Visiting artwork in collections storage is crucial to curatorial work and one of my favorite aspects of exhibition development. I was unfamiliar with the extent of the Delaware Art Museum’s contemporary collection, so when the Museum invited me to guest curate an expanded version of There Is a Woman in Every Color: Black Women in Art, I wondered what might align with the exhibition’s narrative. Several visits to Del Art’s collections storage helped me discover new and unexpected stories to feature in the upcoming show.

Heather Campbell Coyle, Curator of American Art, facilitated my search and walked me through storage to see potential choices. Walking through collections storage allows art to resonate differently than simply reviewing reproduction images. It is helpful to browse the collection’s database to find potential pieces for the exhibition. As a guest curator, it helped immensely to see artworks in person to supplement browsing the Museum’s online collections search. The collections storage visits gave me a better sense of color, composition, framing, and size—essential for determining gallery layout, potential wall colors, formal analyses, and interpretation.

Viewing objects up close also helps curators appreciate artists’ care and attention to creating their work. Reviewing a list of potential artworks, I initially brushed past Eldzier Cortor’s Environment No. V (1969). Paintings and prints by artists like Lois Mailou Jones, Faith Ringgold, and Emma Amos captured my attention first due to their vibrant and contrasting colors that seemed to jump off the page. However, my assessment of Environment No. V changed when I viewed the work in person. What I initially interpreted as subdued colors were rich and nuanced. Looking closely allowed me to appreciate Cortor’s use of several printmaking techniques to develop shading and texture that resembled realistic illuminated brown skin. I especially enjoyed the bronze-colored halo behind the rightmost figure that recalled halos signifying saints in Byzantine art. Spending time up close with Cortor’s print revealed new details not visible from the checklist’s images.

The selected artworks from the Delaware Art Museum command attention and require ample wall space. Seeing the size of the contemporary pieces required me to rethink how the temporary exhibition would incorporate these new works and fit into the gallery. Viewing selections by Hank Willis Thomas and Lorna Simpson made me consider how they would pair next to smaller pieces in the traveling exhibition. In-person trips to the Delaware Art Museum’s storage prompted me to reconsider the exhibition’s layout and integrate Del Art’s holdings with those from the Bowdoin College Museum of Art. This integration lends to thematic connections in both permanent collections, stressing the importance of representing Black women’s histories in all museum institutions.

I appreciate visiting the Delaware Art Museum’s collection and determining how these remarkable works would fit alongside the existing traveling exhibition. I look forward to presenting Eldzier Cortor’s Environment No. V and the temporary exhibition to visitors when the show opens to the public on March 16, 2024. I hope you can come and see it in person.

Elizabeth S. Humphrey
Doctoral Candidate, Art History, University of Delaware
Guest Curator

Caption: Parade de Paysans (Peasants on Parade), 1961. Loïs Mailou Jones (1905–1998). Oil on canvas, 39 ¼ x 19 inches. Delaware Art Museum, Acquisition Fund, 2018.

There Is a Woman in Every Color Exhibition Arrives March 16, Final Stop of National Tour

The Delaware Art Museum presents “There Is a Woman in Every Color: Black Women in Art,” opening on Saturday, March 16, 2024, and running through Sunday, May 26, 2024. Admission for the exhibition, featured in the Fusco Gallery, is included in Museum admission. 

“There is a Woman in Every Color” examines the representation of Black women in the United States over the past two centuries and makes visible the presence of Black women in American art history.  

This major traveling exhibition features more than 40 works of art from the collection of the Bowdoin College Museum of Art (BMCA), to which the Delaware Art Museum has added objects from its collection. Curated by Elizabeth S. Humphrey (Ph.D. candidate at the University of Delaware and Bowdoin Class of 2014), “There Is a Woman in Every Color” opened at the BCMA in 2021 and is touring with support from the Art Bridges Foundation, which is dedicated to expanding access to American art across the country.  

The traveling exhibition includes works by important 20th– and 21st-century artists Emma Amos, Elizabeth Catlett (whose 1975 work inspired the exhibition’s name), Alma Thomas, Carrie Mae Weems, Betye Saar, Faith Ringgold, Barbara Chase-Riboud, Kara Walker, Mickalene Thomas, LaToya Ruby Frazier, and Nyeema Morgan. These recent works are joined by a selection of 19th-century works of art—including a photograph of Sojourner Truth and a marble bust by Edmonia Lewis—that highlight the continuity of experiences of Black women in America.  

Humphrey says, “I hope that this exhibition will encourage audiences to engage with artists often overlooked in the canon of American art, providing space for their works to stand on the equal footing they so deserve.” 

In Delaware, the works from Bowdoin will be shown alongside paintings, sculptures, prints, photographs, and a quilt from DelArt’s collection, featuring artists such as Joyce Scott, Sonya Clark, Edward Loper Sr., and Deborah Willis. The added objects, dating from the 1940s through 2021, bring the total object count to 60.  

DelArt’s Curator of American Art, Heather Campbell Coyle explains, “It’s thrilling to see works from our collection juxtaposed with Bowdoin’s wonderful examples. Elizabeth Humphrey has brought a fresh perspective to the interpretation of the Museum’s collection.” 

Humphrey designed this exhibition to present dialogues between generations of Black women: “Curating ’There Is a Woman in Every Color’ provided an opportunity to place art by Black women in conversation with one another and showcase their exploration of personhood, issues of identity, and resistance to certain modes of representation or classification. Presenting this exhibition at the Delaware Art Museum and including works from its collection allowed me to revisit and reimagine the show. Placing two museum collections in conversation with one another revealed exciting connections and narratives that were not as prominent before. Delaware viewers will view artworks familiar to them alongside those from the BCMA, and I look forward to seeing what connections and stories resonate.”  

“There Is a Woman in Every Color” is organized thematically. The exhibition opens with representations of individual Black women, including portraits and nudes produced by photographers and printmakers, such as Elizabeth Catlett, William Witt and Mickalene Thomas. The second section focuses on issues of labor and resources, including powerful photographs of Black women in service to white families, as well as famous figures like Black activist Fannie Lou Hamer. Other sections focus on documentary photography, meditations on femininity, and contemporary artists intervening in historical narratives. The final section engages with Black women pushing the boundaries of artistic expression and the expectations of the art world.  

Related Commission by Artist Shakira Hunt 

Programming in support of the exhibition includes a commissioned installation by multimedia artist and Delaware native, Shakira Hunt, who will also coordinate a series of art events.  

A direct response to the themes of the exhibition, Hunt’s art will be installed in the Orientation Hallway this spring and will continue past the exhibition’s closing. It will be an extension of her “Give Me My Flowers” and “Soft Petals” series, which explore themes of gender and femininity, particularly mother-daughter relationships and the intergenerational wounds (“mother wounds”) that pass between women.  

Recognizing others, like herself, who haven’t historically felt seen or accepted in fine art institutions, Hunt says, “I always want access to be given to the folks that don’t really get to see themselves in spaces like this, who have not been exposed to institutions like this, who have never felt empowered.”  

University Night Lecture with Artist Sonya Clark 

The April 25 University Night, in partnership with the University of Delaware, will feature a talk by artist Sonya Clark, whose work is included in the exhibition, gallery tours, and other activities. She will discuss the themes of the exhibition and her own artwork. DelArt aims to engage students in art, museum studies, art history, and Africana studies from University of Delaware, Delaware State University and other regional schools, as well as interested community members. 

The University Night Lecture will be preceded on April 25 by Evening for Educators. This event invites primary and secondary school teachers and administrators from nearby districts to browse the Museum galleries and discover upcoming programs to enhance their classroom teaching. This annual program is an opportunity for the educators to talk with Museum staff and learn what it might be like to bring students to the Museum.  

For more information on the exhibition and supporting programming, visit our website.  

There Is a Woman in Every Color: Black Women in Art is organized by Bowdoin College Museum of Art with generous support provided by Art Bridges. This exhibition is supported in Delaware by the Krahmer American Art Exhibition Fund, the TD Charitable Foundation and PNC Arts Alive. The Delaware Art Museum 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. 

IF YOU GO 

WHAT:  “There Is a Woman in Every Color: Black Women in Art” Exhibition 
WHEN: Saturday, March 16, 2024, and running through Sunday, May 26, 2024 
WHERE: Delaware Art Museum, 2301 Kentmere Parkway, Wilmington, DE 19806 
COST: Included with Museum admission 
INFO: delart.org 

IF YOU GO

WHAT: Evening for Educators and University Night Lecture with Artist Sonya Clark
WHEN: Thursday, April 25, 2024
WHERE: Delaware Art Museum, 2301 Kentmere Parkway, Wilmington, DE 19806
COST: Free; registration required
INFO: delart.org

Image: The Sunflower Quilting Bee at Arles, 1996, lithograph by Faith Ringgold. Gift of Julie L. McGee, Class of 1982, Bowdoin College Museum of Art. © 2021 Faith Ringgold / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York, Courtesy ACA Galleries, New York.

“My art serves as a reflection, in poetic images, of a total experience. There is something in it of tears, laughter, courage, awareness, and a zestful vigor which moves more definitely into the future than the promise of a new day.”1

Individuality and Community

James E. Newton firmly believed that an artist’s personal experiences shape their artistic production. The power of Newton’s individual and subjective experience is clear in his expressive, and often enigmatic compositions. Whimsical titles such as The Love Machine, Piggly Wiggly, and Miki-Mous Thyme suggest a sense of humor and playfulness that is echoed in some of his later character drawings. In works such as They Came Before Columbus VI and American Sixties II, Newton mobilized his artistic practice and distinct perspective to comment on wider social and cultural issues. Newton merges abstraction and articulated imagery to produce works that both convey the artist’s lived experience and allow for viewers’ unique interpretations.

American Sixties II and They Came Before Columbus VI imagesLeft: American Sixties II, c. 1970. James E. Newton (1941–2022). Mixed media assemblage, 49 5/8 x 34 5/8 x 4 1/2 inches. Private Collection. © Estate of James E. Newton. Right: They Came Before Columbus VI, 2007. James E. Newton (1941–2022). Ink and acrylic on board, 12 × 16 inches. Private Collection. © Estate of James E. Newton.

This productive tension between the individual experience and community perception can be seen in three of Newton’s early pieces: Hunchback of Notre Dame, The Mausoleum of Lazarus, and Don Quixote. All three works originated during Newton’s time as a graduate student at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and were included in his MFA thesis in 1968. They represent Newton’s early experimentation with figuration. In Hunchback of Notre Dame, a medley of shapes in ochre, crimson, white, and pale yellow jostle against one another. Thick, black lines both serve to delineate and connect the precarious ovals, blocks, and rectangles. A face and limbs emerging from the sketchy jumble. Each work is a collage, a compilation of disparate elements to create a whole picture. The figures pictured in each relate to storied characters—Victor Hugo’s Quasimodo, the biblical Lazarus, and Miguel de Cervantes’s Don Quixote—who were in some way marginalized by society or considered outcasts. Using bold shapes and thick, gestural strokes of color, Newton not only gives form to the external appearance of these figures, but also conveys inner feelings and experiences. His distorted, graphic style conveys that these characters are both seen and unseen. They are distinguished by their differences, and consequently ignored or excluded from society because of them. Newton’s works outwardly express “private matter[s] of intuition and subconscious.”2 In doing so, they urge viewers to look beyond superficial appearances and empathize with the figures’ inner struggle.

Hunchback of Notre Dame, Mausoleum of Lazarus, and Don Quixote imagesLeft: Hunchback of Notre Dame, 1966. James E. Newton (1941–2022). Mixed media on canvas, 40 × 36 1/4 inches. Private Collection. © Estate of James E. Newton. Middle: Mausoleum of Lazarus, 1967. James E. Newton (1941–2022). Mixed media on board, 31 3/4 × 24 inches. Private Collection. © Estate of James E. Newton. Right: Don Quixote, 1966. James E. Newton (1941–2022). Mixed media on canvas, 23 × 15 inches. Private Collection. © Estate of James E. Newton.

Resilience and Resourcefulness

In reflecting on his childhood, James Newton humorously recounted his early realizations of racial difference as the sole Black student in his kindergarten classroom: “I was shocked that all these people had white legs, and I went home to my mother, and I said, ‘Mom, they got a white leg disease’.”3

As a young, Black man growing up in the late 1950s and 1960s, James Newton witnessed and experienced different treatment because of race. While serving as a military policeman, Newton spoke out about Black colleagues’ ineligibility for promotion. In 1966, he integrated the Fine Arts program at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill becoming the first African American graduate student in the department “before any Black basketball players were there.”4 While coming home from his work study position, he was arrested by the Chapel Hill police for impersonating a student. Newton also recalled a similar environment of racial hostility when he began teaching at the University of Delaware in the early 1970s.

 Piggly Wiggly image Piggly Wiggly, 1967. James E. Newton (1941–2022). Mixed media, 42 × 41 1/4 × 7 inches, support: 57 1/2 × 56 1/2 × 7 inches. Private Collection. © Estate of James E. Newton.

Through his artistic practice, Newton grappled with these patterns of harassment and marginalization and found a creative outlet for his lived experience. He recalled that during his MFA period, he could not afford new paints or tools so he “became a scavenger,” retrieving discarded paint tubes and collecting castoff materials to incorporate into his art pieces.5 Newton created Trio using such materials. The thin washes of pigment created a layered colorscape and reflect Newton’s ingenuity. This kind of resourcefulness and resilience characterizes his body of work. In Piggly Wiggly, for example, biomorphic shapes of cut Masonite, colored paper, plastic cubes, sheets rock, and pieces of mat board create an elegant and dynamic composition that spirals outward towards the viewer. Untitled #1, one of Newton’s collagraphs, transforms carefully selected three-dimensional objects through the printing process while maintaining their unique textures and outlines.

“My concern as artist and individual is to be able to spark involvement and stimulate reaction. Because of an intense desire to communicate through plastic means, I have invented my own language, peculiar to itself. In doing so I turn away from obvious aspects of the external world and seek by various media to create my own world, one in which I may feel free to establish form and order as I choose.”6

Rachel Ciampoli
2023 Alfred Appel, Jr. Curatorial Fellow, Delaware Art Museum
PhD candidate, Art History Department, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Join Rachel Ciampoli, PhD candidate in art history at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and DelArt’s 2023 Alfred Appel, Jr. Curatorial Fellow, for a special gallery talk. Rachel will discuss the works of art on view in The Artistic Legacy of James E. Newton: Poetic Roots, surveying the artist’s earliest experimentations, themes, and inspirations.

1. James E. Newton, “Development and Variations in Creative Aim and Means,” (master’s thesis, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 1968), v.
2. Newton, “Development and Variations,” 2.
3. Newton, “MSS 0989: Oral history interview with James Newton, Part 1,” by Roger Horowitz, HIST 268 Oral History Interviews: African Americans and the University of Delaware Collection, University of Delaware Library, Newark, DE, October 11, 2021.
4. Newton, “MSS 0989: Oral history interview.”
5. James Newton: A Life Story in Art, directed by Sharon K. Baker (2016, Teleduction), vimeo.com/179488047.
6. Newton, “Development and Variations,” 1.

Top: The Love Machine, c. 1960. James E. Newton (1941–2022). Acrylic on canvas, 48 × 40 inches. Private Collection. © Estate of James E. Newton.

DelArt supporters Sheridan and Stephen Kingsberry spoke with us about their passion for art and sharing it with others.

Stephen: I studied art in college, and I landed on the difficult medium of copper. I worked in mass transit for 35 years, but I really love art. I had an exhibition of my copper works at the Redding Gallery in Wilmington last year.

Sheridan: We have always loved art. I came from a working-class farming family in Grenada, but growing up we had original art in our home, which included works from local artists. I love art and I love visiting museums.

We first visited the Delaware Art Museum when I moved to Delaware in 2000. It was a chilly environment for me then. I’ve been watching the changes at this Museum ever since. We both really started becoming involved when Sam Sweet arrived [DelArt’s former Executive Director]. He invited us in, and I don’t think we’d been invited before. We haven’t left since— we feel comfortable here now.

Stephen: Today, the Museum has a welcoming environment, and the subject matter of the exhibits has varied widely. I remember when DelArt presented the exhibitions exploring 1968 and race. It was rewarding to see the history presented within the art on view.

Sheridan: And the programming! It’s great to see the Native American community holding a Powwow here, the cultural programs hosted by Hispanic, Asian, and African American community members. I love the jazz series on Thursday evenings, which brings in varied artists. And I look forward to coming and relaxing at the Thursday night Happy Hours during the summer.

I’ve seen the Museum put significant financial resources on the table to support these programs, exhibitions, and acquisitions. It’s not just that they say they value these things, they put money behind them. That’s very impressive to me.

We believe in endowments. Sustainability is critically important, because one day we’re not going to be here to donate. But if we endow funds for what we believe in now, we are making an impact for generations to come. We support the Diverse Exhibition Fund to continue the exhibitions and programs that reflect the diversity of our community. Those funds ensure this work carries on, long after we close our eyes and go on to be with the Lord. The art is still here for others to enjoy.

Stephen: And from a historic point of view, the art is here for new generations to learn from, to get to know their history, to know the struggles that people went through to get to where we are today.

Sheridan: We brought our 15-month-old grandniece to the Christian Robinson exhibit last summer. We took home a poster from the exhibit, and she’ll grow up with that art on her bedroom wall, seeing the work of a Black illustrator.

Still, DelArt is not as well-known as it could be in the African American community. That’s one of the things I’m working on with the Community Engagement Committee—making others aware of the bounties that are here. I’ve learned so much as a DelArt member—like about artist Charles Ethan Porter, whose work the Museum recently acquired. I’m excited to help more people of color know about this Museum and all it has to offer. I’m excited about the James Newton exhibition—we knew him personally; he was a mentor of Stephen’s. I’ve already begun talking with friends about the upcoming There Is a Woman in Every Color exhibit. I think the Museum is really stretching, and we have to let everybody know.

Thank you, Sheridan and Stephen, for your generous support and advocacy for the Delaware Art Museum.

Interested in learning more about the Diverse Exhibition Fund? Please contact Amelia Wiggins, Director of Advancement, at awiggins@delart.org or 302.351.8503.

Celebrate the artistic life and legacy of James E. Newton—painter, printmaker, public intellectual, educator, and professor of African American history and art—with three exhibitions on view in locations throughout Delaware in early 2024. ​​These exhibitions highlighting Newton’s legacy will be on display at the Delaware Art Museum, the University of Delaware’s Mechanical Hall Gallery and the University of Delaware’s Morris Library.

A beloved member of the Delaware arts community, Newton had a passion for teaching Black history, art and art history to students at the University of Delaware, local grade schools and in the community. He was integral to the establishment of UD’s Black American Studies program in the 1970s, known today as UD Africana Studies; helped found the Mitchell Center for African American Heritage in Wilmington; and served as a Wilmington leader on the boards of the YWCA and the Delaware Art Museum.

“It is an honor to join in the celebration of Dr. Newton’s legacy and the many ways his spirit shaped the artistic landscape of Delaware,” said Margaret Winslow, chief curator and curator of contemporary art at the Delaware Art Museum. “DelArt is thrilled to be closely collaborating with the University of Delaware to acknowledge this important artist.”

The exhibitions include:

The Artistic Legacy of James E. Newton: Poetic Roots

On view at the Delaware Art Museum in Wilmington, DE, from January 27 through May 19, 2024

Among James E. Newton’s many titles are artist, scholar, educator and the first African American to graduate with a Master of Fine Arts from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

In this exhibition, visitors will discover Newton’s early works, which range from his time as a graduate student at UNC Chapel Hill to his exploration of abstraction and emergence of figuration throughout the 1970s. His vibrant compositions explore social justice and American history and will prompt visitors to do the same.

The exhibition is co-curated by Delaware Art Museum’s Rachel Ciampoli, the 2023 Alfred Appel Jr. Curatorial Fellow, and Winslow. Ciampoli is a doctoral student in the Department of Art and Art History at UNC Chapel Hill.

The Artistic Legacy of James E. Newton: Heritage and Character Portraits

On view in Mechanical Hall Gallery at the University of Delaware in Newark, DE, from February 6 through May 16, 2024

Humor and history were key components to James E. Newton’s artistic process. While wit was important to his work, it never interrupted the artwork’s gravitas.

In this exhibition, visitors will get a closer look at Newton’s drawings, collages and prints to discover the many faces – from those of jazz musicians to animals to himself – he used to explore character and personality. Through these artworks, visitors will delve into the importance of African American heritage, community and culture in his work.

The exhibition is co-curated by Carolyn Hauk, graduate research assistant to the Museums and doctoral student in the Department of Art History at UD, and Amanda T. Zehnder, chief curator and head of Museums at the UD Library, Museums and Press.

The Artistic Legacy of James E. Newton: The Archival Record

On view in Morris Library at the University of Delaware in Newark, DE, from February 6 through August 23, 2024

James E. Newton believed that art, education, mentorship and community could change the world for the better.

In this exhibition, visitors will explore how Newton lived his life building communities and changing the lives of those around him. Through artwork, photographs, articles, ephemera and other materials in Newton’s papers at the UD Library, Museums and Press, visitors will gain insights into his artistic output, his work as an educator in the community and at the University, and his commitment to collecting and sharing Black history.

This exhibition is curated by Demetra McBrayer, a doctoral student in the Department of English at UD. McBrayer’s research and curatorial work was supported by the Paul R. Jones Initiative.

Related programming will be held at both the Delaware Art Museum and the University of Delaware’s Newark campus while the exhibitions are on view. Events will include talks with curators, scholarly lectures and poetry readings. These events are open to the public. More information will be shared on the Delaware Art Museum’s and the University of Delaware Library, Museums and Press’ websites in the coming weeks.

“It is an honor to be part of this broad effort to commemorate the legacy of James E. Newton,” said Zehnder. “It feels especially important to be celebrating James E. Newton’s career as an artist here at the University of Delaware, an institution where he had such a profound impact as the founding director of Black American Studies and as a mentor and inspiration to so many students and colleagues over the years.”

The Delaware Art Museum and the University of Delaware have long collaborated to enhance awareness of, and accessibility to, the visual arts and the creativity of artists. In spring 2023, both institutions signed a non-binding Memorandum of Understanding that outlines high-level mutually agreed upon principles for the Delaware Art Museum and the University of Delaware to further their discussions surrounding a deeper and more formalized collaboration to advance their missions. The collaboration, which is overseen by a committee of representatives from each organization, intends to increase student opportunities, expand exhibition and collection collaboration, deepen joint community engagement initiatives, and increase the public’s awareness of the Delaware Art Museum and the University of Delaware’s rich offerings.

For more information on the upcoming exhibitions, please contact Amelia Wiggins, director of advancement and external affairs at the Delaware Art Museum, at awiggins@delart.org or Allison Ebner, communication specialist at the UD Library, Museums and Press, at aebner@udel.edu.

IF YOU GO:

WHAT: The Artistic Legacy of James E. Newton: Poetic Roots
WHEN: January 27 – May 19, 2024
WHERE: Delaware Art Museum
COST: Free after admission; tickets available at delart.org
INFO: delart.org/event/james-e-newton/

WHAT: The Artistic Legacy of James E. Newton: Heritage and Character Portraits
WHEN: February 6 – May 16, 2024
WHERE: University of Delaware’s Mechanical Hall Gallery
COST: Free
INFO: https://exhibitions.lib.udel.edu/artistic-legacy-james-e-newton-heritage-character-portraits/

WHAT: The Artistic Legacy of James E. Newton: The Archival Record
WHEN: February 6 – August 23, 2024
WHERE: University of Delaware’s Morris Library
COST: Free
INFO: https://exhibitions.lib.udel.edu/artistic-legacy-james-e-newton-the-archival-record/

Homage to Frederick Douglass, 1972. James E. Newton (1941–2022). Collagraph, 30 x 22 inches. Private Collection. © Estate of James E. Newton.

With “The Rossettis” on view through January 28, DelArt commits to mount an exhibition of Pre-Raphaelite painter Simeon Solomon in 2027.

Thousands of visitors have traveled to Delaware in recent months to see “The Rossettis,” a major international exhibition organized in partnership with Tate Britain. The exhibition, which runs through January 28, 2024, showcases the work of the Rossettis, the extraordinarily creative family that includes artists Dante Gabriel Rossetti and Elizabeth Siddal, and poet Christina Rossetti. As “The Rossettis” nears its closing date, the Delaware Art Museum has announced its next major Pre-Raphaelite art exhibition on the artist Simeon Solomon (1840–1905).

Scheduled for spring 2027, this will be the first museum show in the United States to comprehensively focus on Solomon. The British artist’s life and career still astonish many today. For nearly fifteen years Solomon worked in the orbit of the Pre-Raphaelite and Aesthetic movements, receiving sustained critical attention. While fellow Pre-Raphaelite artists frequently illustrated scenes from the New Testament, Solomon drew on his Jewish faith, picturing stories from the Torah and Prophets, as well as scenes of Jewish cultural and liturgical practices. By the mid-1860s, he was exploring same-sex passion in his art, frequently depicting multi-figure compositions marked by overt homosocial intimacy. Following arrests for homosexual crimes in the early 1870s, Solomon was rejected by the art establishment in which he had previously thrived. For his three remaining decades, he lived precariously, suffering from alcoholism and homelessness, yet his artistic output remained prolific.

Delaware Art Museum’s exhibition will bring together works by Solomon in public and private collections worldwide. The show will argue that Solomon, as a queer, Jewish artist, occupied a far more conspicuous role in the Victorian art world than has previously been recognized. The exhibition will be co-curated by Dr. Sophie Lynford, DelArt’s Annette Woolard-Provine Curator of the Bancroft Pre-Raphaelite Collection, and Dr. Roberto C. Ferrari, Curator of Art Properties, Columbia University. A leading expert on Solomon, Ferrari founded and co-manages the online “Simeon Solomon Research Archive.”

Sophie Lynford explains the significance of a major show on Solomon: “In histories of Victorian art, Solomon’s robust oeuvre was consistently downplayed and, in many instances, entirely omitted. This has led to a gap in the appreciation and understanding of his work. DelArt’s exhibition redresses this lacuna, foregrounding his Judaism and his homosexuality as essential to his contributions to Victorian art.”

Art lovers have two more weeks to experience “The Rossettis,” which will not travel to additional venues. Also on display at the museum is a new installation in the permanent galleries devoted to a significant oil painting by Solomon, The Mother of Moses (1860), in Delaware Art Museum’s collection.

Executive Director Molly Giordano shares, “It is a tremendously exciting time for Victorian art at Delaware Art Museum. Partnering with Tate Britain to bring ‘The Rossettis’ to Wilmington has offered an unprecedented opportunity for enthusiasts of the Pre-Raphaelites to see so many stellar artworks in one location. With the 2027 Solomon show on the horizon, DelArt continues to lead the field on groundbreaking scholarship on this important art movement.”

For more information about “The Rossettis,” visit delart.org/rossettis.

The Rossettis was organized by the Delaware Art Museum in partnership with Tate Britain and is made possible through support from the Nathan Clark Foundation, the Amy P. Goldman Foundation, the Delaware Art Museum Council, and the Dr. Lee MacCormick Edwards Charitable Foundation. This exhibition is supported, in part, by the National Endowment for the Arts and 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: The Rossettis
WHEN: Now through January 28, 2024, Wednesdays through Sundays; guided tours at 1 pm on Saturdays and Sundays.
WHERE: Delaware Art Museum, 2301 Kentmere Parkway, Wilmington, DE 19806
COST: $25; free for DelArt Plus members
INFO: delart.org

Image: The Mother of Moses (detail), 1860. Simeon Solomon (1840–1905). Oil on canvas, 24 x 19 7/8 in. Delaware Art Museum, Bequest of Robert Louis Isaacson, 1999.

It’s been just under a year since the Museum purchased Charles Ethan Porter’s Thistles with Butterfly, which is now on view in Gallery 5, a space dedicated to American art from the middle of the 19th century. Featuring a Clouded Sulphur butterfly alighting on a thistle head, this lovely canvas demonstrates the artist’s interest in his local landscape. Although Porter developed his approach to painting flowers in Paris, his family’s garden in Connecticut provided inspiration for much of his career. In the 1880s, when he painted this, appreciation was increasing among gardeners and artists for wildflowers and the insects that visit them. Enthusiasm was also growing for looser, more expressive brushwork and for outdoor painting—Thistles with Butterfly practically vibrates with the vitality of nature. Adding to the floral energy, the frame is decorated with twining grape vines. (With a label from J. H. Eckhardt in Hartford, the frame is very likely original to the painting.) We were delighted to add Thistles with Butterfly to the Museum’s collection in 2023. DelArt had no significant floral paintings from the 19th century, and this one—with its Parisian flair and attention to native plants—has a lot to say about the period.

This acquisition is also significant because Porter is one of a small number of African American artists, alongside Robert Duncanson and Edward Bannister, to build painting careers in the 19th century. Over the past five years, the Museum has acquired works by each of these three artists, allowing us to tell a more inclusive story of American art. Thistles and Butterfly is the first work by Porter to enter the collection. As we look toward our 2024 exhibitions The Artistic Legacy of James E. Newton: Poetic Roots and There is a Woman in Every Color: Black Women in Art, deepening our 19th-century collection provides context and helps make possible programs like The ABCs of Black Art History, which launches this year.

About Charles Ethan Porter and Thistles and Butterfly

Raised in Rockville, Connecticut, Porter suffered poverty and loss as a youth. Two of his brothers fought in African American regiments of the Union Army during the Civil War, and one died fighting in Virginia. Seven of his siblings died young of illnesses. After high school, Porter studied painting at Wesleyan Academy before he was accepted at one of the nation’s leading art schools, the National Academy of Design in New York, where he studied from 1869 to 1873. Porter lived in New York and spent summers in Rockville until late in 1877, when he set up a studio in Hartford, Connecticut. The city had a vibrant artistic scene at the time, with wealthy collectors and resident artists including Frederic Edwin Church. Porter’s still-life paintings attracted notice in the local papers. He was working in a meticulously detailed, trompe l’oeil manner, depicting flowers or fruits, sometimes visited by equally realistic insects. His still-life groupings were simply composed—often featuring a single type of fruit or flower—and free of fancy vases or exotic plants.

A studio sale of Porter’s paintings in 1881 earned him about $1,000 to travel to Paris, where he enrolled at the École Nationale Supériere des Arts Décoratifs and the Académie Julian. In the summer of 1882, Porter traveled to Fleury, close to Barbizon, where he painted landscapes, but his fruit and flower pictures were the works most admired in France, as they had been in the U.S. In Paris, Porter lived down the street from one of the leading French still-life painters, Henri Fantin-Latour, and first-hand exposure to the French artist’s paintings probably encouraged Porter to work in a looser, more painterly style.

Early in 1884 Porter was back in Hartford. The local press supported his work, praising it as even better now that he incorporated “the mode of treatment which is so characteristic of French art today.” His “broader, freer style” was contrasted favorably to his earlier “dainty, almost finicky” work, yet he had trouble selling enough work to support himself in Hartford and moved between New York and his family home for several years, before settling permanently in Rockville around 1900. He exhibited in all three cities and in Springfield, Massachusetts.

With its expressive brushwork, Thistles with Butterfly reflects Porter’s post-Paris style as well as his abiding interest in flowers and insects. Porter is best known for tabletop still life pictures of flowers in vases, but he also produced landscape pictures. Focused on a local plant in nature, Thistles with Butterfly bridges the genres of landscape and floral still life. The simple brown background keeps attention on the colorful subjects and is typical of the artist’s still-life compositions.

Considered both a flower and weed, the thistle is an evocative subject. In the mid-19th century, thistles often appeared in religious paintings, evoking the suffering of Jesus. Its spiny leaves are associated with pain and protection, and its ability to thrive in inhospitable places links the plant to resilience. The plant’s rich symbolism resonates with the artist’s experiences.

Porter’s network included local white artists as well as his extended family, but he struggled to make a living as a painter in a small community—a struggle made much more challenging for Porter as a Black artist. Porter exhibited and sold regularly, as well as teaching, through the early 20th century, and he seems to have been quite prolific—news reports indicate him selling hundreds of works at a time in studio sales—but his difficulties are also clear.

Heather Campbell Coyle
Curator of American Art

To learn about Porter, see Charles Ethan Porter: African-American Master of Still Life (New Britain Museum of American Art, 2007)

Thistles with Butterfly, c.1888. Charles Ethan Porter (1847–1923). Oil on canvas, 20 3/16 x 12 1/8 inches. Delaware Art Museum, F. V. du Pont Acquisition Fund, 2023.

Have you ever thought about how Santa disembarks from his sled and drags that bag of toys into the chimney? I have not, but it’s a complicated proposal when the chimney is tall and the roof is steeply pitched. If the sled lands on the snow-covered roof, Santa would have to clamber up to the chimney’s opening, and he is not an action star. Also, the roof may not be large, so where would the reindeer alight—on the downslope? Even magical physics seems to rule against that. Plus, it would make for a weird composition in a picture.

Designing the cover for a new edition of Clement C. Moore’s classic The Night Before Christmas, Everett Shinn put some thought into this conundrum. His solution, seen here, involves a plank. It’s kind of like a dock plate for unloading a truck.

Shinn may have felt compelled to consider such practical logistics because he began his career as a newspaper illustrator in the 1890s. He had a flair for catching activity in motion with dashing lines, and he built his career among realists and impressionists dedicated to depicting daily life in the city. In the early 1900s, Shinn illustrated urban scenes for major magazines and participated in exhibitions organized by progressive artists. He showed his scenes of modern life with The Eight in 1908, alongside William Glackens, George Luks, and John Sloan, whom he met as newspaper artists in Philadelphia in the 1890s. Shinn had a long artistic career, painting, illustrating, and working in theater and film.

In the late 1930s and ’40s, he illustrated classic stories, including a series of Dickens’ tales, for various publishers. To plan his 1942 edition of The Night Before Christmas, Shinn produced a mock-up with several original watercolors in an empty sketchbook. He probably shared this with the publisher for feedback on his designs. He made some alterations for the final cover, but the plank solution remained in the final version.

I hope you stop by the Museum this winter, while this watercolor is on view. (Our feature exhibition The Rossettis is on view through January 28, 2024.) To see Shinn’s clever work, visit the Weinberg Gallery dedicated to the work of Sloan and The Eight. It’s in the wall-mounted case.

Heather Campbell Coyle
Curator of American Art

Sunlight filters through your studio, specs of sand and dust twinkling in the beams. You’ve just finished your lunch – wiping your hands on a rag stained with paint and crumbs. Now it’s time to sort through the day’s mail. You begin sorting through the small pile of mail that arrived earlier that morning. Familiar handwriting catches your eye, and you glance at the return address. It’s just the letter you’ve been waiting for. Gathering your letter opener, your stationary, and finally finding that pen you swore you had just moments ago, you’re ready to slice open the envelope to read the message that awaits.

A dear friend has written to you – giving you updates about their family, their thoughts on a new painting technique they’ve tested, and even including a paw print of their dog so you can see how much it’s grown. A smile tugs at the corner of your mouth as you trace the shape of the paw print. Putting pen to paper, you write your response; words flowing easily and filling the page. Later that afternoon, you drop the letter off at the post office, and the morning’s mail stays tucked away in a drawer as you carry on your day.

Fast forward over one hundred years, the letter is found resting comfortably in an archival box by the DelArt Digital Project Manager. It is carefully removed from its folder, scanned into a computer, and, finally, transcribed and uploaded to the Digital Archives so that researchers and art enthusiasts alike can read this letter and many other memories for years to come. It’s letters like these, along with photographs and, of course, pieces of artwork, that allow the people of today a glimpse of the past.

The John Sloan Manuscript Collection measures 238 linear feet (approximately 112 baguettes) and fills over 300 boxes and drawers, accounting for about 10% of the Museum’s total archival holdings (which stands at over 2,000 linear feet or 24,384 goldfish crackers). The Collection includes Sloan’s extensive correspondence, personal diaries, and notes about his career; personal and family papers; financial and legal records; photographs and more.

The John Sloan Digitization Project, funded by a generous grant from the Institute of Library and Museum Services (IMLS), aims to digitize and make accessible online the 300 boxes of letters, photographs, and other archival material. Currently, the project consists of 7,261 individual scans with more to come! If you’ve ever wondered what John Sloan’s typical day might have been like, there are plenty of letters and photographs that can transport you back in time. Be sure to follow along by checking the Digital Archives as more material is uploaded every day!

Illustrated letter from Will Shuster to John Sloan, November 30, 1920, Helen Farr Sloan Library & Archives, Delaware Art Museum

In 1880, Samuel Bancroft, Jr., was “shocked with delight” on viewing his first Pre-Raphaelite painting. A decade later, Bancroft purchased his first Pre-Raphaelite work of art, Dante Gabriel Rossetti’s Water Willow (1871), starting what would become the largest and most important collection of British Pre-Raphaelite art and manuscript materials in the United States.

It’s because of that collection that I’m “shocked with delight” to be over from the University of York in the UK as a Visiting Researcher for October and November. It’s a privilege to be here, particularly with The Rossettis opening last week.

My doctorate, funded by the UK’s Arts and Humanities Research Council, explores the work of Rossetti, one of the major painters and poets of the Victorian era. Specifically, I’m researching his “double works of art.” These image-text composites often take the form of a painting and a sonnet — with the poem frequently inscribed on the frame of the picture. They share a title, comment and elaborate on each other, and work to develop a vision, ideal, or experience. 

Water Willow, Bancroft’s first purchase, was actually a “double work” and Delaware Art Museum has a number of major examples. These include: Lady Lilith (1866-1868), Veronica Veronese (1872), La Bella Mano (1875), Mnemosyne (1881), and Found (1859-unfinished).

Put bluntly: I couldn’t do my research without access to these compelling artworks which is why I’m so excited to finally be here. It’s impossible to be a scholar of 19th-century British art and literature and not know about this rich collection — I knew about it before I actually knew where Delaware was on a map!

I’ve had an interest in Rossetti since first encountering his poetry as a teenager, but it wasn’t until the latter part of an English Literature degree at the University of Oxford that I really started to think about his poetry and his paintings. Despite him being a commanding figure in 19th-century studies, appreciation of artistic skills and experimental technique is still held back by preconceived ideas about his sumptuous, “fleshly” pictures. Paradoxically, his huge public popularity seems to have hindered (rather than helped) his academic reputation. 

Before the doctorate, I worked in politics in London and spent far too many hours on weekends looking at Rossetti’s work (as well as Pre-Raphaelite and Aestheticist paintings) in the Tate Britain. It’s a great pleasure, then, that I now get to think, write, read, and talk about his paintings and poems as my day job.

On that note, I’m delighted to be giving a number of gallery talks for The Rossettis exhibition during my time here. I’ll be talking about the “double works” Lady Lilith (November 2nd), Found (November 17), and Veronica Veronese (November 30th). Please sign-up and come along if you’re interested: they’re fascinating works of art, and please feel free to bring along any questions you might have about them.

Nicholas Dunn-McAfee
Doctoral candidate, History of Art and English Literature, University of York, UK

Artwork in image: Found, Designed 1853; begun 1859; unfinished. Dante Gabriel Rossetti (1828–1882). Oil on canvas, 36 1/4 × 31 15/16 inches, frame: 50 × 46 inches. Delaware Art Museum, Samuel and Mary R. Bancroft Memorial, 1935. Photograph by Shannon Woodloe.

Before anything goes on view at the Museum, curators do a lot of research. In the case of our illustration collection, we research the original publications which were illustrated by the pictures in the collection, as well as the careers of the artists. Identifying the story (or poem or advertisement) helps us to understand the illustrator’s decisions.

Thanks to decades of research by curators and librarians here, we know where most (literally thousands!) of DelArt’s original illustrations appeared. However, there are still mysteries to be solved, and I love to investigate. When I have free time, that’s where you’ll find me—online or in the stacks trying to identify where the Museum’s illustrations appeared. I hesitate to put works on view until I fully identify them, but this August I gave in. In the Peggy Woolard Gallery of American illustration, three lovely ink drawings are hanging through early December. Elegantly finished and carefully signed, each appears ready for publication, but despite years in the collection, none of the publications have been identified.  

Henrietta Adams McClure’s At Dawn is a stellar ink drawing that demonstrates her specialty in fairy subjects for children. The delicate, decorative patterning of the foliage reflects what she learned at Moore College and from Howard Pyle. (If you come see her drawing, don’t miss the chance to walk around the wall and compare it to Pyle’s richly patterned images of Sir Launcelot.) At Dawn didn’t appear in her most famous book commission, Rachel Varble’s The Red Cape, nor have I found the title in my searches of magazines from the late 19th and early 20th centuries. And Google image search has failed so far (though I try it every couple of months). Children’s books have not been digitized as widely as other books, and DelArt doesn’t have a huge collection of them, so it could certainly be hiding in one of those. At Dawn might have been a design for a greeting card or calendar, which are even harder to find. McClure was a successful illustrator, so I have faith that this mystery will be solved one day. Perhaps you have a book she illustrated on your shelf? Give it a look and let me know!

McClure’s mystery drawing is accompanied by two others: Pierrot and Columbine and The Black Cat. Each is inscribed on the back by Frances M. Call of Haddonfield, New Jersey. Nothing is known of Call, and it’s possible the charming drawings—which also appear influenced by Pyle and other turn-of-the-century illustrators—may not have been published. (There are no notes or measurements in the margins, which can indicate that a drawing was published.) With their careful notations of Call’s contact information, these could have been submissions to an exhibition or samples sent to an art editor. We may never know, but I’m inviting you to research with me. Maybe we can solve a little mystery together.

Heather Campbell Coyle
Curator of American Art

At Dawn, not dated. Henrietta Adams McClure (1876–1945). Ink on illustration board, 15 1/16 x 12 inches. Delaware Art Museum, Acquired through the estate of Frieda Becher.

As a child, I had a Grandma Moses print hanging in my bedroom, and I remember being surprised that my teacher knew the artist. I realized there was art out there that lots of people knew and appreciated. It was a way of connecting with others.

After college, a friend who loves Howard Pyle’s The Mermaid brought me to the Delaware Art Museum for the first time. Fast forward a little bit, I’m a teacher at Wilmington Montessori School, and a parent suggested a field trip to DelArt. We had an amazing docent, and I enjoyed the trip so much that we did it again the next year. It lit a fire in me: How do I bring more of this into the classroom? I purchased a Lady Lilith poster, and I started talking to the kids in very simple terms about the Pre-Raphaelites: They didn’t think it was a good idea to be mass producing things; they believed everything in your home should have meaning and be beautiful. That aligns with Montessori values too.

I taught at Wilmington Montessori for 15 years, so that’s 15 field trips to DelArt, learning from the docents. As I continued to bring students here, I myself learned more and more. After my twins went off to college, I went to London. I visited the Pre-Raphaelite collection at the Birmingham Museum and the Red House (designed by William Morris). In 2019 I traveled to the Leighton House (home of Frederic Leighton) and was just wowed. Most recently I saw Leighton’s Flaming June at the Met, on loan from the Museo de Arte de Ponce.

Over time I’ve developed a passion and an eye for this. I took curator Sophie Lynford’s Pre-Raphaelite class, and I loved the stories she shared of the people behind the art. The paintings are what drew me in, but the stories of the Victorians who created them give it a fullness that I can relate to.

Sponsoring Lady Lilith for The Rossettis exhibition is a culmination of my love for the Pre-Raphaelites. I’m at a point in my life where I can do something to support this passion. Being able to carry on my parents’ generosity after they have passed on gives my life fullness. And this art really matters to me. It brings together my love of London and British culture, my own interests and learning, and my passion for teaching. I know that somewhere in each group of students who visit DelArt there’s a child like I once was, connecting with art for the first time. For a student, a museum visit is an entrée into appreciating art and culture, seeing the emotions an artist captures, or a political viewpoint, or a beautiful snapshot of our world.

I can’t wait for the exhibition this fall—it’s like waiting for my granddaughter to be born, waiting to see all of those Rossettis again, all in one place. The Rossettis is an exhibition that people will never forget.

Artwork: Mary Magdalene, 1877. Dante Gabriel Rossetti (1828–1882). Oil on canvas, 29 7/8 × 25 3/8 inches, frame: 42 × 37 3/4 inches. Delaware Art Museum, Samuel and Mary R. Bancroft Memorial, 1935. Photograph by Shannon Woodloe.

August 2023 marks 50 years of Hip-Hop, a culture that brings together music, technology, spoken word, dance, people, and more. Hip-Hop was born in the Bronx borough of New York City. Joe Conzo, Jr. was there to capture it, taking photographs of DJs, B(reaker)-Girls and B-Boys, and the crowds who gathered to experience a new genre being birthed.

Conzo was born and raised in the Bronx and began taking photographs at an early age. In 1978, he befriended the pioneering Hip-Hop group, Cold Crush Brothers, joining them for live performances at legendary venues.

His photographs document the excitement of new sounds and new movements. Conzo captured the essence of Hip-Hop, shown in this selection of photographs taken between 1979 and 1982, a foundational period in Hip-Hop. The grouping includes a self-portrait of the artist and reflections of the Bronx, DJing, breaking, and identity. Conzo explains he was “documenting his surroundings.” In doing so, he captured the heart of Hip-Hop as it began to beat.

Don’t miss the special exhibition of six of Conzo’s photographs on view in the Lynn Herrick Sharp Gallery for contemporary art through the end of 2023. It is supported by Allhiphop.com, Guerrilla Republik, and 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.

DJ Charlie Chase and Grandmaster Caz, Norman Thomas High School, 1981. Joe Conzo Jr. (born 1963). Digital print, 16 x 20 inches. Joe Conzo Archives. © Joe Conzo Jr.

Free Korean Festival and Día de los Muertos Observation Offer Performances and Activities

The Delaware Art Museum presents, for the eighth time, a fall Korean Festival, on Saturday, October 14, 2023, 11 a.m.—3 p.m., as well as the fourth annual Día de los Muertos: Walking Among the Ancestors event on Saturday, October 28, 2023, from 11 a.m.—4 p.m.

Both family-friendly outdoor events will feature music and cultural dances, and both cultures are known for placing an emphasis on honoring ancestors, particularly this time of year.

Community Engagement Specialist Iz Balleto says, “These events recognize the fact that our ancestors are with us. It’s important for us to reflect on those who came before and acknowledge their names and their spirits, and continue to celebrate them.”

Balleto adds, “We hear from a lot of guests at these cultural festivals that it’s an experience they’ve never had—seeing the culture come to life, and not just through a television screen. It’s especially amazing for those who take time to learn about others’ cultures.”

The Korean Festival invites guests to explore traditional and modern Korean culture with family-friendly activities and performances by Jinhee Oh’s Delaware Korean School, with TaeKwonDo gymnastics, chorus, and samulnori percussion; Selahart Institute and MIMIC K-pop Dance Group; Korean School of Southern New Jersey; Tiger Kicks and Master Choi demonstrating TaeKwonDo; KODAC, the university of Delaware K-pop club. Yegeun Song & Jung-young Park will host and Jonathan Park, Director of the Delaware Korean Association, will also be on site.

Día de los Muertos invites guests to experience a variety of activities, such as an Indigenous ceremony, labyrinth walk and contribute to ofrendas by bringing pictures of loved ones and food to leave at the altars. Jazmin Buke will host, and opening ceremonies will include Danza Azteca Anahuac, Seylin Abarca, Mr Capo 302, Ballet Folklorico Mexico Lindo, Esmeralda LaCor and Mariachi Arrieros. The very popular La Catrinamia, the skeletal embodiment of a well-to-do woman who has passed, makes her annual return to the Museum.

Korean food will be available for purchase at the Korean Festival, and Los Taquitos de Puebla will sell food at Día de los Muertos. Beverages will be available for sale, but alcohol will not be sold at these events.

The Festival coincides with the Korean holiday ChuSeok. In South Korea, it is the most celebrated traditional holiday, and often includes pilgrimages to the family’s hometown. It also celebrates the September harvest, with much of the attention placed on rice, a Korean staple.

