Museum in DE, the Delaware Art Museum, the High Museum of Art in Atlanta, the Vonderau Museum in Germany, Takashimya Gallery in Japan, and the Aaron Faber Gallery in NY. Her work is in the permanent collections of the Delaware Art Museum, the Hercules Powder Co in DE, the Kalamazoo Institute of Art in MI, and the High Museum.

“As a sculptor, I see myself constructing shapes that are self-contained, uncompromising, and singular, often thinking in different scales to explore an idea,” says Mason. “My inspiration is drawn from Minimalism and the stability and refinement of geometric forms. The color black is always a constant, incorporating a strong influence of the East, symbolizing mystery, serenity, and elegance. My motivation is a search for innovative ways to test convention, always with the desire to break the boundaries between art and craft.”

Press Contact

Media interviews with both artists are available upon request. Please contact Cynthia Smith, Marketing Manager, at csmith@delart.org or 302.351.8514 To to request and interview.

Acknowledgement of Support

Layered Abstraction: Margo Allman & Helen Mason was organized by the Delaware Art Museum. This exhibition is made possible by the Emily du Pont Memorial Exhibition Fund and is supported, in part, by a grant from the Delaware Division of the Arts, a state agency, in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts. The Division promotes Delaware arts events on www.DelawareScene.com.

In 2018, the Museum partnered with 19 organizations throughout the city of Wilmington to mark 50 years since the powerful and community-changing public response that followed the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. on April 4, 1968. The civil disturbances in Wilmington, which were followed by a nine-month occupation by the Delaware National Guard, left an indelible mark on the community.

Artist Hank Willis Thomas was commissioned by the Museum to respond to the events of 1968 through the creation of a new work of art that shed light on this complicated moment in the city’s history. Following the 2018 exhibition, the Museum acquired Black Survival Guide, or How to Live Through a Police Riot from Thomas for the benefit of the communities we serve.

Two years later, Black Survival Guide, or How to Live Through a Police Riot has been reinstalled and is on view now through September 27. The work is a series of 13 retroreflective screen prints based on photographs from The News Journal and a booklet in the collection of the Delaware Historical Society that is titled Black Survival Guide, or How to Live Through a Police Riot.

The Delaware Art Museum rehung this poignant work of art in the wake of the Black Lives Matter protests happening in Wilmington and around the world. The Museum is committed to supporting its community as it grapples with the emotional anxiety and strain of the violent murders of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, and many others as a result of systemic racism. As is laid out in its strategic vision, the Museum will continue to work with its partners to address critical social issues affecting its communities through civic discourse and creative expression.

The Delaware Art Museum reopened on Wednesday, July 1, 2020. Museum Members received two weeks of exclusive access before opening to the general public on Wednesday, July 15, 2020. The Museum will be free to the public from July 15-August 1.

To keep guests safe, Plexiglas shields have been installed at the front desk and in the Museum Store and all transactions are cashless, so visitors are encouraged to remember their credit cards. Guests are required to wear face masks and practice social distancing. The Thronson Café is be closed until further notice. Maps and brochures are only available electronically for the time being.

The Museum has returned to its regular operating hours, which are as follows: Monday and Tuesday: closed; Wednesday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday: 10 am – 4 pm; Thursday: 10 am – 8 pm.

Acknowledgment of Support

This exhibition is organized by the Delaware Art Museum. This exhibition t is supported, in part, by a grant from the Delaware Division of the Arts, a state agency, in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts. The Division promotes Delaware arts events on www.DelawareScene.com.

Press Contact

To request an interview, please contact Cynthia Smith, Marketing Manager, at csmith@delart.org or 302-351-8514.

Top: How to Live through a Police Riot [Black Survival Guide, or How to Live Through a Police Riot] (detail), 2018, Hank Willis Thomas (born 1976), Screen print on retroreflective vinyl with aluminum backing, 62 x 48 inches. Delaware Art Museum, F. V. du Pont Acquisition Fund, 2019. Commissioned by the Delaware Art Museum. Photograph of Wilmington Riots and National Guard Occupation by Frank Fahey, 1968. Courtesy of The News Journal. Text from Northeast Conservation Association, Black Survival Guide, or How to Live Through a Police Riot, c. 1960s. Daniels Collection, courtesy of the Delaware Historical Society. © Hank Willis Thomas.

Award-winning, best-selling author Erin Entrada Kelly to give virtual keynote address

The Delaware Art Museum is hosting its fourth annual Wilmington Writers Conference, but this year all events will be offered online. The theme of Untold Stories will be explored through the virtual keynote address, a full slate of craft sessions via Zoom, and online networking opportunities.