Día de los Muertos is observed in Mexico and other countries in the days leading up to All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day, and, therefore, is often conflated with Halloween traditions. However, the holiday combines the celebration of those who have passed with reverence for the act of mourning, and is neither scary nor prank-oriented.

Although these are both free events, each consistently reaches full capacity, therefore, registration is strongly encouraged. To register, or for more information on the event, visit our website. In the event of bad weather, the programs will be moved indoors.

The Korean Festival is presented in partnership with the Delaware Korean Association, Overseas Korean Service, the TD Charitable Foundation, and the Jessie Ball duPont Fund.

Día de los Muertos is presented in partnership with the Center for Interventional Pain & Spine, Nuestras Raices Delaware, Hoy en Delaware, the TD Charitable Foundation, the Jessie Ball duPont Fund, and Guerrilla Republik.

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

IF YOU GO

WHAT: Korean Festival
WHEN: Saturday, October 14, 2023, 11 a.m.—3 p.m.
WHERE: Delaware Art Museum, 2301 Kentmere Parkway, Wilmington, Del. 19806
COST: Free, Registration Strongly Recommended
INFO: delart.org

WHAT: Día de los Muertos: Walking Among the Ancestors
WHEN: Saturday, October 28, 2023, 11 a.m.—4 p.m.
WHERE: Delaware Art Museum, 2301 Kentmere Parkway, Wilmington, Del. 19806
COST: Free, Registration Strongly Recommended
INFO: delart.org

Successful Inaugural Program Expanded for 2023-2024 with a Roster of Solo Pianists and More

The Delaware Art Museum has expanded its Jazz Series for 2023-2024 following a successful inaugural season in 2022. The current series debuts on Thursday, October 5, 2023, and features Dayramir González, who will play—on the Museum’s century-old Steinway Grand Piano—his favorite works, and tell stories from his life. The Jazz Series is hosted by Raye Jones Avery, an accomplished jazz vocalist and a Wilmington arts leader, who will engage each guest artist in “Chords and Conversations,” an artist chat with audience participation. Tickets are available at delart.org for $30, with a discount for Museum members. Refreshments will be available for purchase.

Each installment of the Jazz Series takes place on the first Thursday of the month from 7—9 p.m. and performances last approximately 1.5 hours, with the artist chat occurring mid-performance. Future dates are November 2, 2023; February 1, March 7, April 4, and, May 2, 2024. Additional artists for this season—nearly all pianists and some vocals—include Sumi Tonooka, V. Shayne Frederick, Cyrus Chestnut, and Brandi Younger, with one more to be announced.

Avery says, “The solo nature of the artists we’ve selected for the Jazz Series creates a sense of intimacy and individualism within the performances, and the Chords and Conversation chats—which are more than just interviews, but real audience interaction—have become a unique feature that appeals to the community. Plus, the acoustics in the Museum are wonderful, and the audience not only can, but does listen very intently.”

González is a Havana-born Yamaha artist who began his professional career as a pianist and composer with former Irakere member Oscar Valdes’ Afro-Cuban jazz ensemble, Diákara, at the age of 16. Since winning Havana’s JoJazz festival in 2004 and 2005, González has gone from winning three Cubadisco awards for his 2007 debut album “Dayramir & Habana enTRANCé” to becoming Berklee College of Music’s first Cuban national “Presidential Scholarship” recipient to perform in 15,000-seat stadiums. Performing with legends such as Chucho and Bebo Valdes and headlining Carnegie Hall, González represents the young generation of Afro-Cuban jazz.

Avery adds, “González is very skillful, but the animation and the joyfulness of his connection to the instrument, and his musical expression, are very uplifting. For people who are really interested in moving to the music, this is a great artist to experience.”

The series was curated by Jonathan Whitney, owner of Flux Creative Consulting, who has worked behind the scenes to help make the series happen. Whitney says, “I am excited to share these special artists with our community in such a beautiful and intimate setting.”

Saralyn Rosenfield, the Museum’s Director of Learning and Engagement, says, “Based on the success of last year’s two-part Fall Jazz Series, we’ve tripled the program and expanded it from October through May. The concerts are mesmerizing and the experience is congenial and social, plus you come away from the program having learned something. We love being able to bring jazz and art together in a multi-disciplinary space—art connects us.”

In addition to promoting the mission of the Museum to connect people with art and to each other, this expanded Jazz Series serves as a preview to an exciting Jazz Age Illustration exhibition the Museum presents next fall, which highlights illustrative art originating from the Jazz Age of American history.

For more information about the exhibition, visit our website.

This event is made possible through a grant provided by PNC Arts Alive and the TD Charitable Foundation. 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.

IF YOU GO:

WHAT: Jazz Series with Raye Jones Avery featuring Dayramir González
WHEN: Thursday, October 5, 2023, 7 p.m.
WHERE: Delaware Art Museum, 2301 Kentmere Parkway, Wilmington, DE 19806
COST: $30, with discount for members
INFO: delart.org

Delaware Art Museum Is the Only U.S. Location for Major Pre-Raphaelite Exhibition and Events 

The Delaware Art Museum presents “The Rossettis,” a major international loan exhibition organized in partnership with Tate Britain, opening on Saturday, October 21, 2023, and running through Sunday, January 28, 2024. The exhibition features the art of the Rossettis, an iconic artist family that includes Dante Gabriel Rossetti, a founder of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, his wife, Elizabeth Siddal, and siblings, Christina, Maria, and William Michael Rossetti. Significant special programming, such as the Pre-Raphaelite Weekend and Pre-Raphaelite Promenade, have been developed in conjunction with this exhibition.

The Delaware Art Museum, which is home to the most comprehensive collection of Pre-Raphaelite art outside of the United Kingdom, will be the only museum in the United States to host this exhibition after it closes in London on September 24.

DelArt’s collections of paintings by Dante Gabriel will be contextualized alongside the family’s works from international public and private collections, exceeding 150 objects. Delaware has added many works to the display that were not on view at Tate. These include paintings, drawings, watercolors, and writings by Dante Gabriel, drawings by Siddal, and poetry and prose by Christina, Maria, and William Michael. Highlights include a trio of portraits of Siddal, reunited for the first time since their making in 1854.

Sophie Lynford, Annette Woolard-Provine Curator of the Bancroft Collection, explains the significance of bringing the three portraits together, “These drawings are records of the close friendships among women artists in the Pre-Raphaelite circle. Two were made by Barbara Leigh Smith Bodichon and Anna Mary Howitt. Dante Gabriel had asked the women to take Elizabeth on a trip that would lift her spirits. Partway through the women’s holiday, Dante Gabriel joined them. On May 8, 1854, Dante Gabriel, Barbara and Anna each made a portrait of Elizabeth, all from slightly different angles. These three drawings have never been displayed together since their making.”

The poets, writers, and painters of the prodigiously artistic Rossetti family blended their passion for social justice with their commitment to reforming outdated academic artistic traditions. Through this exhibition, visitors familiar with and new to the Pre-Raphaelites will experience fresh insights that address contemporary debates about romance, class, sex, and gender.

Executive Director Molly Giordano says, “Shortly after the Museum was founded, we were given an incredible gift: Samuel P. Bancroft, Jr.’s significant Pre-Raphaelite collection. Our holdings have since grown, and we’re home to critically important paintings and drawings by Dante Gabriel Rossetti, as well as rare works on paper by Elizabeth Siddal. Partnering with Tate Britain, and its extraordinary collection, makes this exhibition an unprecedented opportunity for enthusiasts of the Pre-Raphaelite movement to see so many rare objects in one location, and enjoy immersive programming.”

Lynford adds, “While Bancroft acquired art by many Pre-Raphaelites, he was drawn most intensely to Rossetti and would be delighted that this show reunites works that haven’t been displayed together for over 150 years.”

DelArt’s presentation of “The Rossettis” will be further enhanced by a range of programs and special events throughout the exhibition’s run, including: the Pre-Raphaelite Weekend, a multi-day celebration of Pre-Raphaelite art; the Pre-Raphaelite Promenade, an enchanting gala set in the Victorian world; guided tours of the show; and, special gallery talks on key works in the exhibition.

For more information about the exhibition, visit our website.

This exhibition was organized by the Delaware Art Museum in partnership with Tate Britain and is made possible through support from the Nathan Clark Foundation, the Amy P. Goldman Foundation, the Delaware Art Museum Council, and the Dr. Lee MacCormick Edwards Charitable Foundation. This organization is supported, in part, by the National Endowment for the Arts and 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: “The Rossettis”
WHEN: October 21, 2023 through January 28, 2024
WHERE: Delaware Art Museum, 2301 Kentmere Parkway, Wilmington, DE 19806
COST: $25; free for DelArt Plus members
INFO: delart.org

WHAT: Guided Special Exhibition Tours
WHEN: Saturdays and Sundays, October 21, 2023 through January 28, 2024, 1 p.m.
WHERE: Delaware Art Museum, 2301 Kentmere Parkway, Wilmington, DE 19806
COST: Free with exhibition admission; registration encouraged
INFO: delart.org

WHAT: Gallery Talks with Visiting Researcher Nicholas Dunn-McAfee
WHEN: Thursdays, November 2 and 30, 5 p.m.; Friday, November 17, 12 p.m.
WHERE: Delaware Art Museum, 2301 Kentmere Parkway, Wilmington, DE 19806
COST: Free for select DelArt Plus members or with exhibition admission
INFO: delart.org 

WHAT: Pre-Raphaelite Weekend
WHEN: Thursday, November 9 through Sunday, November 12, 2023
WHERE: Delaware Art Museum, 2301 Kentmere Parkway, Wilmington, DE 19806
COST: $250
INFO: delart.org

WHAT: Pre-Raphaelite Promenade
WHEN: Saturday, November 11, 2023, 7–10 p.m.
WHERE: Delaware Art Museum, 2301 Kentmere Parkway, Wilmington, DE 19806
COST: $150
INFO: delart.org

Top: La Ghirlandata (detail), 1873, Dante Gabriel Rossetti. Oil on canvas. Guildhall Art Gallery. Photo credit: City of London Corporation.

From the Delaware Art Museum, a few turns and a straight drive down Delaware Ave will find you nine minutes away and on the corner of 7th and Washington, now home to the Art-O-Mat. This is the newest location from Wilmington Alliance, a local organization dedicated to the city’s economic revitalization. Like DelArt, the front of the Art-O-Mat is all glass and light; jazz plays here, and artists can create here. The contrasts between the two are clear: age is a big one—the Art-O-Mat just opened at the end of July—and the drastic socioeconomic differences of the neighborhoods where the two each reside is another. However, these opposing factors highlight the things they share, like their proximity and remarkably similar hopes to uplift Wilmington by investing creative resources in the community.

In August, DelArt hosted Charles Edward Williams for a two-week artist residency. This residency was facilitated through an opportune partnership with the Art-O-Mat. The location served as Williams’s primary studio space and, in turn, the residency marked the first partnership between DelArt and Wilmington Alliance.

Williams is a featured artist in the museum’s collection. His work focuses on translating historical moments in ways that resonate and connect with audiences today. In a previous commission for the Museum, Williams focused his gaze on Delaware’s history by taking inspiration from the life and legacy of Alice Dunbar-Nelson. In the residency, he continued his exploration of history. “It’s not about me documenting what happened in history,” Williams says. “It’s about…how can I reappropriate this moment in history from a photograph or from a video and then take it to [be] more hopeful, more positive, more abundant…what kind of added point can I [bring] to it?”

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The added point came in the community participation that the Museum and the Art-O-Mat organized. Families and youth groups had the opportunity to come and assist in creating the first layer of Williams’s artwork, literally making their own marks. This effectively inserted community members into the long arch of Black cultural history and legacy that Williams eagerly engages with in his work.

The artist also had his own opportunities for reflection and inspiration throughout the residency. He visited the Delaware Contemporary, met with local artists and business owners, and toured the Delaware History Museum’s Mitchell Center for African American Heritage. With the Wilmington Alliance partnership, the residency presented the opportunity to go deeper into the Wilmington community, literally. Its activities and themes highlight the history and ties that run through both DelArt and the Art-O-Mat as locally established and emerging cultural organizations.

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As DelArt continues to grow as an organization, we’ve had the pleasure of hosting public programs that bring hundreds to the museum, such as Julieta Zavala’s fashion show this spring and the exhibition-inspired KidChella earlier this summer. Events like these demonstrate the museum’s commitment to highlighting local creative voices and empowering community members to take ownership in the arts. Initiatives like the artist residency illustrate how this vision extends beyond the bounds of Kentmere Parkway, taking the museum to the people and providing advancement and enrichment inside and outside our institution. ~

This artist residency was organized by the Delaware Art Museum and 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.

Zoe Akoto, DelArt’s Summer Residency Bridges Communities and Histories

Top: Boys to Men, 2023. Charles Edward Williams (born 1984). Oil, acrylic and crayon on gesso watercolor paper, 102 x 4 inches.

Explore the Creative World of Award-Winning Children’s Book Illustrator

During this summer season, the Delaware Art Museum took center stage as it proudly presented an exhibition spotlighting the creations of Christian Robinson, a prominent figure in the realm of children’s book illustration, writing, and animation. The enchanting artworks from well-loved children’s tales such as “Last Stop on Market Street” and “You Matter” grace the exhibition titled “What Might You Do? Christian Robinson.” Open just through September 10th, this family-oriented exhibition captivates audiences of all ages.

This exhibition proudly showcases a collection of 90 authentic art pieces crafted by Robinson himself. With a masterful blend of acrylic paint and collage techniques, these artworks adorn the pages of 17 children’s books, including notables like “Last Stop on Market Street,” “Milo Imagines the World,” and “Carmela Full of Wishes.”

Saralyn Rosenfield, the Director of Learning & Engagement, said, “This summer was filled with great joy having Christina Robinson’s Exhibition here at the museum, engaging families in and around our community with art and literature.” She welcomes area families and educators to visit before the exhibition closes.

In honor of the exhibition, the museum extends an invitation to children and their accompanying adults to engage in art-making activities during the exhibition’s closing days. This creative opportunity unfolds on a Stories & Studio session held Friday morning, September 8, and Family Second Sunday, on September 10. For additional information and registration, interested participants could access details on delart.org.

Christian Robinson has amassed a plethora of accolades, notably the Newberry Medal and the Caldecott Honor, both of which he earned for his exquisite illustrations in the book “Last Stop on Market Street.” His artistic style is a symphony of vivid colors and playful elements, acting as a triumphant ode to the tapestry of human experiences and offering readers a glimpse of his entire world. The doors are open to visitors of every age, welcoming them to immerse themselves in Robinson’s original artworks and literary creations within the confines of a repurposed city bus, now transformed into a cozy reading nook conveniently stationed within the art gallery.

IF YOU GO:

WHAT: “What Might You Do? Christian Robinson”
WHEN: July 1- September 10, 2023
WHERE: Delaware Art Museum
COST: Free after admission; tickets available at delart.org
INFO: delart.org/christian-robinson

WHAT: Stories & Studio
WHEN: September 8, 2023, 10:30 am to 11:30 pm
WHERE: Delaware Art Museum
COST: $5 Non-Members and Free for Members
INFO: delart.org

WHAT: Family Second Sunday
WHEN: September 10, 2023, 10:00 am to 1:00 pm
WHERE: Delaware Art Museum
COST: $5 Non-Members and Free for Members
INFO: delart.org

This exhibition was organized by the National Center for Children’s Illustrated Literature, Abilene, Texas. “What Might You Do?” is made possible in Delaware by the Jessie Ball duPont Fund, the Edgar A. Thronson Foundation Illustration Exhibition Fund, and 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.

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

Top: Cover from You Matter, 2020. Christian Robinson (born 1986). Acrylic paint and collage on paper, 18.5 x 16 inches. © 2020 by Christian Robinson.

Executive Director, Arsht-Cannon Fund at the Delaware Community Foundation

I have always dreamed of being an artist—like my late father-in-law, Dr. Norman Cannon, or my granddaughter, Randi H. Aquino. Falling short of this aspiration, I found something better—using my creativity to find ways to express my thoughts and emotions. Whether it is decorating a cake or making an appetizing entree, choosing and arranging a bouquet of flowers, making seasonal wreaths, or teaching my grand-daughter, Avery, how to cross-stich, I feel a powerful sense of release and control, that puts my worries—even grief—in the backseat for a while. Using art and creativity offers opposing opportunities to either dive deeply into anxiety and loss or to be temporarily distracted from the pain of it all. I have practiced and preached the benefits of art therapy for many patients, family caregivers, and nursing students during my forty years as a nurse.

The Arsht-Cannon Fund is very excited to provide a second year of grant funding to the Delaware Art Museum for its community-based program, Healing Through the Arts. Ten groups of Latinos from partnerships with the Latin American Community Center and the Hispanic American Association of Delaware (490 participants total in FY2022–23) were provided with culturally relevant and Spanish-language art wellness instruction from professionals through the Museum’s partnership with Mariposa Arts. Evaluated outcomes of the program included feeling more relaxed, less stress, feelings of inclusion and respect, and greater interest in being creative. This coming year, the program hopes to expand beyond New Castle County with pilots that combine participant stories followed by painting to express the thoughts and feelings of each person’s journey.

The Delaware Art Museum exemplifies the growth and expertise that the Arsht-Cannon Fund has fostered in its work over the last 16 years: greater inclusion, equity, and diversity among nonprofits; growing community engagement, participation, and leadership; and program excellence with opportunities to expand capacity to serve all Delaware’s Latino families. The Arsht-Cannon Fund at the Delaware Community Foundation, endowed by the late Honorable Roxana Cannon Arsht, the first female judge appointed in Delaware, and S. Samuel Arsht, a leading Delaware corporate attorney, is now advised by their daughter, Adrienne Arsht, a philanthropist who supports the arts nationally, and the environment internationally.

As the Executive Director of the Arsht-Cannon Fund, I work to carry out our mission to partner with Delaware’s nonprofit organizations to provide a variety of educational and support opportunities to our growing number of Latino families, many of whom are recent immigrants. Grants support language and literacy programs, early childhood through adulthood instruction, educational advocacy, health education initiatives, and arts and cultural learning projects.

I believe that the best results are obtained when nonprofits know and engage their communities and build trusting relationships with each other and other community organizations; in this way, they can collaborate to best meet the needs of their communities. La Colectiva de Delaware was created in 2018 by the Arsht-Cannon Fund and La Esperanza Community Center in Sussex County to foster this work. I strongly encourage arts organizations to work closely together when planning and implementing programs for the communities that they serve in common. It is a win for everyone.

A final personal revelation: In the thirteen years that have passed following the loss of my daughter, Jan, I have experienced the calm and peace that comes from being captured by the artistic work of others or when I am immersed in my own creative endeavors. Art truly can be healing for many. Thank you, Dr. Cannon, for your ongoing support of DelArt and our work to serve Delaware’s Latino communities, including Healing Through the Arts, a program offered in partnership with Mariposa Arts.

Photo by Shannon Woodloe.

The Artist and the Museum Bridge the Past and the Present in a Collaboration that Centers Local Community

The Delaware Art Museum has partnered with contemporary visual artist Charles Edward Williams and the Wilmington Alliance for an artist residency from July 31 through August 13, 2023. Members of the community are invited to contribute directly to Williams’s artwork for the residency by visiting the Art-O-Mat, particularly during Community Hours on August 4, 7, and 8, 2023. Much like Williams’s own art practice, which he describes as, “excavating history, taking the past and bringing it into the present,” this new residency builds on the Delaware Art Museum’s previous partnership with the artist and established commitment to uplifting local community voices in the arts.

Building on the Museum’s previous partnership with Williams, as well as the institution’s mission and vision, this new residency echoes his own artistic practice of “excavating history, taking the past and bringing it into the present.”

“We are thrilled to welcome Charles back to the Delaware Art Museum for this inaugural residency,” says Margaret Winslow, Chief Curator and Curator of Contemporary Art. “Charles excels at weaving history and social justice together to create powerful imagery.”

For this residency, Williams continues his excavation of history and undertakes one of his largest projects to date, using multicolored wax and black paint to reinterpret the famous 1940s photo “Negro Boys on Easter Morning,” shot by Russell Lee. The effect will mimic the “magic” scratch pads kids use to create rainbow art—the same that Williams used in his youth. “[The work] is designed to evoke the nostalgia of childhood, while taking inspiration from the local community he’s hoping to reach,” says Zoe Akoto, Education Initiatives Coordinator.

The residency includes a new partnership with the Wilmington Alliance’s Art-O-Mat location, which opened its doors at 7th and Washington Street in Wilmington just weeks ago. The Art-O-Mat will serve as Williams’s primary studio space.

Residents of the West Center City neighborhood where the Art-O-Mat is located, and museum community members more broadly, are invited to visit the community space and participate in creating the multicolored wax layer of the project. Williams hopes to have young members of the Wilmington community play an active part in creating the work: “My interest in having teens and kids involved in this residency stems from my own passion for teaching and inspiring students to pursue creative arts—not simply as a pastime, but as something you can build your life around.” Williams, who is a professor of drawing and painting at North Carolina Central University, emphasizes, “there are career paths in the arts, and I want to model that for them.”

Williams was commissioned by the Museum in 2021 for “I Sit and Sew: Tracing Alice Dunbar Nelson.” The exhibition explored the legacy of Dunbar Nelson, an important 17th century literary figure and Delaware activist. Williams interwove Dunbar Nelson’s poetry with paint and other unconventional materials like fishing line, sewn items, and etched glass in what Winslow deems “a stunning installation” and “an important acquisition for the collection.” In renewing the Museum’s successful collaboration with Williams and developing a new local partnership with the Art-O-Mat, this residency brings the Museum’s long-held commitment to connecting and supporting artists and underserved communities, at the local and regional level, into the present in new forms.

Williams is represented in numerous public collections including the Mississippi Museum of Art, 21c Museum Hotels, the North Carolina Museum of Art, and in the private holdings of Michael and Susan Hershfield and the Petrucci Family Collection of African American Art, among others. Between 2016 and 2019, Williams attended residencies at the Otis College of Art and Design and SOMA Mexico City. Additionally, he was an artist-in-residence at the Gibbes Museum of Art and the McColl Center of Art and Innovation. Williams has received numerous awards and grants for his work including a Mississippi Humanities Council Grant, a National Endowment for the Arts Grant, and the Griffith-Reyburn Lowcountry Artist of the Year Award. Solo exhibitions of Williams’ projects have been presented at the Urban Institute for Contemporary Arts in Grand Rapids, the Polk Museum of Art at Florida Southern College, and the Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art, among others. He has participated in group shows at the Knoxville Museum of Art, Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, and Allentown Art Museum, among other galleries and museums across the United States and abroad.

Williams holds a BFA from Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) in Georgia and an MFA from the University of North Carolina Greensboro (UNCG).

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.

Photograph by Shannon Woodloe.

Drawing is an essential element of artmaking. Though drawing is often associated with observation or preparation, the act can also result in a discrete work of art.

Drawn celebrates the important gift of contemporary drawings from Sally and Wynn Kramarsky. These patrons have championed artists and works on paper, specifically, through their collection development, New York City exhibitions, and generous donations. In 2009, the Delaware Art Museum joined a list of public institutions throughout the United States to receive gifts from the donors. This selection brings together artists separated by generations and genres, grounded in the foundational practice of drawing. The distinct artistry of each work exemplifies the diversity and range of non-representational contemporary works on paper.

Artists like Suzanne Bocanegra use drawing as a means of observation and understanding. This work is based on Joachim Anthonisz Wtewael’s 1605 painting, Kitchen Scene with the Parable of the Great Supper. Bocanegra’s drawing is not a direct translation but is instead an accounting of the formal components in the Dutch painting.

imageTight, 1993. Sharon Louden (born 1964). Ink and graphite on double sided mylar, 11 × 8 1/2 inches. Delaware Art Museum, Gift of Sally and Wynn Kramarsky, 2009. © Sharon Louden.

Sharon Louden embraces the power of the singular line. She describes its ability to move across the page, becoming “tangled” in itself. This layering creates the illusion of threedimensionality on a flat surface.

imageUntitled, 1998. Alyson Shotz (born 1964). Mixed media on paper, 9 × 12 inches. Delaware Art Museum, Gift of Sally and Wynn Kramarsky, 2009. © Alyson Shotz.

Alyson Shotz is known for her sculptures that bring attention to our experience of the world around us. The artist uses reflective surfaces to interact with natural and artificial light.

Visit Drawn, on view in gallery 9 from September 23 through December 31, 2023, to see the myriad ways that artists explore drawing.

Margaret Winslow
Chief Curator and Curator of Contemporary Art

Top: Untitled: from Joachim Uytewael’s Kitchen Scene, 2005. Suzanne Bocanegra (born 1957). Found paper and gouache, 23 1/2 × 34 3/4 inches. Delaware Art Museum, Gift of Sally and Wynn Kramarsky, 2009. © Suzanne Bocanegra.

Experience a presentation of celebrating Black Cinema

The highly anticipated Dirty Popcorn Black Film Festival 2 returns to the Delaware Art Museum on Saturday, August 12, from 10 am to 4 pm. This year’s festival, themed “The Saga Continues,” will pay homage to the rich and diverse history of Black cinema while highlighting its ongoing evolution.

Attendees can expect an immersive experience, complete with a brand-new art exhibit and four engaging panel discussions on several topics related to Black film. The festival aims to create an inclusive environment where attendees can enjoy popcorn, food, and drinks while celebrating the artistry and talent within the black filmmaking community.

With 15 different screenings, Dirty Popcorn Black Film Festival 2 offers a wide selection of BIPOC filmmakers from multiple genres, including drama, comedy, and documentary. Audiences will have the opportunity to witness the most exciting and innovative work being produced in Black cinema today. Moreover, attendees will have the chance to engage in meaningful conversations with filmmakers and industry professionals about the art and business of filmmaking.

Highlighting the festival will be the presentation of the prestigious 2023 Lifetime Achievement Award to a legendary figure in Black cinema. The name of the recipient will be announced closer to the event. This award serves as a tribute to the remarkable contributions made by Black filmmakers and artists to the world of cinema, acknowledging the ongoing significance of their work.

Dirty Popcorn Black Film Festival 2 promises attendees an unforgettable day filled with celebration, education, and entertainment. Whether you are a seasoned film buff or simply seeking an introduction to the world of Black cinema, this event is a unique opportunity not to be missed.

This event is sponsored by the Center for Interventional Pain & Spine, Tuby Catering, and Prime Beverage Group. 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.

IF YOU GO:
WHAT: 2nd Annual Jet Phynx Dirty Popcorn Black Film Festival
WHEN: August 12, 2023, 10:00 am to 4:00 pm
WHERE: Delaware Art Museum Auditorium
COST: Free
INFO: delart.org/blackfilmfestival2023

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

Between the lines of a watery maze and the layered striations of condensed planetary photographs, Anna Bogatin Ott transforms a gallery at the Delaware Art Museum into a space for peace and contemplation in Our Red Planet. Her painting Mars Wanderings invokes a whole archive of photography documenting Martian environments, and yet I was most inspired to reflect on the ecological relationships that define life on this blue planet.

The title “Mars Wanderings” alone conjures some of the familiar NASA photographs of our neighboring planet. But what images come to mind exactly? Is it the ones of Mars taken at distance to reveal a vermillion, desert-like orb suspended in space? Or perhaps we easily recall Exploration Rover images that depict a rocky and arid Martian terrain. As mystifying as these images are, the environment seems wholly inhospitable. Yet even as we wander through the exhibition space, the Mars 2020 Perseverance Rover is drilling for samples of rock and soil, searching for signs of ancient microbial life. The linear paint strokes in Ott’s Mars Wanderings are reminiscent of the grooved tracks left behind by Perseverance’s four predecessors, the only “bodies” from Earth that have actually traveled across Martian ground. The repetition of these lines suggests the iterative and redundant process of all five rover missions. The way they overlap might even emulate how those paths have crossed one another over time. Inspired by the work of abstract artists Agnes Martin and Barnett Newman, the paint strokes may also imitate the Mars horizon while the gradient tonality of red suggests shifts in its atmosphere and soil. As we think about our mission to find signs of life on Mars, Ott’s title also sparks wonder about the forms of life that have previously wandered its landscapes.

Without setting foot on the planet, how familiar can we truly become with the Mars environment using only soil samples and photoimaging technology? While this question partially underpins scientific investigations of the Martian climate, Ott cautions us against repeating the same extractive behavior that has distinguished the age of the Anthropocene––or the Plantationocene as Donna Haraway and Anna Tsing have astutely offered–– from other geological eras. Why venture into the solar system in search of more resources instead of repairing our relationship with the environment we currently inhabit? In the case of Martian sediment, studying soil samples might reveal the lifeforms that formerly supported its ecosystems. On earth, soil science reveals a whole ecology of microscopic agents that work together to prevent erosion, cycle nutrients and water, and aid the regenerative process of decomposition. Naturally, it provides insight into the most foundational layer of an environment, but what if we were to adopt a perspective scaled to the sediment? What if we began to look at things from the microbial level?

image Mars Wanderings (detail)

When we look at Mars Wanderings from a distance, it is easy to view each panel as its own bodily whole, but as we get closer, we notice how each paint stroke becomes its own being. We also become aware of the scattered specks of glitter that evoke the glimmer of sand or glint of minerals. These individual agents assemble and animate Ott’s work so that, when viewed from afar, we see one whole embodied network, yet up close we see how multiplicities of bodies work together to create a new abstracted image scaled to their size. Like viewing through a microscope, the abstraction from this magnified vision provides a perspective that may be more productive in thinking about the future of life on our planet.

I borrow this concept from Art historian James Nisbet who offers environmental abstraction as a useful way to visualize environmental crises and pollution. In his 2017 article, “Environmental Abstraction and the Polluted Image,” Nisbet argues that the prolific images of pollution tend to oversimplify ecological situations. He reasons that sometimes ecological phenomena are not always visible to the eye. So, too, are the inner workings of systems and industries that pollute the environment. To his point, sometimes it is better to view at the abstract, microscopic, and microbial level.

At the microscopic level, we can observe the minuscule organisms in our soil that are responsible for the larger and often invisible processes that are crucial to sustaining life on this earth. And so, I return to the question of what happens when we take the perspective of microorganisms and when we incorporate a bit of abstraction in our looking? We begin to understand that we are not as disconnected from one another as we tend to believe.

Anna Bogatin Ott’s artwork asks us to reflect on the global impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and the war in Ukraine. I think we can recall the image of coronavirus’s viral anatomy, that spikey orb which seemed to circulate as much as the disease itself. And over the course of a few years, we became hyper-aware of how infection occurred through invisible, microscopic droplets. In many ways, we had to think about how we occupied spaces and operated in terms of one another’s safety. The war in Ukraine presents a similar phenomenon. For example, technoscience scholar Michelle Murphy illustrates how the toxic fallout and pollution of modern warfare chemically and metabolically imbricate us all within these global conflicts, though we may not witness them directly in our backyard.

These examples are not cause for alarm but are a way to reflect on the benefits of understanding how events transpire even at the microbial level. We begin to realize how interconnected we are to our collective environments and understand our actions as part of a deeply entangled web of networks shared not only between humans but non-humans as well. Mars Wanderings does not offer Mars––nor any other planet in our solar system––as a solution for resolving our environmental crises here. Rather, I argue it provides another way of looking that might lead us to greater change. Perhaps, the terrain and soil of Mars offer us a key lesson in the value of contemplating how change occurs and involves us even at the microscopic level.

Carolyn Hauk
PhD Student, Department of Art History
University of Delaware

Images: Mars Wanderings, 2023. Anna Bogatin Ott (born 1970). Acrylic on canvas, each panel: 62 × 62 inches (157.5 × 157.5 cm), overall: 62 × 124 inches (157.5 × 315 cm). Courtesy of the artist, Larry Becker Contemporary Art, and Margaret Thatcher Projects.

A boy in a neon yellow beanie and round glasses sits on the subway, drawing pictures of the people around him. While his big sister plays on her phone, Milo imagines the lives of the other passengers and records his ideas on a sketchpad: the bride her white dress, the tired businessman, and a boy about his age with his father. When a troupe of break-dancers comes aboard, performing for donations, Milo and his sister are delighted to be distracted on the long ride to see their mother in prison.

Illustrator Christian Robinson captured these characters in Milo Imagines His World, a children’s book produced in collaboration with author Matt de la Peña. With characteristically spare outlines and sophisticated colors, Robinson conveyed the shifting emotions of his subjects as they travel across the city. The book is inspired by the illustrator’s childhood. Growing up in an apartment crowded with family, Christian Robinson took up drawing to make space for himself and create the world he wanted to live in. He went on to graduate from the California Institute of the Arts and worked with the Sesame Street Workshop and Pixar Animation Studios, as well as illustrating children’s books.

Instantly familiar to parents of young children today, Robinson’s illustrations appear in best-selling and critically acclaimed books. Published in 2015, Last Stop on Market Street, written by Matt de la Peña and illustrated by Robinson, reached #1 on the New York Times bestseller list and was awarded a Caldecott Honor, a Coretta Scott King Illustrator Honor, and the Newbery Medal. Playful, poignant, and full of positive energy, Robinson’s illustrations celebrate the value of different perspectives and kindness to all.

This summer DelArt is delighted to welcome the national traveling exhibition What Might You Do? Christian Robinson, which features 96 original works of art for 17 children’s books. The artist produces his colorful and modern pictures primarily in acrylic paint and collage, and the exhibition includes study drawings and finished works that give insight into the artist’s process. DelArt’s installation also features a drawing station, artist videos, and a “reading bus” designed by artist-musician Daniel Smith and stocked with Robinson’s books.

Join us to celebrate childhood and the arts on Thursday, July 27, at Kidchella, a family friendly music festival. The fun runs from 4 to 7:30 in the Copeland Sculpture Garden at DelArt.

Heather Campbell Coyle
Curator of American Art

Image: Crew of breakers bounds onto train, 2021 from Milo. Christian Robinson (born 1986). Acrylic paint and collage on paper, 24.5 x 14.25 inches. © 2021 by Christian Robinson.

Christian Robinson’s colorful & whimsical illustrations have sparked a summer of family fun!

This summer, the Delaware Art Museum hosts an exhibit featuring the work of Christian Robinson, the major children’s book illustrator, author, and animator. Illustrations from beloved children’s books like “Last Stop on Market Street” and “You Matter” will be on display in the exhibition “What Might You Do? Christian Robinson.” This family-themed exhibition opens July 1st and continues through September 10th.

The summer is filled with family-friendly programming in celebration of the exhibition. On July 13, DelArt Members are invited to a curator tour of the exhibition during Happy Hour. On the evening of July 27, audiences of all ages are invited to “Kidchella,” a family-friendly music festival. The Kidchella festival lineup includes Mister John’s Music, HFam, Seylin Abarca, and Beatles tribute band The Newspaper Taxis. And the Museum invites children and their grownups to make art throughout the summer on Family Second Sundays and during Stories & Studio on select Friday mornings. Details and registration are available at delart.org.

Saralyn Rosenfield, Director of Learning & Engagement, said, “We can’t wait to introduce families to the art of Christian Robinson. I look forward to seeing families celebrate art and music together at Kidchella. Our hope is that the evening will be just as fun for the grownups as it is for the kids.” The event will include cross-generational music and sweet treats provided by Kaffeina, Natalie’s Fine Foods, and El Rey’s Ice Cream in the inspiring outdoor setting of DelArt’s Copeland Sculpture Garden.

Christian Robinson’s numerous awards include the Newberry Medal and the Caldecott Honor for his illustrations in “Last Stop on Market Street.” His art is colorful, playful, and celebrates diversity of experience, presenting the entire world to readers. Visitors of all ages are invited to see Robinson’s original art and read his books inside a city-bus-turned-reading-nook, which is parked within the art gallery. The exhibition includes 90 original artworks that Robinson created using primarily acrylic paint and collage for 17 children’s books, including “Last Stop on Market Street,” “Milo Imagines the World,” and “Carmela Full of Wishes.”

Organizer and Sponsors: 

This exhibition was organized by the National Center for Children’s Illustrated Literature, Abilene, Texas. What Might You Do? is made possible in Delaware by the Jessie Ball duPont Fund, the Edgar A. Thronson Foundation Illustration Exhibition Fund, and 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.

IF YOU GO

WHAT: “What Might You Do? Christian Robinson”
WHEN: July 1- September 10, 2023
WHERE: Delaware Art Museum
COST: Free after admission; tickets available at delart.org
INFO: delart.org/christian-robinson


WHAT: Kidchella WHEN: Thursday, July 27, 2023, 4:00 pm – 7:00 pm
WHERE: Delaware Art Museum’s Copeland Sculpture Garden
COST: Register at delart.org
INFO: delart.org

Top: Cover from You Matter, 2020. Christian Robinson (born 1986). Acrylic paint and collage on paper, 18.5 x 16 inches. © 2020 by Christian Robinson.

Large-Scale Imagery Installed in Public Spaces Represent Museum’s Pre-Raphaelite Collection

The Delaware Art Museum has partnered with Wilmington City Councilperson Nathan Field on a mural project, “Nature’s Palette,” with images and words inspired by nature. The works will be on view throughout City Council District 8 beginning in June through the remainder of 2023.

They will be installed throughout the built environment of District 8 in the following locations:

  • Gilpin Liquors
  • Luther Towers
  • BrewHaHa Trolley Square
  • The intersection of Delaware Avenue and Dupont Street
  • Lincoln Towers
  • Southeast Kitchen
  • Joseph E. Johnson Jr. School
  • The intersection of Pennsylvania and Greenhill Avenues outside the Marian Coffin Garden

The Museum is situated in the center of District 8, which begins at the western border of Wilmington that wraps around Rockford Park, and ends just east of Cool Spring Park, with its northern and southern borders defined by Brandywine Park and Wawaset Park, so the murals are all in the general Museum vicinity.

District 8 Councilperson Nathan Field says, “I’m incredibly excited to work with the Art Museum team to grow the City of Wilmington as an Artistic and Cultural destination not just in the First State of Delaware but throughout the extended Tri-State region. Walking around the neighborhood and seeing scenes from nature that are so culturally meaningful to Delawareans integrated into the streetscape is so thrilling.”

“Nature’s Palette” features enlarged intricate and vibrant details of paintings and drawings from DelArt’s Pre-Raphaelite collection, combined with quotations inspired by nature and poetry penned by Victorian-era writers.

Sophie Lynford, Annette Woolard-Provine Curator of the Bancroft Collection, says, “Pre-Raphaelite artists lamented that nineteenth-century industrialization was destroying both natural and historic landmarks. These concerns remain urgent today.”

The murals include Pre-Raphaelite works by artists Barbara Leigh Smith Bodichon, Walter Crane, Henry Farrer, George James Howard, John Everett Millais, and William Henry Millais. Paired with these are quotations from authors Emily Brontë, George Eliot, Felicia Hemans, Christina Rossetti, Dante Gabriel Rossetti, and John Ruskin.

Margaret Winslow, Chief Curator and Curator of Contemporary Art, says, “The Pre-Raphaelite collection is a much-loved core of the Delaware Art Museum. These works of art have inspired generations of artists and art lovers throughout the greater Wilmington community and across the United States.”

Throughout 2023, the Delaware Art Museum is celebrating the “Year of Pre-Raphaelites,” which began in late 2022 with the special loan exhibition, “A Marriage of Arts and Crafts: Evelyn and William De Morgan” and the collections show, “Forgotten Pre-Raphaelites.” The celebration continues in fall 2023, with DelArt hosting the only U.S. appearance of “The Rossettis,” a major international exhibition organized in partnership with Tate Britain, on view from October 21, 2023 through January 28, 2024. A “Pre-Raphaelite Weekend,” co-hosted by the Pre-Raphaelite Society, based in the U.K., will take place from November 9 through November 12, 2023.

“Nature’s Palette” is supported by Nathan Field, 8th District Council Member. 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.

Top: November Landscape, 1883. Henry Farrer (1844–1903). Watercolor on paper, sheet: 6 5/8 × 10 7/8 inches. Delaware Art Museum, Gift of David A. Hanks in memory of Elizabeth Dixon Hanks, 2003.

Annual Events include a Fourth Celebration of Juneteenth and Year Two for Powwow and Black Film Festival

The Delaware Art Museum’s summer schedule has doubled down its commitment to celebrating ethnic cultures with the community. The fourth annual Juneteenth event, Beyond Juneteenth Ancestors Festival: AfrisymPOEMsium & Expo, takes place on Sunday, June 18, 2023, from 11 a.m.—4 p.m. inside the museum. The 2nd Annual Powwow of Arts and Culture takes place on Saturday, July 22, 2023, from 11 a.m.—4 p.m. in the in the Copeland Sculpture Garden. The 2nd Annual Jet Phynx Dirty Popcorn Black Film Festival takes place on Saturday, August 12 from 10 a,m.—4 p.m. in the Museum’s auditorium. While all these events are free, each traditionally reaches capacity, and guests are asked to register at delart.org.

The fourth annual Juneteenth observation at the Museum celebrates the ancestral traditions of people who were once enslaved and the accomplishments of their descendants. This year’s festival is an AfrisymPOEMsium and Expo, with its primary focus being the education, healing, protection and adaptation of the human spirit. The event has moved mostly indoors for 2023, with presenters stationed in conference rooms and open areas of the Museum.

Abundancechild, founder of the event, says, “AfrisymPOEMsium is a poem that will work hand-in-hand with a short film, opening up an artistic route toward having hard discussions. After the film, which includes the offerings and prayers one would expect from an ancestor-oriented Juneteenth observation, the guests—ideally people of all races and backgrounds—will have an opportunity to sit in breakout groups and talk about delicate topics and then reconvene as a larger group. The day will continue with music and both fun and functional learning opportunities, whether it be genealogy-tracing technology or African traditional religions.”

Nadj N Jea (Nadjah Nicole and Jea P. Street, Jr.) will serve as event hosts, and the day’s events will kick off with a rendition of “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” known as the Black national anthem, presented through dance by Pieces of a Dream, and a Juneteenth flag-raising ceremony. A shared libation and dance performance by Tonantzin Yaotecas follows. Ghetto Songbird, Hezekiah, Ebony Zuudia and Mystic Reggae Band will also perform. Twelve presenters are lined up for the symposium and expo.

Additional activities will include jump rope, hula hooping and a comic book art session with Jabaar Brown. Drop Squad Kitchen will be on hand with food.

Community Engagement Specialist Iz Balleto, who leads the Museum’s cultural festival efforts, describes the goals of the 2023 event, “This year, we are honoring Juneteenth by redirecting the activities toward learning and engagement. There will be music, but guests of all ages are invited to visit the different areas in the Museum to hear about subjects that affect the Afro-Indigenous community. To us, Juneteenth is not just about the past…it’s also about the future.”

Abundancechild explains why the educational opportunities carry this event “Beyond” Juneteenth, saying: “Oftentimes, with festivals and cultural events, we enjoy the music and food, but return home with little follow through of what we just learned. This year, we want Afro-Indigenous descendants to move Beyond Juneteenth and work with our ancestors to bring an end to generational oppression. Our goal is to provide information and resources, and effect not just words, but also deeds and solutions.”

The second annual Powwow of Arts and Culture, is a partnership with community advisors and the Nanticoke Indian Association, to celebrates indigenous culture. Keith Colston (Tuscarora and Lumbee) will emcee the event, and Will Mosley (Nanticoke Lenni-Lenape) is the Arena Director. Dancers and drummers include Head Lady Adrienne Harmon (Nanticoke), Head Male Louis Campbell (Lumbee) and a drum circle led by Red Blanket Singers (Nanticoke Lenni-Lenape). Visitors of all ages and backgrounds are welcome.

The second Annual Jet Phynx Dirty Popcorn Black Film Festival aims to discover, raise up and celebrate diverse new voices in and around Delaware through film, and preserve the work of local Black filmmakers. Festival events include short film screenings, meet-and-greets with filmmakers, a Q&A panel, and a 3 p.m. red carpet awards ceremony. Guests will vote on their favorite films—which may be narrative (drama / fiction), documentary, or experimental (music videos, animation, etc.)—created by local and regional Black and Indigenous filmmakers. Presenter Jet Phynx is a Delaware native and music artist-turned-film director.

Balleto adds, “The word ‘festival’ implies celebrations, and we continue to offer festive events, but aim to make them even richer. While it’s important for us to celebrate the culture, we want to be sure there are learning opportunities taking place.”

These events support the Museum’s mission, by offering an inclusive and essential community resource that generates creative energy that sustains, enriches, empowers and inspires.

The Juneteenth event is sponsored by Drop Squad Kitchen, Abundance Child Ministries and Guerrilla Republik, AfrisymPOEMsium and ReAfrikanization. Jet Phynx 2nd Annual Dirty Popcorn Black Film Festival is sponsored by the Center for Interventional Pain & Spine and Prime Beverage Group. These programs are 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, visit delart.org.

IF YOU GO

WHAT: Beyond Juneteenth Ancestors Festival: AfrisymPOEMsium & Expo at the Delaware Art Museum
WHEN: Sunday, June 18, 2023, from 11 a.m.—4 p.m.
WHERE: Delaware Art Museum, 2301 Kentmere Parkway, Wilmington, DE 19806
COST: Free; registration required
INFO: delart.org

WHAT: 2nd Annual Powwow of Arts and Culture
WHEN: Saturday, July 22, 2023, from 11 a.m.—4 p.m.
WHERE: Copeland Sculpture Garden, Delaware Art Museum, 2301 Kentmere Parkway, Wilmington, DE 19806
COST: Free; registration required
INFO: delart.org

WHAT: 2nd Annual Jet Phynx Dirty Popcorn Black Film Festival
WHEN: Saturday, August 12 from 10 a,m.—4 p.m.
WHERE: Delaware Art Museum, 2301 Kentmere Parkway, Wilmington, DE 19806
INFO: delart.org

Sculptor David Meyer uses various materials—aluminum, steel, or ribbon—to form objects that elevate our senses. The artist approaches each substance with the utmost respect for its inherent qualities and the myriad associations we each bring to viewing them. We expect metal to be heavy and chains to be set. In Revision, Meyer invites us to scrutinize our assessment of the world around us.

The exhibition combines several major series from the last 10 years. With Air into breath, Meyer creates delicate aluminum and ribbon sculptures to investigate the tension between what is seen and what is perceived. Meyer begins with found photographic images that he distorts to create new outlines vaguely reminiscent of the original. The artist explains, “Because of the undefined nature of the imagery within the work, the subject matter can shift from one thought to another and only becomes real when we believe it, like a ghost.”

According to what According to what, 2023. David Meyer (born 1963). Steel, variable dimensions. Courtesy of the artist. © David Meyer. Photo by Shannon Woodloe.

Meyer began creating the numerous steel links that make up According to what years ago. The building blocks in Meyer’s wall sculptures are joined to generate a network of interlocking chains. Meyer creates entirely new and unique configuration of According to what each time it is installed. As with his other large-scale installations, the artist interrogates our perception of a seemingly static reality.

Top: Air into breath, 2009. David Meyer (born 1963). Black vinyl and aluminum, variable dimensions. Courtesy of the artist. © David Meyer. Photo by Shannon Woodloe.

Delaware Art Museum Is the Only U.S. Location for Major Pre-Raphaelite Exhibition

The Delaware Art Museum presents “The Rossettis,” a major international loan exhibition organized in partnership with Tate Britain, opening on Saturday, October 21, 2023, and running through Sunday, January 28, 2024. The Delaware Art Museum, which is home to the most comprehensive collection of Pre-Raphaelite paintings outside of the United Kingdom, will be the only museum in the United States to host this exhibition after it closes in London.

Sophie Lynford, Annette Woolard-Provine Curator of the Bancroft Collection, says, “The Delaware Art Museum is a natural fit for the show’s American venue. We house the most significant holdings of Rossettis in the United States thanks to Samuel P. Bancroft, Jr., who assembled the collection at the turn of the twentieth century. While he acquired art by many Pre-Raphaelites, Bancroft was drawn most intensely to Rossetti and would be delighted that this show reunites works long separated.”