“The Wilmington Writers Conference has been popular in the past, but this year, since everything will be offered online, we are looking forward to broadening our audience and including participants of all experience levels and backgrounds from Delaware and beyond,” said Eliza Jarvis, Manager of Youth Learning and Creative Partnerships and Conference Chair.

The virtual conference will kick off at 7 pm on Friday, July 17 with a virtual keynote address by acclaimed author Erin Entrada Kelly, who received the 2018 Newbery Medal for Hello, Universe, the 2017 APALA Award for The Land of Forgotten Girls, and the 2016 Golden Kite Honor Award for Blackbird Fly, among other honors. She is a New York Times bestselling author whose work has been translated into several languages. Her fifth book and first fantasy, Lalani of the Distant Sea, received six starred reviews and was named one of the best books of the year by the New York Public Library, The Horn Book, Booklist, BookPage, and others. All of Erin Entrada Kelly’s books are Junior Library Guild Selections. In 2018, Hello, Universe and You Go First were both acquired for adaptation. Hello, Universe is being adapted by Netflix, and You Go First is being adapted for the stage. Kelly’s keynote address on Friday, July 17 will be free and open to the public, but requires pre-registration. Signed copies of Erin’s books, including We Dream of Space, will be available for sale at the Museum Store.

Writers and aspiring writers of all backgrounds are welcome to register for up to two craft sessions on Saturday, July 18 at the rate of $15 for Members of the Delaware Art Museum, $20 for Non-Members, and $10 for students.

The craft sessions on Saturday, July 18 feature a diverse range of offerings:

  • Lois Hoffman, The Happy Self Publisher—Write! Publish! Sell!
  • Cass Lewis—Fighting Fear Through Voice
  • Gary Zenker—Jumpstart Your Creativity Using Flash Fiction
  • Carol Maurer—Using a Labyrinth as a Creative Tool
  • Caroline N. Simpson—Exercising the Mind’s Eye
  • J. Bryan Tuk, Esq.—Copyright Law: The Artist’s Best Friend
  • Dennis Lawson—Turning Lemons into (Fictional) Lemonade
  • Maria J. Keane—Mary Magdalene: Sinner and/or Saint—Let’s Get it Right!
  • Jacinta S. Fontenelle—A Perspective on Immigration in the United States: Untold Stories
  • Margaret Montet—The Charms of Travel Writing

The conference will conclude at 5 pm on Saturday, July 18 with an all-conference share-back, a series of breakout groups in which participants will be invited to share stories from the day, read pieces of new writing, and network. Bring a drink and a snack and make it a virtual happy hour!

For more information about the Wilmington Writers Conference, including artist biographies, session descriptions, and registration, please visit delart.org.

This program is sponsored by the Art Bridges Foundation and The Happy Self Publisher. This project is supported, in part, by a grant from the Delaware Division of the Arts, a state agency, in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts. The Division promotes Delaware arts events on www.DelawareScene.com.

Grant to support 2021 restaging of the 1971 exhibition “Afro-American Images”

National Endowment for the Arts Chairman Mary Anne Carter has approved an Art Works award of $25,000 to the Delaware Art Museum for the 2021 restaging of Afro-American Images 1971. This is one of 1,015 grants nationwide that the agency has approved in this category.

The exhibition, on view October 23, 2021 through January 23, 2022, will reunite 130 works of art in various media by 66 artists of color from an exhibition that took place in 1971 in the Armory in Wilmington. This restaging marks the 50th anniversary of the original exhibition, organized by the local arts organization known as Aesthetic Dynamics. The Museum’s Curator of Contemporary Art, Margaret Winslow, and Aesthetic Dynamics’ Vice President, Arnold Hurtt, have organized the exhibition with support from an extensive community advisory committee.

The exhibition explores the Black Arts Movement in the 1960s and 1970s, focusing on major influencers such as James A. Porter, Percy Ricks, and Aesthetic Dynamics. Visitors can expect to examine different definitions of Black art through a critical lens and to learn about local contributions to the national Black Arts Movement. Accompanying the visual art is a digital humanities project that aims to collect oral histories from community members. The Museum encourages anyone interested in sharing their knowledge or experience concerning the original 1971 exhibition, the Black Arts Movement, or Wilmington’s artistic history to contact our Curator of Contemporary Art at mwinslow@delart.org or at 302-351-8539.

“Through this restaging, we are combatting historical amnesia and doing everything that we can to ensure that the archival record is as complete as possible,” says Winslow. “With the 2021 presentation of Afro-American Images, we have a remarkable opportunity to look back at how Wilmington played a role in the Black Arts Movement. What were the reasons for Ricks’ exhibition then and what stories does it tell today? Why was the Delaware Art Museum not an active partner with Aesthetic Dynamics in 1971? Today, the Delaware Art Museum seeks to bring art into the lives of the community in ways that support myriad interests and involves authentic civic engagement. Restaging the original exhibition, 50 years later, addresses numerous historic gaps such as the biased archival record and lack of local institutional support. By collaborating with Aesthetic Dynamics members 50 years later the Delaware Art Museum is afforded the opportunity to investigate its engagement with the Black community. As we certainly see in the Museum’s own renewed focus on acquiring work specifically of women and artists of color, this is still such an important aspect of the curatorial work that we do at this museum.”