The exhibition features the art of the Rossettis, the family that includes Dante Gabriel Rossetti, a founder of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, his wife, Elizabeth Siddal, and siblings, Christina, Maria, and William Michael Rossetti. The Pre-Raphaelites inspired generations of artists to blend realism with medieval revivalism, and the poets, writers, and painters of this prodigiously artistic family blended their passion for social justice with their commitment to reforming outdated academic artistic traditions.

Executive Director Molly Giordano says, “Shortly after the Museum was founded, we were given an incredible gift: Samuel Bancroft’s significant Pre-Raphaelite collection. Our holdings have since grown, and we’re home to critically important paintings and drawings by Dante Gabriel Rossetti, as well as rare works on paper by Elizabeth Siddal. Partnering with Tate Britain, and its extraordinary collection, makes this exhibition an unprecedented opportunity for enthusiasts of the Pre-Raphaelite movement to see so many superlative objects in one location.”

While Delaware audiences are intimately familiar with DelArt’s paintings by Rossetti, those works have never been contextualized alongside works from international public and private collections that this exhibition brings together. DelArt’s exhibition will exceed 150 objects—many beyond the paintings and drawings that made Rossetti famous. One highlight of the installation is a manuscript of “The Portrait,” a poem by Rossetti believed to have been exhumed from Elizabeth Siddal’s grave.

DelArt’s presentation of “The Rossettis” will be further enhanced by significant loans from the Mark Samuels Lasner Collection, University of Delaware Library, Museums, and Press, as well as rare archival material by the Rossettis in the Samuel and Mary R. Bancroft Pre-Raphaelite Manuscript Collection, Helen Farr Sloan Library & Archives, Delaware Art Museum.

For the first time, “The Rossettis” places Dante Gabriel Rossetti’s art within the larger context of the radical politics of his family, exiled to England due to their support for revolutionary Italian nationalism. Paintings, drawings, and watercolors by Dante Gabriel will be viewed alongside the drawings of Siddal, and the poetry and prose of Christina, Maria, and William Michael.

A major contribution of the exhibition is its examination of the relationship between Dante Gabriel and Siddal, who was a poet and artist in her own right. Her career was on the rise when she died at age 32 of a laudanum overdose following a stillbirth. Art historians have long situated Siddal’s output as derivative of her husband’s, but new research reveals that many of the themes they mutually explored were, in fact, initiated by her.

Lynford adds, “Siddal’s oeuvre is disappointingly slim due to her premature death. ‘The Rossettis’ assembles the largest display of her drawings in over three decades.”

The exhibition explores how the Rossettis led a progressive counterculture before, through, and beyond the Pre-Raphaelite years, drawing on the past to reinvent art, politics, and relationships for their fast-changing modern world. The public is still fascinated by myths of Dante Gabriel’s intense relationships with fellow Pre-Raphaelites William Holman Hunt and John Everett Millais, and his models Fanny Cornforth and Jane Morris. The exhibition will engage visitors both familiar with and new to the Pre-Raphaelites with fresh insights that address contemporary debates about romance, class, sex, and gender.

“The Rossettis” will be the final show of a larger DelArt initiative called, “Year of Pre-Raphaelites,” which began in late 2022 with the special loan exhibition, “A Marriage of Arts and Crafts: Evelyn and William De Morgan.” A “Pre-Raphaelite Weekend,” scheduled November 9–12, 2023, and co-hosted by the Pre-Raphaelite Society, based in the U.K., will allow visitors from near and far to share in the celebrations with behind-the-scenes experiences, musical performances, tours, high tea, and a Pre-Raphaelite Promenade.

For more information about the exhibition, visit our website.

This exhibition was organized by the Delaware Art Museum in partnership with Tate Britain and is made possible through support from the Nathan Clark Foundation, the Amy P. Goldman Foundation, the Delaware Art Museum Council, and the Dr. Lee MacCormick Edwards Charitable Foundation. This exhibition 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.

Top: La Ghirlandata (detail), 1873, Dante Gabriel Rossetti. Oil on canvas. Guildhall Art Gallery. Photo credit: City of London Corporation.

Diverse Areas of Expertise Will Bolster Museum’s Success in Growing Its Capacity to Serve

On May 11, Delaware Art Museum members voted in a slate of new trustees for three-year terms. Along with new trustees, the Museum is undergoing a change in board leadership, as Christine Moritz was elected to replace outgoing President David Pollack.

“It has been my great pleasure to embrace my role as Executive Director under David Pollack’s leadership as President,“ said Executive Director Molly Giordano. “Our Museum stewardship responsibilities began around the same time, and I look forward to learning from Christine Moritz as she takes on the mantle of board leadership.”

Pollack served as the Museum’s President since the spring of 2020, successfully navigating the Museum through the pandemic, and was an integral part of the Museum’s fundraising strategy during his term. He will remain on the board.

Moritz is a Director of Operations for Eastern States Group, a Wilmington-based real estate business, whose career has taken her from CPA at Ernst & Young to finance and operations at Louis Vuitton North America. She has served on the board of trustees since 2019. A Museum neighbor, Moritz recently led a successful fundraiser, Art of the Cocktail, the proceeds of which will support the Museum’s Kid’s Corner.

“As an arts lover who lives in walking distance of the Museum, this organization has been meaningful to me and my family for many years,” said Moritz. “I look forward to taking on this bigger role and to representing this important anchor institution in our community.”

The five trustees joining the Delaware Art Museum board this spring are:

  • Daniel Cole, Attorney with a passion for business law and international law; Associate, currently of Richards, Layton & Finger, transitioning to Young Conaway Stargatt & Taylor in mid-June; former editor-in-chief of the Temple International Comparative Law Journal and former president of the Temple Law Student Bar Association
  • David Cullmann, Managing Director/COO and co-founder of Active Lifestyle Management, a concierge service company for active adults, following a lifelong career in finance
  • Richard P. Fitzgerald, Former head of three distinguished independent schools and one nationally-recognized charter school; former Associate Dean at University of Pennsylvania’s Weitzman School of Design; and former Vice President for Advancement at the College of Physicians/Mütter Museum
  • Kathleen (Kathy) S. Matt, PhD, Former dean of the University of Delaware College of Health Sciences (2009-2022), helped develop the Health Sciences Complex and the Tower on the Science, Technology and Advanced Research (STAR) Campus, a platform that facilitates collaborations engaging academia, businesses and the community with the intent of enhancing health outcomes and growing economic development
  • Phyllis Woolley Mobley is a past trustee of the Museum for African Art in NYC, and an award winning International Brand & Multicultural Marketing Executive for fortune 100 companies. She is currently an Educator in the Brandywine School District and a poet, writer, and storyteller whose work deeply reflects her Haitian American heritage and her global experiences in Africa, Europe, the Caribbean, Latin America and Oceania

These new trustees offer diverse areas of expertise from which the Museum will benefit. As the Museum continues into its newest chapter, these law, finance, fundraising and development, communications and marketing, health, senior services, and educational professionals will bolster the organization’s success in growing the Museum’s capacities to serve the public.

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.

Experience the Tradition, Culture, and Memory before it leaves.

The Delaware Art Museum invites the public to come and experience the last weeks of Estampas de la Raza: Contemporary Prints from the Romo Collection on view. The exhibition will be open to the public until May 28th, 2023. The exhibition chronicles the unique heritage, history, and experience of Mexican Americans and Latinos between 1980 and 2010. It showcases 61 eye-catching screen prints and lithographs from the McNay Art Museum collection in San Antonio, TX. You certainly don’t want to miss this unique opportunity to see an exhibition of this kind in the area. You can also experience Estampas de la Raza with a guide-led tour in English or Spanish. Dates and times are available on the website. Check-in at the front desk 10 minutes before the beginning of the tour. Such a great chance to learn in more detail the history behind and the processes the artists use to exhibit as diverse and unique as Estampas.

Lifelong educators, Harriett and Ricardo Romo spent four decades supporting Latino artists and collecting their works. Inspired by the Chicano art movement of the 1960s and 1970s, many of these artists activate Pop Art aesthetics and powerful messages to explore the complex identities and struggles of Latinos living in the United States. The exhibition highlights Mexican icons, including Frida Kahlo and Che Guevara, and celebrates Latino cultural traditions.

Estampas de la Raza provides a comprehensive introduction to the Latino artists’ contribution to post-1960 American printmaking. The exhibition also raises awareness of three highly influential print shops—Self Help Graphics & Art (SHG) and Modern Multiples in Los Angeles, and Coronado Studio in Austin. Of the more than 60 prints in the exhibition, the vast majority came from one of these collaborative shops. These shops have not only introduced a previously underserved audience to printmaking but have also been central to the creativity and cultural awareness of their respective Chicano and Latino communities.

Works in the exhibition focus on five themes: Identity; Struggle; Tradition, Culture, Memory; Icons; and Other Voices. The 44 featured printmakers include Raul Caracoza, Sam Coronado, Richard Duardo, Germs (Jaime Zacarias), Ignacio Gomez, Ester Hernandez, Luis A. Jiménez Jr., Malaquias Montoya, Frank Romero, Patssi Valdez, and Ernesto Yerena.

You can also experience Estampas de la Raza with a guide-led tour in English or Spanish. Dates and times are available on the website. Check-in at the front desk 10 minutes before the beginning of the tour. Such a great chance to learn in more detail the history behind and the processes the artists use to exhibit as diverse and unique as Estampas.

Community Commissions To accompany Estampas de la Raza, the Delaware Art Museum commissioned two additional projects from local Mexican-born artists Julieta Zavala, a fashion designer, and Cesar Viveros, a muralist, painter, screen-printer, clay, and paper-mâché sculptor. “I’m proud that an important venue like DelArt chose to put on a culturally diverse exhibition like Estampas,” Zavala said. Viveros agrees, saying that the display of this type of art inside a museum excites him. Both artists created unique pieces inspired by their culture, heritage, and community.

Cesar Viveros is involved in many community projects in the Philadelphia area. His art is inspired by the stories and experiences shared by community members. Focused on sharing his culture, heritage, and history, he creates unique art pieces and spaces where those stories come alive, like Jardin Iglesias, where ancient traditions and contemporary art merge. Viveros transformed the Delaware Art Museum’s Orientation Hall with a mural and a series of screen prints inspired by his conversations with members of the Hispanic American Association of Delaware and Los Abuelos, a senior group from the Latin American Community Center.

Zavala, a graduate of the Art Institute of Philadelphia, is a fashion designer based in Newark, DE. She created a fashion collection inspired by the art in Estampas de la Raza and currently on display is a special piece in the museum gallery. “La Mera Mera,” this outfit and work of art combines references to the Virgin of Guadalupe and contemporary Latino culture.

On May 13th, “Julieta Zavala: Tradition, Cultura, Memory Fashion Show” the museum showcased more of Zavala’s designs, produced during her residency at DelArt this year. “The fashion show, brought light to the culture and the indigenous people of Mexico, expressing themselves through art and social justice to invoke that we are present even in the fabric that we wear. We will always be connected to our roots ” DelArt Community Engagement Specialist Iz Balleto says.

This exhibition is organized by the McNay Art Museum, San Antonio, Texas, with generous support provided by Art Bridges. Estampas de la Raza is also supported in Delaware by the Johannes R. and Betty P. Krahmer American Art Exhibition Fund. 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.

Community commissions are organized by the Delaware Art Museum, with generous support provided by Art Bridges.

Media Contact: Amelia Wiggins, Director of Advancement & External Affairs | awiggins@delart.org

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. 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.

IF YOU GO

WHAT: Estampas de la Raza: Contemporary Prints from the Romo Collection
WHEN: April 1, 2023 – May 28, 2023
WHERE: Delaware Art Museum
COST: Free after admission; tickets available at delart.org
INFO: delart.org/estampas

Top: Young Frida (Pink) (detail), 2006. Raul Caracoza. Screenprint, 26 1/8 x 26 1/8 inches (image). Collection of the McNay Art Museum, Gift of Harriett and Ricardo Romo, 2009.42. © Raul Caracoza.

In Gilbert Magu Luján’s print Cruising Turtle Island, the road doesn’t disappear into the sunset. It stretches around the horizon, dipping just out of sight before reappearing to convey a colorful low-rider car along a surface of white sand. A fiery heart rises – or is it setting? – in place of the sun. Opposite, a city lights up an indigo night sky. Buildings in the shape of an “L” and an “A,” alongside cactuses and palm trees, help us get our bearings. As our eyes follow the car and its passengers, we find ourselves in a radically re-imagined Los Angeles where Luján pictures Chicano identity mapped onto the land.

Gilbert Luján, nicknamed Magu, grew up in East Los Angeles during the 1940s and 1950s, a time before his neighborhood’s streets were paved. He lived with his maternal grandparents, Eladio and Luciana Sanchez, who had emigrated from Mexico in 1926.1 After receiving an MFA in ceramics in 1973 from the University of California – Irvine, Luján moved home to East LA, where he became a founding member of Los Four, a group of artists intent on defining and advocating for a distinctive Chicano aesthetic. For most of his career, he worked primarily in sculpture, painting, and printmaking. Alongside other artists in Estampas de la Raza, he pieces together and narrates identities complicated by the US-Mexico border.

Luján uses utopian landscapes like this one to image a present rooted in Chicano and Indigenous realities rather than settler-colonial boundaries. Scholar Karen M. Davalos has written that his imaginary landscapes constitute a form of “emplacement.” According to Davalos, emplacement can be a process of healing: “The wounds emplacement addresses include those of injustice, erasure, and alienation—in other words, the injuries of nationalism and colonialism that continue to define the social order.”2 But I say image rather than imagine because, crucially, Luján represents a real cultural landscape even if it does not match Western conventions of representational space and time. Luján visualizes an alternate reality with such forcefulness and consistency that it becomes, in his work, real.3 As a leader within the LA Chicano movement, Luján was concerned with the protection and flourishing of Chicano identity and self-determination. As part of that movement, he helped give voice to new bodies of theory, stories, and ways of telling history.

Many of Luján’s prints combine the mythical Chicano homeland of Aztlán with his own self-made utopia, Magulandia. Aztlán was the northern mythical homeland of the Aztec and Mexica. During the 1960s and 1970s, it became an important symbol of cultural identity and unity for people of Spanish and Indigenous descent in the Chicano movement. Magulandia was a self-invented utopia that was part of Luján’s broader project of building a Chicano aesthetic and articulating Chicano identity.4 In this print, Luján positions these landscapes as part of “Turtle Island,” an Indigenous term for North America that originated with the Haudenosaunee’s creation stories but has become widely used in pan-Indigenous circles. By identifying Aztlán and Magulandia with Turtle Island, Luján aligns his work within the Chicano movement with pan-Indigenous assertions of sovereignty and self-determination across the United States.

The car carries two figures along the sweeping path. The driver’s body is visible through the car, almost as though it is a part of the body of the car. The figure wears sandals and a feather headdress that suggest he is an antepasado, or Aztec ancestor.5 The front fender has an Olmec head decoration while the body contains animals who seem almost to drive the vehicle forward. The passenger in the backseat wears a fedora, his body hidden by the car. Unlike the antepasado in the front, he is almost entirely hidden from view. Yet the two figures are in dialogue with one another, which Luján makes clear through the Nahuatl speech glyphs drifting out of the mouth of each. Nahuatl was the language of the Mexica and other Aztec nations. Spanish missionaries recorded Nahuatl speech glyphs in sixteenth century codices that had just received broader scholarly attention in the 1970s, a decade before Luján made this print. The swirls and curls of color around the car have a similar shape. Luján uses these glyphs to put the past and present into conversation with one another, showing that Nahuatl history and aesthetics are just as much a part of the present as they are of the past. Luján called cars, and especially lowriders, “cultural vehicles.”6 Surrounding and threading through the car—a symbol of modernity—these symbols establish an Indigenous present.

Luján uses the landscape to show that Chicano identity does not simply refer to immigrants who cross the settler border between Mexico and the United States. Chicano also includes the Indigenous people who are not defined by national borders and who maintain a relationship with their homelands and culture even as they travel, or cruise, across North America. Pyramids rise from the desert, illuminated with electric lights. Their blocky, geometric shapes reference Aztec architecture, but dogs’ legs form their bases as dogs’ heads howl to the sky at the peak. To the left, one of the pyramids is set up as a single-family home, another low-rider settled in the driveway next to it. Luján often uses dogs as a metaphor for mixed Indigenous-Mexican heritage. Karen Davalos has described these buildings as “contemporary technological developments.” They are not “neoindigenous” or “appropriations of an Indigenous past,” but proof of how hybrid forms of modernity are built upon Indigeneity.7 Western notions of forward progress usually define history as a forward driving line. Many Indigenous intellectual traditions see time as a circle. In Cruising Turtle Island, night and day hang simultaneously in the same saturated sky.

Luján made this print at Self Help Graphics, a community-based print shop run out of East LA. Like Los Four, Self Help and other print shops represented in Estampas de la Raza were integral to the development of a Chicano aesthetic and art market. Without these institutions and collectors like Harriet and Ricardo Romo, whose collection is on display, Chicano artists were largely cut off from the fine art world. Not only did artists need to build their own aesthetic; they also needed to generate their own market and values. In a founding document for Los Four, Luján writes that alienation is the fundamental experience of urban socialization.8 He worked through collaborations and workshops to make the Chicano art movement one of anti-alienation and community formation governed by values of love, acceptance, and celebration.

In Luján’s print, neither Aztlán nor Turtle Island are static places defined by the fixed lines and points that nation-states have used to impose themselves onto these landscapes. Instead, the inhabitants are modern people who inhabit their world and build new technology in fluid dialogue with their antepasados. Colonialism changed, but did not a rupture, their connections to the past. The burning heart blazing across the sky, on the chest of the anthropomorphic dog in the bottom right corner, and on the engine of the car parked in its driveway turns the landscape of Turtle Island into a place of belonging, powered by the revelatory light of acceptance.

Julia Hamer-Light 
PhD Candidate, Depart of Art History
University of Delaware

Image: Gilbert “Magu” Luján, Cruising Turtle Island, 1986, screenprint on paper, image: 24 1⁄4 × 36 1⁄2 in. (61.6 × 92.7 cm) sheet: 25 × 38 1⁄4 in. (63.5 × 97.2 cm), Smithsonian American Art Museum, Museum purchase through the Frank K. Ribelin Endowment, 2020.22.1.

1 Gilbert “Magu” Luján, interview with Karen Mary Davalos, September 17, 19, and 22, and October 1 and 8, 2007, Ontario, California. CSRC Oral Histories Series, no. 4. Los Angeles: UCLA Chicano Studies Research Center Press, 2013.
2 Karen Mary Davalos, “The Landscapes of Gilbert ‘Magu’ Luján: Imagining Emplacement in the Hemisphere,” in Aztlán to Magulandia: The Journey of Chicano Artist Gilbert “Magu” Luján, ed. Constance Cortez and Hal Glicksman (Munich: University Art Galleries, University of California, Irvine in association with DelMonico Books Prestel, 2017), 37.
3 Hal Glicksman, “Introduction,” in Aztlán to Magulandia: The Journey of Chicano Artist Gilbert “Magu” Luján, ed. Constance Cortez and Hal Glicksman (Munich: University Art Galleries, University of California, Irvine in association with DelMonico Books Prestel, 2017), 17.
4 Glicksman, 17.
5 University Art Galleries, University of California, Irvine, “Aztlán to Magulandia: The Journey of Chicano Artist Gilbert ‘Magu’ Luján,” Google Arts & Culture, accessed May 5, 2023, https://artsandculture.google.com/story/aztlán-to-magulandia-the-journey-of-chicano-artist-gilbert-magu-luján/ZwWRt0v2OfvRJw.
6 Maxine Borowsky Junge, “Gilbert ‘Magu’ Luján–The Social Artist,” in Aztlán to Magulandia: The Journey of Chicano Artist Gilbert “Magu” Luján, ed. Constance Cortez and Hal Glicksman (Munich: University Art Galleries, University of California, Irvine in association with DelMonico Books Prestel, 2017), 84.
7 University Art Galleries, University of California, Irvine, “Place and Placement: Symbolic Geographies in the Work of Gilbert ‘Magu’ Luján,” Google Arts & Culture, accessed May 5, 2023, https://artsandculture.google.com/story/place-and-placement-symbolic-geographies-in-the-work-of-gilbert-“magu”-luján/6QXBJBBLJhwCLw.
8 Constance Cortez and Hal Glicksman, eds., Aztlán to Magulandia: The Journey of Chicano Artist Gilbert “Magu” Luján: (Munich: University Art Galleries, University of California, Irvine in association with DelMonico Books Prestel, 2017), 119.

At the Museum on May 13, Julieta Zavala will showcase new designs in a Fashion Show inspired by our spring exhibition, Estampas de la Raza. Below, Zavala shares about her residency at DelArt, her Chicano son, and the driving source behind all she creates: leaving a legacy that he will be proud of.

Julieta Zavala was born in Mexico City and started her long road trip to Delaware before turning 21. Her dad drove two days straight to get her and her sisters to their destination while listening to the Virus album and trying to learn English along the way.

Zavala’s story and her deep interest in artistic creation go back to when she was a child. In her youth, she was captivated by the magic of doll dresses discovered in a small, unclaimed suitcase at her mom’s. The fantasy world those dresses inspired has populated Julieta Zavala’s creations ever since. She grew up watching her aunt sew with patience and dedication. “She always looked so happy while sewing.” Zavala never followed big-name designers, instead believing that she has “a little something different” that sets her apart from the rest.

The emerging designer tried to attend the prestigious art and design school in Mexico, Jannette Klein University, but couldn’t afford it. Instead, she immersed herself in fashion design by taking as many free classes as she could in basic sewing, sketching, and design principles. This path led her to a job at a department store where big clothing brands, like Diesel, train employees in creating pieces of clothing. Zavala learned about design trends, how to choose fabrics and colors, and best practices for displaying garments. She got the itch, “Ahi ya se me quedó la espinita,” that would drive her to overcome language and cultural barriers to become a fashion designer at the Art Institute of Philadelphia many years later.

Once in the United States, not knowing the language lowered her self-esteem greatly. Learning English became Zavala’s main priority to accomplish her dreams. She took classes at churches and every free place she could find. She took night classes and graduated with honors from high school, then attended the Art Institute of Philadelphia, graduating with a degree in fashion design. In her road to success, nothing came easy. Three months before graduating, she gave birth to her son, but it did not stop her. Despite the logistical challenges that student moms face, including pumping in public bathrooms, finding childcare, struggling with postpartum depression, and facing societal judgement, Zavala kept going. A college degree was not just personally important, but an especially significant achievement because Zavala’s ancestors weren’t able to access higher education. She cites her family’s and husband’s support and encouragement as an essential factor in achieving her dream of becoming an independent designer.

Julieta Zavala’s business began when her sister suggested going to a Cinco de Mayo event to sell her creations. She started small by making fabric totes and cactus-inspired pillows. That was a revelation that led her to create something based on her culture that made her feel happy and fulfilled. Her roots became her source of artistic inspiration.

The originality of Zavala’s designs is key to her success. She sources unique fabrics and creates garments not available in stores. Her artistic creative process includes discovering material, touching it, and discerning what can be done with it. Rather than sketching, Zavala pictures her designs in her mind, creating a vision that she turns into a piece of art.

Aware of the fashion industry’s negative environmental impact, Zavala centers her design practice on reusing, recycling, and upcycling materials to make one-of-a-kind garments. For a Wisconsin Dia de los Muertos celebration, she created dresses with corn husks. While she stayed at a farm, volunteers helped her produce amazing catrina outfits (elegant female skeletons), as well as garments full of seeds for native dancers. The latter was planned to create a rain of seeds with every dance movement that, according to Zavala, “returned them to the ground, like sowing.” Zavala also uses plastic tablecloths “like the ones in every Mexican household and typical restaurant” to create dresses.Even though the material is hard to manipulate, the results are incredibly beautiful. For an LGBTQ+ Pride Parade, she fashioned a unicorn outfit from multicolored plastic springs sourced from a thrift shop. Searching through thrift shops and secondhand fabric stores, where other designers dispose textile leftovers, gives Zavala a way to practice environmental and financial consciousness.

Zavala’s current project is inspired by the DelArt exhibition “Estampas de la Raza,” showcasing the unique heritage, history, and experience of Mexican Americans and Latinos in the United States. She is excited that DelArt “brings culturally diverse art to the area and to the Anglo-Saxon community.” For the exhibition, Zavala created a one-of-a-kind version of a La Virgen de Guadalupe dress called “La Mera Mera,” which hangs in the special exhibition. This unique piece is a combination of religious iconography and the chola aesthetic to express the duality of their culture. On the one hand, it imbues female modesty and the norms of society, and on the other, it challenges gender norms by combining the masculine and feminine. For Zavala, the virgin is a symbol of Mexican culture, as iconic as mariachis, the Mexican flag, the prickly pear (nopal), wrestling (lucha libre), and Frida Khalo. Zavala admires Kahlo and has enormous respect for her work, considering her a woman ahead of her times whose art wasn’t properly recognized until recently.

Join Julieta Zavala at the Delaware Art Museum on May 13 for a Fashion Show highlighting her designs and celebrating her artist residency. Tickets available now.

Veronica V. Vasko

Photo by Manuel Flores from Dream Art Studio.

Come and experience the Culture, Art, and Traditions!

The Delaware Art Museum invites the public to experience Julieta Zavala: Tradition, Cultura, Memory Fashion Show on May 13th, 2023, from 6 to 9 pm. Zavala’s fashion stems from social justice and takes inspiration from the exhibition “Estampas De La Raza: Contemporary Prints from the Romo Collection.” Experience culture, tradition, and share in the memory of the Chicano movement from the 1970s, with a special live performance by Hip Hop artist Audry Funk. After the show, enjoy a cocktail hour and explore the special exhibition with sounds from DJ Kaadi setting the vibe for the night.

Julieta is a Mexican-born fashion designer that has innovated in the local fashion world with designs based on her culture. Using environmentally friendly and unusually cool fabric designs she creates amazing fashions from dress ware to tote bags. Zavala is enjoying her residency at DelArt as a part of the spring exhibition “Estampas De La Raza.” Zavala, a graduate of the Art Institute of Philadelphia, is a fashion designer based in Newark, DE who believes this project is an opportunity to connect with Chicano and Latino artists to promote their cultural roots and social trends.

Iz Balleto Community Engagement Specialist at the Delaware Art Museum, said, “This fashion show will bring light to the culture and the Indigenous people of Mexico, expressing themselves through art and social justice to invoke that we are present even in the fabric that we wear. We will always be connected to our roots.”

Julieta Zavala’s residency at the Delaware Art Museum will culminate with the Fashion Show on May 13.

Sponsors

Julieta Zavala: Tradition, Cultura, Memory Fashion Show was commissioned by the Delaware Art Museum, with generous support provided by Art Bridges. Additional support provided by the Center for Interventional Pain & Spine, Dream Art Studio, and Nuestras Raices Delaware. This event is sponsored by Prime Beverage Group, Hoy en Delaware, and Made D!fferent. 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 to for the latest exhibitions, programs, and performances or connect with us via social media.

IF YOU GO

WHAT: Julieta Zavala: Tradition, Cultura, Memory Fashion Show
WHEN: May 13, 2023
WHERE: Delaware Art Museum, 2301 Kentmere Parkway, Wilmington, DE 19803
COST: Members $25, Non-Members $30, V.I.P. $50
INFO: delart.org

Major children’s book illustrator Christian Robinson inspires summer of family fun.

This summer, the Delaware Art Museum presents the art of nationally recognized and award-winning illustrator, author, and animator, Christian Robinson. Fresh off the heels of his collaboration with Target, Robinson’s illustrations from popular children’s books such as “Last Stop on Market Street” and “You Matter” will be celebrated in the exhibition “What Might You Do? Christian Robinson,” on view July 1 through September 10.

The exhibition will be complemented by creative family programs including “Kidchella,” a family music festival on July 27; monthly Family Second Sunday artmaking sessions; and Stories & Studio for early learners on select Friday mornings. Museum members are invited to a Curator Tour and Celebration on July 13.

Robinson, a New York Times best-selling author, is the winner of the Newbery Medal for distinguished contribution to American children’s literature, the Coretta Scott King Illustrator Honor, and the Caldecott Honor for his illustrations in “Last Stop on Market Street.” His colorful, playful illustrations center diversity of experience, presenting the whole world to his readers. In this summer’s exhibition, visitors of all ages are invited to experience Robinson’s original art and to read his books inside a city-bus-turned-reading-nook, boldly parked within the art gallery.

“DelArt is known for its renowned collections of historic American illustration,” says Curator of American Art Dr. Heather Campbell-Coyle. “I’m excited that we can bring that history into the present by sharing the artistry of one of the most compelling illustrators working today.” The exhibition will include 90 original artworks that Robinson created using primarily acrylic paint and collage. The display will feature illustrations for 17 children’s books, including “Last Stop on Market Street,” “Milo Imagines the World,” and “Carmela Full of Wishes.”

Saralyn Rosenfield, Director of Learning & Engagement, said, “We invite families to visit the exhibition all summer long and join us on July 27 for Kidchella, a kid-friendly happy hour for families in celebration of the Christian Robinson’s exhibition. Our hope is that the evening will be just as fun for the grownups as it is for the kids.” The event will include cross-generational music and sweet treats provided by Kaffeina, in the inspiring outdoor setting of DelArt’s Copeland Sculpture Garden.

Organizer and Sponsors

“What Might You Do? Christian Robinson” was organized by the National Center for Children’s Illustrated Literature, Abilene, Texas. In Delaware, this exhibition is supported by the Jessie Ball DuPont Fund and the Edgar A. Thronson Foundation Illustration Exhibition Fund. 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 to for the latest exhibitions, programs, and performances or connect with us via social media.

IF YOU GO

WHAT: “What Might You Do? Christian Robinson”
WHEN: July 1-September 10, 2023
WHERE: Delaware Art Museum
COST: Free after admission; tickets available at delart.org
INFO: delart.org/christian-robinson

WHAT: Kidchella
WHEN: Thursday July 27, 2023, 4:00 pm – 7:00 pm
WHERE: Delaware Art Museum’s Copeland Sculpture Garden
COST: Free; register at delart.org
RAIN DATE: Thursday August 3, 2023, 4:00 pm – 7:00 pm
INFO: delart.org

Media Contact: Amelia Wiggins, Director of Advancement & External Affairs, awiggins@delart.org

Image: Cover from You Matter, 2020. Christian Robinson (born 1986). Acrylic paint and collage on paper, 18.5 x 16 inches. © 2020 by Christian Robinson.

An art museum is a unique location for a wedding, whether the couple are creative types or just want an event that stands out from the banquet hall model. The venue contributes significantly to the vibe of the big day, from the look, to the convenience and guest experience, to the vendor choices. Adding art makes a wedding especially memorable and can dramatically enhance the look of the event and the photos of the day.

We spoke to recently wedded couples and vendors we’ve worked with to give you some insight into what it’s like to have your wedding here at the Museum.

THE EXPERIENCE: Kristen and Ryan’s intimate autumn labyrinth vows

imageLaura Briggs Photography.

Kristen Nassif said “I do” to Ryan Lee at the Museum in October 2022. While Nassif and Lee mostly got ready at The Westin at the Wilmington riverfront, final dressing took place at the Museum, just before their ceremony.

This autumn wedding faced extreme weather challenges—a hurricane in the southern part of the U.S.—but in the end, the “I dos” took place where the pair wanted them to: in the former-reservoir-turned-labyrinth, situated at the north end of the Copeland Sculpture Garden.

Nassif and Lee did move the cocktail hour from the terrace inside to the Museum’s East Court, reflecting that the flexibility of the Museum, particularly given the climate challenges, was “really, really helpful.”

Photo opportunities can be a major factor in choosing a wedding venue, and Nassif says, “We took lots of pictures outside, using lots of wall textures and colors.” Taking photos on the indoor Chilhuly Bridge (featuring Dale Chilhuly’s blown glass Persian Window) was also a big draw.

Lee says that most of the photos, taken by Laura Briggs of Kennett Square, show the wedding party in the Copeland Sculpture Garden. Family shots were positioned on the front steps, while his groomsmen posed in the labyrinth. His favorite photo, however, is one taken in a gallery. “It’s the background on my laptop,” he says.

Nassif further describes the photographic inspiration, as well as how it fit into their “minimalist-eclectic” design theme. “There’s all the stone and greenery and ivy, then you can also contrast that with the clean modern lines in the museum.”

Their guest count of 75 was “just right” for their reception in Fusco Hall, which featured dancing to DJ Mike Simmons.

Capping off the night was a very popular visit from an ice cream truck, which enabled them to make use of the terrace after all. In lieu of a cake, the UDairy frozen treat complemented the cake bites and chocolate fondue laid out by Brandywine Catering, which catered the plated dinner.

THE EXPERIENCE: The perfect venue for Andrew & Roberto’s perfect day

imageMeghan Newberry Photography. Sculpture: Monumental Holistic VII, 1980. Betty Gold (born 1935). Cor-Ten steel (TM), 168 × 96 × 108 in. Delaware Art Museum, Gift of Sidney M. Feldman, 1980. © Betty Gold.

Andrew Lukashunas and Roberto Torres tied the knot in October 2022.

After getting dressed in one of the large conference rooms in the Museum’s education wing, they made their way outside.

Their ceremony was in the Copeland Sculpture Garden, with the wedding procession entering the aisle directly behind the Crying Giant sculpture. A beautiful stone wall in the garden served as the ceremony’s backdrop.

After the vows, photos with loved ones were staged in the grass. Other photos included a snap in front of the Chilhuly glass, and the pair posed in front of the Museum after dark for a romantic shot featuring the windows and two-story arches filled with red light.

This couple was able to make use of the (tented) terrace for their cocktail hour, moving inside to Fusco Hall for a sit-down dinner, with food from Toscana Catering  (which went the extra mile to create custom ocean fare for seafood-lover Torres) and a reception for 120 guests. The couple says they are still getting compliments on the food all these months later.

Christine Jennings of Ever Lively Events served as the day-of coordinator for the wedding. She says that the linens can be so important because the tables take up so much real estate, noting that, “Roberto and Andrew were so open-minded and fun to work with. They leaned into the aesthetics of the Museum.”

In turn, Lukashunas says, “She helped us take some bold colors and blend them into a theme that looked extraordinary.” The orange linens on the terrace tables matched the napkins on the dinner settings, which made for an excellent color pop against the navy-and-white geometric-print tablecloths inside. The fun hues played off the warm golden paint that bedecks the front wall of Fusco Hall, as well as the art in that hall, and were also featured on the cake topper that crowned the cupcake tower.

Floral arrangements, from DiBiaso’s Florist, incorporated bold colors, and were, as Lukashunas called them, “unobtrusive.” With a base of red, orange, and yellow, with blue and green accents, all the flower colors put together flowed into the handful of rainbow-colored accents, such as a cupcake tower and macaron towers provided by Michele Mitchell Pastry Designs

Music for the ceremony and cocktail hour was provided by the Wilmington String Ensemble and Deejay Howard of Blue Root Entertainment

Rumor has it, the wedding party hit the nearby Grottos Pizza en masse once the wedding festivities had concluded, before settling at The Westin for the night.

Lukashunas says, “I cannot stress this enough: we would not change a single thing about our wedding. The Museum was the perfect venue, and … everything went off without a hitch.”

He added, “Lauren McMahon [Museum Event and Rentals Manager] is a delight to work with; she has a wonderful tasteful eye and a calm and cool presence, and her lighting and signage recommendations were perfection.”

With the goal of making wedding preparations easy for the renter,  McMahon says of couples, “Once they choose their vendors, I connect with each of them, and we all work together.”

THE VENDORS

The Museum has an excellent list of approved caterers and preferred vendors, and will also work with vendors couples may choose outside that list.

Wilmington’s Jamestown Catering is a regular partner of the Museum, and Catering and Events Manager Ashley Ghione says the Museum setting facilitates creative menu planning. “We’ve created menus that vibe with the sculptures that are outside, and others that work with specific eras, themes, and exhibitions,” she says.

While they serve plenty of the familiar wedding fare, such as shrimp cocktail, soup shooters have become very popular in recent years. And sometimes they’ll create a new take on a classic, like Beef Wellington. Jamestown specializes in full-service catering, meaning they will help with anything from coordinating limos to rental of furniture, such as chaise lounges and boho furniture arrangements … and even rugs. Champagne wall rentals are a popular wedding choice, and Jamestown can fulfill such Instagrammable setups to complement the everywhere-art.

Ashley Black is the owner of Fantail Photography in Kennett Square, PA. She says that the Museum offers cool options in terms of indoor and outdoor photography. “Some venues have no indoor options for rain,” she says. “I love the Chilhuly Bridge.” Black also likes the lighting options the Museum’s setting creates, and particularly enjoys shooting at sunset outside the Museum. “It actually accentuates the sunset because it reflects off the glass.” She also finds the Copeland Sculpture Garden presents interesting challenges. “There’s the installation [“Three Rectangles Horizontal Jointed Gyratory III” by George Rickey] that moves with the wind … it makes for a great frame but it’s always moving.”

Flowers by Yukie, winner of well over a dozen Best of Delaware awards, is a frequent florist to the Museum, from weddings to flower-focused fundraisers in the Copeland Sculpture Garden. Yukie Yamamoto describes a favorite wedding she helped adorn with blooms, “There was a really long table and I did a high and low flower arrangement. The dance floor was in the middle, and it was surrounded by high tops where guests could watch people dance.”

She complimented the Museum’s offerings, from interior contemporary spaces (which work well with blossoms such as orchids), to exterior green spaces, which can offer a country feel when floriated wooden arches are employed, and noted that there are opportunities to start with flowers outside and later bring them in. She sees the guest count and format as drivers of the floral plan, with sit-down dinners and cocktail buffets dictating different botanical choices.

“You could not have a more beautiful place to have a wedding,” says Yamamoto.

THE FINE POINTS

McMahon adds that just about everything at the Museum’s is flexible, except perhaps for start time, as the Museum stays open until 4 p.m. on typical wedding days. The earliest weddings typically begin no sooner than 6 p.m., but both vendors and wedding parties are welcome to arrive earlier in the day for setup, hair and makeup, and dressing.

“We have two conference rooms here that we use as suites for the wedding party. They have natural light, full length mirrors, closets for hanging clothing, and restrooms close by.” Your wedding can last until midnight. You’re welcome to return the next day to pick up items that have been stored on-site.

The Museum works with parties to consider indoor and outdoor spaces, for ceremonies, receptions and photo opportunities. The largest fully indoor space can accommodate a seated dinner for 130, and adding a heated/fan-cooled tent on the Museum terrace can increase capacity to 175. Standing cocktail receptions offer large capacity options as well.

Rain is always a worry for outdoor vows, and the Museum offers an indoor alternative for any ceremony.

With 85 dedicated parking spaces, as well as street parking, arrivals and departures are easy for guests—even if your ceremony requires guests to spend a brief period on the grass, you won’t need to subject your guests to muddy or rocky pathways to temporary parking in fields.

Both main entrances to the museum are easily accessed by shuttles, and ADA accessibility is built into our indoor spaces.

Climate control is very important to the Museum’s regular operations, so guests are neither likely to feel extreme cold nor heat, nor the humidity that is as bad for hairdos as it is for paintings.

The Museum also offers museum passes to share with all of the guests, whether in your favors, thank you notes, or hotel welcome baskets. The couple also receives a one-year museum membership.

Tables and chairs are included in your rental fee, as well as china, glassware, and flatware and access to a kitchen for your caterer. (Some limitations apply.)

Options you can choose to add onto your budget include special lighting (which often is part of a DJ’s offerings), video projection, photo booth, a coat check, and valet.

With a range of options to choose from starting at $1,000, Nassif says the cost of holding a wedding at the Museum is “so reasonable.”

Contact Lauren McMahon to schedule a walk-through and book your artful museum wedding: lmcmahon@delart.org 

Delaware Art Museum Exhibition Combines Sculpture and Works on Paper

The Delaware Art Museum presents “Revision” by sculptor David Meyer, opening on Saturday, May 6, 2023, and running through Sunday, September 24, 2023. An artist gallery chat will take place on August 24 during a 5:30 p.m. Thursday Museum Happy Hour. The exhibition is included in the price of Museum admission.

“Revision” combines pieces from several of Meyer’s major series from the last decade, and will comprise ten objects, including two sculptures and eight works on paper.

Margaret Winslow, Chief Curator and Curator of Contemporary Art, says, “For this show, David is making two new pieces. ‘According to what’ is a hanging wall-based sculpture that will be assembled on-site, made with hand-formed chain links. This work is installation-specific and it’s different each time.”

Both the wall-based and the hanging sculptures are large-scale pieces, and the archival prints are based on photos the artist has taken of his sculptures. While the sculptures will hang in the East Court, the prints will hang in the adjacent upstairs hallway.

The Oklahoma-born Meyer sculpts various materials—aluminum, steel or ribbon—to form objects that elevate our senses. Meyer invites viewers to scrutinize their assessments of the world around them, such as expecting metal to be heavy and chains to be set. His “Air into breath” series uses delicate aluminum and ribbon sculptures as a way to explore the tension between what is seen and what is perceived.

The artist investigates systems, often creating sculptures that expand over time, and creating new works out of existing works.

Meyer frequently takes found photographic images and distorts them to create new, three-dimensional outlines vaguely reminiscent of the original, unidentified photos. Meyer then photographs his hanging sculptures to create his own works on paper. Each layer invites translation and interpretation, and Meyer perceives a person’s understanding of images as something that changes over time.

He says, “Because of the undefined nature of the imagery within the work, the subject matter can shift from one thought to another and only becomes real when we believe it, like a ghost.”

Meyer says, “Working in this realm helps me remain aware of nature’s relentless progression through the cycle of life, death and regeneration.”

Meyer’s connection to Delaware stems from his studies and career at the University of Delaware. After receiving his bachelor of fine art degree from Kansas City Art Institute in 1986, he earned a master of fine art degree from the University of Delaware in 1996, ultimately teaching there for more than 20 years. He retired in January 2023 and maintains an active studio practice at his home outside of Newark, Del.

He is an award-winning teacher and lecturer, and the recipient of multiple fellowships and commissions, including a Delaware Division of the Arts fellowship. Sculpture commissions include the City of Newark, Del. and the Delaware Community Foundation, and memorials for the Archdiocese of Oklahoma and the Oklahoma State Capitol.

Past exhibition highlights include participation in group shows at the Delaware Art Museum, The Delaware Contemporary, Art Museum of the Americas, United States Botanic Garden, Vox Populi (Philadelphia), Corcoran Gallery of Art, Towson University, Museum of Contemporary Art Arlington, Globe Dye Works, AREA 405 (Baltimore) and James Oliver Gallery (Philadelphia). Solo exhibitions of his work have been presented at venues throughout the United States including West Chester University, Tephra Institute of Contemporary Art, The Delaware Contemporary, Durbin Gallery at Birmingham-Southern College, Leedy-Voulkos Art Center (Kansas City), and the Visual Arts Center at San Antonio College.

For more information about the exhibition, visit our website. For more information about David Meyer, visit his website.

This exhibition 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.

IF YOU GO
WHAT: “Revision” by Sculptor David Meyer
WHEN: May 6–September 24, 2023
WHERE: Delaware Art Museum, 2301 Kentmere Parkway, Wilmington, DE 19806
COST: Included in Museum admission
INFO: delart.org

IF YOU GO
WHAT: Artist Gallery Chat with Sculptor David Meyer
WHEN: Thursday, August 24, 2023, 5:30–6:30 p.m.
WHERE: Delaware Art Museum, 2301 Kentmere Parkway, Wilmington, DE 19806
COST: Free
INFO: delart.org

Top: According to what, 2023. Steel. Variable dimensions. Courtesy of the artist. © David Meyer.

The Delaware Art Museum is pleased to announce that it is a recipient of a Warhol Foundation Curatorial Research Fellowship to support the development of an upcoming historical exhibition honoring the art and artist employment opportunities produced by the 1973 Federal Comprehensive Employment and Training Act. Funding for this project was previously received from the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Working in collaboration with New York’s City Lore and Artists Alliance, Inc., the Delaware Art Museum is planning a traveling exhibition honoring the Federal Comprehensive Employment and Training Act of 1973, which led to public employment of artists at a scale not seen since the Works Progress Administration of the 1930s.

The Federal Comprehensive Employment and Training Act (CETA), signed into law by President Richard Nixon on December 28, 1973, provided federal funds in the form of block grants for states to train workers during a period of high unemployment. States in turn distributed the funds to different cities, allowing a localized approach. Some cities and states, such as San Francisco, Chicago, New York City, and Delaware, used CETA funds to hire artists to create public service art projects. From 1974 until its repeal by President Ronald Reagan in 1982, CETA led to the employment of ten thousand artists around the country.

From December 2021 through March 2022, City Lore and Artists Alliance Inc. presented the two-venue exhibition ART/WORK: How the Government-Funded CETA Jobs Program Put Artists to Work, curated by Molly Garfinkel and Jodi Waynberg. The highly acclaimed pilot exhibition chronicled CETA-funded arts programming in New York City, with a particular focus on the Cultural Council Foundation’s CETA Artists Project. Building upon the successful exhibition and associated programs, it’s exciting to move into this new phase of exhibition planning.

The next stage of development will focus on travel to other critical CETA sites throughout the United States. The project curators have identified locations where a wealth of information can be found including Baltimore, Washington DC, Philadelphia, Atlanta, Chicago, San Francisco, and Los Angeles. The curators will conduct meetings with prospective institutional partners and interview past CETA participants, administrators, and legacy organizations to examine primary source documents within public and private archives.

Margaret Winslow, chief curator and curator of contemporary art at the Delaware Art Museum, says, “we are excited to continue our efforts on this important topic with City Lore and Artists Alliance, Inc. In Delaware, CETA funding supported more than 50 artists and arts administrators who organized community performances, produced murals throughout Wilmington, and photographed people and events in Delaware during 1976 Bicentennial celebrations. CETA impacted the trajectory of arts and culture throughout the state, just as it did across the nation.”

imageCCF CETA artist Selvin Goldbourne drawing portraits at a Harlem block party; Photo by Blaise Tobia for the CCF CETA Arts Project,1978. © Blaise Tobia, 2023.

Molly Garfinkel, Co-Director of City Lore, Inc., says “City Lore is thrilled to renew our collaboration with Artists Alliance Inc., and the Delaware Art Museum on this timely and exciting initiative. The history and impact of CETA funding on artists, communities, and the arts ecology in the United States is woefully under-documented, but CETA provides valuable precedents and lessons for the current moment. CETA helped to demonstrate that artists and cultural workers deserve to be considered a critical part of the U.S. labor force. Moreover, artists applied to CETA-funded public service employment projects not just to stand in line for a check, but to do something meaningful with their time, skills, and resourcefulness. CETA funds enabled cultural workers to take risks, to grow, and to engage in new forms of collaboration—both with each other and with their communities. It helped many existing cultural organizations to establish a foothold and expand programming and capacity. Why does supporting culture matter? Culture should be supported because it is part of our daily lives, and it is an integral part of civic life. Expression of culture has much to do with how well we understand ourselves and each other, build relationships with and get along with one another. Being able to do this is as relevant now as ever.”

Jodi Waynberg, Director of Artists Alliance Inc., adds “There is hardly a more fitting moment to reflect on the benefits to our communities, individual arts workers, and cultural institutions when the United States invests in its labor force. We are thrilled that that the Warhol Foundation has afforded us the opportunity to amplify this extraordinary history and reimagine sustained investment in cultural workers.”

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

Top: Wilmington Parade, 1976. Norma Diskau (born 1942). Gelatin silver print, image: 6 5/8 × 10 inches, sheet: 10 7/8 × 14 inches. Delaware Art Museum, Gift of the artist, 2015. © Norma Diskau Calabro.

Visitors to the Delaware Art Museum this spring are greeted by a colorful bodega in Orientation Hall. The mural, created by Philadelphia artist Cesar Viveros, celebrates Chicano culture and is inspired by our spring special exhibition, Estampas de la Raza: Contemporary Prints from the Romo Collection.

It’s almost impossible to walk or drive around the city of Philadelphia without admiring a magnificent Cesar Viveros mural. Viveros’ story of how he discovered muralism is as compelling as his art.

Cesar Viveros was born in the town of Veracruz, Mexico, and art was not part of his local high school’s curriculum. That didn’t stop his mechanical drawing teacher from encouraging his students to explore beyond that industrial side of illustration and ignite their creativity. This teacher conceived of contests to encourage the students to create and shared invaluable art supplies like canvas, acrylics, brushes and books. Viveros started making signage for shops and events to earn money. As a Mexican, he claims that murals and art are part of his unconscious, brought up in “muralist country.” People in his home country are used to living and breathing art as part of their daily lives, on the walls of their streets, in public sculptures, even on their currency. Artists like Diego Rivera and David Siqueiro have instilled muralism into Mexican culture.

Art school was not easily accessible to Viveros, financially or geographically. Seeking financial independence, Viveros pursued industrial scuba diving as his professional career instead of art. He was a Jacques Cousteau fan, always dreaming about exploring the oceans. This fantasy led him to work as a diver on an oil platform in the Gulf of Mexico. There, he used any industrial paints he could get his hands on to create murals on the scuba departments walls, shops in the port area, and wherever building owners would allow him. His designs included underwater scenes of mermaids and tritons. Soon, other workers began commissioning Viveros to make drawings and paintings for themselves.

As he pursued his art, Viveros was rejected by art galleries big and small. But his luck took a turn in 1997 when Meg Salligman was painting a 10-story high mural in Philadelphia. Viveros, impressed by the work, approached her and offered to volunteer. This opened the door to new opportunities, including directing a 14-story mural in Louisiana celebrating the millennium with 50 artists from around the country.

Through his work at the Philadelphia Mural Arts Program, the Philadelphia Catholic Diocese commissioned Viveros to paint a mural for Pope Francis visit in 2015 for the World Meeting of Families. The public was invited to help paint the mural through participation in a series of community paint days which broke a Guinness record for highest number of contributors to a painting. “The Sacred Now: Faith and Family in the 21st Century” mural was a learning experience and great exposure.

While he painted, Viveros worked multiple side jobs to support himself and his family. These gave him the opportunity to experience and learn from his surrounding community and their struggles, which he poured onto his art.

Cesar Viveros work was also guided by his late wife Ana. She was known as the queen of papier-mâché, and she was his inspiration and pillar for many his side projects, including various Ofrendas installations (offerings placed in a home altar during the traditional Mexican Día de los Muertos celebration) and piñatas workshops. This parallel work was focused on sharing culture and heritage. Viveros creates unique art pieces and spaces where stories come alive, like the Cesar Andreú Iglesias Community Garden, also called “el terreno,” where ancient traditions and contemporary art merge. This ongoing project started 10 years ago alongside a socialist group from Philadelphia. They cleaned up a piece of land that was being used as for garbage disposal. Their combined goal was to avoid real estate development of the space. From the beginning, Viveros offered his art as a weapon to fight against displacement, in the way Chicanos did at the southern border in the 70s. “This is a space to celebrate our Latin culture, which is so connected to the earth, and to organize and educate others about it,” says Viveros. With that goal in mind, he and his neighbors started to establish activities like food justice workshops, classes on sowing and harvesting corn and building a “barbacoa” (a hole dug in the ground covered with agave leaves). They shared sweat lodge ritual practices, Aztec Dances and ceremonies, and displayed altars for Day of the Dead celebrations, and created sculptures and mosaics. During the Covid-19 pandemic, the garden turned into a safe space for the community. Viveros found refuge and motivation in “el terreno.”

Viveros considers himself a Chicano art fan, inspired by the movement’s use of art for social action. When contacted by the Delaware Art Museum to create art inspired by the Estampas de la Raza exhibition, he saw s a window of opportunity to promote Chicano and Latino art in the area. He had the opportunity to meet and listen to members of the Hispanic American Association of Delaware and Los Abuelos, a senior group from the Latin American Community Center. “Meeting with the community of Delaware provided me with many stories that can be told through the use of ink and paper. My hope is that people can see themselves reflected in this transitional art, either displayed in a museum or attached to a wall,” shared Viveros. The mural painted by Viveros at DelArt represents a bodega or tienda de la esquina, a typical corner store which serves as a daily point of encounter in Latino neighborhoods. The bodega provides a gathering place where conversations about social and political issues can unfold. Screen prints are commonly posted in bodegas to advertise social events, political marches, and popular activities. Viveros remembers how screen printing was the most affordable way to promote these events, since the mainstream media wouldn’t provide the time or space for it. “This was before the Internet,” said Viveros, “and the only way to do outreach was to hang posters at the bodega in the barrio.”

Cesar Vivero’s goal is to take this type of art to more museums and galleries. He highlights the importance of giving recognition to Chicano and Latino artists. That is why he thinks Estampas de la Raza is an important exhibition in a greater movement. “DelArt is providing the space; now it’s time for the community of artists to take advantage of the opportunity that has been presented to them. Nobody will do the work for you, so if there’s a microphone, I will grab it; if there’s a stage, I’ll come up.”

Like all of Viveros’ work, this mural extends beyond its walls to the community around it. The screen prints on view in DelArt’s Orientation Hall are also posted on Latino businesses throughout Wilmington, bringing art into the neighborhoods that inspired it.

Veronica V. Vasko

My Life, My Voice is organized by the Delaware Art Museum, with generous support provided by Art Bridges. Screen printing by BadLandz Media House. 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.

Top: Cesar Viveros in front of My Life, My Voice: Occupying Spaces mural. Photo by Shannon Woodloe.

Delaware Art Museum invites the public to experience Estampas de la Raza: Contemporary Prints from the Romo Collection, on view from April 1 to May 28, 2023. The exhibition chronicles the unique heritage, history, and experience of Mexican Americans and Latinos between 1980 and 2010. It showcases 61 eye-catching screen prints and lithographs from the collection of the McNay Art Museum in San Antonio, TX.

Both lifelong educators, Harriett and Ricardo Romo spent four decades supporting Latino artists and collecting their works. Inspired by the Chicano art movement of the 1960s and 1970s, many of these artists activate Pop Art aesthetics and powerful messages to explore the complex identities and struggles of Latinos living in the United States. The exhibition highlights Mexican icons, including Frida Kahlo and Che Guevara, and celebrates Latino cultural traditions.

Estampas de la Raza provides a comprehensive introduction to the Latino artists’ contribution to post-1960 American printmaking. The exhibition also raises awareness of three highly influential print shops—Self Help Graphics & Art (SHG) and Modern Multiples in Los Angeles, and Coronado Studio in Austin. Of the more than 60 prints in the exhibition, the vast majority came from one of these collaborative shops. These shops have not only introduced a previously underserved audience to printmaking, but have also been central to the creativity and cultural awareness of their respective Chicano and Latino communities.

Works in the exhibition focus on five themes: Identity; Struggle; Tradition, Culture, Memory; Icons; and Other Voices. The 44 featured printmakers include Raul Caracoza, Sam Coronado, Richard Duardo, Germs (Jaime Zacarias), Ignacio Gomez, Ester Hernandez, Luis A. Jiménez Jr., Malaquias Montoya, Frank Romero, Patssi Valdez, and Ernesto Yerena.

Community CommissionsTo accompany Estampas de la Raza, the Delaware Art Museum commissioned two additional projects from locally-based, Mexican-born artists Julieta Zavala, a fashion designer, and Cesar Viveros, a muralist, painter, screen-printer, clay, and papier-mâché sculptor. “I’m proud that an important venue like DelArt chose to put on a culturally diverse exhibition like Estampas.” Zavala said. Viveros agrees, saying that the display of this type of art inside a museum excites him. Both artists are creating unique pieces inspired by their culture, heritage, and community.

Cesar Viveros is involved in many community projects in the Philadelphia area. His art is inspired by the stories and experiences shared by community members. Focused on sharing his culture, heritage, and history, he creates unique art pieces and spaces where those stories come alive, like Jardin Iglesias, where ancient traditions and contemporary art merge. Viveros will be transforming DelArt’s Orientation Hall with a mural and a series of screen prints inspired by his conversations with members of the Hispanic American Association of Delaware and Los Abuelos, a senior group from the Latin American Community Center.

Zavala, a graduate of the Art Institute of Philadelphia, is a fashion designer based in Newark, DE. She is creating a fashion collection inspired by the art in Estampas de la Raza and will display a special piece in the museum gallery. Called “La Mera Mera,” the outfit combines references to the Virgin of Guadalupe and contemporary Latino culture. On May 13th, starting at 6 pm, a fashion show at the museum will showcase more of Zavala’s designs, produced during her residency at DelArt this winter. “This fashion show will bring light to the culture and the Indigenous people of Mexico, expressing themselves through art and social justice to invoke that we are present even in the fabric that we wear. We will always be connected to our roots,” DelArt Community Engagement Specialist Iz Balleto says.

On March 31st, members of the Delaware Art Museum can enjoy a preview party for the Estampas de la Raza: Contemporary Prints from the Romo Collection and Our Red Planet: Anna Bogatin Ott special exhibitions from 6 pm to 8 pm. Enjoy live music, small bites, and a cash bar. Register at delart.org.

This exhibition is organized by the McNay Art Museum, San Antonio, Texas, with generous support provided by Art Bridges. This exhibition is supported in Delaware by the Jessie Ball duPont Fund. Estampas de la Raza is also supported in Delaware by the Johannes R. and Betty P. Krahmer American Art Exhibition Fund. 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.

Community commissions are organized by the Delaware Art Museum, with generous support provided by Art Bridges.

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

IF YOU GO:
WHAT: Estampas de la Raza: Contemporary Prints from the Romo Collection
WHERE: Delaware Art Museum, 2301 Kentmere Parkway, Wilmington, DE 19803
WHEN: On view from April 1st to May 28th
INFO: delart.org

Image: Raul Caracoza, Young Frida (Pink) (detail), 2006. Screenprint, 26 1/8 x 26 1/8 in (image). Collection of the McNay Art Museum, Gift of Harriett and Ricardo Romo, 2009.42. © Raul Caracoza.

El Delaware Art Museum invita al público a experimentar Estampas de la Raza: Impresiones Contemporáneas de la Colección Romo, del 1 de abril al 28 de mayo de 2023. La exposición narra la herencia, la historia y las experiencias únicas de los mexicoamericanos y latinos entre 1980 y 2010. Muestra 61 llamativas serigrafías y litografías de la colección del McNay Art Museum en San Antonio, TX.

Ambos educadores de toda la vida, Harriett y Ricardo Romo, pasaron cuatro décadas apoyando a artistas latinos y coleccionando sus obras. Inspirados por el movimiento de arte chicano de las décadas de 1960 y 1970, muchos de estos artistas activan la estética del arte pop y los mensajes poderosos para explorar las complejas identidades y luchas de los latinos que viven en los Estados Unidos. La exposición destaca íconos mexicanos, incluidos Frida Kahlo y Che Guevara, y celebra las tradiciones culturales latinas.

Estampas de la Raza ofrece una introducción completa a la contribución de los artistas latinos al grabado estadounidense posterior a 1960. La exposición también crea conciencia sobre tres imprentas muy influyentes: Self Help Graphics & Art (SHG) y Modern Multiples en Los Ángeles, y Coronado Studio en Austin. De las más de 60 impresiones de la exposición, la gran mayoría procedía de alguna de estas imprentas colaborativas. Estas imprentas no solo han introducido a un público previamente desatendido al grabado, sino que también han sido fundamentales para la creatividad y la conciencia cultural de sus respectivas comunidades chicana y latina.

Las obras de la exposición se centran en cinco temas: Identidad; Lucha; Tradición, Cultura, Memoria; iconos; y otras voces. Los 44 grabadores destacados incluyen a Raúl Caracoza, Sam Coronado, Richard Duardo, Germs (Jaime Zacarias), Ignacio Gómez, Ester Hernández, Luis A. Jiménez Jr., Malaquias Montoya, Frank Romero, Patssi Valdez y Ernesto Yerena.

Comisiones de la Comunidad: para acompañar a Estampas de la Raza, el Delaware Art Museum encargó dos proyectos adicionales a artistas locales nacidos en México, Julieta Zavala, diseñadora de moda, y César Viveros, muralista, pintor, serígrafo, escultor de arcilla y papel maché. “Estoy orgullosa de que un lugar importante como DelArt haya elegido presentar una exhibición culturalmente diversa como Estampas”, dijo Zavala. Viveros está de acuerdo y dice que le emociona una exhibición de este tipo de arte dentro de un museo. Ambos artistas están creando piezas únicas inspiradas en su cultura, herencia y comunidad. Cesar Viveros está involucrado en muchos proyectos comunitarios en el área de Filadelfia. Su arte está inspirado en las historias y experiencias compartidas por los miembros de la comunidad. Enfocado en compartir su cultura, patrimonio e historia, crea piezas de arte únicas y espacios donde esas historias cobran vida, como el Jardín Iglesias, donde se fusionan las tradiciones antiguas y el arte contemporáneo. Viveros transformará el Salón de Orientación de DelArt con un mural y una serie de serigrafías inspiradas en sus conversaciones con miembros de la Asociación Hispanoamericana de Delaware y Los Abuelos, un grupo de adultos mayores del Centro Comunitario Latinoamericano.

Zavala, graduada del Instituto de Arte de Filadelfia, es una diseñadora de moda que reside en Newark, DE. Ella está creando una colección de moda inspirada en el arte de Estampas de la Raza y exhibirá una pieza especial en la galería del museo. Esta pieza llamada “La Mera Mera”, es un atuendo que combina las referencias a la Virgen de Guadalupe y la cultura latina contemporánea. El 13 de mayo, a partir de las 6 p. m., un desfile de modas en el museo exhibirá más diseños de Zavala, producidos durante su residencia en DelArt este invierno pasado. “Este desfile de moda, resaltara a la cultura y los pueblos indígenas de México, expresándose a través del arte y la justicia social para invocar que estamos presentes hasta en la tela que vestimos. Siempre estaremos conectados con nuestras raíces” dice Iz Balleto, Especialista en Compromiso con la Comunidad de DelArt.

El 31 de marzo, los miembros del Delaware Art Museum podrán disfrutar de una fiesta de preestreno de las exposiciones especiales Estampas de la Raza: Contemporary Prints from the Romo Collection y Our Red Planet: Anna Bogatin Ott de 6:00 p. m. a 8:00 p. m. Pudiendo disfrutar de música en vivo, pequeños bocados y una barra en efectivo. Debe registrarse en delart.org.

Esta exposición está organizada por el McNay Art Museum, San Antonio, Texas, con el generoso apoyo de Art Bridges. Esta exposición cuenta con el apoyo del Jessie Ball duPont Fund en Delaware. Estampas de la Raza también cuenta con el apoyo del Johannes R. and Betty P. Krahmer American Art Exhibition Fund en Delaware. Esta organización cuenta con el apoyo, en parte, de una subvención de la Delaware Division of the Arts, una agencia estatal, en asociación con el National Endowment for the Arts. La División promueve eventos artísticos de Delaware en www.delawarescene.com.

Las comisiones de la comunidad son organizadas por el Delaware Art Museum, con el generoso apoyo de Art Bridges.

Acerca del Delaware Art Museum

Durante más de 100 años, el museo ha servido como institución principal de arte y cultura en Delaware. El museo está vivo y animado con experiencias, descubrimientos y actividades para conectar a las personas con el arte y entre sí. Originalmente creado en 1912 para honrar al reconocido ilustrador y oriundo de Wilmington, Howard Pyle, la colección del museo ha crecido a más de 12,000 obras de arte en nuestro jardín de edificios y esculturas. También es reconocido por el arte prerrafaelita británico, el museo es el hogar de la colección prerrafaelita más completa que se exhibe fuera del Reino Unido, y una creciente y significativa colección de arte contemporáneo.

Bajo el liderazgo de nuestra Junta Directiva, el Delaware Art Museum está implementando un enfoque integral para la participación comunitaria y cívica. Esta nueva y emocionante dirección estratégica requiere que aumentemos nuestro valor y relevancia para todas las audiencias. Visite www.delart.org para obtener las últimas exposiciones, programas y actuaciones o conéctese con nosotros a través de las redes sociales.

SI VISITA:

Qué: Estampas de la Raza: impresiones contemporáneas de la colección Romo
Dónde: Delaware Art Museum, 2301 Kentmere Parkway, Wilmington, DE 19803
Cuando: está a la vista del 1 de abril al 28 de mayo
Más Información: delart.org

Imagen: Raúl Caracoza, Joven Frida (Rosa) (detalle), 2006. Serigrafía, 26 1/8 x 26 1/8 in (imagen). Colección del McNay Art Museum, Donación de Harriett y Ricardo Romo, 2009.42. © Raúl Caracoza.

Visit the galleries this Women’s History Month to view some of the many women artists in the DelArt collections. Follow our suggested tour of 10 favorites, below.

Step into the Pre-Raphaelite galleries. Around the corner in gallery 3, look for a painting by Alice Boyd alongside exquisite jewelry by Arts and Crafts-era designer Phoebe Anna Traquair. In fact, this whole case is devoted to women artists working against the odds in the Victorian era.

Cross the hall and imagine you’re jumping across the pond, into American art gallery 5. Here you’ll find Lila Cabot Perry’s self-portrait. Friend of Mary Cassatt and Claude Monet, Perry led a successful painting career and helped introduce Impressionism in America.

Further on the main floor, Violet Oakley’s actual-sized designs for stained glass windows are highlights of the American Illustration gallery. Oakley’s work is surrounded by that of fellow female Golden Age illustrators.

Over in special exhibition gallery 9, explore the abstract paintings and sculpture of Anna Bogatin Ott, featured in the just-opened solo exhibition, Our Red Planet.

Take the stairs up to gallery 15, and pause in front of Isabel Bishop’s captivating painting, Dante and Virgil in Times Square. Next door, take in the modern art of Loïs Mailou Jones and Beulah Woodard, whose art was influenced by the art of Haiti and Africa.

End your tour in contemporary art gallery 17, where you’ll find the work of women artists still creating today, including Elizabeth Osborne and Angela Fraleigh.

We’re actively collecting more women artists in all areas of the Museum, and we’re working on new exhibitions of women artists planned for 2024 and beyond. Celebrate women artists with us at the Delaware Art Museum this March, and year-round.

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Left to right: St. Columba’s Farewell to the White Horse, 1868. Alice Boyd (British painter and draftsman, 1825–1897). Oil on board, 13 7/8 × 19 7/8 inches. Delaware Art Museum, Acquisition Fund, 2011. Pendant: The Song, 1904. Phoebe Anna Traquair (1852–1936). Polychrome enamel and silver foil on copper set in gold, 2 1/8 × 1 7/8 inches. Delaware Art Museum, Gift of Mrs. H. W. Janson, 1976.

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Left to right: Self-Portrait, 1897. Lilla Cabot Perry (1848–1933). Oil on canvas, 38 7/8 × 28 1/4 inches. Delaware Art Museum, F. V. du Pont Acquisition Fund, 2016. Hamlet, commissioned 1903. Violet Oakley (1874–1961). Oil on canvas, 75 1/4 x 43 1/2 inches. Delaware Art Museum, Gift of the Violet Oakley Memorial Foundation, 1983. © Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. Mars_15L2B, 2021 2022. Anna Bogatin Ott (born 1970). Archival pigment print on aluminum, 12 × 12 inches. Courtesy of the artist. © Anna Bogatin Ott.

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Dante and Virgil in Union Square, 1932. Isabel Bishop (1902–1988). Oil on canvas, 27 × 51 3/4 inches. Delaware Art Museum, Gift of the Friends of Art, 1971. © The Estate of Isabel Bishop. Courtesy of DC Moore Gallery, New York.

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Left to right: Parade de Paysans (Peasants on Parade), 1961. Loïs Mailou Jones (1905–1998). Oil on canvas, 39 1/4 × 19 inches. Delaware Art Museum, Acquisition Fund, 2018. © Estate of Loïs Mailou Jones. Mask, c. 1935. Beulah Ecton Woodard (1895–1955). Hammered and welded sheet metal with a copper patina, 20 × 12 × 3 inches. Delaware Art Museum, Acquisition Fund, 2017. © Artist or Artist’s Estate. Black Doorway I, 1966. Elizabeth Osborne (born 1936). Oil on canvas with objects, 40 × 49 3/4 inches. Delaware Art Museum, Louisa du Pont Copeland Memorial Fund and partial gift from Locks Gallery, 2016. © Elizabeth Osborne.

Art by Delaware Kids Ages 13 to 18 on Display in the Museum’s Galleries March through April

For the third time since 2012, the Delaware Art Museum clears the gallery walls to showcase the work of Delaware’s young artists for the 12 x 12 Youth Art Exhibition, March 4 – April 30, 2023. A free opening celebration is planned for Sunday, March 12, 2023, from 12 p.m.—2 p.m., coinciding with the Museum’s free Family 2nd Sunday.

Participating artists, who must be between the ages of 13 and 18 during the 2022-2023 school year, are asked to review the exhibition overview and guidelines, pre-register online, and drop off their art along with a printed submission form on Saturday, February 25 between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. The same pre-registration and submission process applies to teachers, who may also submit up to three student works on that date.

Saralyn Rosenfield, the Museum’s Director of Learning and Engagement, says, “The 12 x 12 Youth Art Exhibition is about sharing the creativity found among our young people in Delaware. Teachers, especially, love this opportunity for their students to see their work professionally hung in the Museum, sharing space with other great art in the Museum’s collection.”

Submissions must be accompanied by an artist statement and descriptive information such as dimensions (must be no larger than 12 inches high or wide) and medium(s). Each artist may submit one piece, in a wide range of mediums (restrictions apply), which will, in turn, be reviewed by a preparator, to ensure the piece meets the submission guidelines. Pieces will be returned to artists between May 3 and 7, 2023.

The Museum established the 12 x 12 Youth Art Exhibition in 2012, as part of the Museum’s centennial celebration, which included a juried exhibition, with the intention of staging it every five years. Although 2022 would have been the ten-year anniversary of the first exhibition, the Museum’s exhibition plans had shifted due to the pandemic.

Rosenfield adds, “Each 12 x 12 Exhibition captures a generation of young artists’ identities, interests and creative expression. It will be interesting to see how this generation makes those connections.”

For more information on eligibility, requirements, and submission instructions, 12 x 12 Youth Art Exhibition and Guidelines (delart.org)or contact Director of Learning and Engagement Saralyn Rosenfield at srosenfield@delart.org. To register to drop-off artwork, visit 12 x 12 Youth Art Exhibition Drop-off – Delaware Art Museum (delart.org).

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.

IF YOU GO

WHAT: 12 x 12 Youth Art Exhibition Art Drop Off
WHEN: Saturday, February 25, 2023, 10 a.m.—1 p.m.
WHERE: Delaware Art Museum, 2301 Kentmere Parkway, Wilmington, Del. 19806
COST: Free, registration required
INFO: delart.org

WHAT: 12 x 12 Youth Art Exhibition
WHEN: March 4 – April 30, 2023
WHERE: Delaware Art Museum, 2301 Kentmere Parkway, Wilmington, Del. 19806
COST: Included with Museum admission
INFO: delart.org

WHAT: 12 x 12 Youth Art Exhibition Opening Celebration
WHEN: Sunday, March 12, 2023, 12 p.m.—2 p.m.
WHERE: Delaware Art Museum, 2301 Kentmere Parkway, Wilmington, Del. 19806
COST: Free, registration required
CELEBRATION INFO: delart.org

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

“Our Red Planet: Anna Bogatin Ott” explores space imagery, the pandemic, and the war in Ukraine through the lens of art.

Opening February 18, the abstract art of Ukranian-born artist Anna Bogatin Ott is on display in a new exhibition at the Delaware Art Museum. Our Red Planet: Anna Bogatin Ott is informed by NASA images from Mars and the artist’s meditations on the COVID-19 pandemic and the war in Ukraine.

The title of the exhibition and the art explore the artist’s relationship with nature, space, and humanity. Anna Bogatin Ott created these new works of art in the midst of multiple political crises and natural disasters, including the war in Ukraine, which she calls, “a devastating a very personal tragedy.” In response, Bogatin Ott created a contemplative space for reflection and restoration. The artist will speak about her work in a public gallery talk on February 26, and celebrate the exhibition with Museum members on March 31.

“I strive to give the viewer an experience of serenity and calm, a safe, private space to contemplate, to heal, to connect to a greater whole,” explains Bogatin Ott, whose precise, quiet paintings are filled with subtly shifting, tranquil tones. Visitors are invited to follow the meditative path of a labyrinth created by the artist in the center of the exhibition. With Our Red Planet, Bogatin Ott has transformed the gallery into a sanctuary.

“Through works of art that explore both the wonder and tragedy of humanity, Anna Bogatin Ott’s art encourages us to reflect,” says Chief Curator and Curator of Contemporary Art Margaret Winslow. “I welcome Delaware Art Museum visitors to spend time in this exhibition breathing, looking, meditating, and contemplating our world and place in it.”

This exhibition is made possible by the Emily DuPont Exhibition Fund, with additional support provided by Heidi Nivling and Larry Becker of Larry Becker Contemporary Art. 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 to for the latest exhibitions, programs, and performances or connect with us via social media.

IF YOU GO
WHAT: Art exhibition, Our Red Planet: Anna Bogatin Ott
WHERE: Delaware Art Museum, 2301 Kentmere Parkway, Wilmington, DE 19803
WHEN: February 18 – July 16, 2023
COST: Free with Museum admission
INFO: delart.org

Photo by Shannon Woodloe.

The typical art museum experience for adults is pretty comfortable: paintings hung at eye level, captions that share insights into works of art, and staff or volunteers available to answer questions.

But a kid might easily find the adult museum experience to be too big, too still, and too two-dimensional.

The solution? The Museum offers children their own enriching arts experience with a dedicated interactive space. Known as Kids’ Corner, this junior oasis on the Museum’s lower level has fostered creative exploration for several generations of visitors, some of whom are old enough to return to the space with their own children.

HISTORY OF THE KIDS’ CORNER

Created in 1987, and later named Kids’ Corner, this child-friendly space on the Museum’s lower level has been reimagined regularly in recent years. Each incarnation is designed to foster creative and imaginative play, hands-on exploration, and storytelling.

And we really love the way the latest changes to the Kids’ Corner have changed the Museum as a whole.

Three families—all including artists from Delaware, Pennsylvania, or New Jersey—have designed the last four installations since 2016:

imageKaleidoscope Cove was designed by the Volta Family in 2016.

imageLenny the Ice Cream Man was dreamed up by the Smith Family in 2017.

imageCreative Power was the work of the Silverman Family in 2018.

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Most recently, in 2019, the New Jersey-based Smith family—Daniel, Elin, and children Lilly, Ida, and Lukas—was tapped for a second time to reshape Kids’ Corner into an immersive art-as-play experience. More than just a paint job and new textiles, Kids’ Corner has been transformed into a colorful enchanted forest, with paths winding around giant trees containing tiny, magical displays. This second Smith imagining is called, “Who Hears Twell Van Dunder?” [Who here is twelve and under?] and is an immersive celebration of childhood and a place for older people to rediscover the wonder of play.

Still in place in Kids’ Corner at the start of 2023, it has original music by the Smiths, a shimmering, magnetic-fishing “pond,” stool-sized mushrooms encircling a fabric campfire, and a plush bird’s nest seat. The walls bear murals depicting sunsets and trees. A larger than life-sized, furry sheepdog named “Twell Van Dunder” is part of the décor, and makes for an Instagrammable posing destination.

WHAT’S NEXT

The Museum is poised to reimagine the area, once again, and it’s looking for families to become our next Family-in-Residence. No, we aren’t asking a family to move in. Our Family-in-Residence concept is modeled after the widely known artist-in-residence model, wherein a museum recruits an artist to create work(s) and/or programming for a defined period of time. Instead of just one person, we want a whole family to conceptualize, design, and install the entire Kids’ Corner space.

Saralyn Rosenfield, the Museum’s Director of Learning & Engagement, describes how an artist-in-residence ask became a family-in-residence reality: “Artists are really busy and what we often hear is that they want more time with their families. The artist we approached to do the 2016 installation was someone who had a successful history of residencies. He actually came up with the idea to do this with his family, and we were thrilled!”

Just like we are reimagining the space, the Museum is reimagining the in-residence format.

What was once a fun idea to liven up a space was formalized into a full-on program. While our unique Family-in-Residence experiment began in 2016, we are rolling out a formal search for a new artistic family in 2023.

We invite regional creatives to watch for an announcement by the spring, and prepare to apply for this residency, which will start in the fall. We look forward to planning the next Kids’ Corner installation—and an opening celebration—with the selected family.

For the Family-in-Residence program, we encourage intergenerational collaboration on the look, vibe, materials, and interactive offerings of Kids’ Corner. Family can be however you define it, as long as each member contributes their own creative touch. As always, we hope the opportunity provides quality time for artists and their families.

We look forward to welcoming artists and their families to apply for the next Family-in-Residence.

HOW ME MAKE IT HAPPEN

Kids’ Corner has been fortunate to have support by the Pollyanna Foundation and Phyllis and Buddy Aerenson. The “Who Hears Twell Van Dunder” installation was also supported by Mannington Floor and Quality Finishers. Additional support is provided, 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.

The Delaware Art Museum. The Delaware Contemporary.

Both art museums. Both long-time fixtures in the Delaware community. Both with passionate art lovers, funders and other stakeholders.

Many things distinguish the two museums. The Delaware Contemporary (TDC) puts its focus on living artists within a 250-mile radius of the facility. The Delaware Art Museum (DelArt) collects the work of British Pre-Raphaelite artists and American art from 1757 to today, with a focus on American illustration and the art of John Sloan.

But it’s natural to see where the two visual arts institutions align.

Leslie Shaffer, Executive Director of TDC says, “We do very similar things. We showcase artists. We perform outreach into the community with regard to art.”

The Delaware Contemporary has a strong focus on emerging artists, and the Delaware Art Museum has recently mounted a series of distinguished artist exhibitions, featuring artists late in their career.

But neither organization has any hard and fast rules about this. Visitors will find emerging artists’ work at DelArt, and TDC will show an internationally established artist, if it’s in the interest of a theme and complements the work of an emerging artist.

The one thing the two organizations absolutely share: arts patrons.

The two organizations are pleased to announce the first of hopefully many collaborations that the museums are forging in order to acknowledge the enthusiastic pool of patrons that support the spectrum of visual arts that exists in Wilmington.

They are working together to offer a joint bus trip – a Hudson Valley Art Adventure – planned for June 17-19, 2023. The group will travel several hours north by luxury coach. Tours on the trip include Magazzino Italian Art, Storm King Art Center, DIA Beacon, and the Al Held Foundation, as well as private collections and artists’ studios. Lodging and dining are top notch, with the guests taking over an entire boutique hotel: Le Chambord at Curry Estate, a charming country property.

What makes the collaboration even sweeter than the digs is that that experiences were selected jointly by representatives from each organization: Margaret Winslow (DelArt’s Chief Curator and Curator of Contemporary Art) and Maxine Gaiber (former TDC Executive Director) worked together to identify the arts, dining, and lodging experiences for the group, and will take part in the tours to help lead the conversations.

Shaffer says, “Pre-COVID, both museums planned trips for our patrons where we’d take a look at art in another place. After visiting museums and other arts destinations, the group might stay for a night, or maybe four nights, to intensively – together as a group – focus on that experience. Often, the trips would include a fun dining experience…something you wouldn’t get if you were to go on your own.”

Emerging from the pandemic’s restrictions on travel and period of social isolation, the organizations are now hearing from their audiences that patrons are eager to participate in travel programs again.

Shaffer says, “Knowing people are still tiptoeing into the idea of group travel, we thought, ‘Why not try planning a trip together?’”

Molly Giordano, Executive Director at DelArt, adds, “If this goes well, we’ll know there’s an interest in more travel. Maybe it will spark a more robust national and international travel program.”

More on the Horizon

Group trips are a straightforward way for two organizations to begin a growing collaboration. But TDC and DelArt’s plans don’t end there.

Giordano says, “We are excited that this is the beginning of a deeper partnership. We have so many shared goals and joint supporters. So many people are committed to the visual arts; it makes sense we are working collaboratively.”

She adds that this is not just a public relations move: the organizations intend to drive home the point that a strong artistic ecosystem is important for the future of artists in the area.

Shaffer says that the TDC sees itself as “…an organization that prepares artists to have a show at a place like the Delaware Art Museum.” Whether that means getting emerging artists in front of curators, offering residencies so artists can dedicate time to develop their art, or supporting an artist’s career by showcasing their work in an exhibition for the first time, it’s a community need. “We find it of value and so do they,” she says.

Giordano adds, “We need each other both to be strong, so that the emerging artist has access to studio space, the opportunity to hang their art in a show. It is a pipeline that is being built, so as an artist’s career strengthens, we may one day add them to our collections or mount their retrospectives here.”

“The ecosystem can’t function without both of us playing our respective parts,” says Giordano.

This is all on the heels of a trying financial period for not only the organizations, but for the general public.

Shaffer says that TDC is seeing the light at the end of tunnel, post-COVID, and that partnering with an organization with shared goals is natural.

“We are finding ways to be more efficient with our resources. Why would we both be doing the same thing with the same goals when we can do it together?”

Aside from resources, the organizations are looking at sharing information and experiences across their audiences, with the goal of creating a more successful product for both the museums and the visitors.

A feasibility study is under way. The organizations want to learn how they can build a bigger audience for what they do while identifying efficiencies.

Shaffer says, “We want to put the focus on art. Spend time building programs rather than raising funds.”

For more information on the bus trip, click here.

Photograph by Joe Del Tufo

A Marriage of Arts & Crafts: Evelyn & William De Morgan is just the first major exhibition of a year devoted to Pre-Raphaelite Art at the Delaware Art Museum.

Through February 19 only, the Delaware Art Museum showcases the paintings and ceramics of two underrecognized yet influential artists, Evelyn and William De Morgan. The visually stunning show kicked off DelArt’s Year of Pre-Raphaelites, a celebration of the Museum’s significant British Pre-Raphaelite art collection and special events and exhibitions that expand its story.

A Marriage of Arts & Crafts: Evelyn & William De Morgan, on view for the next two weeks, shares the richly symbolic Pre-Raphaelite paintings of Evelyn De Morgan and the brilliantly colored tiles, pots and plates of her husband, William. The exhibition has been heralded for “highlighting overlooked aspects of Pre-Raphaelite art and treading beyond typical gender hierarchies.” The show closes with “Paintings, Pots, and Patrons,” a talk by Curator Emerita Margaretta Frederick on February 19 at 2 p.m.

The Delaware Art Museum is home to the most comprehensive Pre-Raphaelite collection on display outside of the United Kingdom, a collection celebrated throughout 2023. “We’re calling this the Year of Pre-Raphaelites, and we can’t wait to share the masterpieces, exhibitions, and programs celebrating this rich period of art history,” shares Executive Director Molly Giordano.

DelArt’s Year of Pre-Raphaelites continues in the spring and summer with a series of talks before the debut of The Rossettis in October, a major exhibition organized in partnership with Tate Britain. Showcasing over 100 works from international public and private collections, the Delaware Art Museum is the only U.S. venue for The Rossettis, already named a “Must-See Exhibition of 2023.”

This exhibition was organized by the DeMorgan Foundation. This exhibition is made possible through support from the Nathan Clark Foundation, the Amy P. Goldman Foundation, and the Dr. Lee MacCormick Edwards Charitable Foundation. 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 to for the latest exhibitions, programs, and performances or connect with us via social media.

IF YOU GO:
WHAT: A Marriage of Arts & Crafts: Evelyn & William De Morgan
WHERE: Delaware Art Museum, 2301 Kentmere Parkway, Wilmington, DE 19803
WHEN: On view through February 19
INFO: delart.org

Image: Evelyn De Morgan, Flora (detail), 1894. Oil on canvas. De Morgan Collection, Courtesy of the De Morgan Foundation.

I strive to give the viewer an experience of serenity and calm, a safe, private space to contemplate, to heal, to connect to a greater whole. I hope by experiencing my work the viewer will find peace and joy. – Anna Bogatin Ott

Ukrainian-born abstract painter, sculptor, and digital artist Anna Bogatin Ott captures the sublime in nature and the complexity of human existence. This exhibition showcases her most recent work, informed by NASA images from Mars and the moon; her meditations on the COVID-19 pandemic; and the war in Ukraine.

imageGlorious Truth (part 2) River Reporter, August 2022 (2), 2022. Anna Bogatin Ott (born 1970). Metallic paint on newspaper, 12 13/16 × 19 7/8 inches. sheet: 13 5/8 × 20 7/8 in. (34.6 × 53 cm). Courtesy of the artist. © Anna Bogatin Ott.

The artist explains, “In the process of preparing for this exhibition, the outside world was getting increasingly more agitated with different political events and natural disasters all around the globe. The war in Ukraine is a devastating and very personal tragedy. Our Red Planet acquired another, more literal meaning. Our planet is bleeding red.” In response, Bogatin Ott introduced quieting works of art, creating contemplative space for reflection and restoration.

Bogatin Ott began studying art at an early age, training first in Russia before immigrating to the United States. Disconnected from unfamiliar cultural references in 1960s American Pop art and postmodernism of the 1980s, Bogatin Ott focused on painting tradition and philosophical content. With further study, she found inspiration in the work of artists who combined execution with spiritual content like Agnes Martin and Barnett Newman. Bogatin Ott’s exploration of Indian tantric drawing offered additional creative direction, opening her practice to abstract imagery and geometric structure that emphasizes the lines and brush strokes in her work.

With seamless applications of acrylic paint and watercolor, Bogatin Ott creates fields of color that shift in hue and tone. The natural world provides endless exploration from flowers to oceans to the sky and beyond. The artist uses details from her own photographs, enlarging and altering the digital image to emphasize subtle variations in outwardly uniform colors. Compositions in blue correlate to the sky and water; reds, yellows, and oranges to flowers and sunsets.

imageLeft to right: Moon_1L21, 2019 – 2022. Anna Bogatin Ott (born 1970). Archival pigment print on aluminum, 12 × 12 inches. Courtesy of the artist. © Anna Bogatin Ott. Mars_15L2B, 2021 – 2022. Anna Bogatin Ott (born 1970). Archival pigment print on aluminum, 12 × 12 inches. Courtesy of the artist. © Anna Bogatin Ott.

Recently, Bogatin Ott became intrigued with images from the NASA Mars exploration. The artist recalls an endless stream of news about space when she was growing up in the former Soviet Union. Today, the universe has simultaneously shrunk and expanded as advances in photography give us access to images of deep space. Bogatin Ott searches through these images, mining photographs in search of the sublime and an understanding of the human condition.

The central creation in the exhibition is a labyrinth that visitors are invited to follow. Bogatin Ott combined the millennia-old form with her photograph of ocean waves. A labyrinth is not a maze but is instead a single winding path used for meditation. Moving through the space is meant to heighten our awareness of our bodies and free our minds from anxiety. As worry dissolves, perception increases. Bogatin Ott explains that when she is painting, she “feels free.” Thus, the labyrinth journey reflects her painting process, a connection that is essential to the result. Our Red Planet invites us into a space of sanctuary and asks us to consider what brings us joy and inspiration.

Margaret Winslow
Chief Curator and Curator of Contemporary Art

Top: Photography by Shannon Woodloe.

When the Montgomery Bus Boycott launched, Dr. Martin Luther King was only 26 years old and new to the city. He was selected to lead the newly established Montgomery Improvement Association, which guided the boycott and mounted the legal challenge to segregated buses. Artist Burton Silverman captured this picture of him in the courtroom listening attentively to testimony.

In 1956, Silverman and his fellow New York artist Harvey Dinnerstein traveled to Montgomery, Alabama, to record the Montgomery Bus Boycott, initiated when Rosa Parks, an African American woman, refused to give up her seat to a white man on the racially segregated city bus system. The artists explained their decision to head to Montgomery: “Our decision to record the events, as artists, was motivated in part by the virtual absence of photographic recording of the Boycott. We felt that this was the first real opportunity to show the efficacy of the artist’s eye in evoking the emotional as well as factual realities of an important human event.”

Working primarily with pencils, together, Silverman and Dinnerstein made over 90 reportorial drawings of the activities and people involved in the boycott. The drawings are lively and intimate records of a historical event, rather than carefully composed illustrations. They reflect the artists’ positions as outsiders—they were white, Northern artists—working quickly on the spot, but also their empathy for the community.

A few of these drawings were published, and about half of them joined DelArt’s collection in 1994. The Museum’s illustrations of the boycott have been exhibited in our galleries and at other museums, including, most recently, in the exhibition Imprinted: Illustrating Race at the Norman Rockwell Museum.

Heather Campbell Coyle
Curator of American Art

Image: Courtroom, Montgomery / Reverend Doctor Martin Luther King, Jr. and attorney listening to testimony, 1956. Burton Philip Silverman (born 1928). Graphite on paper, composition: 9 1/16 × 9 inches, sheet: 9 3/4 × 9 15/16 inches. Delaware Art Museum, Gift of the Robert Lehman Foundation Inc., 1994. © Burton Philip Silverman/ VAGA for ARS, New York, NY.

Annual Day of Service Focuses on Black Art and Volunteering

The Delaware Art Museum once again partners with the Wilmington community, starting with a free Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service on Monday, January 16, 2023 at 10 a.m. The holiday 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 arranges participation opportunities on- and off-site with partners throughout the city.

After a 10:15 a.m. performance by the Wilmington Children’s Chorus and remarks by Andrea McCoy-Carty (Chair of the Judy Johnson Memorial Foundation) and Chandra Pitts (Founder, One Village Alliance), guests will support the community through service projects. From 10:40 a.m. to 1 p.m., guests will create a “Share Your Dreams” poster with artist K.O. Simms, and glaze a bowl for Empty Bowls, benefitting the food pantry at St. Stephens Lutheran Church.

At 11 a.m. and 12 p.m., tours of the museum, highlighting Black art, will take place.

After the Museum activities, guests are encouraged to take their posters to the MLK March organized by Westside Grows. The march begins at Noon and lines up at 1009 Sycamore Street.

Additional partner activities include the 10th Annual Raising Kings Day of Service at the Freedom Center located at 31 West 31st Street. Center activities take place from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Community Engagement Specialist Iz Balleto says, “The Museum continually works with the community on this annual day of service. In addition to encouraging volunteerism and activism, we are pleased to be creating new art along with K.O. Simms in honor of Dr. King. Museum guests will ultimately be presenting their poster art in King’s eponymous march and sending glazed bowls out to be used for alleviating hunger in the community.”

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 creating connections to the community.

For more information, visit our website.

This event is a partnership with One Village Alliance, Westside Grows, Wilmington Childrens Chorus. 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 to for the latest exhibitions, programs, and performances or connect with us via social media.

IF YOU GO

WHAT: Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service Kickoff
WHEN: Monday, January 16, 2023, 10 a.m.—1 p.m.
WHERE: Delaware Art Museum, Fusco Hall
COST: Free
INFO: delart.org

If you were driving down to the Delaware beaches this past summer, you likely passed by the capital of Dover. However, you may not have known that the State House in Dover holds an impressive work of art by a celebrated African American artist! 

In 1924, the artist Edwin Harleston (1882 – 1931) was awarded a prestigious commission to paint the portrait of the Delaware businessman and philanthropist Pierre Samuel DuPont (1870 – 1954). This artwork represents an important instance of interracial collaboration during racial segregation in Delaware, as Harleston, an artist and activist who was then-known as the “leading portrait painter of the [African American] race,” was invited by a group of Black teachers to create a portrait in honor of DuPont’s support for Black education in the state.

imagePortrait of Edwin Harleston (1882 – 1931). Courtesy of the College of Charleston

Born in Charleston, South Carolina to a prosperous African American family, Edwin Harleston attended Avery Normal Institute and Atlanta University before enrolling at the prestigious School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. There, Harleston studied with contemporary masters of American painting, including Frank Weston Benson (1862 – 1951) and Edmund Tarbell (1862 – 1938) – as well as William McGregor Paxton (1869 – 1941) and Philip Leslie Hale (1865 – 1931), whose work can be found in DelArt’s collections. The so-called “Boston School” of American painting was concerned with the subtle effects of light on surfaces and the delicate rendering of skin tones. This influence can be seen in Harleston’s masterful use of shadow and a blending of colors to accurately portray the features and skin color of Black Americans (see, for example, Harleston’s paintings in the collections of the Gibbes Museum in Charleston and The Johnson Collection in Spartanburg, SC). 

In a 1923 letter to his wife Elise Forrest, Harleston explained the greater meaning behind his artistic practice, as he hoped to carry on the legacy of the pioneering African American artist Henry Ossawa Tanner (1859 – 1937) by portraying Black Americans “in our varied lives and types with the classic technique and the truth, not caricatures . . . to do the dignified portrait and…[show] the thousand and one interests of our group in industry, religion, general social contact.” i

For many years, however, Harleston struggled to achieve professional success, as both racial prejudices and familial duty constrained his practice. After completing his studies in Boston in 1914, Harleston was called home to assist in his family’s undertaking business. Still hoping to support his family through his art, in 1922 he and Elise opened an art studio across from the Harleston Funeral Home, where portraits in oil, charcoal, pastel, and French crayon were made available to members of Charleston’s Black community. Elise, a trained photographer, often produced photographs as source material for Edwin’s portraits.

In 1923, Harleston’s star rose following his participation in the annual Negro Arts Exhibit at the 135th Street Branch of the New York Public Library, in Harlem. Following the exhibition, Harleston’s painting The Bible Student (1923) appeared on the January 1924 cover of the progressive Black journal Opportunity with an accompanying article declaring that “a man of his genius should most certainly be widely known.” ii

It was in this context that none other than W.E.B. Du Bois, the renowned scholar and co-founder of the NAACP, recommended Harleston to the DuPont Testimonial Association, which was organized to share appreciation for DuPont’s support of Black schools and to “pass on to the country the spirit that has made Delaware public county schools for colored people the best in this country.” iii

As a member of the prominent DuPont family, Pierre Samuel DuPont was seen as the driving force behind the modernization of DuPont Chemical and General Motors and was widely recognized for his role in establishing American industrial pre-eminence around the world. Like many members of the DuPont family, Pierre was also known for his philanthropy. In addition to his stewardship of Longwood Gardens, DuPont spent millions of dollars of his own money to construct and rebuild educational facilities for African American children. In appreciation of DuPont’s support for Black Delawareans during this period of segregated education, teachers of color from throughout the state came together to honor DuPont through the commissioning of a portrait from the country’s leading African American portraitist, Edwin Harleston. 

The resulting portrait is unique to Harleston’s practice; in fact, it is the only surviving portrait by Harleston of a white sitter. The work shows DuPont sitting in his office in a three-quarter pose, with his body slightly turned toward the viewer. With his elbows resting on the arms of the chair, DuPont rests a finger of his left hand inside a book – a sign of the importance of education. 

Unlike Harleston’s portraits of Black Americans, which tend to show the subjects relaxed or at ease (see Harleston’s portrait of the Reverend Caesar Ledbetter), the artist has represented DuPont in a rather sober, even stiff posture. Importantly, however, unlike the picture of Ledbetter, who is depicted looking slightly down at the viewer, with an air of superiority and self-assuredness, DuPont is pictured looking directly out at the viewer – our equal. 

As in his earlier works, Harleston’s approach to the DuPont painting is based on the tradition of the Boston school, which includes an interest in the effects of light on surfaces and skin. Harleston has defined DuPont’s figure through the use of strong direct lighting, as evidenced by the high values of light on his face and hands. As one scholar noted, “these areas of high intensity might have been constructed with flat, broad strokes,” but Harleston, building off his skills in rending the subtle of skin tones in Black Americans, has taken great care to model DuPont’s white skin with shadow and subtle variations of color. 