The lack of research about this historic exhibition relative to its artistic merit is one reason the Museum is embarking on this exhibition. This restaging will reunite works by nationally established artists such as Romare Bearden, Sam Gilliam, Loïs Mailou Jones, Faith Ringgold, Raymond Saunders, Alma Thomas, and Hale Woodruff. This exhibition is not to be missed.

Acknowledgement of Support

Afro-American Images 1971: The Vision of Percy Ricks was organized by the Delaware Art Museum and Aesthetic Dynamics, Inc. This project is supported in part by the National Endowment for the Arts. The Delaware Art Museum is sponsored by DuPont, by Bank of America, by Corteva, and by M&T Bank. This organization is supported, in part, by a grant from the Delaware Division of the Arts, a state agency, in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts. The Division promotes Delaware arts events on www.DelawareScene.com.

For more information on this National Endowment for the Arts grant announcement, visit arts.gov/news.

Press Contact

Please contact Cynthia Smith, Marketing Manager, at csmith@delart.org or 302-351-8514.

About the Delaware Art Museum</>

For over 100 years, the Museum has served as a primary arts and cultural institution in Delaware. It is alive with experiences, discoveries, and activities to connect people with art and with each other. Originally created in 1912 to honor the renowned illustrator and Wilmington-native, Howard Pyle, the Museum’s collection has grown to over 12,000 works of art in our building and sculpture garden. Also recognized for British Pre-Raphaelite art, the Museum is home to the most comprehensive collection of Pre-Raphaelite art on display outside of the United Kingdom and a growing collection of significant contemporary art. Embracing all disciplines, the Museum’s Performance Series ranges from concerts by Pyxis Piano Quartet, resident ensemble of over ten years, to cutting-edge, multi-disciplinary artists committed to social justice and pushing the boundaries of artistic practice.

Under the leadership of our Board of Trustees, the Delaware Art Museum is implementing a comprehensive approach to community and civic engagement. This exciting new strategic direction requires that we increase our value and relevance to all audiences.

The Delaware Art Museum is thrilled to announce that it will reopen on Wednesday, July 1, 2020. Museum Members will receive two weeks of exclusive access before opening to the general public on Wednesday, July 15, 2020.

To keep guests safe, Plexiglas shields will be installed at the front desk and in the Museum Store and all transactions will be cashless, so visitors are encouraged to remember their credit cards. Guests will also be required to wear face masks and practice social distancing. The Thronson Café will be closed until further notice. Maps and brochures will only be available electronically for the time being.

The Museum will return to its regular operating hours, which are as follows: Monday and Tuesday: closed; Wednesday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday: 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.; Thursday: 10 a.m. – 8 p.m. The Museum will be closed on Saturday, July 4 in honor of Independence Day.

The Museum has extended its two spring exhibitions through the remainder of the year, including Layered Abstraction: Margo Allman and Helen Mason, on view until January 17, 2021, and Julio daCunha: Modernizing Myths, on view until November 1, 2020.

“These exhibitions examine and celebrate the artists and histories unique to the greater Wilmington area but applicable to the nation and abroad,” says Margaret Winslow, Curator of Contemporary Art, who curates the Distinguished Artist Series. “Years in the making, these two Distinguished Artist shows are the result of intensive research and collaboration, and it is a joy to be able to share these three artists’ prolific careers with our audience.”

The Museum is also reinstalling Hank Willis Thomas’s commissioned piece, Black Survival Guide, or How to Live Through a Police Riot, in Gallery 9, where it was originally exhibited as part of the Wilmington 1968 series of exhibitions in 2018.

“Two years later, we share this poignant work of art as we grapple with the emotional anxiety and the strain of the violent murders of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, and many others as a result of systemic racism. Parts of this series have been on view in the contemporary gallery, but this is the first time since the Museum acquired the work that it will be on view in its entirety,” says Winslow.

Happy Hours will also be returning to the Museum. The Museum’s first Happy Hour on Thursday, July 9, 2020 will be for Museum Members; the next Happy Hour on July 16, 2020 and Happy Hours thereafter will be for the general public. All Thursday evening Happy Hours will take place from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

The Museum has already begun offering the public opportunities to engage with the building and grounds. The Museum Store has been offering curbside pickup since mid-May. The Museum’s first drive-in movie event will take place on Thursday, June 18, 2020, with a rain date of Friday, June 19, 2020.