This gradation of tone from light to dark – particularly in DuPont’s face – challenges the viewer to peer carefully into the shadows to see the fine details of his features. And, in fact, DuPont’s wife, Alice, thought that the shadows around the subject’s eyes and mouth made DuPont look stern rather than sensitive. Referencing the portrait of Pierre DuPont done by John Singer Sargent, which is in the collection of Longwood Gardens, Alice remarked that Harleston had “painted the mouth just as Mr. Sargent had done […] giving him two pronounced shadows under the lower lip and making him appear too severe.” iv As one scholar has written, “To be compared with even John Singer Sargent’s errors must have seemed almost complimentary to Harleston.” v But, to please Mrs. DuPont, Harleston later softened the shadows.

image John Singer Sargent (1856 – 1925). Portrait of Pierre S. Dupont (1921). Image courtesy of Longwood Gardens

When Harleston unveiled his portrait of DuPont to the public at a special presentation at Booker T. Washington High School in Dover on December 5, 1924, both the public and DuPont himself expressed their pleasure with the outcome. DuPont later wrote the artist in gratitude, and informed him that the time spent posing for the artist had been both enjoyable and “worth while.” For the DuPont Testimonial Association, the portrait was an aesthetic triumph and cultural achievement that carried “the race one step higher.” vi Articles praising the portrait appeared in newspapers in New York, Philadelphia, and Pittsburgh, and with this project, Harleston finally achieved the national recognition for which he had been striving for most of his life. 

Tragically, Edwin Harleston died of pneumonia in Charleston at the age of forty-nine, a promising career cut short. Today, we can see his portraits of African Americans and South Carolina landscapes represented in the collections of the Gibbes Museum of Art, the Johnson College, and the Savannah College of Art and Design Museum of Art. It is in our own state of Delaware, however, that we can see how this “leading portrait painter of the [African American] race” sought to apply his skills in rendering Black skin, to that of a prominent white American and supporter of opportunities for Black Delawareans. 

Anne Strachan Cross
2021 – 2023 Lynn Herrick Sharp Curatorial Fellow

Top: Edwin A. Harleston (American, 1882 – 1931). Pierre Samuel du Pont, 1924. Oil on canvas, 45.375 x 39.375 inches. 1976.077. Delaware Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs.

i Edwin A. Harleston, Boston, MA., to Elsie F. Harleston, Charleston, SC, November 26, 1923. Quoted in Maurine Akua McDaniel, Edwin Augustus Harleston, Portrait Painter, 1882 – 1931, PhD. diss (Emory University, 1994), 156.
ii Madeline G. Allison, “Harleston! Who Is E.A. Harleston?,” Opportunity: A Journal of Negro Life (January 1924), 21 – 22.
iii “Race Artist to Paint Portrait of Rich Donor,” Pittsburgh Courier (November 29, 1924): 2
iv McDaniel 196.
v Ibid 197.
vi Executive Committee DuPont Testimonial Association, Dover, Delaware, to Edwin A. Harleston, Charleston, SC, February 23, 1925. Typewritten letter, Mae Whitlock Gentry Papers, Emory University, Atlanta, GA.

Cocktail Event Inspired by the Lure of Murder Mystery

The Delaware Art Museum introduces a new interactive, mystery-themed event on Saturday, February 11, 2023, at 6 p.m. Inspired by Hulu’s hit whodunit series “Only Murders in the Building,” the murder mystery is an actor-led theatrical experience through the galleries of the Museum. This cocktail fundraiser will support DelArt’s community and education programs, and early bird pricing is available through January 1, with additional discounts for Members.

Guests will try to solve an artful murder mystery, organized in partnership with City Theater Company. The four-hour investigative portion of the event will include cocktails and heavy hors d’oeuvre. Following the investigation, the murderer will be revealed. With an upgraded ticket, guests can enjoy a 10 p.m.—midnight after-party with dancing, desserts, and an open bar.

Maggie Oda Lyon, the Museum’s Director of Advancement, says, “We think this fundraiser will have a broad appeal, and introduce new patrons to the Museum. The ‘murderinos’ in our community can live out their podcast dreams by investigating a contrived crime, while others can fulfill their Colonel Mustard and Professor Plum board game fantasies.”

As the event falls close to Valentine’s Day, this activity can make for an excellent date night, friend outing, or a solo diversion. Attendees will be divided into groups and have an opportunity to collaborate on their problem solving, if they so choose.

Suggested dress is cocktail attire, but black-tie clothing is encouraged in order to add to the theatrical atmosphere.

The event committee includes Hunter and William Clarke-Fields, Ashley and Andy Cloud, Darius and Ashley SK Davis, David Cullmann and Anthony LaTorella, Lindsey and Andrew DiSabatino, Michelle Kramer-Fitzgerald and G. Scott Fitzgerald, Rick Fitzgerald and Marilyn MacGregor, Lele and Brad Galer, Molly and Phil Giordano, Logan Herring and Shawn-Ere’ Jackson, Bianca Fraser-Johnson and Mike Johnson, Christine and Garrett Moritz, Christine Russell, Thom and Stephanie Shumosic, and Michelle and Jason Wall.

Members’ early bird tickets are $75, with an afterparty upgrade available for $105. Non-members’ early bird tickets are $90, with an afterparty upgrade available for $125. After January 1, the Member prices for the party and after-party increase to $90 and $125, respectively, and non-members to $105 and $145.

For more information, visit our website.

This event is sponsored by Incyte Corporation and Capital & Worth, doing business as H&R Block. 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 to for the latest exhibitions, programs, and performances or connect with us via social media.

IF YOU GO

WHAT: “Only Murders in the Museum” Cocktails and Murder Mystery Fundraiser
WHEN: Saturday, February 11, 2023, 6 p.m.
WHERE: Delaware Art Museum, 2301 Kentmere Parkway, Wilmington, Del. 19806
COST: $75—145, Registration Required by February 3. Early bird pricing available through January 1
INFO: delart.org

December’s Indoor and Outdoor Arts Events Offer Seasonal Enrichment

The Delaware Art Museum continues its winter traditions, which include an outdoor Winter Arts Festival holiday shopping experience and Family 2nd Sunday, to engage children and their families with free, indoor art activities. “Celebrate! Pyxis at the Holidays” and a livestream from Wilmington Ballet and guests, “Global Movement,” highlight the Museum’s community collaborators from varied genres. In partnership with Cityfest Inc., Cartoon Christmas Trio returns with guests, the Wilmington Children’s Chorus.

Following are details on each activity:

On Thursday, December 1, 2022, 6 p.m., the Museum welcomes the Wilmington Ballet for “Global Movement,” a virtual celebration of arts and cultural dance traditions from around the world. The stream will feature performances by Treinta Y Tres, Pieces of A Dream Inc., Flamenco Y Mas, the Wilmington Children’s Chorus and more. Tickets are $25.

On Thursday, December 8, 2022, 8 p.m., “Celebrate! Pyxis at the Holidays” as the Pyxis trio marks the opening of its 14th season as classical ensemble-in-residence at the Museum. Luigi Mazzocchi (violin), Jennifer Jie Jin (cello), and Hiroko Yamazaki (piano) will play in Fusco Hall. In conversation with the Museum’s groundbreaking exhibition, “Evelyn & William De Morgan: A Marriage of Arts & Crafts,” Pyxis will play works by another highly lauded husband-and-wife team, Robert and Clara Schumann. This joyous salute to the holidays also features seasonal offerings ranging from a traditional carol to popular mid-20th century Hollywood holiday classics, including: Frank Loesser’s “Baby, It’s Cold Outside,” Kim Gannon and Walter Kent’s “I’ll Be Home for Christmas,” Irving Berlin’s “White Christmas,” Dick Smith and Felix Bernard’s “Winter Wonderland,” and the traditional “We Wish You a Merry Christmas.” Guests may arrive early for a 7:30 p.m. talk, given by Margaretta Frederick, Curator Emerita who curated the De Morgan exhibition, prior to the concert. Tickets are $30 for Members and $35 for non-members.

On Saturday, December 10, 2022, 10 a.m.—4 p.m., the Museum offers shopping and seasonal festivities such as strolling carolers as part of its Winter Arts Festival, which is now an outdoor tradition. The Museum has established “kid-friendly” festival hours from 12—2 p.m., with activities such as a trackless train with a conductor offering rides for children. Guests can opt to take a 1 p.m. tour of the “A Marriage of Arts & Crafts: Evelyn & William De Morgan” exhibition by pre-registering. Food will be available by the Museum’s resident Kaffeina Café, and a cash bar will be open. In addition, the warm and welcoming Museum Store will offer literary and artistic gift ideas, with special festival discounts for Members and non-members. The festival is free for Members and $5 for non-members, and a ticket is required. Tickets include admission to the Museum on the day of the event. In the case of inclement weather, the full event may move inside.

Vendors as of the date of publication include:

Angela Colasanti of Life Artfully Told – Sterling Silver Jewelry and Pewter Keepsakes
The Fairy Potter – Stoneware Enchanted Cottages
Chez Evon – Handmade Bags and Totes
SunSobo LLC – All Natural Hibiscus and Ginger Tea
East Coast Sweets – Handcrafted Artisan Chocolates
Cinnamon Bun Exchange – Hand-rolled Buns, Baked with Love
Fusion Taster’s Choice – Ultra Premium Olive Oils, Balsamic Vinegars, Olives, Cruets and More
Anna Biggs Designs – Hand-carved Gold and Silver Jewelry
Holly Whitney – Tie Dye Apparel
Sassy Bee Honey – Raw and Infused Honey, Beeswax Candles, Natural Bath, Body and Beard Products
Heather Ossandon – Ceramics
Tat’s Yummies – Bakery Food, European Specialties
Eric Zippe Art – Photography on Wood and Laser-Engraved Wood
Linda Majewski, Paper Greenhouse – Paper Botanicals
Root and Rocks by Kiya Nicole – Functional and Sculptural Ceramics
Iris and Callisto’s Apiary – Local Honey and Hive Products
Brevity Book Space – Providing All Humans of Wilmington with Woke Words & Wisdom

Sunday, December 11, 2022, 10 a.m.— 1 p.m., the Museum welcomes children up to 12 years of age and their families to experience Family 2nd Sunday in the Children’s Studio. Each month, guests explore a new medium or technique from a professional teaching artist and create a work of art inspired by a piece in the Museum’s collection. While the event is free, registration (including for adults) is strongly recommended due to limited seating.

Tuesday, December 20, 2022, 7 p.m., in partnership with Cityfest Inc., the Museum hosts the famed Cartoon Christmas Trio with special guests, the Wilmington Children’s Chorus. The group celebrates over 25 years as the original interpreter of classic holiday cartoon jazz. The trio was started in 1995 by bassist Rob Swanson for the sole purpose of playing music from classic Christmas cartoons, especially the music of Vince Guaraldi, composer of the “Peanuts” soundtracks. Since its inception, the trio has played hundreds of shows including live appearances on NBC, ABC, Fox, and NPR. The trio was also honored to perform in Philadelphia’s premier music venue, The Kimmel Center. In addition, the trio is actively involved in musical outreach and education through an in-school assembly program. Tickets are $15, with a $5 discount extended for children and seniors.

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

IF YOU GO

WHAT: Wilmington Ballet’s “Global Movement” Livestream
WHEN: On Thursday, December 1, 2022, 6 p.m.
WHERE: Virtual
COST: $25, Online Registration Required
INFO: delart.org

WHAT: “Celebrate! Pyxis at the Holiday”
WHEN: Thursday, December 8, 2022, 8 p.m., with a 7:30 p.m. curator talk
WHERE: Delaware Art Museum, 2301 Kentmere Parkway, Wilmington, Del. 19806
COST: $30 for Members, $35 for Non-members
INFO: delart.org

WHAT: Winter Arts Festival
WHEN: Saturday, December 10, 2022, 10 a.m.—4 p.m.
WHERE: Delaware Art Museum, 2301 Kentmere Parkway, Wilmington, Del. 19806
COST: Free for Members, $5 for Non-members, Registration Required
INFO: delart.org

WHAT: Family 2nd Sunday
WHEN: Sunday, December 11, 2022, 10 a.m.—1 p.m.
WHERE: Delaware Art Museum, 2301 Kentmere Parkway, Wilmington, Del. 19806
COST: Free, Registration Required
INFO: delart.org

WHAT: Cartoon Christmas Trio with the Wilmington Children’s Chorus
WHEN: Tuesday, December 20, 2022, 7 p.m.
WHERE: Delaware Art Museum, 2301 Kentmere Parkway, Wilmington, Del. 19806
COST: $15, with a $5 discount extended for children and seniors
INFO: delart.org

Image: Orifice II, 1983. Joe Moss (1933–2018). Painted steel, 112 × 129 3/4 × 27 inches. Delaware Art Museum, Purchased with funds provided by a grant from the Longwood and Crystal Foundations, 1983. © Estate of Joe Moss.

It began with a piano. Well, arts endeavors truly begin with the artist, and this one was no exception. Pyxis was born from the creativity of violinist Meredith Amado, but the Museum’s piano was a starring player.

The instrument is stored in a nook on the Museum’s main floor, swaddled by the building’s highly controlled temperature and humidity. It’s a Steinway “Satin Ebony” Concert Grand B – a 6-foot-11-inch model introduced by the iconic company in 1878 and still manufactured today. Verified by its serial number, the Museum’s instrument was built in 1905. It seems to have come via a gracious (and unidentified) donor sometime in the 1980s; no existing records cite that person to whom musicians and audiences over the years have been grateful.

In 2008, then-director Danielle Rice (1951-2019) and musician Meredith Amado began to talk about presenting chamber music in the Museum. The Juilliard-trained violinist and her husband David (conductor of the Delaware Symphony) had moved to Wilmington several years earlier, and Meredith had previously created a music series in St. Louis. She felt that the Museum galleries would be a perfect locale for an ensemble, and Danielle agreed. At the time, I was working at the Museum, and since I was an experienced producer, my boss tasked me with making the series a reality. We decided to call it Concerts on Kentmere.

Meredith wanted to create a piano quartet – three string players (violin, viola, cello) and a pianist. But first we had to ascertain if the Museum’s piano – played periodically for events – was still concert-worthy, so I asked two gifted keyboard artists (both named David!) to play the instrument. Conductor David Amado is also a Juilliard-trained pianist, and organist/composer David Schelat trained at Eastman School of Music. Each came for a “road test,” giving the same verdict: The piano was a sound (and good sounding) instrument, but it needed substantial work to bring it to a concert standard.

The Museum agreed, and in 2009 this work (including some rebuilding) was completed. Meanwhile, Meredith – who was playing with groups throughout the region – identified the ensemble’s players. She would be the violinist, Amy Leonard would play viola, Jennifer Jie Jin would play cello, and Hiroko Yamazaki would be the pianist. With a democratic aim – no formal leader and input from all – the four women set about the intricate process of getting to know one another musically, discussing potential repertoire, and (of course) rehearsing.

The group also had to find a name, and their research led them to “Pyxis Piano Quartet.” Pyxis is a constellation named by 18th century French astronomer Nicolas de Lacaille, and it represents the magnetic compass used for navigation. The ensemble’s bio reflects the still-apt reason for their choice: “The group takes its name from the Pyxis constellation, also known as the Mariners’ Compass, whose symbol is the compass rose. The points of the compass rose represent the new artistic directions that the group strives to take together while recognizing the different backgrounds and experiences of its musicians.”

Pyxis played its very first concert on October 1, 2009, an evening of Mozart and Brahms in the Museum’s iconic Pre-Raphaelite Gallery. The ensemble determined that future repertoire would include both familiar masterworks and music (old and new) that should be better known. Those early concerts moved from gallery to gallery, and the group quickly became known for their virtuosic musicianship and lively explorations. Pyxis is not so peripatetic anymore – to accommodate the audiences, concerts are now held in the Museum’s expansive Fusco Hall.

All ensembles evolve over time, navigating changes, and Pyxis is no exception. In 2015, Meredith decided to retire from the group, and for the 2015-16 season the players invited a series of other violinists to join them. One of those esteemed guest artists was Luigi Mazzocchi, who formally joined the ensemble in the 2016-17 season.

During the pandemic shutdown (a difficult time for performers) Pyxis kept afloat via online or live-streamed concerts. After that challenging time of reflection and regrouping, violist Amy Leonard moved on to other endeavors, and the three players determined to continue as Pyxis Piano Trio, exploring the repertoire of their new configuration.

The 2022-23 season marks the ensemble’s 14th year in residence at the Museum. They’ve been making music among its exhibitions and collections for an appreciative audience, some of whom have been attending since that inaugural 2009 concert. Pyxis is especially grateful to Emerita Curator Margaretta Frederick, who first made artistic space for audiences and musicians – and that big concert grand piano – in the iconic (and often crowded) Pre-Raphaelite galleries. It’s fitting that this year’s concerts are in conversation with the groundbreaking exhibition A Marriage of Arts & Crafts, which Margaretta co-curated. On to the future!

Gail Obenreder O’Donnell writes critically about the arts, formerly for The News Journal and now for Broad Street Review, Philadelphia’s online arts journal. A 2016 Fellow of the O’Neill Theater Center’s National Critics Institute, she is also an experienced arts professional, presenter, and producer. When she worked at the Delaware Art Museum (from 2005 to 2013) she helped to create Concerts on Kentmere and has been gratefully affiliated with Pyxis since their very first 2009 concert.

Photograph by Shannon Woodloe

Contrary to popular belief, not all galleries are indoors.

Some galleries don’t have four walls, security guards, and a sign reading “please do not touch the art.” Nor do they have their art shielded behind vitrines and frames within a climate-controlled environment. In fact, some galleries are right outside your door. Whether you notice or not, public art is all around us: abstract sculpture in front of your office building, a mural on the side of the community center two blocks from your apartment complex; works of art you pass by daily but may not stop to appreciate.

Wilmington’s outdoor gallery boasts artworks ranging from the 19th century to the present. From memorials and sculptures to mosaics and murals, our environments are beautified by artists. Artists are essential to our communities. They use the city as a canvas to inspire their neighbors. Their creations enliven the cityscape, acting as tangible expressions of their city’s cultural heritage, and becoming beacons for civic engagement, public pride, and even attracting business investments.

However, unlike indoor galleries and museums, our city’s artistic outdoor installations are not under constant supervision. As a result, the efforts of our artists are at risk. With chipping and fading paint, rust, and corroding metal, much of Wilmington’s public art has fallen into disrepair, exposed to years of neglect and weather damage. If left unattended, these pieces will only deteriorate further until unrecognizable by their community.

To prevent the ruin of these artworks, the Delaware Art Museum is debuting a transformative new initiative, the Public Art Stewards Training Program. This workforce readiness program will train Public Art Stewards to clean, conserve, and document public art. A six-month pilot, funded by the American Rescue Plan Act, begins next year with a cohort of six to eight Wilmington residents who will steward 30 works of public art in downtown Wilmington and surrounding neighborhoods.

As a cultural fixture in the community, the Delaware Art Museum is highly knowledgeable of public art needs. With its influence and connections, our institution intends to share our resources to remedy these issues, giving Wilmington and its residents the support to revitalize our city’s outdoor gallery. Focusing on stewardship and sustainability, the Public Art Stewards Training Program will both expand the field of conservation and develop participants’ transferable skills, supporting their workforce readiness.

Professional conservator Margalit Schindler will teach the Public Art Stewards how to assess, conserve, maintain, and document their outdoor gallery. With onsite hands-on experience, Margalit will train participants in the skills and tools necessary to care for and document 30 key works of art around Wilmington. In tandem with Margalit’s teachings, local partners will add training in essential readiness skills, including digital literacy and financial coaching. With these additional trainings, participants will be equipped to both obtain and sustain employment.

Applications for the Public Art Stewards Training Program will open in early December to Wilmington residents. Partnering with the Creative Vision Factory, with support from the State of Delaware and City of Wilmington, we will prioritize Black, Indigenous, and People of color, individuals on the behavioral health spectrum, and those navigating economic precarity and displacement. With the progression of this project, we intend to advocate for the program to take root outside of Wilmington, expanding to all three Delawarean counties in the future. We believe that art is essential, here in our city and throughout our state.

imageFull length Kalmar Nyckel Mural courtesy of Michael Kalmbach.

Benét Burton
Registrar Assistant/Curatorial Project Manager

Top: Creative Vision Factory Members in front of the Kalmar Nyckel Mural courtesy of Michael Kalmbach.

Free Día de los Muertos Event Offers Performances and Activities

The Delaware Art Museum presents the fifth annual Día de los Muertos: Desde la Raiz event on Saturday, October 29, 2022, from 11 a.m. – 4 p.m. Doors open at 10 a.m. Guests of all ages can experience a variety of free activities, such as performances by Danza Azteca del Anahuac, Ballet Folklorico Mexico, Mariachi Arrieros de Mexico, Eclipse Solar, Ms. Lili, and Seylin Abarca, a singer and middle school student from Cab Calloway School of the Arts. La Catrinamia, the skeletal embodiment of a well-to-do woman who has passed, will also be a presence at the outdoor event, and guests can participate in a labyrinth walk and contribute pictures of loved ones to ofrendas. New in 2022 will be a display of chromed bikes from Champions Lowriders Club.

Community Engagement Specialist Iz Balleto says, “Everything that’s being put together is from our roots—desde la raiz. We are incorporating folklore traditions in order to be as authentic as can be, from the people who are performing to the ceremony that kicks off the event.”

“We continue to be grateful that the Museum keeps open its doors to the Indigenous community so that we can properly educate people on traditions.” He adds, “The elements of Día de los Muertos are widely available in popular culture, and this season is a regular reminder of how important it is for us to demonstrate that Día de los Muertos is not just a party, it’s a ceremony.”

Día de los Muertos is observed in Mexico and other countries in the days leading up to All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day, and, therefore, is often conflated with Halloween traditions. However, the holiday combines the celebration of those who have passed with reverence for the act of mourning, and is neither scary nor prank-oriented.

One of Delaware’s top influencers, Laura Leos, will emcee the activities, which commence at 11:11 a.m. with an Aztec fire ceremony.

Traditional arts and crafts activities and vendors will participate, including artwork by Cesar Viveros.

Indigenous food vendors, including Raspados Bayu and Tamalex Restaurant, will be on site, with options that include vegetarian dishes. Beverages will be available for sale, but alcohol will not be sold at this event.

Although this is a free event, it consistently reaches full capacity, therefore, registration is strongly encouraged. To register, or for more information on the event, visit our website. In the event of bad weather, the program will be moved indoors.

This program is supported through a grant from the TD Charitable Foundation. This event is sponsored by the Center for Interventional Pain and Spine, Nuestras Raices, Guerrilla Republik, and Hoy en Delaware. 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 to for the latest exhibitions, programs, and performances or connect with us via social media.

IF YOU GO

WHAT: Día de los Muertos: Desde la Raiz
WHEN: Saturday, October 29, 2022, 11 a.m. – 4 p.m., Doors Open at 10 a.m.
WHERE: Delaware Art Museum, 2301 Kentmere Parkway, Wilmington, Del. 19806
COST: Free, Registration Required
INFO: delart.org

Photograph by Shannon Woodloe.

Exhibitions of art by Evelyn and William De Morgan and forgotten Pre-Raphaelite artists debut this month at the Delaware Art Museum.

The Delaware Art Museum celebrates British Pre-Raphaelite art with two new exhibitions this fall. A Marriage of Arts & Crafts: Evelyn & William De Morgan makes its American debut at DelArt on October 22. The exhibition showcases Evelyn De Morgan’s symbolic Pre-Raphaelite paintings and her husband William’s Arts & Crafts-style ceramics. Recently opened, Forgotten Pre-Raphaelites displays artworks from DelArt’s collection rarely on view. A new art history course, lectures, tours, and a Member’s Preview Party are planned during the exhibitions’ run.

A Marriage of Arts and Crafts: Evelyn and William De Morgan is the first retrospective exhibition of Arts and Crafts pottery maker William De Morgan (1839-1917) and Pre-Raphaelite painter Evelyn De Morgan (1855-1919). As a power couple in Victorian England, the artists moved in influential cultural circles, shared an interest in spiritualism, and engaged with social issues of their day. Yet both artists have gone relatively unrecognized until now. This visually stunning exhibition brings together William’s brilliantly colored tiles, pots, and plates and Evelyn’s richly symbolic paintings.

The De Morgans weren’t the only artists in the Pre-Raphaelite circle who didn’t get their due. Forgotten Pre-Raphaelites displays over forty works by overlooked artists who experimented with Pre-Raphaelite themes and techniques, including art by the American Pre-Raphaelites and work by women artists. The Delaware Art Museum’s Pre-Raphaelite collection is the most comprehensive outside of the United Kingdom.

“This fall’s special exhibitions are an opportunity for visitors to fall in love with artists they might not yet know,” says Executive Director Molly Giordano. “We’re calling this The Year of Pre-Raphaelites, and we can’t wait to share the masterpieces, exhibitions, and educational programs celebrating this rich period of art history.”

DelArt will host a lecture on October 21 at 5 p.m. by Sarah Hardy, Curator of the De Morgan Collection, followed by a Member’s Preview Party from 6-8 p.m. Guided special exhibition tours are available weekly on Saturday afternoons. A Pre-Raphaelite art history course starts October 13, with virtual and in-person options. Dr. Margaretta Frederick, Delaware Art Museum’s Curator Emerita, will give a lecture on the closing day of the exhibition, February 19 at 2 p.m. Dr. Frederick also edited the show’s catalogue, which is for sale in the Museum Store and at delartstore.org.

Organizers and sponsors:

A Marriage of Arts & Crafts: Evelyn & William De Morgan was organized by the DeMorgan Foundation. This exhibition is made possible through support from the Nathan Clark Foundation and the Dr. Lee MacCormick Edwards Charitable Foundation. 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 largest Pre-Raphaelite collection 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 to for the latest exhibitions, programs, and performances or connect with us via social media.

IF YOU GO:

WHAT: A Marriage of Arts & Crafts: Evelyn & William De Morgan
WHEN: October 22, 2022 – February 19, 2023
WHERE: Delaware Art Museum
2301 Kentmere Parkway, Wilmington, DE 19803
COST: Free with admission
INFO: delart.org

October 1, 2022 – February 5, 2023

To complement the major special exhibition, A Marriage of Arts & Crafts: Evelyn & William De Morgan, the Delaware Art Museum has mounted the show, Forgotten Pre-Raphaelites, drawn primarily from the museum’s permanent collection. One of the significant contributions of A Marriage of Arts & Crafts is to foreground the work of two artists who have been understudied in the robust literature on the Pre-Raphaelite, Aesthetic, and Arts and Crafts movements. On view simultaneously, Forgotten Pre-Raphaelites brings together over forty works by similarly overlooked artists affiliated with the Pre-Raphaelite circle. By featuring these lesser-known artists, the show seeks to recover them from the margins of art history and position them at the center of the Pre-Raphaelite narrative.

The exhibition is comprised of four sections:

Partners & Daughters

Women artists were crucial to the Pre-Raphaelite movement and their work accounts for more than half of the objects on view. Several were the wives and daughters of better-known male counterparts. Artists represented include Winifred Sandys, Marie Spartali Stillman, Effie Stillman, Constance Phillott, Barbara Bodichon, and Alice Boyd.

image Left to Right: Taste; Smell; Hearing; Touch; Seeing, 1911-1912. Winifred Sandys (1875–1944). Watercolor on ivory, 3 × 2 1/2 inches. Delaware Art Museum, Samuel and Mary R. Bancroft Memorial, 1935.

Winifred Sandys received artistic training from her father, Frederick Sandys, an artist closely associated with the Pre-Raphaelites. A group of her miniatures in the exhibition personify the five senses. Each woman engages with an object that stimulates a sensory response. Despite the modest dimensions, each scene is portrayed with intricate detail. Sandys pictures patterned textiles, delicate jewelry, and elaborate hairstyles.

image White Mayde of Avenel, after 1902. Winifred Sandys (1875–1944). Watercolor on vellum, 8 × 6 inches. Delaware Art Museum, Samuel and Mary R. Bancroft Memorial, 1935.

Following her father’s death, Winifred sought to support her family in creative ways. In addition to selling her own work, she also made copies of her father’s. White Mayde of Avenel is a miniature replica of her father’s drawing of the same title. It illustrates a supernatural character from Sir Walter Scott’s novel, The Monastery (1820). The figure’s windswept hair and scarf, paired with her white garment, add to her ghostly appearance.

Followers & Assistants

imageLeft: Apple Stem, 1878. Frederic James Shields (1833–1911). Graphite, watercolor and gouache on buff paper, 9 × 7 1/2 in. Delaware Art Museum, Samuel and Mary R. Bancroft Memorial, 1935. Right: Apple Blossom, c. 1878. Frederic James Shields (1833–1911). Graphite, ink, watercolor, and gouache on buff paper, 9 9/16 x 7 11/16 in. Delaware Art Museum, Samuel and Mary R. Bancroft Memorial, 1935.

Many lesser-known artists in the Pre-Raphaelite circle served as assistants to their more famous peers. Objects in this section include work by Joseph Swain, Frederic Shields, Thomas Rooke, and George James Howard. Shields, for instance, supported Dante Gabriel Rossetti in return for studio use. He created closely observed drawings of apple blossoms as a visual aid for Rossetti’s A Vision of Fiammetta. Faithful to the key features of the apple blossom, Shields included the blossoms’ hallmark pale pink petals, elliptical leaves, and yellow-tinged stamens.

imageA Gate leading to the North Transept of Chartres Cathedral, France, 1894. Thomas Matthews Rooke (1842–1942). Watercolor over graphite, 19 1/4 × 9 ¼ in. Delaware Art Museum, Samuel and Mary R. Bancroft Memorial, 1935.

Rooke similarly aided Edward Burne-Jones, painting flowers into one of his massive canvases, Sleep of King Arthur in Avalon. He was also commissioned by John Ruskin to travel across Europe depicting sites that might soon be demolished. Rooke visited Switzerland, Italy, and France, executing meticulous watercolors of cottages, churches, and Alpine scenery. Chartes and its cathedral were among Rooke’s favored subjects. His watercolors register what contemporary cameras could not, particularly the subtle chromatics of aged stone. Beneath the arch of the stone gate are figures represented with nearly transparent wash. They serve as a reminder that much of the surrounding architecture is near vanishing.

Such proximity to celebrated painters had tangible benefits for amateur and aspiring artists. They accessed materials, studio space, and instruction from prominent colleagues. But their contributions to acclaimed works were often uncredited.

The American Pre-Raphaelites

Forgotten Pre-Raphaelites is one of few exhibitions to place British Pre-Raphaelite works alongside those of the lesser-known American Pre-Raphaelites. The American movement began roughly a decade later than the founding of the British Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood. The American Pre-Raphaelites were a uniquely interdisciplinary group composed of politically radical abolitionist artists and like-minded architects, critics, and scientists. Active during the Civil War, they united in a spirit of protest, seeking sweeping reforms of national art and culture.

imageAnemones, 1884. Henry Roderick Newman (1843–1917). Watercolor on paper, 9 1/2 × 7 1/4 in. Paul Worman Fine Art, Worcester, MA.

The exhibition features watercolors, intricate graphite drawings, and etchings by Thomas Charles Farrer, Henry Farrer, John Henry Hill, Henry Roderick Newman, and William Trost Richards. They applied Pre-Raphaelite techniques to their paintings and drawings of American landscapes. Like their British counterparts, the American Pre-Raphaelites captured natural elements with precise detail. But they rejected the medieval, biblical, and literary narratives of the British movement. Instead, they produced landscapes, nature studies, and still lifes of modest dimensions.

Barbara Bodichon’s Landscapes

imageVentnor, Isle of Wight, 1856. Barbara Leigh Smith Bodichon (1827–1891). Watercolor and gouache on paper [with scratching out], 28 × 42 1/2 inches. Delaware Art Museum, F. V. du Pont Acquisition Fund, 2016.

The Delaware Art Museum holds a number of works by Barbara Leigh Smith Bodichon, an artist and activist for women’s rights, and a group of her landscapes represent one section of the exhibition. Bodichon gained financial independence at age 21 and she subsequently toured Europe widely. Breaking with social conventions, she often traveled without a chaperone and with female friends, including the writer George Eliot. Bodichon’s thirst for freedom also extended to her painting practice. She enjoyed working out of doors, often in difficult-to-reach locations. Rossetti described her as “a young lady . . . who thinks nothing of climbing a mountain in breeches, or wading through a stream in none.” [1]

Many of the works by Bodichon on view in the exhibition are sketches she completed while traveling. Her large watercolor, Ventnor, Isle of Wight, is the centerpiece of the installation. The artist’s vibrant palette and intricate depiction of flora and rocks were Pre-Raphaelite hallmarks. When Bodichon exhibited the picture at the Royal Academy in 1856, Dante’s brother William Michael Rossetti described it as a “capital coast scene . . . full of real pre-Raphaelitism.” [2]

Between A Marriage of Arts & Crafts and Forgotten Pre-Raphaelites, visitors to the Delaware Art Museum this fall will be introduced to numerous artists associated with Pre-Raphaelitism, each of whom are deserving of significant scholarly and popular attention.

Sophie Lynford
Annette Woolard-Provine Curator of the Bancroft Pre-Raphaelite Collection

[1] Dante Gabriel Rossetti to Christina Rossetti, November 8, 1853. Letters of Dante Gabriel Rossetti, eds. Oswald Doughty and John Robert Wahl, vol. I (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1965), 163.
[2] William Michael Rossetti, “Art News from England,” The Crayon, August 1856, p. 245.

Top image: Coastal landscape by moonlight, not dated. Alice Boyd (1825–1897). Watercolor over graphite with scratching out, with gouache and lead white, 10 1/16 × 13 15/16 inches. Delaware Art Museum, F. V. du Pont Acquisition Fund, 2022.

Delaware Art Museum Exhibition Accompanied by Documentary Screening

The Delaware Art Museum presents “Wes Memeger: The Square and Other Concerns,” opening on Saturday, October 15, 2022. Programming surrounding the exhibition, which runs through Sunday, January 22, 2023, includes a November 6 documentary screening of “Dr. Wesley Memeger Jr.: Science into Art,” produced by Hagley Museum and Library. This exhibition, along with “A Marriage of Arts & Crafts: Evelyn and William De Morgan” will be celebrated with a Member Preview Party on Friday, October 21 at 5 p.m.

Wes Memeger, a long-time Delawarean, has explored the square for decades. In his early career as a chemist, he analyzed the skewed bonds in an almost-square carbon and hydrogen compound. As an artist, Memeger studied the works of abstract painters, reading and viewing their considerations of the basic and ubiquitous shape.

Memeger says, “From the 1970s to the 1990s, while I was still working as a chemist, I read intensely and thought about art matters focusing on abstractionist painters such as Kazimir Malevich, Josef Albers, Piet Mondrian, Johannes Itten, and Franz Kline.”

Drawing from these seemingly disparate backgrounds, Memeger uses the square as a building block, developing abstract compositions that layer form, color, and texture. The artist adds circles and arcs, gold leaf, and fluorescent colors, creating works that capture for him, “significant dynamism, but at the same time, surprising tranquility.”

Margaret Winslow, Chief Curator and Curator of Contemporary Art, says, ”Memeger has long contributed to and activated the contemporary art community in Wilmington. He, like this exhibition, pushes us to consider the subtle but impactful nature of art. The paintings in this exhibition are as much about the square as they are about our perceptions of supposedly rigid shapes in our world and their slightly, but constantly, shifting nature.”

Memeger is a multi-decade fixture at many Delaware arts organizations, whether as an exhibited artist or a board or committee member. Hagley’s website notes that when Memeger started at DuPont in 1964, he was only the fourth African American with a doctorate in chemistry to join the firm. Over the course of a 32-year career, he amassed fourteen patents and left his mark on some of DuPont’s most famous products, like Kevlar.

The exhibition at the Delaware Art Museum features 18 works on canvas and paper from the past 25 years. The selection showcases Memeger’s creativity with form and materials.

The Member Preview Party celebrates both the De Morgan and Memeger exhibitions at the Museum, with a cash bar, light bites and entertainment. It is open to the public with the purchase of a ticket; free for Members. The documentary screening of “Dr. Wesley Memeger Jr.: Science into Art,” produced by Hagley Museum and Library, and partially funded by a grant from Delaware Humanities, a state program of the National Endowment for the Humanities, will be held on Sunday, November 6, at 2 p.m., and is free to the public. Visit delart.org for information about these events and the exhibition.

This exhibition is made possible by David Pollack Vintage Posters and Lucinda and David Pollack. This exhibition is made possible through a grant from DuPont. 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 to for the latest exhibitions, programs, and performances or connect with us via social media.

IF YOU GO

WHAT: Wes Memeger: The Square and Other Concerns
WHEN: October 15, 2022—January 22, 2023
WHERE: Delaware Art Museum, 2301 Kentmere Parkway, Wilmington, DE 19806
COST: Included in Museum admission
INFO: delart.org

Member’s Preview Talk & Party
Wednesday, October 21, 2022, 5-8 p.m.
$20-$40; free for Members

Film Screening and Discussion of “Dr. Wesley Memeger Jr. : Science into Art”
Sunday, November 6 at 2 p.m.
Free after admission

Image: Ziptych with Solid Cylinder Plus 3 Open Cylinders, 2017. Wes Memeger (born 1939). Acrylic on shaped canvas with acrylic and Plexiglas, cylinders on board, 27 7/8 x 74 x 1 ½ inches. Courtesy of the artist. © Wes Memeger.

Intimate solo concerts and stories facilitated by Raye Jones Avery

The Delaware Art Museum will present two jazz piano powerhouses, Terry Klinefelter on Thursday October 13th at 8:00 p.m. and Suzzette Ortiz on Thursday November 17th at 8:00 p.m., in intimate solo concerts on the Museum’s Steinway Grand Piano. Performances will consist of the artists’ favorite works and stories from their lives. Each performance will include an artist chat led by Raye Jones Avery. The performances will take place in the stunning Fusco Grand Hall and guests will have access to a cash bar. Tickets are $20 for Members and $25 for non-members. Pre-registration is encouraged at www.delart.org.

The fall Jazz Series serves the mission of the Museum to connect people with art and to each other through the experience of it across disciplines. The unique and intimate program will allow audience members to get an up-close experience of masterful pianists and a look into their lives through the artist chat and stories woven throughout the performance. Raye Jones Avery, an accomplished jazz vocalist herself, will facilitate an engaging and interactive discussion around artistry and life as a musician.

Dr. Terry Klinefelter is a versatile artist, at home in jazz clubs as well as the classical concert stage. She has performed at the Kimmel Center, the Philadelphia Fringe Festival, the Chadds Ford Winery Jazz Festival, Jazz at the Springs, COTA Festival, Endless Mountain Music Festival, and Exuberance, among many others. Known for her lyrical style and beautiful sound, she has made several appearances on the Philadelphia Orchestra Chamber Music Series and also performed abroad in Mexico and Italy. She has collaborated with dance companies, serving as pianist with the Pennsylvania Ballet in the early nineties, and also more recently with the Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet (Mozart’s “Twinkle” Variations, Saint-Saëns’ Carnival of the Animals, and annual performances of The Nutcracker).

Suzzette Ortiz, a passionate pianist, composer,choral conductor and educator, has been serving her communities with the gift of music from her humble beginnings in Bayamon, Puerto Rico, to her many recent successes as a Pennsauken, New Jersey native. A true advocate of education Ms. Ortiz earned her bachelor degree in piano performance at El Conservatorio de Musica de Puerto Rico, as well as a master degree in education and composition at Temple University of Philadelphia, PA. Since the completion of her collegiate studies, Suzzette has continually sought out workshops and learning opportunities in her constant quest to grow as a musician and educator.

These performances are 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. Additional support provided by TD Charitable Foundation.

IF YOU GO:

What: Jazz Piano Series
When: October 13, 2022, 8 p.m. and November 17, 2022, 8 p.m.
Where: Delaware Art Museum, 2301 Kentmere Parkway, Wilmington, DE 19803
Cost: $20 Members, $25 Non-Members
Info: delart.org

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

Media Contact: Amelia Wiggins, Director of Communications & Engagement | awiggins@delart.org

Figure 1 (above). The Arabian Nights Entertainments (New York: Blue Ribbon Books, 1931). Helen Farr Sloan Library & Archives, Delaware Art Museum, Gift of Robert and Mary Walsh.

Recently, Delaware Art Museum Members Bob and Mary Walsh donated a few boxes of books to the Museum’s Library. For years the Walshes have been hunting down publishers’ bindings on their travels and very generously purchasing them for the library, and I am always excited when Mary brings in their latest finds. This time around I was doubly excited, as one of the books held an extra treasure inside its colorful cover. The book, The Arabian Nights Entertainments, illustrated by Louis Rhead and Frank E. Schoonover, is part of the Rainbow Bindings series published by Blue Ribbon Books. Schoonover’s cover illustration presents a bare-chested and bejeweled genie framed by a Moorish arch. The towering genie’s exaggerated features, dark skin, and exotic attire—as well as the dazzling scimitar slung across his back—create an orientalist fantasy that mirrors Arab stereotypes reflected in the stories. (See this article for more information about the role the Arabian Nights stories played in creating such stereotypes.)

We have other titles from this series in the Frank E. Schoonover Library Collection, but this one contained an advertising brochure aimed at booksellers—a rare piece of ephemera that I hadn’t seen before. This, of course, sent me down a rabbit hole of research to find out everything I could about the series. Unfortunately, there isn’t much information out there, which makes this brochure even more valuable.

In 1930 a consortium of publishers (Dodd, Mead & Company, Harcourt, Brace & Company, Harper & Brothers, and Little, Brown and Company) established Blue Ribbon Books as a reprint publisher, intent on competing with Grosset & Dunlap, who had built a very profitable business by purchasing softcover books and rebinding them as hardcovers. The publishing firms behind Blue Ribbon Books drew on titles from their back catalogs to produce affordable reprints for just $1.00 (roughly $18.00 in today’s money) and promoted them with the statement “The success of this book as originally published at $3.00 makes possible the Blue Ribbon edition at one dollar.”

imageFigure 2. Promotional paper band, which originally would have been wrapped around the dust jacket

In the fall of 1931 Blue Ribbon Books introduced Rainbow Bindings for the juvenile book market. For this series, Harper & Brothers tapped their catalog of Louis Rhead Classics and reprinted them in colorful and durable bindings. Rhead (1857–1926) was one of the most popular designers and illustrators of the early twentieth century and an unofficial rival of Howard Pyle, particularly in the field of illustrated juvenile classics. Appearing just in time for the Christmas gift season, these Rainbow Bindings were advertised as being both beautiful and indestructible, designed to “brighten and decorate children’s bookshelves” and be wiped clean with a damp cloth. A review in the article “The Christmas Book Shelf” from the December 1931 issue of The Elementary English Review recommended the books, stating that they are “attractively bound . . . [and] are gifts of unusual merit and not unpleasing to a youthful eye.”

imageFigure 3. Rhead’s illustrations from The Arabian Nights Entertainments

Each book in the series contained numerous illustrations and decorations by Rhead and featured a full color illustration by Schoonover that was used for both the frontispiece and the cover. This was not the first time the two artists had shared the role of illustrator—a decade earlier they had collaborated on several successful reprints of classics published by Harper & Brothers. A letter to Schoonover from Rhead in the Frank E. Schoonover Manuscript Collection explains how this relationship initially came about, and why Rhead was happy to share the credit with Schoonover:

I welcome your pictures in the books. It gives a joyous tone to the serious somberness of pen work. You may not know it, Harper’s acted nice about it. From a business standpoint, they knew American mothers are attracted by a color picture (if good), and they asked me to do it – I told them I could – but it would be better to have work from a man whose regular work was color – and it was I who suggested you to them. And glad I am they acted and got you, for it has boosted up sales.

imageFigure 4. Letter from Louis Rhead to Frank E. Schoonover, c. 1923. Frank E. Schoonover Manuscript Collection, Helen Farr Sloan Library & Archives, Delaware Art Museum

When Blue Ribbon Books decided to reprint the Rhead classics in their new Rainbow Bindings series they contacted Schoonover, asking him to send to them his original small spine illustrations so that they could make new plates from them. Schoonover, obviously confused, must have sent a letter to Harper’s asking about this. Although the initial request from Blue Ribbon and Schoonover’s query to Harper’s are not in our collection, Harper’s reply to Schoonover, in which they inform him that Blue Ribbon Books is part of their company, is, as is another letter asking him to send along three of his cover illustrations so that they could be displayed in the juvenile book shop at F. A. O. Schwartz over the Christmas season.

imageFigure 5. A selection of Rainbow Bindings from the Frank E. Schoonover Library Collection showing Schoonover’s spine illustrations

imageFigure 6. Letter from William E. Mears, Harper & Brothers, to Frank E. Schoonover, 1931. Frank E. Schoonover Manuscript Collection, Helen Farr Sloan Library & Archives, Delaware Art Museum. In this letter Mears asks Schoonover to send three of his original paintings for display in the book department of F. A. O. Schwartz over the Christmas season. He also requests a price for the originals, “as the Schwartz store attracts people who possess the necessary means and the desire to have some of the better things in their homes.” Schoonover sent five paintings for display, all of which were returned to him in early 1932.

Though finding these letters in our collections was exciting as they helped me piece together more information about the series, the real star of this story is the brochure itself. Calling the series “A Sensational Innovation in Book Making,” the brochure touts the technological advancements that make the Rainbow Bindings unique:

For the first time in the history of book making a way has been discovered of reproducing on the cloth cover of a book miniature oil paintings which retain the full beauty and color of the original. It is a truly amazing discovery, developed and distributed solely by Blue Ribbon Books. “Rainbow Bindings”, as these covers will be called, are washable and indestructible, and add an indescribable distinction to America’s most famous series of Juvenile classics.

image

imageFigures 7 and 8. “Introducing Rainbow Bindings” advertising brochure. Helen Farr Sloan Library & Archives, Delaware Art Museum, Gift of Robert and Mary Walsh.

The brochure continues by highlighting the series’ “11 Unusual Features,” including novelty (“Nothing like ‘Rainbow Bindings’ have ever been offered”), durability (“‘Rainbow Bindings’ are specially treated and will not tear, break, crack or fray”), and quality (“Although ‘Rainbow Bindings’ are low in price they give an appearance of quality that cannot be equaled by any other line of children’s books”). The brochure also notes that the technological innovation of producing the color illustration directly onto the cloth results in a superior reproduction than if it had been printed on a paper jacket or inlay, as was the previous fashion. In fact, Eugene Reynal, head of Blue Ribbon Books, was so confident about this new format that he was quoted by the Kansas City Star as declaring that “paper book jackets will soon be a thing of the past.” But perhaps the most compelling reason to purchase the Rainbow Bindings series, according to the brochure, and the one that must have appealed the most to Rhead’s “American mothers,” is the claim that “a love for these books will give [children] a love for books all their lives.”

Rachael DiEleuterio
Librarian and Archivist

Wes Memeger: The Square and Other Concerns on view October 15, 2022 – January 22, 2023.

“For me, the transition from science and technology to art was an easy one.” Wes Memeger

Wes Memeger has explored the square for decades. In his early career as a chemist, he analyzed the skewed bonds in an almost square carbon and hydrogen compound. As an artist, Memeger studied the works of abstract painters, reading and viewing their considerations of the basic and ubiquitous shape. He explains, “From the 1970s to the 1990s, while I was still working as a chemist, I read intensely and thought about art matters focusing on abstractionist painters such as Kazimir Malevich, Josef Albers, Piet Mondrian, Johannes Itten, and Franz Kline.” These artists and their approach to the essential elements of artmaking provided Memeger with inspiration and points of departure.

imageLeft to right: Square, Circles, Arcs, and Lines Together, 2019. Wes Memeger (born 1939). Acrylic on canvas, 72 x 72 inches. Courtesy of the artist. © Wes Memeger. Square Dance, 1999–2000. Wes Memeger (born 1939). Acrylic on canvas, 48 x 48 inches. Courtesy of the artist. © Wes Memeger.

Drawing from these seemingly disparate backgrounds, Memeger uses the square as a building block, developing abstract compositions that layer form, color, and texture. The artist adds circles and arcs, gold leaf, or fluorescent colors creating works that capture for him, “significant dynamism, but at the same time, surprising tranquility.” Memeger continuously incorporates experimentation into his work. A series begun in 2013 blends painting with three-dimensional forms, creating what the artist refers to as a ziptych composed of two, touching z-shaped canvases.

imageZiptych with Solid Cylinder Plus 3 Open Cylinders, 2017. Wes Memeger (born 1939). Acrylic on shaped canvas with acrylic and Plexiglas, cylinders on board, 27 7/8 x 74 x 1 ½ inches. Courtesy of the artist. © Wes Memeger.

Memeger muses, “Looking back over decades of experimentation, I find that it has been challenges that have most advanced my thinking and my artmaking.” The paintings in this exhibition are as much about the square as they are about our perceptions of supposedly rigid shapes in our world and their slightly, but constantly, shifting nature.

imageLeft to right: Towards Disharmony II, 2003. Wes Memeger (born 1939). Acrylic on canvas, 36 x 36 inches. Collection of Kim Memeger. © Wes Memeger. Towards Harmony, 2004. Wes Memeger (born 1939). Acrylic on canvas, 12 x 12 inches. Courtesy of the artist. © Wes Memeger.

Top: Towards an Eccentric Square, 1998. Wes Memeger (born 1939). Acrylic on paper, 20 x 25 inches. Courtesy of the artist. © Wes Memeger.

“A Marriage of Arts & Crafts: Evelyn & William De Morgan” showcases stunning Pre-Raphaelite paintings and Arts & Crafts ceramics.

This fall, the Delaware Art Museum (DelArt) will host the first retrospective exhibition of the work of Pre-Raphaelite painter Evelyn Pickering De Morgan (1855-1919) and her husband, the stained glass and pottery designer William Frend De Morgan (1839-1917). Making its American debut at DelArt, the exhibition tells the story of this extraordinary creative couple, who engaged with the artistic and social movements of their day. Over 75 works introduce visitors to William’s shimmering, lustreware ceramics and Evelyn’s richly symbolic paintings, inspired by her deep engagement with Italian Renaissance art.

“We’re delighted to introduce audiences to a pair of nineteenth-century artists who intentionally integrated their artistic practices with their social and political commitments,” shares Sophie Lynford, DelArt’s recently appointed Annette Woolard-Provine Curator of the Bancroft Collection. “Many of Evelyn’s painted allegories advocate women’s independence, powerfully addressing issues that remain at the forefront of contemporary dialogues.”

As artists, the De Morgans worked at the center of the Pre-Raphaelite, Arts and Crafts and Aesthetic Movements. Their political and social views also connected them with groups outside the art world including socialists, suffragists and pacifists. Yet the De Morgan name is not well known – William perhaps because he produced decorative arts, a genre which has historically been regarded as inferior to fine arts, and Evelyn because of her gender. Considering the two artists together allows for a comprehensive view of the expanded cultural milieu in which they functioned, not least regarding new attitudes towards Victorian marriage as a working partnership.

At DelArt, the exhibition will be accompanied by lectures during opening and closing weekends by Sarah Hardy, Curator of the De Morgan Foundation, and Dr. Margaretta Frederick, Curator Emerita at the Delaware Art Museum. Guided tours of the exhibition will be offered weekly on Saturdays at 1 p.m. On view concurrently, “The Forgotten Pre-Raphaelites” will explore work of lesser-known artists associated with the Pre-Raphaelite circle. A new Pre-Raphaelite art history course, with virtual and in-person options, will contextualize the era in which the De Morgans worked and highlight DelArt’s Bancroft collection, the largest Pre-Raphaelite holdings outside of the United Kingdom. “A Marriage of Arts & Crafts” sets the stage for another highly anticipated Pre-Raphaelite exhibition in Fall 2023: “The Rossettis,” organized in partnership with Tate Britain.

“We invite art lovers to join us at the Delaware Art Museum for this visually stunning exhibition,” welcomes DelArt Executive Director Molly Giordano. “We’re calling this The Year of Pre-Raphaelites, and we can’t wait to share the masterpieces, exhibitions, and programs celebrating this rich period of art history.”

Five years in the making, “A Marriage of Arts & Crafts: Evelyn & William De Morgan” is drawn from the collection of the De Morgan Foundation and is co-curated by Sarah Hardy, Curator, De Morgan Collection and Dr. Margaretta Frederick, Curator Emerita, Delaware Art Museum. Over 75 paintings, drawings and pots by this artist couple will be featured. The Mark Samuels Lasner Collection at the University of Delaware Library has also generously lent books and archival material for a special display within the exhibition highlighting William’s extraordinary transition from potter to successful novelist. The exhibition will subsequently travel to two further venues: the Crocker Art Museum, Sacramento, CA (September 2023-January 2024) and the Museum of Fine Arts St Petersburg, FL (January 2024 – May 2024). A publication of essays will accompany the exhibition: Margaretta S. Frederick, ed. “Evelyn & William De Morgan: A Marriage of Arts & Crafts” (London and New Haven: Yale University Press, 2022). Copies of the catalog will be available at the Delaware Art Museum Store this fall.

IF YOU GO:
What: “A Marriage of Arts & Crafts: Evelyn & William De Morgan”
When: October 22, 2022 – February 19, 2023
Lecture and Exhibition Preview on Friday evening, October 21.
Where: Delaware Art Museum, 2301 Kentmere Parkway, Wilmington, DE 19803
Cost: Free with Museum admission ($14 adults)
Info: delart.org

Sponsors: This exhibition was organized by the Delaware Art Museum. This exhibition is made possible through support from the Nathan Clark Foundation and the Dr. Lee MacCormick Edwards Charitable Foundation. 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. The publication for this exhibition was made possible through a grant from Furthermore: a program of the J. M. Kaplan Fund.

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

The Arsht-Cannon Fund Supports Latino Arts Education Outreach 

The Delaware Art Museum is celebrating a $30,000 grant from the Arsht-Cannon Fund at the Delaware Community Foundation (DCF) to expand the reach of its Healing through the Arts program. The program delivers free art experiences through eight partners in greater Wilmington, with a focus on Latino-serving and cancer-serving organizations.

The idea for Healing through the Arts was sparked in 2017, when community members Vanesa Simon and Luisa Ortiz shared ideas about the role of creativity in healing. The Museum agreed that art helps people heal mentally, emotionally, and physically, and offered seed money to pilot three painting workshops and a community celebration for cancer patients.  

Since then, the Delaware Art Museum and Simon’s company, Mariposa Arts, have expanded the program to serve not only people experiencing cancer, but also people experiencing environmental trauma, including gun violence, social conflict, and adverse childhood experiences. By reaching beyond the Museum’s walls to provide experiences with art to those who need it most, the partners use the practice of artmaking to catalyze healing and build community.  

The Arsht-Cannon Fund grant is targeted toward the growth of community partnerships that will increase access to art experiences for the many Latinos who are confronting overwhelming levels of stress. 

“We are excited to support the Delaware Art Museum’s efforts to engage our Latino families in learning, expressing, and developing creative ways to manage feelings associated with mounting life challenges,” stated Christine Cannon, the Executive Director of the Arsht-Cannon Fund. “With linguistically- and culturally-designed experiences, many will feel welcomed, and their participation can open many opportunities.”  

“I find that looking at art, and talking about art, provides a different vehicle to reflect on your experiences,” says Vanesa Simon. “Participants come to the Museum, a place that doesn’t have anything to do with cancer. They look at beautiful art, or even challenging art, and see things in it they’ve never noticed before. They talk about their observations with a group of people that know what they are experiencing. Sometimes it isn’t about cancer, but they have space to talk about their lives through a different lens.”  

Healing through the Arts workshop content changes to reflect the needs of each new audience. The program has added grief drumming, watercolor, clay workshops, gallery tours, and holds workshops in the Museum’s labyrinth. 

In addition to the Arsht-Cannon Fund at DCF, this program is made possible by Incyte and Museum Council. 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 to for the latest exhibitions, programs, and performances or connect with us via social media.

Healing Through the Arts. The name of this growing DelArt program series identifies its impact. The goal, says creator Vanesa Simon, is to use art to help community members heal. A cancer survivor herself, Simon has a singular understanding of how art can help people through deep trials and connect them with others in a community of support.  

Art strengthens mental health, reduces stress, improves well-being, and helps us heal – mentally, emotionally, and physically. The Delaware Art Museum is reaching beyond its walls to provide experiences with art to those who need it most. We offer artmaking as a practice that catalyzes healing and builds community.  

The idea was sparked in 2017, when community members Vanesa Simon and Luisa Ortiz shared ideas about the role of creativity in healing. DelArt gave seed money to pilot their initial idea – three painting workshops and a community celebration for cancer patients. From this first event, Healing Through the Arts grew as a joint venture between the Museum and Simon’s company, Mariposa Arts.  

Grief drumming, watercolor, and clay workshops were soon offered to partner organizations serving the cancer community.  Cris Vitsorek and fellow Museum Guides developed gallery tours to complement the program. Guides facilitated reflective dialogues and deep looking centered on select works of art, some sharing their own experiences with cancer. 

In contrast to traditional services like cancer support groups, “I find that looking at art, and talking about art, provides a different vehicle to reflect on your experiences,” shares Vanesa Simon. “That’s what’s special about the tours Cris and the Guides developed. Participants come to the Museum, a place that doesn’t have anything to do with cancer. They look at beautiful art, or even challenging art, and see things in it they’ve never noticed before. They talk about their observations with a group of people that know what they are experiencing. Sometimes it isn’t about cancer, but they have space to talk about their lives through a different lens.” Within the tours and workshops, relationships develop and participants bond. “As we’re exposing people to new materials and different kinds of art, we’re leaving space for what grows organically, for community-building to happen.” 

When the pandemic hit, Healing Through the Art sessions moved online. DelArt and Mariposa sustained their relationship with the Cancer Support Community of Delaware through online guided art workshops and virtual tours. “We saw that we could continue to offer experiences to the cancer community, but we also realized that the rest of the world needed art for healing as well,” shares Simon.  The challenges of the pandemic crystallized the widespread need for art as a tool for healing. Healing Through the Arts expanded its focus to serve not only people experiencing cancer, but also people experiencing environmental traumas, including gun violence, social conflict, and adverse childhood experiences. Healing Through the Arts workshops are now offered at several partner sites throughout the city, and the content changes to reflect the needs of each new audience. 

“We returned in-person in 2021 with an outdoor labyrinth workshop led by the artist KYMA. We’d all been cooped up and only connecting online. Participants were moved to tears, in front of strangers, by the power of sharing space. It was beautiful to witness. I observed a man grieving – maybe he had lost someone, I’m not sure,” continues Simon. “That workshop was so special – people connected so deeply with KYMA’s practice. I could feel the power of our shared experience and see the healing it brought to our community.” 

As Healing Through the Arts developed new community partnerships, the approach to collaboration and to teaching changed as well. “I know what a cancer patient goes through, and I have an idea of what helps them. But as we went into new kinds of organizations to help people with different traumas, our role shifted to one of listening. We let our partners know about the resources we offer, and we asked what could best help their communities,” shares Simon. “I did not experience gun violence, nor the level of poverty or other stressors that some of the students at The Teen Warehouse face. I wasn’t sure if my art teaching would reach these teens. But the partner told us that the teens are interested in mindfulness, and they asked me to instruct them. At the Warehouse, I encountered situations that were new to me as a teaching artist. In one of my classes while I played soft music to create a quiet atmosphere, a teen began laughing uncontrollably. I checked in with her to make sure she was ok, but she continued laughing for ten minutes. I reflected on the experience afterward with art therapist Christine Byma. Byma identified the teen’s laughter as a possible traumatic reaction. I realized that I needed to pursue additional education in this area, and I sought out trauma-informed practice training through the Bartol Foundation. I learned techniques to help people through their trauma. 

Healing Through the Arts now delivers art experiences through eight partners in greater Wilmington. In alignment with DelArt’s strategic focus on developing anchor partnerships in the region, further growth is planned. “We have a lot of goals. We are now sharing the program in Spanish and reaching out to the veteran community, and we hope to expand these areas. It’s all about to happen,” shares Simon. “But it’s important to continue this work in a way that is human-centered, even as we grow. These are not just quantities of people that we count – these are individuals experiencing real pain, whether environmental, health, mental health, or just the challenges of daily life – they are experiencing real stressors. Each of these people matter, as does each person who works behind the scenes to run the program, to teach art, or to collaborate with us.” 

We’re introducing art as a tool for wellbeing. The goal isn’t to become a trained artist or a master of technique, but to find wellbeing through the practice of art. It’s lovely to get your hands into all kinds of artistic media. We hear a lot of protesting that “I’m not an artist!” You don’t have to be, to participate. 

 In the coming year, formal evaluation will assess the program’s impact. But Simon knows Healing Through the Arts is having an effect. She’s overheard teenage girls sharing how they see each other growing. She’s witnessed her teaching space become a refuge. She’s seen adults process their experiences while modeling clay. She’s read participants’ reflections on how art gives them confidence or makes their days better. Art is a healing force in our community, and it’s available to all.  

Healing Through the Arts sessions are offered free of charge, thanks to the generosity of funders and individual donors. You can help DelArt deliver healing experiences with art to all in our community by making a donation to the Museum in support of Healing Through the Arts. 

Experience Healing Through the Arts yourself by registering for a virtual Looking and Reflecting Tour, open to all on select Sundays at 2 p.m. 

This program has been supported by our partnership with the Arsht-Cannon Fund. This program is made possible by Incyte and Museum Council. 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.

Delaware Division of the Arts LogoNational Endowment for the Arts Logo

Partnerships with Brevity Bookspace and the National Book Foundation expand the Museum’s offerings for writers and book lovers throughout Delaware and beyond.

The Delaware Art Museum and Brevity Bookspace are teaming up to present a weekend of engaging literary programming this August, featuring the return of the virtual Wilmington Writers Conference as well as an in-person conversation and book signing in partnership with the National Book Foundation.

On Saturday, August 6th, The Wilmington Writers Conference, a signature summer staple, returns. This year’s virtual offering, which costs $10 to attend, will feature a keynote speech and writing workshop by Delaware author Ethan Joella, whose debut novel, A Little Hope, has been praised by The New York Times and The Today Show, among other outlets. Ethan will be joined by Saliym Cooper of Brevity Bookspace, who will also be teaching a special writing session.

On Sunday, August 7th, the Museum and Brevity are partnering with the National Book Foundation to host a free event welcoming National Book Award–honored authors Clint Smith (How the Word is Passed: A Reckoning with the History of Slavery Across America) and Kali Fajardo-Anstine (Sabrina and Corina, Woman of Light) for “Rewriting American Memory,” a conversation about intergenerational histories amongst Black, Latinx and Indigenous peoples. The conversation will be followed by a book signing at the DelArt Store, where guests will have the opportunity to meet Smith and Fajardo-Anstine and purchase their books. Registration is open at delart.org.

The Store and the Foundation are also supporting a book drive for Brevity Bookspace, featuring NBA–honored titles. “The National Book Foundation is thrilled to visit Delaware for the first time through our NBF Presents national programming in partnership with Brevity Bookspace and the Delaware Art Museum,” said Natalie Green, Director of Public Programs at the National Book Foundation. “We are so excited to connect with Wilmington readers and celebrate two exceptional National Book Award–honored authors, Kali Fajardo-Anstine and Clint Smith.”

The three authors featured during this literary weekend write of hope, history and honoring ancestral roots, all of which align with the Museum’s vision of creating an inclusive community space that invites discourse and interaction between people and art. These literary events are vital to the community in many ways, offering free and low-cost opportunities for artistic practice and conversation while also highlighting the wealth of brilliant authors who live in Delaware and the surrounding region. “I am so honored to participate in the Wilmington Writers Conference this year and talk about the ups and downs of a writer’s journey and the need for hope, resilience, and a supportive writing community,” says Joella. “I am a big fan of The Delaware Art Museum Store and Brevity Bookspace and all they have done to enrich the culture and promote writing and reading in our beautiful state.”

The Museum Store and Brevity Bookspace have a long-standing history of successful partnerships that support Brevity’s mission to place more books in the hearts and homes of Delaware residents, particularly those who reside in Wilmington. What began with a pop-up at the third annual Wilmington Writers Conference has evolved to include national campaigns and partnerships. “It seems only natural to continue a partnership that has brought free books, significant smiles and literary sparkle to Wilmington,” says Saliym Cooper, owner of Brevity Bookspace. “This year we hope to usher in a new caliber of literary excellence through an experience designed to add more color, conversation and realness. If the top-tier authors slated to attend are any indication, we want all those who register to buckle up for an unforgettable literary weekend.”

Jessa Mendez, the Museum’s Lead Museum Associate and coordinator of the weekend’s events, is equally excited to bring the literary arts to Delaware once again. “This weekend is the result of many beautiful events and the Museum visitors who have supported our vision to be a community bookstore. We could not have asked for better partners than Brevity Bookspace and the National Book Foundation,” says Mendez. “Brevity and the Store have always made magic with our collaborations, and we are so excited that Ethan Joella, Clint Smith and Kali Fajardo-Anstine are joining us in our ongoing journey.”

IF YOU GO:

What: Wilmington Writers Conference
When: Saturday, August 6, 9 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
Where: Virtual; register at delart.org
Cost: $10

What: National Book Foundation Presents: Rewriting American Memory
When: Sunday, August 7, 1 p.m.
Where: Delaware Art Museum, 2301 Kentmere Parkway, Wilmington, DE. Registration at delart.org
Cost: Free

Organizer and Sponsors:

The Wilmington Writers Conference is partially funded by a grant from Delaware Humanities, a state program of the National Endowment for the Humanities. This event is sponsored by The Happy Self-Publisher. “Rewriting American Memory” is presented in partnership with the National Book Foundation and made possible by the Mellon Foundation. These programs are 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 to for the latest exhibitions, programs, and performances or connect with us via social media.

Press Contact:

Amelia Wiggins
Director of Communications & Engagement
awiggins@delart.org
302.351.8503

How the West is One

In the photograph How the West is One, two men look towards one another in a standoff. The figure on the left wears a collared shirt, a cuff, and an intricate metal necklace holding eleven pendants. His hair is tied in a tsiiyéél, indicating wisdom and disciplined thought in Diné/Navajo culture. On the right, the second figure appears dressed in a white collared shirt, pinstripe vest, tie, and a leather work glove on his raised hand. A wide-brimmed cowboy hat sits on his head. Though their attire sets them apart, the men’s faces reflect one another in profile as they intently gaze towards the other.

The two figures in How the West is One are duplicates played by the artist Will Wilson. In this double self-portrait, Wilson depicts himself as the quintessential late nineteenth-century character types of the “Cowboy” and “Indian” together in one picture frame. Each is generalized as a trope but seen through Wilson’s unique lens. The figures recall the popular children’s game “Cowboy and Indians,” which pits these two groups against one another in the struggles over the American West. They are often set up in old Western movies and books as diametrically opposed. In How the West is One, however—the “Cowboy” and “Indian” are both distinct and the same. Wilson plays on simplified and outdated narratives of identity in his photograph, highlighting the ways that photographs are deeply complex spaces of self-definition.

Will Wilson’s Critical Indigenous Photographic Exchange

Will Wilson (b. 1969) is a contemporary Diné/Navajo artist and citizen of the Navajo Nation living and working in Santa Fe, New Mexico. The work shown in this summer’s exhibition at DelArt, In Conversation: Will Wilson, represents an overview of a series known as the Critical Indigenous Photographic Exchange (CIPX). Begun in 2012, CIPX is a series of portraits made through the wet collodion photographic process, similar to the one the early twentieth-century photographer Edward S. Curtis was well-known for using in his The North American Indian project (1907-1930). In this process photographic negatives are printed with light-sensitive chemicals on a metal or glass surface, often referred to colloquially as a “tintype.” Wet collodion photography became massively popular for portraiture in the latter nineteenth century due to its high level of detail, reproducibility, durability, and relative cost-effectiveness.

image

Will Wilson (b. 1969), Will Wilson, Citizen of the Navajo Nation, Trans-customary Diné Artist, 2013, printed 2018, archival pigment print from wet plate collodion scan, 22 x 17 in. Art Bridges. Photography by Brad Flowers.

For Wilson, developing photographs of Native peoples through this process puts him in direct conversation with Curtis and other photographers of his time who turned their cameras towards representing Indigenous peoples, often depicting them incorrectly as vanishing representations of the past. Curtis was famous for post-production editing of his photographs through dodging, burning, cropping, and retouching elements (manual processes that can now be done in Photoshop) to make them appear more nostalgic. Wilson’s project considers Curtis’s impact while wholly rejecting his conclusions. In Wilson’s images, sitters are living, breathing, and thriving. Wilson’s hope for the Critical Indigenous Photographic Exchange (CIPX) is that he can “indigenize the photographic exchange,” through collaboration and exchange that can then “form the basis for a re-imagined vision of who we are as Native people.”

Wilson held the first series of Critical Indigenous Photographic Exchange (CIPX) photoshoots at the 2012 Santa Fe Indian Market in New Mexico. He invited friends, students, and colleagues to be subjects, thus beginning the project that is now in its tenth year. Wilson engages his sitters in a direct process of reciprocity, wherein he gifts them with the resulting 8×10 tintype plate after taking a high-resolution scan for his archive. These scans are then titled with the person’s name and a designation for the site the photograph was taken at, making them traceable to their source. Each subject is encouraged to come to their session in whatever clothing and objects are significant to them. Through the Critical Indigenous Photographic Exchange (CIPX), Wilson has created a counter-archive of nearly 4,000 photographs that feature both Native and non-Native subjects from across the globe. The series has become a central part of the artist’s practice, and he has been sponsored by institutions worldwide to host photoshoots highlighting contemporary Indigenous communities.

image

Will Wilson (born 1969). Principal Chief Dennis Coker, Citizen of the Lenape Indian Tribe of Delaware, 2022. Archival pigment print from wet plate collodion scan, image: 40 × 31 1/4 inches. Artwork © Will Wilson Art & Photo, LLC.

CIPX in Delaware

In May 2022, Wilson’s CIPX series was brought to Delaware when citizens of the Lenape Indian Tribe of Delaware (The Original People) and the Nanticoke Indian Tribe (The Tidewater People) were invited to sit for their own CIPX portraits. Working with Principle Chief Dennis J. Coker (Lenape) and Chief Natosha Carmine (Nanticoke), the Delaware Art Museum facilitated a day-long photoshoot that featured individuals, families, and objects/images of personal significance. Many shared stories of what and who they brought with them, which will be exhibited alongside the final photographs. These personal narratives are powerful examples of fortitude, family, and cultural continuity within these communities.

Finally, Wilson pushes the Critical Indigenous Photographic Exchange (CIPX) project into the contemporary with the inclusion of “Talking Tintypes,” which use Augmented Reality (AR) technology to bring the images to life. You can download the free app in the App Store and/or Google Play, and scan select exhibition images to access interactive AR content. Across this survey of ten years of work, Wilson’s still and moving images make clear that Indigenous peoples persist and continue to reclaim the camera as a meaningful mode of self-representation. In Conversation: Will Wilson is a powerful testament to such work and the important conversations it propagates.

Kaila T. Schedeen
PhD Candidate at the University of Texas at Austin, Guest Curator


In Conversation: Will Wilson is on view at the Delaware Art Museum July 9 – September 11, 2022.

The Delaware Art Museum acknowledges with respect that the Delaware Art Museum and its grounds stand on Lenape land. The Lenni Lenape (The Original People) have lived in our region for thousands of years. Many were forced to migrate west and north where their descendants live today, but some never left, and some returned.

The region we now call Delaware is home to the Lenape Indian Tribe of Delaware, the Nanticoke Indian Tribe (The Tidewater People), and diverse Indigenous peoples today. We pay respect to their Elders, past and present. We honor the animals, plants, and waters of Lenapehoking—the traditional Homeland of the Lenape people within which we stand.

We invite you to join us in acknowledging the sacredness of this place, honoring its original and living stewards, and offering respect and care for the land and its resources.

We also acknowledge the land, elements, and beings of Oga Po’geh (“White Shell Water Place,” known today as Santa Fe, New Mexico) and Dinétah (“Among the People,” the ancestral homelands of the Diné), where the Diné (Navajo) artist Will Wilson lives and creates much of his work. We honor these places and their Indigenous peoples from the past, present, and future.


Top image: Will Wilson (born 1969). How the West is One, 2014, printed 2016. Archival pigment print from wet plate collodion scan, 24 × 36 inches. Collection of the artist.

In Conversation: Will Wilson is organized by Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, with generous support provided by Art Bridges. This exhibition and its related programming are sponsored by M&T Bank. This exhibition is made possible in Delaware by the Emily du Pont Exhibition Fund. Additional support was provided, 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.

Delaware Division of the Arts Logo    National Endowment for the Arts Logo 

The photography exhibition “In Conversation: Will Wilson” will be paired with a pow wow and storytelling event.

Opening July 9 at the Delaware Art Museum, “In Conversation: Will Wilson” explores issues of Indigenous representation within the history of photography through the work of Diné (Navajo) photographer Will Wilson (b. 1969). A pow wow and storytelling event at the Museum are planned with the Lenape Indian Tribe of Delaware, Nanticoke Indian Association, and local Indigenous community members.

“Will Wilson’s photographs represent a meaningful shift in the way Indigenous communities are represented in museum spaces,” shares guest curator Kaila Schedeen. “Wilson’s work provides the platform for individuals to represent themselves as they want to be seen, while also shifting the conversation of contemporary Indigenous representation towards exchange, mutual respect, and relationship-building.”

Wilson’s work explores the legacy of historical photographs on the representation of Native peoples in North America. Through the artist’s ongoing Critical Indigenous Photographic Exchange (CIPX) project, Wilson combines historic wet plate (tintype) photography with 21st-century Augmented Reality (AR) technology in a convenient app to bring his “Talking Tintype” photographs to life. Through the CIPX images, Wilson facilitates new conversations about Indigeneity that emphasize a reciprocal relationship with the sitters. Wilson visited Delaware in May to photograph members of the Lenape Indian Tribe of Delaware and the Nanticoke Indian Association. Their portraits will be included in the exhibition at DelArt this summer and later at the Nanticoke Indian Museum.

“We are grateful to the committee of advisors who guided the presentation of this important exhibition and participated in the Critical Indigenous Photography Exchange,” says Community Engagement Specialist Iz Balleto. “We invite everyone to visit the exhibition at DelArt, celebrate Indigenous culture at the July 23 Pow Wow of Arts & Culture, and hear community members’ stories at the My Land, My Roots event on October 15.”

In Conversation: Will Wilson is complemented by an exhibit by local photographer Andre’ L. Wright, Jr., Indigenous Faces of Wilmington, in the Museum’s Orientation Hall. Both shows are on view through September 8. The national tour of In Conversation: Will Wilson is supported by the Art Bridges Foundation.

IF YOU GO:

What: In Conversation: Will Wilson photography exhibition
When: Exhibition on view July 9– September 11, 2022
Pow Wow of Arts & Culture on Saturday, July 23
>My Land, My Roots on Saturday, October 15, 10 am – 12 pm
Where: Delaware Art Museum, 2301 Kentmere Parkway, Wilmington, Delaware 19806
Cost: Free with Museum admission
Info: delart.org

Organizers & Sponsors:

The exhibition was curated by Mindy Besaw, Curator of American Art/Director of Fellowships & Research from Crystal Bridges, and Ashley Holland, Associate Curator from the Art Bridges Foundation. In Conversation: Will Wilson is organized by Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art. In Delaware, the exhibition is guest curated by Kaila T. Schedeen, PhD Candidate at the University of Texas at Austin.

Generous support provided by Art Bridges. Additional support provided by the Emily du Pont Exhibition Fund. The Museum 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.

DelArt thanks the members of our advisory committee for their critical input in shaping this exhibition and its programs: Principal Chief Dennis Coker (Lenape Indian Tribe of Delaware); Chief Natosha Carmine (Nanticoke Indian Association of Delaware); India Colon Diaz (Taína of Boriken Nation of PR); Sherri Evans-Stanton; RuthAnn Purchase; Adrienne Lalli Hills, Independent Museum Consultant (Wyandotte Nation); Gabe Joseph Rosales; Jea Street, Jr.(Nanticoke); Victoria Sunnergren.

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

Image: Will Wilson (born 1969). How the West is One, 2014, printed 2016. Archival pigment print from wet plate collodion scan, 24 × 36 inches. Collection of the artist. Artwork © Will Wilson Art & Photo, LLC.

Delaware Art Museum exhibition showcases distinguished artist’s work over five decades.

Opening June 25, “Stan Smokler: Steel in Flux” showcases the celebrated Brandywine Valley artist in an indoor-outdoor exhibition at the Delaware Art Museum. Five decades of Smokler’s steel sculptures and drawings will be displayed in the Museum’s galleries and outside in the Copeland Sculpture Garden.

Smokler assembles, reshapes, and resurfaces discarded steel objects, including cogs, springs, pipes and beams, into expressive works of art. The resulting sculptures span a range of references from geometric to organic, from the whimsical to the celestial. The artist often sketches his finished works to further understand volume in space. The upcoming exhibition brings together large- and small-scale sculpture and drawings from the late 1970s through 2020.

“Stan Smokler’s celebrated, steel sculptures continue the trajectory of modernist abstraction,” shares Curator of Contemporary Art Margaret Winslow. “This Distinguished Artist Series Exhibition showcases the breadth of Smokler’s experimentation in form and metal.”

The Distinguished Artist Series is a celebration of those artists who have impacted contemporary art in the greater Brandywine Valley through their artistic practices, teaching, and support of the community. With his commitment to exploring the possibilities of steel and mentoring students through his numerous Marshall Bridge workshops and years at the Delaware College of Art and Design, Stan Smokler has guided the trajectory of contemporary abstract sculpture.

Stan Smokler was born in New York City in 1944. He received his undergraduate degree in studio art at the University of Pittsburgh and his master of fine arts degree at Pratt Institute. Relocating to the Brandywine Valley in 1999, Smokler participated in the Delaware Division of the Arts’ Artist in Residence program from 1996 to 1999, served on the Board of the Delaware Contemporary, and taught at the Delaware College of Art and Design. Smokler’s extensive career includes groups shows at the Rizzoli International Gallery (New York), Salmagundi Club (New York), Everson Museum of Art (Syracuse, NY), Delaware Art Museum (Wilmington), and the Delaware Contemporary (Wilmington), and solo exhibitions at Kim Foster Gallery (New York), Blue Streak Gallery (Wilmington, DE), Albright College (Reading, PA), Dartmouth College (Hanover, NH), West Chester University (PA), and Winterthur Museum, Garden, and Library (DE). Smokler’s sculptures can be found in the collections of Albright College, Dansko (West Grove, PA), and the Delaware Art Museum. In 2004, Smokler established his Marshall Bridge Workshop, an immersive training opportunity for artists of all levels interested in working with welded steel.

Organizer and Sponsors: “Stan Smokler: Steel in Flux” was organized by the Delaware Art Museum. 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: “Stan Smokler: Steel in Flux” exhibition
WHEN: June 25 – Sept. 11, with outdoor sculptures extended through Oct. 30.
WHERE: Delaware Art Museum, 2301 Kentmere Parkway, Wilmington, DE 19806
COST: Free with admission
INFO: delart.org

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

Image, left to right: Hieronymus Bosch: Garden of Earthly Delights, 2015. Stan Smokler (born 1944). Welded steel assemblage with found and fabricated objects, bronze, and paint, 49 × 29 × 28 inches. Courtesy of the artist. © Stan Smokler. Photograph by Terry Roberts. | Fibonacci, 2013. Stan Smokler (born 1944). Steel and paint, 20 x 19 x 13 inches. Courtesy of the artist. © Stan Smokler. Photograph by Terry Roberts.

Dr. Sophie Lynford has been appointed Annette Woolard-Provine Curator of the Bancroft Collection, and Margaret Winslow will lead the department as Chief Curator.

The Delaware Art Museum celebrates several staff transitions in the curatorial department this summer. Dr. Margaretta Frederick recently retired from her role as the Annette Woolard-Provine Curator. She has transitioned to Curator Emerita to work on independent research projects. Dr. Sophie Lynford has been appointed the incoming Annette Woolard-Provine Curator of the Bancroft Collection, beginning her work with DelArt’s famed Pre-Raphaelite collection in August. Dr. Heather Campbell Coyle will rotate out of the Chief Curator role to begin dedicated research on the Museum’s illustration collection, and Margaret Winslow will lead the department as Chief Curator and Curator of Contemporary Art.

“We congratulate Dr. Margaretta Frederick on her outstanding career and thank her for her dedicated work at the Delaware Art Museum. We welcome Dr. Sophie Lynford to the DelArt team and look forward to the rich ideas and deep knowledge she brings to the renowned Bancroft Collection,” says Molly Giordano, Executive Director. “I thank Dr. Heather Campbell Coyle for her leadership, especially her recent transformation of the Museum’s main floor galleries, and I look forward to seeing where her research leads us in the coming years. Finally, I look forward to Margaret Winslow’s leadership as Chief Curator. Winslow’s amplification of Wilmington’s local art history and culture, expansion of narratives to include unrecognized artists and sources of expertise, and her commitment to artists in our community as essential workers are ideals that align with DelArt’s vision and our role as a community-centered, 21st century Museum.”

Dr. Margaretta Frederick’s career at the Delaware Art Museum has been marked by several significant accomplishments. Dr. Frederick secured the endowment for the position of Annette Woolard-Provine Curator of the Bancroft Collection, ensuring long-term support for the pivotal role. She attracted funding for the Amy P. Goldman Fellowship in Pre-Raphaelite Studies, a joint program with the University of Delaware Library. Dr. Frederick co-managed the move of DelArt’s entire collections database to an online, publicly searchable platform, making them globally accessible. Over her decades-long career, Dr. Frederick’s work placed the Bancroft Collection at DelArt on an international footing, initiating and enabling national and international partnerships and relationships. This led to major exhibitions including “Poetry in Beauty: The Pre-Raphaelite Art of Marie Spartali Stillman” and loans with Tate Britain, the National Portrait Gallery, London, and the National Portrait Gallery, Washington. Dr. Frederick added over 75 works to Delaware Art Museum’s collection – broadening the scope of the Bancroft collection while remaining true to Bancroft’s aesthetic. Dr. Frederick served as Chief Curator from 2010 to 2016. She presided over two collection reinstallations, including last year’s opening of Picturing Beauty, the new suite of Pre-Raphaelite galleries.

Dr. Frederick’s latest achievement is the co-curatorship of this fall’s much-anticipated exhibition, “A Marriage of Arts & Crafts: Evelyn & William De Morgan,” which will make its U.S. debut at the Delaware Art Museum on October 22. She is also editor and contributing author of the accompanying catalogue. Dr. Frederick retired to Curator Emerita in May.

Dr. Sophie Lynford was previously the Rousseau Curatorial Fellow in European Art at the Harvard Art Museums. She is a specialist in British and American art of the nineteenth century and an expert on the Pre-Raphaelite movement and has published and lectured widely on the subject. In September, Princeton University Press will publish her book, “Painting Dissent: Art, Ethics, and the American Pre-Raphaelites,” which examines the Pre-Raphaelite movement in the United States and its passionate commitment to abolition and radical reform. Prior to joining the Harvard Art Museums, Lynford was the Douglass Foundation Fellow in American Art at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and a member of the curatorial departments at the New-York Historical Society and the Yale Center for British Art. She co-curated the 2018 exhibition, “Picturesque and Sublime: Thomas Cole’s Trans-Atlantic Inheritance” at the Thomas Cole National Historic Site and co-authored the accompanying catalogue.

At the Harvard Art Museums, Lynford worked extensively with the Grenville Winthrop Collection of paintings, drawings, prints, and sculpture by the British Pre-Raphaelites and their followers. Recently, she curated and co-curated “Framed: the Victorians” and “The Art + Science Pathway.” She was a member of Harvard Art Museums’ ReFrame project, a museum-wide initiative to reinterpret the institution’s permanent collections, reckon with difficult histories, and elevate the contributions of underrepresented artists and makers.

Lynford received her B.A. in art history from Brown University and her M.A. and Ph.D. in art history from Yale University.

Dr. Heather Campbell Coyle’s leadership as Chief Curator led to the redesign of DelArt’s main-floor permanent galleries, which reopened in 2021 with an expanded focus on the stories of women and people of color. During her time as Chief Curator, she organized exhibitions including “The Montgomery Bus Boycott: Drawings by Harvey Dinnerstein and Burton Silverman,” “No Jury, No Prizes: The Society of Independent Artists,” and “An American Journey: The Art of John Sloan,” for which she edited the exhibition catalogue. She supervised the donation and conservation of works from the Hotel du Pont and championed strategic art acquisitions that allow the Museum to present a more inclusive history of American art and illustration. With the establishment in 2018 of the Lynn Herrick Sharp Curatorial Fellowship, Coyle has collaborated deeply with doctoral candidates from the University of Delaware, where she received her Ph.D.

Dr. Coyle rotates out of the Chief Curator position to devote her time to dedicated research in American art and illustration. Dr. Coyle is working on several upcoming exhibitions, including the 2024 show “Jazz Age Illustration.”

Margaret Winslow’s work as Curator of Contemporary Art brought a new focus to local art history and culture. Winslow curated the groundbreaking 2015 exhibition “Dream Streets: Art in Wilmington 1970–1990.” In 2018, Winslow led a city-wide effort to mark the 50th anniversary of the 1968 Wilmington uprisings and commissioned Hank Willis Thomas’s “Black Survival Guide, or How to Live Through a Police Riot.” Her launch of the Distinguished Artist Series in 2019 offers the opportunity to celebrate those artists who have impacted art in the greater Brandywine Valley for decades. This past fall, she again showcased erased local history in the reprisal of “Afro-American Images 1971: The Vision of Percy Ricks,” an exhibition co-presented with Aesthetic Dynamics.

As Chief Curator, Winslow will lead a department of nine while managing several upcoming projects aligned with the Museum’s strategic plan. This fall, Winslow pilots a new program to train workers to conserve public works of art throughout the city of Wilmington. Winslow is researching art and cultural programs funded by the 1973 Federal Comprehensive Employment and Training Act (CETA) in preparation for a 2026 exhibition that will highlight CETA’s impact on artists in Delaware and nationally.

“I look forward to leading the curatorial department, which Dr. Coyle has stewarded so well since 2017. This summer and fall bring an exciting slate of exhibitions that celebrate the art and people inspiring our community,” shares Winslow.

Museum members and the public are invited to meet Dr. Lynford at the August 25 Sculpture Garden Happy Hour. Several events are in the planning for the fall, including curator tours and a new art history course taught by Dr. Lynford.

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

Photography by Shannon Woodloe.

Ultimately, I strive to breathe new life into discarded material to create forms which deliberately deny their past history in order to serve a new formal purpose. – Stan Smokler

Stan Smokler’s celebrated, steel sculptures continue the trajectory of modernist abstraction. Rather than sculpting an easily recognizable object from stone or wood, Smokler assembles found items, creating expressive, geometric works of art. The constructed environment and industrial landscape provide his materials. Smokler reclaims metal detritus—steel cogs, springs, pipes, beams, chains—and models them into evocative forms. The sculptures are hewn from industry, forged from the discarded. A keen observer of volume and space, Smokler invites us to consider the structures around us—the scaffolding that shelters us or bridges a river.

Making sculpture for me is an ongoing exploration of how material affects the space it occupies. – Stan Smokler

imageLeft to right: Circle of Lines, 2011. Stan Smokler (born 1944). Steel, 99 × 98 × 27 inches. Delaware Art Museum, Gift of the artist, 2016. © Stan Smokler. Photograph by Carson Zullinger. | Alcazar, 1996. Stan Smokler (born 1944). Steel, 20 x 17 x 6 inches. Courtesy of the artist. © Stan Smokler. Photograph by Terry Roberts.

Smokler’s resulting works of art span a range of references from the whimsical to the celestial. The artist pairs his sculpture with meaningful and inventive titles that indicate a person, an animal, a particular place, or another aspect of the built or natural world. Seemingly flat, steel parts are sculpted to suggest an Islamic castle (Alcazar, 1996) or the folly of a 16th-century Dutch painting (Hieronymus Bosch: Garden of Earthly Delights, 2015). Smokler’s perhaps unexpected incorporation of red into his later sculptures creates an additional layer of depth, realizing his continual goal of moving from “flatness to roundness.”

imageLeft to right: Hieronymus Bosch: Garden of Earthly Delights, 2015. Stan Smokler (born 1944). Welded steel assemblage with found and fabricated objects, bronze, and paint, 49 × 29 × 28 inches. Courtesy of the artist. © Stan Smokler. Photograph by Terry Roberts. | Fibonacci, 2013. Stan Smokler (born 1944). Steel and paint, 20 x 19 x 13 inches. Courtesy of the artist. © Stan Smokler. Photograph by Terry Roberts.

The Distinguished Artist Exhibition, Stan Smokler: Steel in Flux, offers visitors a broad perspective of Smokler’s creativity in varying materials and scale. The show includes work from the late 1970s through 2020 along with several of the artist’s charcoal and pastel drawings of his completed sculptures, showcasing the breadth of his experimentation in form and metal.

Smokler’s embrace and elevation of discarded materials points toward a generous and open personality, of which many other artists have spoken. In addition to nurturing generations of art students while teaching at the Delaware College of Art and Design from 1998 until his retirement in 2016, Smokler shared his love and knowledge for steel in a unique way. The artist greatly valued his 1985 participation in Sir Anthony Caro’s Triangle Artists’ Workshop in upstate New York. The opportunity to study with sculptor Caro was an invaluable experience, and Smokler pledged to offer that to his community.

imageLeft to right: Untitled drawing, 1997. Stan Smoker (born 1944). Charcoal on paper, 24 x 18 inches. Courtesy of the artist. © Stan Smokler. Photograph by Carson Zullinger. | Hemisphere, 2009. Stan Smokler (born 1944). Steel, 37 x 38 x 18 inches. © Stan Smokler. Photograph by Terry Roberts.

In 2004, Smokler established his Marshall Bridge Workshop. The Workshop is an immersive training opportunity for artists of all levels interested in working with welded steel. Smokler has been praised for his supportive approach to teaching that nurtures artists at various stages in their careers. With his commitment to exploring the possibilities of steel and mentoring students, Stan Smokler has guided the trajectory of contemporary abstract sculpture.

Margaret Winslow,
Curator of Contemporary Art

Stan Smokler: Steel in Flux opens June 25 in the Delaware Art Museum galleries and outside in the Copeland Sculpture Garden. Members are invited to an Exhibition Party on Friday evening, July 8. Celebrate with us—become a member today.

Top: Eleanor, 1994. Stan Smokler (born 1944). Steel, 35 x 36 x 10 inches. Courtesy of the artist. © Stan Smokler. Photograph by Terry Roberts.

Experience Music, Dance, Food Trucks and Traditions at this Ancestral Celebration

The Delaware Art Museum will host a third annual Juneteenth event on Saturday, June 18, 2022, from 10 a.m.—4 p.m. in the Copeland Sculpture Garden and Labyrinth. The Beyond Juneteenth Egungun Festival is an opportunity to not only celebrate a historic holiday, but also honor ancestors in order to build community. Guests can register for the free event at delart.org.

The day’s activities kick off with a performance of “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” known as the Black national anthem, sung by Nadjah Nicole and Jea Street, Jr., just after a shared libation and Juneteenth flag raising ceremony.

The festivities continue with live performances from Sa-Roc Sol Messiah, Richard Raw, Nitro Nitra, GhettoSongBird, Jea Street, Nadjah Nicole, Ebony Zuudia, Hezekiah, Stiggs Stigalo, Jahiti and Tonantzin Yaotecas, with Laurel Mustafa hosting the event. Guests can enjoy vendors and food trucks. There will be kid-friendly arts and crafts stations, African drumming and more.

Community Engagement Specialist Iz Balleto welcomes all to the event. “Together, we celebrate our ancestors and our freedom through arts and culture. Juneteenth is always a peaceful day of celebration and ceremony here at the Delaware Art Museum.”

Juneteenth is also known as Freedom Day, Jubilee Day and Emancipation Day. It marks June 19, 1865, when the 1862 Emancipation Proclamation was read to the people of Galveston, Texas. This final, remote state defied the already three-year old law by continuing to allow slavery, and the public reading, backed by Union troops for enforcement, ceremoniously freed people who had been enslaved or bonded.

The Beyond Juneteenth Egungun Festival is part of 156 years of celebrations that commemorate this special date. It also honors the people who are the Egungun (a Yoruban concept of spiritual visitation with ancestors) of today’s Black, Indigenous and people of color.

Abundancechild, founder of the event, explains why the annual event aspires to reach “Beyond” Juneteenth:

“Anybody can Google Juneteenth; this is something a little bit more. Not one person in the country was unaffected by slavery and we all have some evolving to do. I want to see everybody, no matter what race and creed. We are showing up for each other, and we can hear each other’s prayers so we know what to pray for each other for. This event is a day of celebration of each other’s ancestors, and for our ancestors to see what we’ve done.”

Guests of the festival can also experience the “Indigenous Faces of Delaware” exhibition, which runs through September 11, inside the Museum.

Registration for this free event is encouraged. Some seating is available, but guests are encouraged to bring lawn chairs and blankets, as well as cash or credit card for food purchases. Masks are optional outdoors and encouraged indoors.

This event supports the Museum’s mission of connecting people through art as an inclusive and essential community resource.

This event is sponsored by FUJIFILM, the Center for Interventional Pain and Spine, Abundance Child Ministries Inc, DropSquad Kitchen, 302GunsDown, Luxe Moss, and Guerrilla Republik. 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, visit delart.org

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

IF YOU GO

WHAT: Beyond Juneteenth: Egungun Festival at the Delaware Art Museum
WHEN: Saturday, June 18, 2022, 10 a.m.—4 p.m.
WHERE: Delaware Art Museum, 2301 Kentmere Parkway, Wilmington, DE 19806
COST: Free; registration encouraged
INFO: delart.org

Music, Food, Beverages and Fun on Delaware Art Museum Grounds Every Thursday

Sculpture Garden Happy Hours return to the Delaware Art Museum’s Terrace on Thursday, May 26, 2022. Weather permitting, Sculpture Garden Happy Hours take place every Thursday from 5–7:30 p.m., a time which overlaps with the Museum’s free Thursday evening hours. The popular, free series offers guests an opportunity to relax and unwind with live music, seasonal beverages, lawn games, rotating local food trucks, and snacks from the Museum’s own boutique café, Kaffeina. Museum tours and monthly Member theme nights have been added to the festivities.

The Sculpture Garden Happy Hours schedule is as follows:

  • May 26 – Edgewater Avenue (Bluegrass, Folk, Americana), Food: Koi
  • June 2 – The Seedlings (Rock, Blues), Food: The Flying Deutschman
  • June 9 – Boysie Lowery Living Jazz Residency (Jazz), Food: Los Taquitos de Puebla
  • June 16 – Thirsty Members Night with Edgewater Avenue (Bluegrass, Folk, Americana), Food: Koi
  • June 23 – Skinner & Spadola (Acoustic Duo), Food: Natalie’s Fine Food
  • June 30 – Joseph Whitney (Steel Drums), Food: Los Taquitos de Puebla
  • July 7 –Pristine Reign (Soul, Funk, Jazz, Motown/Philly), Food: The Flying Deutschman
  • July 14 – Members Ice Cream Night with Sharon & Shawn (Jazz), Food: Natalie’s Fine Food
  • July 21 – The Seedlings (Rock, Blues), Food: Koi
  • July 28 – Skinner & Spadola (Acoustic Duo), Food: Los Taquitos de Puebla
  • August 4 – Sharon & Shawn (Jazz), Food: The Flying Deutschman
  • August 11 – Genesis Z and The Black Mambas, Food: Natalie’s Fine Food
  • August 18 – Willie Wilmington & Stevie J Dance (Salsa DJ and Dance), Food: Koi
  • August 25 – Members Fiesta Night with The Honey Badgers (Folk), Food: Los Taquits de Puebla
  • September 1 – Special Peoples Fest Night with Spokey Speaky (Reggae), Food: TBD
  • September 8 – Joseph Whitney (Steel Drum), Food: The Flying Deutschman

Guests at the May 26 and June 2 Sculpture Garden Happy Hours can catch the “Louis Comfort Tiffany: Treasures from the Driehaus Collection” exhibition, which features more than 60 glass art objects, before it closes on June 5.