“Our staff have worked hard to provide many virtual offerings during our three-month shutdown, including emails spotlighting our collection, musical performances, a spoken-word open mic event, artist talks, art workshops, and a virtual bookstore,” says Molly Giordano, the Museum’s Interim Executive Director. “Now, with Governor Carney easing restrictions, we are excited to return to our core mission: connecting people with art in person.”

Individuals who wish to become a Member prior to the July 1, 2020 Members-only opening date may do so via the Museum’s website, delart.org, or by calling the Museum during open hours prior to their visit. Memberships will not be processed at the front desk. Visitors can show their membership confirmation on their phones at the front desk.

The Delaware Art Museum is sponsored by DuPont, by Bank of America, by Corteva, and by M&T Bank. This organization is supported, in part, by a grant from the Delaware Division of the Arts, a state agency, in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts. The Division promotes Delaware arts events on www.DelawareScene.com.

Please contact Cynthia Smith, Marketing Manager, at csmith@delart.org or 302-351-8514.

For over 100 years, the Museum has served as a primary arts and cultural institution in Delaware. It is alive with experiences, discoveries, and activities to connect people with art and with each other. Originally created in 1912 to honor the renowned illustrator and Wilmington-native, Howard Pyle, the Museum’s collection has grown to over 12,000 works of art in our building and sculpture garden. Also recognized for British Pre-Raphaelite art, the Museum is home to the largest and most important Pre-Raphaelite collection outside of the United Kingdom and a growing collection of significant contemporary art. Embracing all disciplines, the Museum’s Performance Series ranges from concerts by Pyxis Piano Quartet, resident ensemble of over ten years, to cutting-edge, multi-disciplinary artists committed to social justice and pushing the boundaries of artistic practice.

Under the leadership of our Board of Trustees, the Delaware Art Museum is implementing a comprehensive approach to community and civic engagement. This exciting new strategic direction requires that we increase our value and relevance to all audiences.

The Delaware Art Museum is pleased to announce Creative Spacers, a project that encourages social distancing through art, in the coming months. The Museum has commissioned local artists to each create a series of five works of art, which are then converted into vinyl decals and installed in spaces where social distancing is required. The intent of this project is to bring beauty into the everyday lives of residents, support local artists, and artistically encourage social distancing amid the current COVID-19 pandemic. “The Creative Spacers project grew out of a conversation with Charlie Vincent, executive director of Spur Impact, concerning ways to support artists and inspire the community at a time when COVID-19 was the focus of the national narrative,” says Jonathan Whitney, the Museum’s Manager of Performance Programs and Community Engagement.

Local visual artist Jo Redbird and Wilmington-based abstract artist JaQuanne LeRoy are the first two artists commissioned for Creative Spacers. Their work will be installed outside of food banks, restaurants, and cultural institutions that are integral to Wilmington’s infrastructure. The use of the urban environment, local artists, and local organizations continues the Museum’s mission to redefine public space, reach more diverse, local audiences, and become a civically engaged institution that plays an active and relevant role in Wilmington. “Knowing my art skills are able to positively impact the circumstances with effective visual communication brings me great joy and fulfillment as an artist,” says Redbird. “I was happy to contribute to this project,” says LeRoy. “It’s given me a chance to spread hope in this time.”

The Museum has partnered with the Creative Vision Factory to aid in the installation process. The pilot has been installed at Green Box Kitchen on Market Street and West End Neighborhood House, with an upcoming pilot installation at the Latin American Community Center (LACC). Spacer decals will also be installed throughout the Delaware Art Museum.

The Creative Spacers Project pilot was made possible with support from Spur Impact. This project is supported, in part, by a grant from the Delaware Division of the Arts, a state agency, in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts. The Division promotes Delaware arts events on www.DelawareScene.com.

Please contact Cynthia Smith, Marketing Manager, at csmith@delart.org or 302-351-8514.

For over 100 years, the Museum has served as a primary arts and cultural institution in Delaware. It is alive with experiences, discoveries, and activities to connect people with art and with each other. Originally created in 1912 to honor the renowned illustrator and Wilmington-native, Howard Pyle, the Museum’s collection has grown to over 12,000 works of art in our building and sculpture garden. Also recognized for British Pre-Raphaelite art, the Museum is home to the largest and most important Pre-Raphaelite collection outside of the United Kingdom and a growing collection of significant contemporary art. Embracing all disciplines, the Museum’s Performance Series ranges from concerts by Pyxis Piano Quartet, resident ensemble of over ten years, to cutting-edge, multi-disciplinary artists committed to social justice and pushing the boundaries of artistic practice.

Under the leadership of our Board of Trustees, the Delaware Art Museum is implementing a comprehensive approach to community and civic engagement. This exciting new strategic direction requires that we increase our value and relevance to all audiences.