Heather Morrissey, Delaware Art Museum’s Director of Operations, says, “Each summer, we provide a series of fun and art-themed evenings for guests. Our open-air Sculpture Garden Happy Hours in 2020 and 2021 were wildly popular, and we look forward to offering this after-hours cultural experience to our community again this year.”

No registration is required for the Sculpture Garden Happy Hours, which are free; donations are encouraged. Some seating is available, but guests are encouraged to bring lawn chairs and blankets, as well as cash or card for bar and food purchases. Sculpture Garden Happy Hours may be moved inside or cancelled due to inclement weather. Please watch the Museum website for updates.

Click here for a full schedule of Sculpture Garden Happy Hours musicians and food trucks.

These events are sponsored by the AARP Delaware Office. 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 to for the latest exhibitions, programs, and performances or connect with us via social media.

IF YOU GO
WHAT: Delaware Art Museum Sculpture Garden Happy Hours
WHEN: Thursdays, May 26 through September 8, 2022, 5-7:30 p.m.
WHERE: Delaware Art Museum Terrace and Copeland Sculpture Garden, 2301 Kentmere Parkway, Wilmington, DE 19806
COST: Free
INFO: delart.org

October 22, 2022 – February 19, 2023

This fall the Museum will host the first retrospective exhibition of the work of Pre-Raphaelite painter Evelyn Pickering De Morgan (1855-1919) and her husband, the stained glass and pottery designer William Frend De Morgan (1839-1917) [FIG. 1 above]. The two artists met and married in 1887 after both were well-established in their careers. As a couple, their work touched on several influential artistic circles of the day including the Pre-Raphaelite, Arts and Crafts, and Aesthetic Movement. More broadly speaking, their individual and shared political and social views put them in connection with circles outside the art world – among others, socialists, suffragists, and pacifists — with the result that their combined reach within Victorian society and culture was quite broad —even comprehensive. And yet, they have received relatively passing recognition —William perhaps because he was a craftsman, a genre which has historically taken a back seat to fine arts, and Evelyn because of her gender. She was in fact often written off as simply a disciple of Edward Burne-Jones, a painter with whom she had very little if any professional relationship. Addressing the two artists within one exhibition allows for a comprehensive view of the expanded cultural milieu in which they functioned, not least regarding new attitudes towards Victorian marriage as a working partnership.

William De Morgan

William was born in 1839. His mother, Sophia, was a writer, activist, and an important figure in the spiritualist movement. His father, Augustus, was a mathematician and logician who taught at the newly founded University College, London. William shared his father’s facility for mathematics but was determined to pursue a career in the arts. Originally intending to be a painter, he enrolled at the Royal Academy Schools in 1859. There he met many members of the Pre-Raphaelite circle through whom he was introduced to William Morris around 1863. This was the moment that Morris’s newly founded decorative arts partnership, Morris, Marshall, Faulkner & Co., was finding success in the fitting out of newly built Gothic Revival churches, particularly with stained glass. William De Morgan began designing in this media. His lifelong inclination for experimentation led to improvements in the firing of stained glass, an interest that undoubtedly inspired his turn to pottery making.

In 1869, William De Morgan began his own pottery firm, focusing on the production process and the design of the decoration. His designs reflect his absorption of varied sources, including Pre-Raphaelite medievalism, Italian Renaissance maiolica, and ancient Middle Eastern lusterware [FIG. 2]. Additionally, his decorations feature a menagerie of anthropomorphized creatures that were the product of his own vivid imagination [FIG. 3]. Unfortunately, despite his acumen for invention and his facility for design, he was not a businessman. The pottery was never financially viable – in fact, Evelyn may have contributed to keeping it afloat during the early portion of their marriage – and by 1907 he decided to close the pottery business.

imageLeft to right – Figure 2: William De Morgan, Vase with persian floral decoration, 1888-1897. Earthenware. De Morgan Foundation. Figure 3: William De Morgan, Red and gold lustre dish with winged felines, 1872-1904. Earthenware. De Morgan Foundation.

Evelyn Pickering De Morgan

When Evelyn Pickering was born in 1855, William was 16 years old and at the very beginning of his professional career. Evelyn’s family straddled the upper middle class and aristocracy. Her father was a London lawyer and Queen’s Counsel; her mother was a descendant of the 1st Earl of Leicester. Evelyn’s artistic inclinations were evident early on, and despite familial resistance, she insisted on pursuing an artistic career. She was assisted in dodging her mother’s opposition by her uncle, late Pre-Raphaelite painter John Roddam Spencer Stanhope (1829–1908), who had experienced similar opposition to his career choice. “Uncle Roddy” offered both mentorship and artistic tutoring.

In 1873 Evelyn was accepted at the newly opened Slade School of Art. The Slade offered one of the few opportunities for women to receive artistic training, and it was there that Evelyn’s mature style was nourished. Specifically, The Slade offered a rigorous program focused on drawing from the figure, and female students were permitted to draw from the live model. Evelyn’s education was further enhanced through continental travel, providing access to historic works of art, particularly those of the early Italian Renaissance, the touchstone of her mature style. Several watercolor copies of Renaissance paintings confirm her close study of the art of this period. In images like Flora [FIG. 4] we can see her borrowing from Sandro Botticelli’s Primavera.

Evelyn began her exhibiting career in 1876, showing first at the Dudley Gallery, a small outpost of avant-garde and early career artists. In 1877 she was one of only two female artists invited to exhibit at the inaugural exhibition of the trendy new Grosvenor Gallery, an avant-garde outpost for the Aesthetic Movement. This was a milestone in her career, indicating her professional success.

imageLeft to right – Figure 4: Evelyn De Morgan, Flora, 1894. Oil on canvas. De Morgan Collection, Courtesy of the De Morgan Foundation. Figure 5: Evelyn De Morgan, The Gilded Cage, c. 1900. Oil on canvas. De Morgan Collection, Courtesy of the De Morgan Foundation.

Willam & Evelyn’s shared passions

In 1883 William and Evelyn, who had for the last decade been travelling on parallel but separate tracks, came together. In addition to art, they were particularly committed to three causes — Victorian spiritualism, the early efforts of the women’s suffragist movement, and pacifism in response to the overwhelming devastation of the First World War. Many of Evelyn’s paintings reflect these concerns, for instance, The Gilded Cage [FIG. 5], depicting a beautiful young woman gazing wistfully out of the window of her richly furnished home at a group of revellers. At right, her aging husband slumps dejectedly in a chair. The scene conveys the constraints of being a woman in a traditional Victorian marriage. In The Worship of Mammon [FIG. 6], inspired by a story from the New Testament, the god of worldliness, a giant stone statue holding a bag of coins, is approached by a female figure who desperately clutches at his knee. The economic disparity of the ear distressed William and Evelyn.

The De Morgans lived well beyond the Victorianism and Pre-Raphaelitism of their youth. This included the last and particularly bloody expansion of the British Empire and the First World War. The Red Cross [FIG.7] depicts Christ being carried heavenward by a team of angels, while beneath a field of crosses litter the Belgian landscape — a direct reference to the extreme and extensive loss of lives brought about by the war.

imageLeft to right – Figure 6: Evelyn De Morgan, The Worship of Mammon, 1900-1909. Oil on canvas. De Morgan Collection, Courtesy of the De Morgan Foundation. Figure 7: Evelyn De Morgan, The Red Cross, 1914-1916. Oil on canvas. De Morgan Collection, Courtesy of the De Morgan Foundation.

US debut of De Morgan exhibition

Evelyn and William De Morgan’s art will be on display in the exhibition A Marriage of Arts & Crafts: Evelyn and William De Morgan, which makes its US debut at the Delaware Art Museum this fall. Drawn entirely from the collection of the De Morgan Foundation in Guildford, UK, I have been planning the exhibition for five years with co-curator Sarah Hardy, Curator, De Morgan Collection. Paintings, drawings, and pots by this artist couple will be featured.

The exhibition will travel on to two further venues: the Crocker Art Museum, Sacramento, CA (17 September, 2023-7 January 2024) and the Museum of Fine Arts St Petersburg, FL (27 January 2024 through May, 2024). A publication of essays will accompany the exhibition: Margaretta S Frederick, ed. Evelyn & William De Morgan: A Marriage of Arts & Crafts (London and New Haven: Yale University Press, 2022). The catalogue will be available at the Museum Store later this year.

Margaretta Frederick
Annette Woolard-Provine Curator of the Bancroft Collection

Top: Figure 1: William and Evelyn De Morgan, undated archival photograph. De Morgan Foundation.

This painting was included in Mark Bradford’s 2015 solo exhibition, Scorched Earth, at the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles. Born in LA, Bradford explores the histories of place—the 1992 uprisings in the city, for example—through a unique painting process. Bradford begins by applying layers of paper—construction paper, advertisements, posters, and newsprint found in the city—to a stretched canvas, securing each layer with clear shellac. The artist will sometimes embed string into the layers. Once the layering is complete, Bradford excavates the surface, removing the string and using power sanders to reveal layers below, a method he describes as “both décollage and collage,” referring to his process of equally removing and building up an image. Sometimes the textual clues from posters remain while other times the source is transformed beyond recognition. The results are abstract and topographical, hinting at a striated landscape revealed through natural erosion or mechanical digging.

A 2009 MacArthur Fellow, Bradford represented the United States in the 2017 Venice Biennale. In 2014, the artist, along with Allan DiCastro and Eileen Harris Norton, co-founded Art + Practice, a Los Angeles nonprofit dedicated to providing transition-age foster youth free access to contemporary art exhibitions and programs.

The Next Hot Line is a temporary loan on view in the Delaware Art Museum’s Lynn Herrick Sharp Gallery until mid-summer. Stop by on your next visit to take in its textural surface and rich, dimensional details.

Margaret Winslow
Curator of Contemporary Art

Image: The Next Hot Line, 2015. Mark Bradford (born 1961). Mixed media on canvas, 84 1/4 x 108 1/4 inches. Private Collection, California. © Mark Bradford. Courtesy the artist and Hauser & Wirth.

New Exhibit by Andre’ L. Wright. Jr. First in Series of Events Honoring Indigenous Culture.

This month, the Delaware Art Museum (DelArt) opens Indigenous Faces of Wilmington, the first in a series of 2022 events honoring indigenous culture. The powerful portrait-style exhibit showcases diverse Wilmingtonians captured by local Nanticoke photographer Andre’ L. Wright Jr of Color of Life Branding.

“Indigenous Faces of Wilmington shares the faces and tells the stories of diverse indigenous people who live in our city and represent rich cultures and roots. My hope is that this exhibition will open a dialogue to re-introduce, re-discover, and re-educate individuals about the many cultures represented here in Wilmington today,” says Iz Balleto, the DelArt Community Engagement Specialist who conceived of the project. Balleto’s connection to the project is personal – he is a Peruvian native of the Quechua Indians of the central Andes who are direct descendants of the Incas. “I look forward to this powerful exhibit, which will bring light to many who reside and live among us today.”

Indigenous Faces of Wilmington aligns with DelArt’s major summer exhibition, In Conversation: Will Wilson. Diné (Navajo) photographer Will Wilson’s art explores the legacy of historical representations of Native people. The exhibit will include photographs Wilson takes in Delaware this spring, of Lenape and Nanticoke community members, through his Critical Indigenous Photography Exchange. The exhibition is guided by an Advisory Committee made up of indigenous and community leaders. Associated programming includes a Pow Wow of Arts and Culture on July 23 and a storytelling program titled “My Land, My Roots” on September 8.

“For many years we, Indigenous People, have carried stereotypes, carried hurt, and carried fear. It’s time to change the narrative and share the beauty,” states Balleto.

Andre’ L. Wright Jr.’s photographs embody the essence and heart of indigenous people in Wilmington. This exhibit is his tribute to culture and indigenous ancestors. The representation of diverse indigenous individuals in art can help break barriers, bring forth unity, and open mindfulness.  

Participants of the Indigenous Faces of Wilmington exhibit include India Colon Diaz (Taína of Boriken Nation of Puerto Rico), Rosa Ruiz (Aztec), El Indio (Boricua Taino), Jose Avila Macias and Susana Amador Hernandez (Chichimeca), Olakunle Oludina (Seminole and Cherokee), Abundance Child (Cherokee, Lumbee, Muscogee/Creek), Andre’ L. Wright, Sr. (Cherokee) Sharon L Street Wright (Nanticoke), Jea Street (Nanticoke), Jonathan Whitney (Afro-Indigenous), and Ashanti Morales (Arawak Taína of Boriken).

Organizer and Sponsors: Photographer: Andre’ L. Wright Jr. of Color of Life Branding. Creative Director: Sara A. Crawford of The Original Coloure Collective. Support provided by Art Bridges and the Museum Council. 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.

IF YOU GO:

What: Indigenous Faces of Wilmington art exhibit
When: May 26 – September 8, 2022
Where: Delaware Art Museum, 2301 Kentmere Parkway, Wilmington, Delaware 19806
Cost: Free with Museum admission
Info: delart.org

Press Contacts:

Amelia Wiggins
Director of Communications & Engagement
Delaware Art Museum
awiggins@delart.org
302-351—8503

Sara A. Crawford
Creative Director
The Original Coloure Collective
originalcoloure@gmail.com

Image: India Colon Diaz, Boricua Taina by Andre’ L. Wright Jr., 2022.

Enjoy Brunch, Brushes, and Blooms in the Sculpture Garden and Tented Terrace

The Delaware Art Museum has replanted its al fresco fundraiser on Saturday, May 14, 2022, 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. “Brunch at Tiffany’s” celebrates spring by offering brunch bites and morning cocktails in the Copeland Sculpture Garden. The rain-or-shine “Brunch, Brushes and Blooms” sequel will connect people to art outdoors through the pairing of floral designs with the Museum’s outdoor sculptures. Local painters, dancers and other artists will create and perform live onsite, and guests can purchase art via a silent auction. Proceeds benefit the Museum.

Artists and floral designers were encouraged to take inspiration from the Museum’s current “Louis Comfort Tiffany: Treasures from the Driehaus Collection” exhibition and guests are invited to don “Breakfast at Tiffany’s”-inspired, “garden party chic” attire.

Confirmed artists to date include painter Mary Page Evans, painter/sculptor Rick Hidalgo, ceramicist/sculptor Gail Husch, watercolorist Kara Hinson, graffiti artist Francesco Iacono, mixed media artist Regina Katz, visual artists Thomas Del Porte, Rayna DeReus, John Gibbons, Linda Majewski, Aaron Terry, and Shannon Woodloe, and the Original Coloure Collective, as well as dancers from the Wilmington Ballet. Floral designers to date include Flowers by Yukie, Nanci Hersh and Carla Pastore.

Maggie Oda Lyon, Director of Advancement for the Museum, says, “Last year’s Brunch, Brushes, and Blooms was just a wonderful day, and one of our first opportunities to welcome people back to the Museum. Being outside with other people, enjoying the live artists’ work in such a pretty setting, and talking to them about their processes are the keys to making this a cherished perennial event.”

The Terrace will be tented, and some activities may be moved indoors in the event of inclement weather. The Museum will adhere to any outdoor Covid-19 guidelines in place on the date of the event.

Tickets must be purchased in advance at delart.org. The cost is $95 for Members and $115 for Non-Members. The event features fine food and beverages by Jamestown Catering.

Visit ddelart.org for additional information or contact info@delart.org with further questions.

Sponsors: FranksWine and Jamestown Catering. This event is sponsored by Delaware Today and Incyte Corporation. 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 to for the latest exhibitions, programs, and performances or connect with us via social media.

IF YOU GO
WHAT: “Brunch at Tiffany’s” garden fundraiser
WHEN: Saturday, May 14, 2022, 11 a.m. – 2 p.m.
WHERE: Delaware Art Museum, 2301 Kentmere Parkway, Wilmington, Del. 19806
COST: $95-$115
INFO: delart.org

This spring, Brendon Perry, Omar Russ, Jayla Legare, Phil Medford, Dave Masonheimer, Zach Yetter, Brie Bittenheimer Butler, Collin Potter, Jada Stephens, Maria Franey, Sonya Donawa, Steven Waldorf, and Star White joined the staff of the Delaware Art Museum as Museum Ambassadors. Their friendly faces appear in our galleries daily, providing warm guest experiences, protecting the art, and sharing knowledge.

We sat down with Heather Morrissey, Director of Operations, and Brendon Perry, Lead Museum Ambassador, to learn more about this new team and their work.

Heather Morrissey, Director of Operations (HM): We know that the interactions between frontline staff and visitors are a powerful tool for building a positive Museum experience. But an ongoing barrier to success was our security staffing. We were contracting security guards via a third-party vendor. We had guards coming in who were not trained in DelArt’s customer service policies, nor in the art collection, and they were often not familiar with our building.

Last year, our third-party vendor was unable to supply the number of security guards needed. This was during a popular exhibition, at a popular time of year. Museum staff stepped in to fill that need. It was taxing on staff, but it also opened our eyes to learning more about our visitors. We observed that our guests want to engage with people inside the museum, and they ask so many intelligent questions. Our visitors expect a high quality of interaction with staff. That understanding drove home the need for a change. We decided to hire a team of Museum Ambassadors to protect art and engage our visitors. And we’re already observing positive results.

We want our team to reflect the rich diversity of our Wilmington community and be a vibrant part of our community. We want to fully train them in all aspects of the Museum so they are comfortable interacting with all our guests. The Museum Ambassadors will serve as a congenial link between the collection, artwork and guest safety, and audience engagement. Brendon Perry exemplifies these values, and he is the perfect person to lead this team.

Brendon Perry, Lead Museum Ambassador (BP): I started here five years ago, on a whim, contracted by the third-party vendor. I was only at the Museum for 16 hours a week as a guard during school tours, and I worked at different sites as well. I was given the opportunity to cover the console shift at the Museum, then I became a permanent floor monitor, and then I was promoted to site supervisor. The Director of Operations approached me about working directly for the Museum as part of the operations department at the end of 2018, and I said, “Absolutely!” The job at the Museum was a no-brainer for me. It was a growth opportunity. I learned more about the Museum’s day-to-day operations and took on more responsibilities.

I fully support this change, creating a new Museum Ambassador team in-house. Because they are employed by the Museum directly, everybody really cares and shows up to help each other out – it’s not just another site for them. I have a great team around me that I can rely on.

Most people new to museums don’t know what they can and can’t do inside an art gallery. It’s a learning experience for both parties. A new visitor might be thrown off by coming into the museum, getting too close to art, and being told they are breaking a rule. But Museum Ambassadors can engage them. For example, the sculpture Tunnel tends to be touched because it’s an optical illusion. A Museum Ambassador can say to a visitor, “Hey, you can look at it, but please don’t sit on it. Let me share with you how this work of art was created.”

Some people are naturally good at dealing with confrontation, but I learned by fire. This group will be trained from the start on de-escalation techniques. Right now we’re training, training, training, to get everyone up to speed and make sure they are comfortable in the situations required of their role. And when they don’t feel comfortable, my colleagues and I will be there.

Heather – Yes, we now have a team of people who can respond. They won’t need to be on their own. They are working together now during training, shadowing the more experienced staff. It is my hope that we retain this strong team of Museum Ambassadors. We have created an environment our team can enjoy, continue to learn in, and where they can grow.

When we started this process, we looked at competitive rates for security guards. We also considered Delaware’s commitment to increasing its minimum wage by 2025. Based on those factors, we raised our starting wage to meet both of those expectations. In the Museum Ambassador job description, we highlighted the Museum’s vision and commitment to inclusion. We shared that we are diversifying the collections to include more artists of color and women artists. The Museum Ambassadors themselves are critical to making the Museum welcoming and inclusive.

We made employment offers to the guards at our former security company with whom we had long-standing relationships, and all those offers were accepted. Concurrently, we initiated a search to fill the remaining positions. We were very happy with the quality of candidates recruited, and we value the team we’ve brought onboard. We are taking great care in the training process to instill that they are part of the Museum, and their voices matter. We structured the role so that they interact with staff throughout the Museum, and we will be giving them opportunities to grow within the Museum.

Brendon: I hope the team will gain knowledge of both Museum security and the collections. If they learn about 50 or 100 works of art, that would be great. And I hope they’ll jump in to help their colleagues out. I hope they continue to grow here; that’s what I wish for most.

Heather: Another change we made was to do away with uniforms. Museum Ambassadors come to work in their own clothes, in clothes they feel good in. That was important to us. We also want our visitors to recognize the Ambassadors as staff members they can direct questions to. The Ambassadors wear simple name badges and carry a radio. We’ve already heard positive feedback from Museum guests on these changes.

Brendon: When you can show up as your authentic self at work – when you can identify as who you are and wear what you like to wear – you do feel like that’s a place for you. The Museum is a place for all of us.

When you visit the Museum next, please introduce yourself to a Museum Ambassador, and join us in welcoming these new staff to the Delaware Art Museum.

As spring approaches, the Delaware Art Museum welcomes visitors to the gorgeous exhibition Louis Comfort Tiffany: Treasures from the Driehaus Collection. With its delicate floral-form vases and atmospheric landscape windows, the show is a fitting tribute to the coming season. Nearly all the work hails from the esteemed Chicago collection of Richard H. Driehaus—a vast and extraordinary collection of Tiffany. However, we couldn’t resist making one addition to the show: the windows from the home of Samuel Bancroft, who assembled the Museum’s collection of Pre-Raphaelite treasures. Adding Bancroft’s windows to the exhibition inspired me to dive into the research files and deepen my knowledge of these works known as Spring and Autumn, and I have a few secrets to share with you.

Exhibited at the 1893 World’s Fair

A tantalizing note in our file suggests that Bancroft’s windows may have been exhibited at the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago, and I wanted to confirm it, because this world’s fair was a very big deal (and the subject of my undergraduate thesis). At their height from the mid-19th through the mid-20th centuries, world’s fairs were opportunities for the display of art and industry from around the globe. Like the Olympic Games today, world’s fairs were massive events requiring the construction of villages, generally within major cities. They lasted for several months and attracted national and international tourism. The organizers of the Chicago World’s Fair were particularly keen to display the artistic accomplishments of the nation, as American artistry had been derided at earlier fairs. A team of top architects and designers created a temporary “White City” of neoclassical buildings, water features, and sculptures in Jackson Park, and American artists and designers were encouraged to send their very best work to the show.

Tiffany Glass and Decorating Company created a chapel at the center of the Manufactures and Liberal Arts Building. Inside the chapel, light streamed in through several stained-glass windows and emanated from elaborate electrical fixtures, illuminating lavishly decorated elements, including a jewel-encrusted metal altar cross. A photograph of the Tiffany pavilion in the archives at the Morse Museum shows DelArt’s Spring. I located a copy of an original brochure from the exhibition and was delighted to find a “domestic window” illustrated and attributed to Lydia Field Emmet within.

Designed by Successful Painter

Lydia Field Emmet was born in New Rochelle, NY, Jan 23, 1866, the seventh of ten children. Her mother, Julia Colt Pierson, was an illustrator. Emmet studied at the Académie Julian in Paris and spent time at Giverny among other American artists. At the Art Students League of New York, she became a student of William Merritt Chase, who painted a striking portrait of her. Emmet established herself as a designer and illustrator, as well as a successful portrait painter. In 1893, the windows she designed for Tiffany were only one example of her work at the Chicago World’s Fair. She painted a mural panel for the Woman’s Building, which also featured murals by her sister Rosina Emmet Sherwood, Mary Cassatt, Mary Fairchild MacMonnies Low, and other prominent female painters.

Most mentions of Emmet related to the Fair reference her prominent mural. The Tiffany window is identified as her work on page 8 of the exhibition brochure, and it’s titled Autumn. Although similar format and style to the Bancroft windows at DelArt, this Autumn is definitely a different window. So, what’s the deal?

Autumn or Summer?

Logically, Emmet would have designed windows representing all four seasons. Representing the seasons allegorically as female figures was very popular in the 19th century. Correspondence between Bancroft and Tiffany representative J. C. Platt sheds light on the situation. Repeated mentions of windows coming from Chicago and from “the big show” assured me that both of our seasonal windows were on display. The letters, in the collection of the Delaware Historical Society, reveal some confusion about the identities of “the glass girls” coming to Wilmington. Bancroft and Platt go back and forth about whether Spring was being joined in Delaware by Summer or Autumn. We only have one side of the conversation, and Bancroft seems to have called her Summer in early letters and later Autumn, but I suspect the panel on the right was produced to represent summer. The lush greenery framing the woman seems more summery than autumnal, and Autumn was clearly identified in the brochure. Now, the real mystery, at least for me, is what Winter looks like and where I can see it!

Other Versions

The fact that these windows were produced for display at the World’s Fair may explain their elaboration. The Bancroft windows combine Tiffany’s innovative glass techniques. Folded drapery glass makes up the clothing, while the foliage combines confetti and streamer techniques. Chunks of faceted jewel glass form Spring’s collar, and both faces are extremely well painted. These were showpieces meant to display the technical brilliance of the company for an international audience. The designs were so successful that other versions of Spring and Autumn were produced. An alternate version of Spring, in an oval format, is in the Driehaus Collection and featured on the Wikipedia page for Louis Comfort Tiffany!

Briar Rose Border

Bancroft’s windows are framed by a border of interlaced flowers which wasn’t present in the World’s Fair display. After a conversation with his architect Frank Miles Day, Bancroft suggested the “Briar Rose” border to Platt, who sketched a design and recommended that Philadelphia artisan George McLean produce it. The inspiration was a painting in Bancroft’s collection: Edward Burne-Jones’s The Council Chamber. The picture represents the second scene in the Briar Rose series, a project that occupied Burne-Jones for more than 30 years. The series was based on the story of “Sleeping Beauty,” retold during the Victorian period by Alfred Tennyson (1809-1892) in his poem “The Day-Dream.” Indeed, Bancroft’s growing art collection was part of the impetus for the renovation and redecoration of his home. Like many wealthy Americans in the Gilded Age, Bancroft hired Tiffany Glass and Decorating Company for the job. The result was a sumptuous and harmonious space that incorporated his paintings, and the arrival of a stunning set of Tiffany windows in Delaware.

Heather Campbell Coyle
Curator of American Art

Image: Spring and Autumn, c. 1892. Designed by Lydia Field Emmet (1866-1952). Tiffany Studios (1878-1933). Leaded glass, 37 x 51 ½ inches. Delaware Art Museum, Samuel and Mary R. Bancroft Memorial, 1935.

Exhibition Series Celebrates Contemporary Artists’ Impact in Greater Brandywine Valley

The Delaware Art Museum celebrates the career of e. jean lanyon with a Distinguished Artist exhibition, “e. jean lanyon: The Magic Language.” The exhibition includes nearly 70 objects attributed to the Delaware artist, dating from the 1950s through 2021. Each illustration, painting, print, book, and more, utilizes that essential element of art—the line—to deftly convey a story. The celebration kicks off with an exhibition opening and poetry reading on Saturday, April 9, 2022, at 1 p.m. and the exhibition will remain on view in the Ammon Galleries at the Delaware Art Museum through Sunday, August 7, 2022. Both the opening and the exhibition are included with Museum admission.

lanyon is well known for her work as a visual artist and poet, and she has woven these two creative impulses together throughout her life. She has deep ties to the visual and literary arts in Delaware and has committed to sharing her knowledge with students. Her legacy is rooted in the artistic communities of Delaware and surrounding states.

“e. jean is in, and of, the literary and visual arts community,” says Margaret Winslow, Curator of Contemporary Art. “She was part of that avant garde movement both in Wilmington and Newark that took off in the 1970s, and throughout her career, has explored poetry and art simultaneously, weaving them together.”

Two topics are often the focus of lanyon’s written works and illustrations—nature and the human experience.

“As a city child, small expeditions into parks of countryside were wonderful experiences,” lanyon says. “Even then I wanted so much to bring my visual adventures to life on paper or canvas for others to see and somehow share.”

Educated at Goddard College and Chouinard Art Institute, lanyon went on to be appointed Poet Laureate of the State of Delaware in 1979. In her 22 years serving in this role, she worked to encourage the broad appreciation of poetry across the state. The Biggs Museum of American Art presented the retrospective, “As the Poet Paints,” in 2012, broadly surveying her published works and plein air watercolors.

Winslow adds, “e. jean has a love for the Museum and our collections. As a young person, seeing the work of Howard Pyle was very influential and she would make study drawings from our Bancroft Pre-Raphaelite collection. She wanted to be an illustrator, and, of course, to be an artist, and studying illustrators such as Pyle proved influential on her dual paths in the literary and visual arts.”

The Distinguished Artist Series is a celebration of those artists who have impacted contemporary art in the greater Brandywine Valley through their artistic practices, teaching, and support of the community and its various institutions. Through unique exhibitions, this series surveys artists’ legacies as they relate to local, national, and international trends.

To ensure compliance with current COVID-19 policies at any time, visit our website.

For more information about the exhibition, visit delart.org.

“e. jean lanyon: The Magic Language” was organized by the Delaware Art Museum. This exhibition is made possible by the Edgar A. Thronson Foundation Illustration Exhibition Fund. Additional support was provided, 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: e. jean lanyon: The Magic Language
WHEN: April 9 – August 7, 2022
WHERE: Delaware Art Museum, 2301 Kentmere Parkway, Wilmington, DE 19806
COST: Included with Admission
INFO: delart.org

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

Image: Cover (detail), 1972, for Viewpoint 2, no. 2 (November 1972). e. jean lanyon (born 1935). Ink on paper, composition: 13 3/4 × 9 7/8 inches, sheet: 16 × 11 inches. Courtesy of the artist. © e. jean lanyon.

Pyxis Piano Trio will take inspiration from Tiffany in new performance at the Delaware Art Museum on March 31.

On March 31, 2022, the Delaware Art Museum welcomes Pyxis Piano Trio performing “American Brilliance,” a concert in artistic conversation with the Museum’s eagerly anticipated, just-opened exhibition Louis Comfort Tiffany: Treasures from the Driehaus Collection.

Inspired by Tiffany’s innovative glass and the brilliance of this sparkling work, the ensemble will play elegant offerings that include Ernest Bloch’s Three Nocturnes for Piano Trio (1924) and piano trios by Arthur Foote (1907-08) and Amy Marcy Cheney Beach (1938). The evening will begin with a short curator’s talk at 7 p.m., followed by the concert at 7:30 p.m.

Pyxis members Luigi Mazzocchi (violin), Jennifer Jie Jin (cello), and Hiroko Yamazaki (piano) have chosen American music from the early 20th century, a period when the innovative Tiffany Studios were in full artistic flower. Amy Marcy Cheney Beach (1867-1944) was an accomplished pianist who was largely self-taught as a composer. She was a member of the legendary “Boston Six,” a group of influential American composers that also included Arthur Foote (1853-1937).

Foote was the first major classical American composer trained entirely in the United States. He was also a renowned organist and founder of the American Guild of Organists, an organization still thriving today. Ernest Bloch (1880-1959) was a pre-eminent Swiss-born composer who became an American citizen in 1924 who had a major U.S. teaching career. The concert also includes a contemporary work for violin and cello by Los Angeles composer Mark Summer.

Now in their 13th season, Pyxis musicians have been the Museum’s resident ensemble since being founded there in 2009. “There are no words to describe how inspiring it is to perform in the Museum’s galleries,” says the Trio. “Especially since our pandemic hiatus, we are so grateful to return to this exquisite setting, perfect for our chamber music!”

Music and art lovers can register for the March 31 concert at delart.org.

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

Black History Month performance presented in partnership with Freire Charter School’s Blackout Experience

The Delaware Art Museum presents a new performance by Richard Raw and the Word Warrior Band on Thursday, March 10th at 5:00 p.m. at The Queen in downtown Wilmington (500 N. Market St.). The work premieres as part of Shades of Excellence: The Blackout Experience, Freire Charter School’s annual event celebrating Black History Month that honors the cultural contributions, past and present, of people of the African diaspora. Students will blend Afro-Caribbean, Afro-Indigenous, and Black American culture to honor African Heritage, and the event will be headlined by Richard Raw’s new work.

Raw’s performance will tell the story of a boy returning to Africa after 400 years of separation, greeting his ancestors and indigenous heritage. The performance will feature poetry, storytelling and African dancing with appearances by Ile Igoke Temple and stage design by The Stylistics. Raw will premiere songs from his forthcoming album Orisa Soul Music.

“We welcome the Wilmington community to join us at The Queen for this much-anticipated new performance,” says Saralyn Rosenfield, Director of Learning and Engagement at the Delaware Art Museum. “Richard Raw’s commission aligns with the Museum’s work to connect people with art and to highlight the strength and legacy of artists working in our city.” Shades of Excellence continues DelArt’s series of commissions supporting the creation of new art and performance by national and local artists of color over the past 5 years.

Richard Raw combines soul with hip-hop and invigorating, thought-provoking lyrics. He works as a community activist, using his lyrics and performances as tools to inspire and educate the next generation. Raw was awarded a 2021 Established Artist grant by the Delaware Division of the Arts for his music. Once Iz Balleto, Community Engagement Specialist at the Delaware Art Museum, heard about the student-centered Blackout Experience, he identified the opportunity to bring in Richard Raw and the Word Warrior Band to amplify Black excellence. This format supports the Museum’s mission, creates a new partnership between Freire and DelArt, and aligns with Richard Raw’s artistic practice.

“Freire Schools is thrilled to be extending the reach of our annual event honoring Black History Month by partnering with the Delaware Art Museum,” said Freire Charter Wilmington Co-Head of School Nate Durant, ” Every day we are preparing our students for college and beyond, and that happens both inside and outside of the classroom. When students are afforded opportunities like this Blackout Experience to elevate their voice, celebrate their history, and join with their community to advocate for what they believe in, it is transformative, not just for our school but for our whole community. We look forward to welcoming Richard Raw and the Word Warrior Band and celebrating the many “Shades of Excellence” that shine daily at Freire Wilmington and in our city.”

Tickets for this March 10, 5 p.m. show are available to the general public at $15.00 and can be purchased at www.delart.org.

This performance is made possible through a grant from the TD Bank Charitable Foundation. This performance 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 www.delart.org to for the latest exhibitions, programs, and performances or connect with us via social media.

Media Contact: Amelia Wiggins, Director of Communications & Engagement | awiggins@delart.org

“Louis Comfort Tiffany: Treasures from the Driehaus Collection” spans 30 years of glass art and is accompanied by special events throughout the spring. 

On March 12, a glittering display of glass art opens at the Delaware Art Museum. “Louis Comfort Tiffany: Treasures from the Driehaus Collection” features more than 60 objects, spanning over 30 years of Tiffany’s prolific career. Special Tiffany events scheduled throughout the spring offer opportunities to celebrate beauty.  

The exhibition showcases Louis Comfort Tiffany’s world-renowned artistry in blown, folded, colored, and faceted glass objects. The stunning windows, famous lamps, and elegant vases from Chicago’s distinguished Richard H. Driehaus collection demonstrate Tiffany’s innovative approach to the material.  

“This exhibition invites visitors to imagine elegant Gilded Age interiors of the past while enjoying the glorious color and exquisite craftsmanship of Tiffany objects on display at the Museum,” says Dr. Heather Campbell Coyle, Chief Curator and Curator of American Art. “We invite the public to admire the beauty of glass art and learn more about the techniques and artisans that created it.”  

Museum programs offer opportunities to look closer at Tiffany works and their makers. Visitors can enjoy intimate Tiffany tours and family programming during opening weekend. Spring Happy Hour Previews with live music are planned for the evenings of March 24 and April 29. Also on April 29, Metropolitan Museum of Art Curator Alice Cooney Frelinghuysen will give a lecture on Tiffany glass. Finally, the public is invited to Brunch at Tiffany’s, a garden party benefit for the Museum on May 14 featuring local artists.  

A free audio tour accompanies the exhibition, and a catalogue is available for purchase. Art lovers are encouraged to extend their visit to the Museum with stops in the new boutique café, Kaffeina, and the Museum Store to browse Tiffany-inspired merchandise

IF YOU GO: 

WHAT: “Louis Comfort Tiffany: Treasures from the Driehaus Collection”
WHEN: March 12 – June 5, 2022 

Special Exhibition Tours Sundays at 2:15 p.m.
Family Day Sunday, March 13, 10 a.m. – 1 p.m.
Spring Happy Hour Previews Thursday evening, March 24 & Friday evening, April 29
Tiffany Talk Friday, April 29, 5 p.m.
Brunch at Tiffany’s Saturday, May 14, 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. 

WHERE: Delaware Art Museum, 2301 Kentmere Pkwy, Wilmington, DE 19806
COST
: Free with Museum admission
INFO
: delart.org 

Please visit delart.org for full information, including COVID-19 policies and program registration. 

Press Contact: Amelia Wiggins, Director of Communications & Engagement, awiggins@delart.org or 302-351-8503. 

Louis Comfort Tiffany: Treasures from the Driehaus Collection was organized by the Richard H. Driehaus Museum and is toured by International Arts & Artists, Washington, DC. This exhibition is made possible through the generosity of Sewell C. Biggs and foundations including the Choptank Foundation. This exhibition is sponsored by M&T Bank and made possible in Delaware by the Hallie Tybout Exhibition Fund for American Art and the Johannes R. and Betty P. Krahmer American Art Exhibition Fund. This exhibition 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 to for the latest exhibitions, programs, and performances or connect with us via social media.

Image: Tiffany Studios, Group of lamps (birds-eye detail). Photograph by John Faier. © 2013 The Richard H. Driehaus Museum.

These two drawings are by Holly Trostle Brigham, part of an artist’s book tracing the life of Pre-Raphaelite muse, model, artist and poet Elizabeth Eleanor Siddal. The book is included in the exhibition,‘I Wake Again’: Holly Trostle Brigham on Elizabeth Siddal on view February 26 – May 29, 2022. Brigham, a Philadelphia based figure painter, recovers and champions the work of accomplished women from history. Her artistic practice combines thorough research, iconographic detail, and vivid imagination to re-present stories erased by the patriarchal past. In this exhibition, Brigham turns her eye to Elizabeth Eleanor Siddal (1829-1862). Known today as a muse to Pre-Raphaelite artists, Siddal in fact created a significant body of visual and written work herself.

Brigham’s book includes poetry by Kim Bridgeford, which I found particularly compelling as I considered Siddal’s all too brief life. Until recently, Siddal’s life story has been reduced to a sexualized fixation with her brilliant red hair. In the poem “Autumn,” Bridgeford insightfully captures the burden of emotional and creative erasure which Siddal’s hair placed upon her both during and after her lifetime:

You take a feature: it is here
In a glimpse of bright red hair.
It could be something else, of course:
But in this read, it is the purse
That makes the story what it is.
Hair like this can make a business.

You don’t want to think that this is true:
You would like the truth to be of you,
Your talent, and you’re this and that.
Instead, the truth is random, but
We make the most of what is what.
It’s always been that way. The random
Is re-made to what is seldom
Talked about: the curl of autumn.

Siddal’s desire to become an artist pre-dated her association with the young Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood members, a fact that has been historically overlooked, along with the visual and written work she created during her lifetime. Once she began modeling, first for Walter Deverell’s Twelfth Night followed infamously by John Everett Millais’s Ophelia, it was Siddal’s hair, not her talent by which she was judged.

These two images by Holly Trostle Brigham capture the dichotomy between Siddal’s identity as an artist and how the world saw her. Creation shows a young Siddal at work on a drawing adhered to an easel placed before her. The composition of the drawing resembles Siddal’s own painting Madonna and Child with Angel. To the right, light streams in through a bottle glass window, a familiar detail of Pre-Raphaelite compositions. The second drawing, Resurrection, the only color image in Brigham’s book, is an expanded detail of Siddal’s hair. Red curls fill the picture plane, successfully obliterating any trace of the individual whose head it adorns.

The historic erasure of the individual, and of female creativity, is not unique to Siddal. The patriarchal nature of western culture has systemically omitted the contributions of women, artistic or otherwise. At the Delaware Art Museum, we are committed to acquiring new works and displaying special exhibitions featuring women artists and widening the stories we tell with art to build a more inclusive Museum.

Margaretta S Frederick
Annette Woolard-Provine Curator, Bancroft Pre-Raphaelite Collection

Join an upcoming Artist Talk at the Museum or a Virtual Art Chat to hear Holly Trostle Brigham speak about her images of Elizabeth Siddal.

Left to right: Elizabeth Siddal at Her Easel, 2020. Holly Trostle Brigham (born 1965). Graphite on paper, 8 x 8 inches. Courtesy of the artist. © Holly Trostle Brigham. | Resurrection no. 12B in Elizabeth Siddal: ‘I Wake Again’, 2020. Holly Trostle Brigham (born 1965). Colored pencil on book paper, page: 8 x 8 inches, book: 9 1/8 × 8 3/4 inches. Courtesy of the artist. © Holly Trostle Brigham.

Donald Camp vividly recalls reading the news of Emmett Till’s brutal murder in 1955. The artist had also recently celebrated his birthday in the summer of that year, turning 15 to Emmett Till’s 14.

The 14-year-old African American boy from Chicago was visiting his relatives in Mississippi when he was lynched after an accusation that he had whistled at a white woman. In September 1955, an all-white, all male jury found Roy Bryant and J.W. Milam not guilty for his murder. Mamie Till Mobley, Emmett Till’s mother, insisted on an open-casket funeral so that the violent treatment of his body, beaten beyond recognition, would be witnessed by the more than 50,000 people who attended the service. The response to his gruesome murder was one of horror, and as the story was widely shared—through publications like Jet magazine—the fight for civil rights grew in strength.

Camp’s powerful composition, Emmett Till / America 1955, pairs a photograph of Till—taken from a widely circulated portrait with his mother—with an image of the United States flag. Camp created the work by coating the glass panels with a photographic medium and then exposing the plates to the found imagery. The cracks throughout and yellow hue occurred when the artist allowed the material to bake in the sun. The appearance emphasizes the nearness of history, and the reflective nature of the work frames the viewer as an active participant in a critical moment in history. Through the pairing of Till’s youthful image with the flag, Camp invites the consideration of the rights supposedly afforded to American citizens and the severe, and often deadly, injustices that exist in this country.

Emmett Till / America 1955 is on view in the Lynn Herrick Sharp Gallery for Contemporary Art. Find more information about Donald Camp, including other works of art in the Museum’s collection, online.

Image: Emmett Till / America 1955, 1990. Donald Camp (born 1940). Glass mirror with liquid light and sun baked acrylic, 48 × 36 inches. Delaware Art Museum, Acquisition Fund, 2020 © Donald Camp.

The Philadelphia-based figurative artist vibrantly interprets the life of Pre-Raphaelite Elizabeth Siddal in upcoming show at the Delaware Art Museum.

Opening February 26 at the Delaware Art Museum, ‘I Wake Again’: Holly Trostle Brigham on Elizabeth Siddal showcases a contemporary painter’s efforts to champion a female artist of the past. Holly Trostle Brigham’s art investigates the life of under-recognized Pre-Raphaelite artist Elizabeth Siddal. Siddal’s works are also on display at the Museum.

Brigham’s elaborate artist’s book is a highlight of the exhibition, combining drawings, poetry, and rich decoration. The exhibition also includes watercolor, Arts & Crafts-style tiles, a printed textile, and a decorated screen. These mixed media works evoke the time and life of Elizabeth Siddal. Siddal is best known as a muse to the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, but she was an artist and writer herself.

“Lizzy’s story immediately inspired me,” says exhibition artist and co-curator Holly Trostle Brigham. “She had a short but active career as an artist at a time when women had no pathways to artistic careers, yet she is remembered only as a model. I wanted to recover her true identity as a creator and trailblazer.” Brigham drew upon the works by Siddal in the Delaware Art Museum’s permanent collection for inspiration.

“Holly Trostle Brigham brilliantly combines rich symbolism, historical detail, and vibrant imagination to re-present this largely forgotten female artist,” says Margaretta Frederick, Annette Woolard-Provine Curator of the Bancroft Collection. “This exhibition rewards looking closely and looking again. We can’t wait to share it with our visitors.”

‘I Wake Again’ continues a series of recent exhibitions featuring contemporary artists looking back on historical figures, part of the Delaware Art Museum’s wider work to expand and diversify the stories told with art.

Visitors can view ‘I Wake Again’ through May 29, and learn more from the artist during several programs planned this spring, both at the Museum and online. Holly Trostle Brigham will give artist talks in the gallery on February 27 and April 10 at 2 p.m., host a Virtual Art Chat on March 3 at Noon, and teach artists of all levels to design textiles on March 26. Audiences can find full details and registration at delart.org.

Holly Trostle Brigham’s art will also be on view in a concurrent exhibit at the Somerville Manning Gallery from March 4 through March 26. Full details at somervillemanning.com.

IF YOU GO:

WHAT: ‘I Wake Again’: Holly Trostle Brigham on Elizabeth Siddal
WHEN: February 26 – May 29, 2022
Artist Talks on Sunday, February 27, 2 p.m., and Sunday, April 10, 1 p.m.
Virtual Art Chat on Thursday, March 3, Noon
Create Your Own Textile Pattern with the Artist, Saturday, March 26.
WHERE: Delaware Art Museum, 2301 Kentmere Pkwy, Wilmington, DE 19806
COST: Free with Museum admission
INFO: delart.org

Proof of COVID-19 vaccination required. Full information and registration at delart.org.

‘I Wake Again’: Holly Trostle Brigham on Elizabeth Siddal is curated by Brigham and Margaretta Frederick, Annette Woolard-Provine Curator of the Bancroft Pre-Raphaelite Collection. This exhibition was organized by the Delaware Art Museum. 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: Amelia Wiggins, Director of Communications & Engagement, 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 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 to for the latest exhibitions, programs, and performances or connect with us via social media.

Image: “Elizabeth Siddal as Mariana,” 2021. Holly Trostle Brigham (born 1965). Watercolor on Arches paper. Courtesy of the artist. © Holly Trostle Brigham.

ILL. #1: “Elizabeth Siddal as Mariana,” 2021. Holly Trostle Brigham (born 1965). Watercolor on Arches paper, frame: 52 1/2 × 49 × 1 3/4 inches. Courtesy of the artist. © Holly Trostle Brigham.

The moon hangs low at the casement window. The red-haired woman – as the painting’s title explains, Elizabeth Siddal as Mariana – stares out from her desk, pale eyes piercing with exhaustion and defiance. Her hands cup her chin and elbow, a posture which echoes the figure from Dürer’s Melancholia, which she has spent the night copying. That figure sits with a measuring device, and the drawing measures her mood, is measured by the calipers that rest atop it, folds into the name of the play – Measure for Measure – that gave rise to the painting’s subject. But, as its creator Holly Trostle Brigham assures me, this nocturnal sketcher is no longer waiting. She has made it through the night, supported by inspiration from another artist – and now she looks up, because someone has come in.

Brigham’s painting is also inspired by another artist: Elizabeth Siddal. As Siddal did, Brigham picks apart a Tennyson poem and reimagines it in watercolour. Mariana was not depicted by Siddal (as far as her surviving corpus shows), nor was she a figure for whom Siddal posed, though both Siddal and Mariana were painted by Siddal’s Pre-Raphaelite contemporaries. This space lets Brigham make the subject her own, exploring contemporary and personal resonance alongside Siddal’s methods. Brigham’s Mariana was painted in the moated grange of lockdown, working through loneliness towards an uncertain future. But, though she may be aweary, Siddal-Mariana does not disappear in death. In the inspiration her creative work offers Brigham, and the new exhibition which draws on her practice, she wakes again.

I Wake Again: Holly Trostle Brigham on Elizabeth Siddal, opening at the Delaware Art Museum on February 26th, 2022, explores the ‘two voices’ of the contemporary feminist painter and the chaotic Victorian artist-poet. Elizabeth Siddal as Mariana appears alongside an artist’s book intertwining depictions of Siddal’s life with poetic responses by Kim Bridgford, a textile tangling Siddal’s initials into foliage, and a screen painted with the heroines of Spenser’s Faerie Queene. Sometimes Brigham’s work imagines the artist-poet at her easel, or alongside her husband and occasional collaborator Dante Gabriel Rossetti, or rapt in a book. Elsewhere, Brigham evokes Siddal as a precedent, making something after the fashion of a piece Siddal made, or could have made. The Faerie Queene screen applies Siddal’s medievalist methodology to a new literary source, whilst the box containing the artist’s book pays homage to the jewel box Siddal decorated for Jane Morris.

Brigham’s engagement with Siddal – artist to artist, recognising shared techniques and imaginative complexity – fascinates me, partly because I work in a similar way. My work is also inspired by Siddal’s creative practice, drawing on her disruptive impulses to produce queer readings of her art and poetry. I met Brigham whilst on the long-delayed, thoroughly wonderful Amy P. Goldman Pre-Raphaelite Fellowship at the University of Delaware and Delaware Art Museum, gathering research for my PhD thesis on Siddal.

So what is Siddal’s story? She was born in London in 1829, on July 25th – a birthday she shares with Brigham. In 1849, she showed her drawings to Walter Deverell senior, principal of the Government School of Design, and modelled for his son. Deverell junior was close with the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, among whom Siddal found more modelling work. Her early artwork The Lady of Shalott (1853) shows Siddal altering the spelling of her surname – a common practice amongst Pre-Raphaelites embracing a new artistic identity. Siddal’s works on paper attracted John Ruskin’s patronage, allowing her to purchase paints to produce medievalist watercolours like Clerk Saunders and Lady Clare (both 1857). In 1857, her work was exhibited and purchased in Britain and America – whilst Siddal broke from the overbearing Ruskin and moved to study art in her ancestral Sheffield. Her movements are less well-known away from the Pre-Raphaelites. In 1860, she married Dante Gabriel Rossetti, and her known art production resumed: she planned an illustrated book with Georgiana Burne-Jones and helped decorate William Morris’s Red House. She became addicted to laudanum in or around 1860, suffered a stillbirth, and died of a laudanum overdose on February 11th 1862. She also wrote poetry, in largely untitled manuscripts which remained private until after her death.

imageILL. #2: Sketch for ‘La Belle Dame sans merci’, c. 1855. Elizabeth Eleanor Siddal (1829–1862). Graphite on paper, image: 4 1/8 × 2 7/8 inches. Delaware Art Museum, Acquisition Fund, 2007.

The Delaware Art Museum has a rich Pre-Raphaelite collection, including some Siddal works. Brigham has long admired Pre-Raphaelite art, and brings her art-historical background to bear on her creative interpretation of this complex, jewel-toned, deeply literary artistic legacy. In the world of the Pre-Raphaelites, the hierarchy of media is unsettled, and books, decorative arts and easel paintings intertwine in a creative conversation. It’s a dynamic which informs the fascinating interplay between the pieces – from paintings to textiles to tiles – in Brigham’s exhibition.

Researching Siddal amidst the Pre-Raphaelites has, as Brigham explains, been an educative experience. She relishes Siddal’s complicated compositions, her ambition, her dynamic lines and diagonals, her penchant (which Brigham shares) for using herself as a model. Brigham has discovered new texts through Siddal’s unusual subjects. Indeed, both artists’ works affirm the power of text – which Siddal espouses in her literary source material, and Brigham explores through her artist’s books. For Siddal, words are ripe for pictorial reimagining; for Brigham, they clarify her art’s feminist message. Though few of Siddal’s personal papers survive, leaving little record of her discussing her work with others, Brigham is eager to start conversations – to reward this jet-lagged scholar’s aweary ‘Why Mariana?’ with talk of measures and Melancholia. Brigham’s work, like Siddal’s, offers viewers this chance to be curious, to discover, to delve into a myriad of small details and be rewarded tenfold for your interest.

imageILLs. #3 and #4: Elizabeth Siddal: ‘I Wake Again’, 2020. Holly Trostle Brigham (born 1965). Painted and velvet lined wooden box with metal hinges; leather book with lithography, screen print, hair, and hand dyed paper; dried pigment in apothecary bottle and book pages, 10 1/4 × 13 × 3 1/4 inches. Courtesy of the artist. © Holly Trostle Brigham.

I started with a painting, and I end with a box, patterned with the Four Seasons and the artist’s EES. Inside, Brigham has placed three things. There are pages from another Tennyson poem, a sketchbook – the artist’s book – and a bottle of dried pigment. There’s potential – for the poem to become a sketch, for the sketches to become paintings, for the pigment to become the paint – but there’s also the resources to realise this potential. The inspiration, the materials and the production. Here, and throughout, Brigham pays homage to Siddal as a creative force, whilst her own creativity shines through in every brilliant, meticulous detail. The act of making art is foregrounded and celebrated – as a wonder, a comfort, a reawakening.

Nat Reeve

‘Nat Reeve is a PhD candidate at Royal Holloway, University of London, working on queer reading the art and poetry of Elizabeth Siddal. They are also a novelist: their debut Neo-Victorian novel Nettleblack will be published in 2022 by Cipher Press, and is available for pre-order. Nat was the 2020/2021 Amy P. Goldman Pre-Raphaelite Fellow.’

With fervent thanks to Holly Trostle Brigham for a wonderful discussion, and Margaretta S. Frederick and Mark Samuels Lasner for their covid-defying patience with the Fellowship.

I Wake Again: Holly Trostle Brigham on Elizabeth Siddal is on view at the Delaware Art Museum February 26 – May 29, 2022. Join Nat and Holly for a virtual Art Chat on Friday, March 3, 12 p.m. EST.

Ernest Crichlow was born in 1914 in Brooklyn, New York and passed in 2005. He was an African American painter, illustrator, and graphic artist. He won a scholarship to the Commercial Illustration School of Arts which he attended for three years during the height of the Great Depression. Crichlow was an advocate for new and established African American artists. Crichlow, together with Romare Bearden and Norman Lewis, founded the Cinque gallery in 1969. His works have appeared in exhibitions in the Mid-Atlantic and beyond for several decades.

Figurative paintings composed the majority of Crichlow’s work. He studied people in his Brooklyn neighborhood as inspiration. Waiting, like many of his other pieces, features an African American girl as the primary subject. Crichlow intentionally placed African American women and girls as central components in his works, as they are often underrepresented and devalued in life and art.

Ernest Crichlow’s Waiting (1968) is breathtaking and moving. The portrait of a young Black girl gazing out behind a barbed wire fence evokes many feelings. The young girl’s expression is one of anticipation, hope, and sorrow. This piece was created during the period of the Civil Rights Movement and in the year Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., a prominent leader of the Civil Rights Movement, was assassinated. For centuries, African Americans had been told to wait for freedom, equality, and civil rights. The movement shook the nation and made it clear through various events that African Americans were tired of waiting. Changes and actions needed to be made, whether America was ready for change or not.

Crichlow’s decision to depict a young African American girl with a dark complexion instead of a young boy or an adult adds an extra layer of meaning to the print. The subject’s gender and age symbolize innocence. The viewer notices her expression and respectable, clean white dress and styled hair. The child’s clear innocence and neat presentation create a strong juxtaposition with the barbed wire, raising questions for the viewer. Waiting asks viewers to ponder the social, cultural, and political implications of the times this work was created in, and its meaning today.

Danielle Bing
Graduate Student in History and Museum Studies, University of Delaware

Waiting, 1968. Ernest Crichlow (1914-2005). Lithograph, composition: 12 x 11 1/12 inches, sheet: 18 ½ x 13 ¾ inches. Delaware Art Museum, Acquisition Fund, 2019. © Estate of Ernest Crichlow.

About the Exhibition

For this most recent Delaware Art Museum commission, Charles Edward Williams commemorated the life of Alice Dunbar-Nelson, the poet and political activist who spent most of her career writing and lecturing in Wilmington. The works of art are displayed alongside historical portraits in the Museum’s early American galleries until February 6, 2022. An intervention of sorts into this gallery space, Williams’ exhibition honors the life of this important literary figure as her image joins the faces of others in the room.

Artist Charles Edwards Williams’ recent projects draw on historical photography of the Civil Rights Movement. Pairing vibrant colors with distinct portraits, Williams establishes an emotional connection between the image and the viewer. When exploring Alice Dunbar-Nelson’s life, Williams began by surveying Dunbar-Nelson’s diaries, photographs, and published works.

Alice Dunbar-Nelson’s life spanned many significant historical events. She was born in New Orleans just ten years after Union troops arrived in Texas on June 19, 1865 to declare the freedom of enslaved Black people in that state, a date we now mark as Juneteenth. She witnessed the ratification of the women’s right to vote in 1920, as well as World War I, and the Great Depression. Throughout her poetry and personal writing, Dunbar-Nelson reflected on these, and many other, key social and cultural moments. Williams was drawn to Dunbar-Nelson’s frustration with the hindrances of a male-dominated world and her determination to actively respond to the first World War. His multimedia work, I Sit and Sew, explores this tension. Referencing Dunbar-Nelson’s 1918 poem of the same name, Williams’ seven-panel piece layers the etched lines of her poem over paintings of her image. Across the star-patterned linen support, Williams has stitched the words, I Sit and Sew. The artist used the physical act of sewing as an interpretation of Dunbar-Nelson’s poem and her desire to aid in the war efforts. She writes,

My soul in pity flings
Appealing cries, yearning only to go
There in that holocaust of hell, those fields of woe—
But—I must sit and sew.
(Dunbar-Nelson, 11-14).

When faced with this inner conflict, both writer and artist chose a seemingly tedious task that has historically been considered women’s work. Interestingly, embroidery was used as a form of therapy for soldiers wounded during World War I. Williams describes the meditative work as “spiritual, reflective, and transformative.” With each stitch, progress is made.

In Wish You Were Here, Williams follows Dunbar-Nelson’s travels and leisure time fishing along the banks of the Mississippi, Platt, Mystic, and Potomac Rivers. The artist’s paintings of her are less formal, more intimate, and over them Williams used fishing line to trace the shape of the rivers. In this way, Williams makes the literary giant approachable.

Williams’ I AM (Queen), is the most formal portrait of Alice Dunbar-Nelson, and elements within the composition are layered with meaning. The treatment of her dress references her racial background growing up in a Creole community in Louisiana. Dunbar-Nelson’s mother was Black and her father was white, and the poet wrote about her experience navigating two racial identities. The transition from the darker to lighter fabric across her shoulders indicates the barriers she felt connecting to both races.

imageLeft to right: I AM (Queen), 2021. Charles Edward Williams (born 1984). Oil on mylar with etched glass, 36 1/2 x 25 3/4 inches. Commissioned by the Delaware Art Museum; Acquisition Fund, 2021. © Charles Edward Williams. | Wish You Were Here #2, 2021. Charles Edward Williams (born 1984). Oil, fishing line on watercolor paper, 5 x 7 inches. Commissioned by the Delaware Art Museum. Courtesy of the artist. © Charles Edward Williams.

The Artist’s Reflections

Charles Edward Williams reflected on this project:

As an American visionary, writer, and political activist, Alice Dunbar-Nelson sought after the truth of the human spirit and the vast wonders of togetherness. In her challenging circumstances, she remained faithful to self-discovery and shared those tender truths for helping us, humans, find our way.

Socially confined and racially unbound, her plight for redeeming souls became the forefront of her vision. In a world where she felt alone, she shared in her writings what it felt to be connected. Each day, we must have the inner strength to learn to become part of a more significant cause for others and, more importantly, for ourselves.

Join us for a Virtual Artist Talk on Thursday, January 27, Noon to hear more of Charles Edward Williams’ reflections on this work of art.

Alice Dunbar-Nelson: A Vision for Wilmington

Charles Edward Williams’ exhibition, I Sit and Sew: Tracing Alice Dunbar-Nelson, aligns with David Kim’s community engagement project, Alice Dunbar-Nelson: A Vision for Wilmington. Kim is a Whiting Foundation fellow and an Assistant Professor in the Department of English at the University of Delaware, where the Alice Dunbar-Nelson Papers reside.

David Kim wrote about the poet and political activist:

Alice Dunbar-Nelson (1875-1935) is one of the most important figures in the canon of Black women writers. Born in New Orleans, she moved to Wilmington, Delaware where she lived a life of letters and activism. She wrote poems, short stories, essays, novels, and a nationally syndicated column, all in her unique voice that often challenged both the literary conventions and the political alignments of her time. As an activist and educator, she organized the women’s suffrage movement, headed the anti-lynching activism, and founded schools in advocacy for Black girls. She often wrote passionately about Wilmington, as her home and cause.

A sampling of Dunbar-Nelson’s poetry can be found online.

About the Artist

Charles Edward Williams was born in 1984 in Georgetown, South Carolina. Williams completed his bachelor of fine arts degree at the Savannah College of Art and Design in 2006 and his master of fine arts degree from the University of North Carolina in Greensboro in 2017. Between 2016 and 2019, Williams attended residencies at the Otis College of Art and Design and SOMA Mexico City. Additionally, he was an artist-in-residence at the Gibbes Museum of Art and the McColl Center of Art and Innovation.

Williams has received numerous awards and grants for his work including a Mississippi Humanities Council Grant and a National Endowment for the Arts Grant. Solo exhibitions of Williams’ projects have been presented at the Urban Institute for Contemporary Arts in Grand Rapids and the Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art, among others. He has participated in group shows at the Knoxville Museum of Art, Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, and Allentown Art Museum, among other galleries and museums across the United States and abroad. Williams is represented in numerous collections including the Mississippi Museum of Art, 21c Museum Hotels, the North Carolina Museum of Art, and the Petrucci Family Collection of African American Art.

imagePhotograph by Mitchell Kearney.

Opening January 22 at the Delaware Art Museum, the exhibition features portraits of 160 outstanding women from across the state.

A special exhibition featuring 160 members of the Delaware Women’s Hall of Fame opens January 22 at the Delaware Art Museum. To mark the 40th anniversary of the prestigious award, the Office of Women’s Advancement and Advocacy commissioned Delaware artist Theresa Walton to create portraits of every woman inducted. The exhibition celebrates the tremendous achievement of women from across the state in a variety of professional fields.

Portraits of Hall of Fame inductees include, former Governor Ruth Ann Minner, U.S. Representative Lisa Blunt-Rochester, Delaware Children’s Theatre founder Marie Swajeski, educators Dr. Jill Biden and Dr. Reba Hollingsworth, and community leader Maria Matos, among others.

“The Delaware Women’s Hall of Fame and this exhibition both celebrate and teach visitors about women’s contributions to our state, while inspiring the next generation of Delawareans to positively impact our society as artists, athletes, community advocates, military personnel, public servants, scientists, teachers and more,“ says Melanie Ross Levin, Delaware’s Director of the Office of Women’s Advancement & Advocacy.

“We are thrilled to celebrate these brilliant women and partner with the Office of Women’s Advancement & Advocacy on their important work,” says DelArt Executive Director Molly Giordano. “This exhibition strengthens the Museum’s efforts to expand and diversify the stories we tell with art.”. The Delaware Art Museum has long collected women artists, but recently reinstalled its galleries to put more work by women on display.

The public is invited to view the portraits of women in the Delaware Women’s Hall of Fame from January 22 through March 20 at Museum. In conjunction with the exhibit, the Office of Women’s Advancement & Advocacy has also launched a website that features all 160 portraits and accompanying biographical information.

Applications for the 2022 Delaware Women’s Hall of Fame are now open and can be found at de.gov/women.

Sponsors: ‘Delaware Women’s Hall of Fame: Celebrating 40 Years’ was organized by the Office of Women’s Advancement & Advocacy and the Delaware Art Museum. The exhibition is supported by the Delaware Department of Human Resources and the Delaware Women’s Hall of Fame Committee. Additional support is provided, 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 to for the latest exhibitions, programs, and performances or connect with us via social media.

IF YOU GO
WHAT: ‘Delaware Women’s Hall of Fame: Celebrating 40 Years’
WHEN: January 22 – March 20 during Museum open hours, Wednesday through Sunday, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
WHERE: Delaware Art Museum, Orientation Hall
COST: Free after Museum admission.
INFO: delart.org

Proof of vaccination and masks required inside the Museum; full info at delart.org.

Left to right: Muriel E. Gilman, 2005. Chandra Pitts, 2016. Val Whiting, 2007. Theresa Walton.

Alma Thomas’ Spring-Delightful Flower Bed (1967) provides an excellent introduction to the genre of abstract expressionism and more specifically, to the work of the Washington Color School. Developed in the 1940s and 50s, abstract expressionism remained an influential style in American artistic circles through the 1970s. The movement focused on the idea of instinctual or subconscious painting, pulling away from replication by emphasizing automatic gestures. Famous participants include Jackson Pollock’s splattered “action-paintings” and Mark Rothko’s color fields, where large spans of a single tone dominated the canvas.

Inspired by these works, the Washington Color School followed slightly behind its New York City-based predecessor. Led by Morris Louis and Kenneth Noland, the group focused on color-field painting. Notably, the Washington Color School artists were not fully aligned with the abstract expressionists as they did not rely on automatic painting, instead developing new techniques. However, the two are closely tied in chronology and methodology in other ways. They both focus on colorful stripes and shapes without engaging directly with figural representation, generating distinctive and complex styles of abstraction.  

Alma Woodsey Thomas (1891-1978), the creator of Spring-Delightful Flower Bed (1967), turned to abstraction in 1960 after retiring from her career as a public-school art teacher in Washington D.C. Educated at Howard University and Columbia University, she was a skilled painter throughout her life, drawing inspiration from flowers and the natural world around her. Despite focusing on figural work previously, the bold, striking shapes in her abstract art style allowed her to innovate artistically even though she had developed arthritis in her hands. As a participant in the Washington Color School tradition, Thomas mastered the use of color, concentrating on the evocative and powerful ways in which people relate to different tones and shapes. Over the 20 years Thomas worked in this style, she created her own distinctive technique, juxtaposing bright tones in rainbow-like images. Reminiscent of watercolor paintings, labyrinths, and planetary figures, her work transcends representation and speaks to a wide variety of visual influences from the Impressionists to the German Bauhaus, intermingling with the development of gestural abstract art. Her characteristic, kaleidoscopic brushwork calls both to the luminous color-field paintings of her predecessors, as well as speaking to her fascination with nature, gardens, and space exploration. 

As a long-term public-school educator, Thomas believed strongly in the ability of art to empower people and in the radical idea of beauty produced by the innovative practices of Black artists. Her incredible skill earned her high praise and accolades. Spring-Delightful Flower Bed was featured as the cover of Crisis Magazine, the NAACP’s publication, and her paintings are now found in institutions like the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the National Museum of African American History and Culture, and the White House Collection. Although not as politically focused as some of her contemporaries, Thomas’ work serves as a critical moment within American aesthetics, bringing attention to the excellence of Black abstract artists working in mid-century America. 

Rachael Kane
Lois F. McNeil Fellow Winterthur Program in American Material Culture

Artwork in image, left to right: Gay Head Cliffs, c. 1970. Delilah Pierce (1904–1992). Oil on canvas, 36 × 46 inches, frame: 37 3/4 × 43 7/8 × 1 inches. Howard University Gallery of Art, Washington, DC. © Estate Delilah W. Pierce. | Tradesmen – Africa (Khartoum, Sudan), not dated. Delilah W. Pierce (1904–1992). Oil on linen, 42 × 23 inches, frame: 49 1/2 × 30 1/4 inches. Collection of the Spence Family.© Estate Delilah W. Pierce. | Parade de Paysans (Peasants on Parade), 1961. Loïs Mailou Jones (1905–1998). Oil on canvas, 39 1/4 × 19 inches, frame: 45 3/8 × 25 3/8 inches. Delaware Art Museum, Acquisition Fund, 2018. | Street of the Market, Zaria, 1964. James Amos Porter (1905–1970). Oil on canvas, 16 × 26 inches, frame: 19 1/2 × 29 1/2 inches. Delaware Art Museum, Acquisition Fund, 2018.

Annual Day of Service Focuses on Community Clean-ups and Youth Support

The Delaware Art Museum once again partners with the Wilmington community, starting with a free Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service Kickoff on Monday, January 17, 2022 at 9:30 a.m. The holiday 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 arranges volunteer opportunities with partners throughout the city.

Community Engagement Specialist Iz Balleto says, “The Museum’s participation in this day of service matters. We choose to be a part of a solution when it comes to being a part of a community that needs healing.”

Planned activities include an outdoor kickoff celebration at the Museum from 9:30—10:30 a.m. with performances by Jea Street, Jr. and the Wilmington Children’s Chorus, as well as remarks by State Senator Elizabeth Lockman and State Representative Sherry Dorsey. Participants may then depart the Museum destined for volunteer sites, where work will take place from 11 a.m to 1 p.m. The volunteer sites include:

Westside Grows Together (8th Street Bridge at Adams Street, Wilmington, Del.) – Outdoor community clean-up along the United Way Bridge. West Side Grows Together is the coalition of residents, businesses, churches, and local leadership from the Cool Spring, Hilltop, Little Italy and The Flats neighborhoods which organizes this annual cleanup event and march.

Teen Warehouse (1121 Thatcher St., Wilmington, Del.) – Outdoor community street clean-up. Teen Warehouse is a dynamic space in Northeast Wilmington designed for teens by teens that provides city youth with the tools and opportunities needed to become confident, courageous, and contributing young adults who will make a positive difference in our world.

One Village Alliance (31 W. 31st St., Wilmington, Del.) – Community service projects and mentorship program for Raising Kings Week. One Village Alliance’s mission is to grow historically marginalized youth into their true greatness through education, economic development and the arts.

Participants may also visit the Museum and Afro-American Images 1971: The Vision of Percy Ricks. The Museum is open free of charge, 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. on January 17. Proof of vaccination and masks are required inside the Museum.

Registration is required for participants of all ages, and participants are urged to dress for outdoor activities and cleanup.

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 creating connections to the community.

This event is a partnership with One Village Alliance, Westside Grows, The Teen Warehouse, 302gunsdown, and Guerrilla Republik. 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, visit our website or contact Amelia Wiggins, Director of Communications 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 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 to for the latest exhibitions, programs, and performances or connect with us via social media.

IF YOU GO

WHAT: Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service Kickoff
WHEN: Monday, January 17, 2022, 9:30 a.m.
WHERE: Delaware Art Museum, Fusco Hall
COST: Free
INFO: delart.org

“Afro-American Images 1971: The Vision of Percy Ricks” on view at the Delaware Art Museum with interactive programming through January 23

On view only through January 23, 2022, “Afro-American Images 1971: The Vision of Percy Ricks” honors the 50th anniversary of a groundbreaking exhibition of Black art that celebrates the legacy of Wilmington artist and educator Percy Ricks. Ricks founded the Wilmington-based artist collective Aesthetic Dynamics, Inc. and mounted “Afro-American Images 1971” to emphasize the influence of African American artists in Wilmington.

Presented by the Delaware Art Museum and Aesthetic Dynamics, Inc., the restaging of “Afro-American Images 1971″ brings back together nearly 100 works of art by nationally-known artists like Romare Bearden, Sam Gilliam, Alma Thomas, and Faith Ringgold, as well as local luminaries Edward Loper, Sr. and Edward Loper, Jr.

To commemorate the last month of the show, Delaware Art Museum will present rich programming celebrating African American culture, including:

Virtual Inside Look Discussion of Ernest Crichlow’s Waiting
Friday, January 14, Noon & Saturday, January 15, 1 p.m., on Zoom. Free.

Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service Kickoff
Monday, January 17, 9:30 a.m. – 1 p.m. Outdoors. Free.

Virtual Panel Discussion: The Vision of Percy Ricks, Presented by PNC Arts Alive
Sunday, January 23, 2 p.m., on Zoom. Free.

Pre-Registration is required for all programs, and full details are available at delart.org/whats-on.

On Monday, January 17, all are invited to a Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service Kickoff at the Museum. In the morning, remarks and performances will take place outdoors at the Museum. Volunteers will then embark to service projects in the community. The Museum and the special exhibition are open with free admission for all on MLK Day.

“One of the most significant shows in the state of Delaware was Percy Ricks’ Afro-American Images 1971,” says Dr. James E. Newton, University of Delaware Professor Emeritus and an Aesthetic Dynamics member. Contemporary Art Curator Margaret Winslow shares, “Aesthetic Dynamics Inc. and the Delaware Art Museum embarked on this project to ensure that Percy Ricks, his legacy, the work that he has done to support the art community in Wilmington is thoroughly documented.” Ricks’ lasting impact on Wilmington’s culture will be the subject of a virtual panel discussion by community leaders on Sunday, January 23, the closing day of the exhibition.

“I think it’s so important that 50 years later, there’s a whole new audience to see this wonderful work, to see this large exhibition that Percy Ricks brought to Wilmington,” shares Marilyn Whittington, Director Emerita of Delaware Humanities and advisor to the exhibition.

“Afro-American Images 1971: The Vision of Percy Ricks” represents a multi-year collaboration between the Delaware Art Museum and members of the community, signifying an important moment in the Museum’s ongoing process of re-establishing itself as an inclusive artistic hub for the city of Wilmington. The Advisory Committee for this exhibition consists of humanities scholars, community leaders, and members of Aesthetic Dynamics, Inc. with strong understanding of art history, American history, social justice, and the creativity of Black artists. Members include Beatrice (Bebe) Coker, James E. Newton, Jeanne Nutter, Marilyn Whittington, Arnold Hurtt, Julie McGee, Rita Volkens, Colette Gaiter, Kelli Morgan, Harmon Carey, and Raye Jones-Avery. Organizers and Sponsors: This exhibition was organized by the Delaware Art Museum and Aesthetic Dynamics, Inc. This exhibition is made possible by the Johannes R. and Betty P. Krahmer American Art Exhibition Fund and the Emily DuPont Exhibition Fund. This exhibition and its related programming are made possible through grants from the Jessie Ball duPont Fund, PNC Arts Alive, DuPont, Corteva Agriscience, Bank of America Charitable Foundation, and the TD Charitable Foundation. This exhibition is sponsored by AARP and M&T Bank. Additional support provided by The News Journal. 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.

Press Contact: Amelia Wiggins, Director of Communications & Engagement, 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 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 to for the latest exhibitions, programs, and performances or connect with us via social media.

Waiting, 1968. Ernest Crichlow (1914–2005). Lithograph, composition: 12 × 11 1/2 inches, sheet: 18 1/2 × 13 3/4 inches. Delaware Art Museum, Acquisition Fund, 2019. © Estate of Ernest Crichlow.

As we re-emerge post-COVID, I like many have been wistfully thinking about travel. This painting by Royal Academician George Frederic Watts was begun while on holiday in the late summer of 1876 on the Isle of Wight. Watts began two portraits of Eveleen Tennant (1856-1937), or Evy as she was known throughout her life, and a third of her sister Dorothy (or Dolly). The Isle of Wight was a popular destination for members of the Holland Park Circle, an informal group of aesthetic-minded artists and collectors centered around Watts. Members included many of the Pre-Raphaelite coterie.

In celebration of this painting, a new publication, Evy: George Frederic Watts’s Portrait of Eveleen Tennant written by scholar Kedrun Laurie is now available in the Museum store. This extended essay is being published as one in a continuing (if sporadic) series called an “Occasional Paper,” a tradition initiated to highlight particular aspects of the Museum’s collection and archives. We are particularly grateful for the assistance of the Clark Family Foundation in support of this volume.

Eveleen, or “Evy” as she was known all her life, and her sister Dorothy (“Dolly”) were great beauties, a bit eccentric and “not the least conventional” as described by Dr. Laurie and as is evident in the portrait. The work was left unfinished when the Tennant family left the Isle of Wight to return to London in October and was not taken up again until the fall of 1879. Watts kept the finished portrait until 1900 when he decided to sell it through the London dealer Agnews. It was at this time that the portrait came to the attention of Samuel Bancroft who purchased it for his collection which came to the museum by bequest in 1935.

Eveleen Tennant married Frederick William Henry Meyers in 1880 after which she took up photography. Her portraits of many well-known contemporaries can be found in the collection of the National Portrait Gallery, London.

Dr. Laurie’s book is available in the Museum Store and online. It is full of new information and intriguing details about the sitter, the artist, and the portrait’s passage over time into the collection of the Delaware Art Museum.

Margaretta S. Frederick
Annette Woolard-Provine Curator of the Bancroft Collection

Portrait of Eveleen Tennant (later Mrs. F.W.H. Myers), 1876-1879. George Frederick Watts (1817–1904). Oil on canvas, 25 1/4 × 20 1/4 inches. Delaware Art Museum, Samuel and Mary R. Bancroft Memorial, 1935.

Hinook-Mahiwi-Kalinaka, also known as Angel De Cora, was a Ho-Chunk (Winnebago) artist, designer, and educator. Born on the Winnebago Reservation in Nebraska in 1868 or 1869, she was forcibly removed from the reservation (“caught wild,” as she called it) to the Hampton Normal and Agricultural Institution in Virginia when she was around 14 years old (Waggoner 2008, 270n6). After graduating she attended Smith College and then Drexel Institute to study illustration under Howard Pyle, who would later recall De Cora as one of his most talented pupils.

imageLeft to right: Wigwam Stories told by North American Indians, by Mary Catherine Judd (Boston: Ginn & Company, 1901), Special Collections, Helen Farr Sloan Library and Archives, Delaware Art Museum. | Yellow Star, by Elaine Goodale Eastman (Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1911), Special Collections, Helen Farr Sloan Library and Archives, Delaware Art Museum. | The Indians’ Book, by Natalie Curtis (New York: Harper and Brothers, 1923), Special Collections, Helen Farr Sloan Library and Archives, Delaware Art Museum.

Throughout her career, De Cora illustrated and designed the covers for several books, including Yellow Star, Wigwam Stories, and The Indians’ Book by White ethnomusicologist Natalie Curtis. For the latter, De Cora was hired to design several parts of the book including the cover, which she based on a parfleche (a rawhide case used to carry objects) painted by Cheyenne artist Wihunahe (Chief Woman). She also designed the title page, its significance described in detail by Chippewa artist and designer Neebinnaukzhik Southall:

The title-page, by Angel De Cora, (Hinook Mahiwi Kilinaka), has for the motive of its design an adaption of an old Indian design which represents in highly conventionalized form the Eagle, and the Eagle’s Song. The soaring eagle is seen in the grey figure whose points are the two out-spread wings, with the tail in the centre. The paler spot at the top of the figure is the eagle’s head; from the beak rises the song – waving lines which broaden out as the song floats on the air. The whole symbol is used in decorative form throughout the page, two eagles being joined together by the tips of wings and tails to form a symmetrical design. In the centre of the page, at the top and bottom, and at the sides, is seen the eagle-symbol, while the page is framed, as it were, in the symbol of the song.

The eagle is loved and revered by the Indians. He is the strongest of all birds. He soars aloft, and he may look upon the sun, the giver of life, the celestial emblem of divine force. Therefore has the symbol of the Eagle and the Eagle’s Song been chosen for the title-page of “The Indians’ Book” (2020, par. 6).

image Title page for The Indians’ Book, by Natalie Curtis (New York: Harper and Brothers, 1923). Angel De Cora (c. 1868-1919). Special Collections, Helen Farr Sloan Library and Archives, Delaware Art Museum.

Perhaps her most notable contributions to The Indians’ Book are the title page decorations for the chapters, which are inspired by specific tribal legends and songs. The publishers were expecting the designs to be the same for each chapter, but De Cora surprised them by creating distinctive lettering based upon each tribe’s own motifs. Southall explains the design of De Cora’s Winnebago title page:

For the Winnebago title page, DeCora created an illustration based on loom beadwork made with glass seed beads, likely based on a garter worn around the knees to hold up leggings, or perhaps an armband. The center of the design is depicted in detail, which then fades out to strings rendered in a wash. The pattern is very typical for Great Lakes tribes, and is also seen in Anishinaabe designs [. . .]. DeCora’s letters draw from the beadwork design, not only in the green and orange color scheme, but also in their use of square motifs as anchors flanked by triangles. DeCora also uses the stepped form in most of the letters, notably the K, and the jagged floral-like form in several letters — the two Es, the W, and G (2020, par. 17).

imageChapter title page lettering for The Indians’ Book, by Natalie Curtis (New York: Harper and Brothers, 1923). Angel De Cora (c. 1868-1919). Special Collections, Helen Farr Sloan Library and Archives, Delaware Art Museum.

Curtis would later write that the publishers were so pleased with De Cora’s work that they paid her more than she was expecting.

In 1906 De Cora accepted the position as art teacher at Carlisle Indian School in Pennsylvania on the condition that she “shall not be expected to teach in the white man’s way, but shall be given complete liberty to develop the art of my own race and to apply this, as far as possible, to various forms of art industries and crafts” (Curtis 1920, 65). Throughout her nine years at Carlisle, De Cora revamped the curriculum to do just that, teaching her students that their inherent artistic talent was worthy of recognition and deserving of a place in the larger arena of American art.

De Cora died in 1919 of pneumonia brought on by the influenza pandemic of 1918-1919. In a memorial published in The Outlook, Curtis wrote, “The death of Angel De Cora, the first Indian artist to express in the white man’s world what her people might become, should rouse us to a keener realization of the significance of her conviction: ‘My people are a race of designers. I look for the day when the Indian shall make beautiful things for all the world’” (Curtis 1920, 65).

Rachael DiEleuterio
Librarian/Archivist

References and Further Reading:
Curtis, Natalie. “An American Indian Artist.” The Outlook, January 14, 1920, 64-66.
De Cora, Angel. “Angel DeCora—An Autobiography.” The Red Man by Red Men, March 1911, 279-80, 285.
Southall, Neebinnaukzhik. “This Just In: Angel DeCora’s The Indians’ Book and Wigwam Stories.” December 7, 2020. https://letterformarchive.org/news/view/angel-decoras-lettering-in-the-indians-book
Waggoner, Linda. Fire Light: The Life of Angel De Cora, Winnebago Artist. Norman, OK: Oklahoma University Press, 2008.

Top image: Angel De Cora, c. 1897. Anna W. Hoopes’ photo album, 1897 – c. 1898, Frank E. Schoonover Manuscript Collection, Helen Farr Sloan Library and Archives, Delaware Art Museum.

December’s Indoor and Outdoor Arts Events Offer Holiday Inspiration

The Delaware Art Museum’s December calendar is brimming with rich activities for people of every age. The annual Winter Arts Festival brings regional artisans together in an al fresco market. Visitors are invited to enjoy the performance “Celebrate! Pyxis at the Holidays” inside the Museum, and to watch a livestream of highlights of Wilmington Ballet’s “The Nutcracker” from home. Family 2nd Sunday engages children and their families with free artmaking in the studios.

On Tuesday, December 7, 2021, 8:30 p.m., the Museum will livestream portions of “The Nutcracker” for subscribers and other viewers for a cost of $5. Ahead of its December 17, 2021 opening at The Playhouse on Rodney Square, the Wilmington Ballet and guests will perform a half hour preview of the beloved seasonal ballet. Performing with the backdrop of the Delaware Art Museum’s Fusco Hall will help Wilmington Ballet build excitement for the company’s 53rd year of performing this winter classic. For information and tickets, visit Wilmington Ballet’s website.

On Thursday, December 9, 2021, 8 p.m., DelArt presents “Celebrate! Pyxis at the Holidays” with the Museum’s classical ensemble-in-residence. Luigi Mazzocchi (violin), Jennifer Jie Jin (cello), and Hiroko Yamazaki (piano) will play as a trio in Fusco Hall, exploring a wealth of classical and contemporary piano trio literature, including instrumental versions of Gustav Holst’s “In the Bleak Midwinter,” Mel Torme’s “The Christmas Song,” Paul Schoenfeld’s “Café Music” and Astor Piazzolla’s “Cuatro Estacionas Porteñas” (also known as “The Four Seasons of Buenos Aires”). Guests may arrive early for a 7:30 p.m. curator talk prior to the 8 p.m. concert. Tickets are $30 for Members and $35 for Non-Members.

On Saturday, December 11, 2021, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m., the Museum offers shopping and seasonal festivities such as strolling carolers, for its Winter Arts Festival, which once again takes place outdoors in the Copeland Sculpture Garden. For the first time, a trackless train and conductor will glide through the festival grounds, providing rides for children. Regional artisans and quality jewelers will offer gifts for sale. Gourmet food sponsored by ShopRite, as well as hot and cold soft drinks and cocktails, will be available for purchase. In addition, the warm and welcoming Museum Store will offer literary and artistic gift ideas, with special festival discounts.

Vendors as of the date of publication include:

Classic Elegance – Quality Hand-made Leather Gifts and Seating
Sassy Bee Honey – Raw and Infused Honey, Natural Bath, Body and Beard Products, Beeswax Candles and Bee Hotels
Olga Ganoudis Designs – Jewelry
East Coast Sweets – Handcrafted Artisan Chocolates
Fusions Taster’s Choice – Ultra Premium Olive Oils and Balsamic Vinegars
Linda Majewski, Paper Greenhouse – Paper Botanicals
Luxe Charcuterie – Custom-made Charcuterie Boxes and Boards
Evon Brumberger – Tote Bags
Kelly Martin – Paper Hibiscus – Paper Quilling & Paper Clay
Anna Biggs Designs – Hand Carved Gold and Silver Jewelry
Angela Colasanti of Life Artfully Told – Sterling Silver Jewelry and Pewter Keepsakes
Samara Weaver – Ceramics, Porcelain Jewelry and Fine Art
Hope’s Caramels – Soft, Artisan Caramels and Other Caramel Products
Blue Jar Studio – Photography, Visual Arts
Nodajs Touch – Soaps, Bath Bombs, Scrubs, Beauty Products
SunSobo LLC – All Natural Hibiscus and Ginger Tea
HEOS Ceramics – Ceramics
Meaghan Paige – A Women’s and Kids Clothing Brand

The festival is free for Members and $5 for Non-Members, with limited reserved timed tickets available. Admission to the festival includes entry to the Museum the day of the event. In case of inclement weather, festival activities will move inside.

Sunday, December 12, 2021, 10 a.m. — 1 p.m., the Museum welcomes children up to 12 years of age and their families to experience Family 2nd Sunday in the Children’s Studio. Each month, guests explore a new medium or technique from a professional teaching artist. Guests create a work of art inspired by a piece in the Museum’s collection. While the event is free, registration (including for adults) is strongly recommended due to limited seating.

On-site event capacity is limited, and either registration for every event is required. Register at delart.org.

Adults will be asked to provide proof of vaccination to visit indoors; all children ages 2-17, regardless of vaccination status, must wear face coverings inside the Museum and studios. Social distancing of 3 feet should be maintained between parties. Masks should be worn by all guests during group gallery tours and indoor family and youth programs. The Museum’s full COVID-19 policies are listed here.

The Winter Arts Festival is sponsored by Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield Delaware, Shoprite, and Delmarva Power. 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 to for the latest exhibitions, programs, and performances or connect with us via social media.

IF YOU GO

WHAT: Wilmington Ballet “The Nutcracker” Livestream
WHEN: Tuesday, December 7, 2021, 8:30 p.m.
WHERE: Online
COST: $5
INFO: delart.org

WHAT: “Celebrate! Pyxis at the Holidays”
WHEN: Thursday, December 9, 2021, 8 p.m., with a 7:30 p.m. curator tour
WHERE: Delaware Art Museum, Fusco Hall
COST: $30 for Members, $35 for Non-Members
INFO: “delart.org”

WHAT: Winter Arts Festival
WHEN: Saturday, December 11, 2021, 10 a.m. — 4 p.m.
WHERE: Delaware Art Museum grounds
COST: Free for Members, $5 for Non-Members, timed tickets required
INFO: delart.org

WHAT: Family 2nd Sunday
WHEN: Sunday, December 12, 2021, 10 a.m. — 1 p.m.
WHERE: Delaware Art Museum Children’s Studio
COST: Free, registration required
INFO: delart.org

November Event Activities Draw Inspiration from Afro-American Images Exhibition

The Delaware Art Museum’s November Family 2nd Sunday turns its attention to “Afro-American Images 1971: The Vision of Percy Ricks” with free art activities, performances, and family tours on November 14, 2021, 12-3:30 p.m. The November event is presented by PNC Arts Alive.

This monthly series allows children up to 12 years of age and their families to experience an activity that explores a new medium or technique from a professional teaching artist. Guests create a work of art inspired by that month’s theme.

The November Family 2nd Sunday features art activities inspired by the vibrant and dynamic artwork featured in “Afro-American Images 1971.” Guests will enjoy an African dance and drumming performance by Kamau O. Ngom at 1:30 p.m. and a magic show with Gregory Graham at 2:15 p.m., both members of artist collective Aesthetic Dynamics, Inc. All performances will be livestreamed on the Museum’s social media pages.

Rayna DeReus, the Museum’s Studio and Youth Programs Coordinator, says, “We hope families will be inspired by pieces in the exhibition. We cannot wait to see the works of art the children create through colorful mixed media collage.”

The mixed media collage activity will focus on the art of Romare Bearden, Faith Ringgold and Alma Thomas, three of the artists from the exhibition.

Percy Ricks was the founder of Aesthetic Dynamics, Inc., which, in 1971 presented its first major undertaking: the exhibition of over 130 works of art—drawings, prints, photographs, paintings, and sculpture—by 66 African American artists. Numerous factors led to artist Ricks’ founding of Aesthetic Dynamics and the organization’s ambitious inaugural exhibition, most notably the trauma suffered from the 1968 assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. and the subsequent nine-month National Guard occupation of Wilmington. Ricks set out to emphasize the influence of African American artists in Wilmington.

For its 50th anniversary, Aesthetic Dynamics, Inc. and the Delaware Art Museum revisit this momentous historic exhibition with a new exhibition, which opened October 23 and runs through January 23, 2022.

Registration for each attendee (including adults) is encouraged as seating is limited in the auditorium and studio. Register at delart.org.

Adults will be asked to provide proof of vaccination to be indoors; all persons ages 2 and older are required to wear masks indoors for this event. The Museum’s COVID-19 policies are listed here.

This Family 2nd Sunday is presented by PNC Arts Alive. This program was made possible by the Delaware Community Foundation. 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 to for the latest exhibitions, programs, and performances or connect with us via social media.

IF YOU GO
WHAT: Afro-American Images 1971 Family Day, presented by PNC Arts Alive
WHEN: Sunday, November 14, 2021, 12-3:30 p.m.
WHERE: Delaware Art Museum, 2301 Kentmere Parkway, Wilmington, DE 19806
COST: Free
INFO: delart.org

MBDance showcases new work “Desire: A Sankofa Dream”

The Delaware Art Museum presents MBDance and the original performative work “Desire: A Sankofa Dream,” created and directed by celebrated choreographer Maria Bauman-Morales. There will be two show times, both presented at the Delaware College of Art and Design (600 N. Market St.) on Saturday November 13th at 7:30 and Sunday November 14th at 6:00 p.m.

“Desire” is a site responsive and interactive work designed as a healing performance-ritual built around Black Queer survival techniques developed long before the current pandemic but wholly relevant as individuals try to survive and thrive in this time of sickness, anger, isolation and insistence on improved ways of life.

“Imagination and choice-making are at the crux of this duet. Coming into the next phase of the pandemic, and always, it is imperative that we all get in touch with what we want, how to enact that, and how the boundaries and catalysts of other folks’ desires interact with our own wants. We are excited to bring this in-person, masked, immersive duet version of “Desire: A Sankofa Dream” to Wilmington so that we can practice choice-making together within the transcendent framework of art,” says Maria Bauman-Morales, executive and artistic director of MBDance.

“This performance piece will immerse attendees into the show itself. The audience (called witness/participant) will be seated throughout the performance space, which is itself an installation of lines and angles as two masked dancers weave in and out of the audience. “Desire” continues the tradition of the Delaware Art Museum to present new, dynamic works of art in multiple mediums.” says Dr. Jamē McCray, 2021 Delaware Division of the Arts Fellowship recipient in dance, and thought provocateur for this performance. Dr. McCray will lead a 30-minute discussion about the creative process behind “Desire” with MBDance Artistic Director Maria Baumann-Morales following Saturday’s performance.

For the safety of all audience members, those attending the performance must wear a mask and complete DCAD’s health screening form for contact tracing purposes upon arrival for the performance each evening.

This performance is made possible through a grant from the TD Charitable Foundation. This performance 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 to for the latest exhibitions, programs, and performances or connect with us via social media.

About MBDance

Maria Bauman-Morales founded MBDance in 2009. MBDance creates honest and bold art from a sense of physical and emotional power, an insistence on equity, and a fascination with intimacy and relationship. In particular, MBDance centers the non-linear and linear stories and bodies of queer people of color onstage, using dance as the wheel whose spokes are multiple other genres including visual art, text, and song. www.desire.mbdance.net

About the Delaware College of Art and Design

In 1997, Pratt Institute and the Corcoran College of Art and Design came together in an innovative partnership that formed the bedrock of DCAD. With the support of two of America’s oldest and most distinguished arts colleges, DCAD blossomed into a lively institution offering students a cutting-edge spin on a prestigious art education. Now operating as an independent institution, DCAD provides one of the richest opportunities available in American art and design education today.

The vibrant history of Downtown Wilmington is deeply rooted in DCAD’s identity. The main building — which houses classrooms, administrative offices, and the Toni and Stuart B. Young Gallery — still boasts the original Art Deco detailing from its construction in 1932. The building, which once housed the Delmarva Power headquarters, features original metal detailing and unique facades. Preserving this piece of history is a testament to DCAD’s appreciation for fine arts, and it remains one of the most striking features of tbe campus. DCAD’s main building has been on the National Register of Historic Places since 1985.

IF YOU GO

WHAT: “Desire: A Sankofa Dream” performance by MBDance
WHEN: Saturday November 13th at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday November 14th at 6:00 p.m.
WHERE: Delaware College of Art and Design, 600 N. Market Street, Wilmington, DE
COST: $15 per night, $25 both nights, Students: Free
INFO: delart.org

Media Contact: Amelia Wiggins, Director of Communications & Engagement | awiggins@delart.org

Excerpted from Afro-American Images 1971: The Vision of Percy Ricks (Wilmington, DE: Delaware Art Museum, 2021).

Though Percy Eugene Ricks, Jr. began what would be a long career in arts and education in Wilmington in 1947, the roots of what would become Aesthetic Dynamics, Inc. took hold in the mid-1960s. It was in 1964 that Ricks began teaching at P. S. DuPont High School as the art and humanities instructor. Four years later, he was still there during the uprising that followed the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and National Guard occupation of Wilmington. By creating Aesthetics Dynamics and curating Afro-American Images 1971, Ricks nurtured a group of Wilmington’s dedicated arts and culture professionals. In doing so, he created an innovative model that addressed the needs of the African American and artistic community in the city circa 1970.

imageLeft to right: Photograph of Simmie Knox (center) during Afro-American Images 1971 installation, Wilmington Armory, Delaware, 1971. Photograph by Photographers Collaborative (Woldemar Shock and Richard Carter). | Photograph of Gertrude Redden Jenkins (left) and others during Afro-American Images 1971 opening, Wilmington Armory, Delaware, 1971. Photograph by Photographers Collaborative (Woldemar Shock and Richard Carter).

Ricks’ first position in Wilmington was as an art teacher at the Absalom Jones School in 1947, and in October 1948 he was employed as the first full-time African American art instructor in the city’s school district. Ricks quickly immersed himself in the cultural fabric of the city and began to establish the networks that would later support Aesthetic Dynamics’s membership. He exhibited his work with Edward Loper Sr. and served on the planning committee for the development of F. D. Stubbs Elementary School, where he would later teach. Ricks also became active in the Delaware Fine Arts Council, serving as chairman in 1959. Education was at the core of his work. He chaired the planning committee for Stubbs Day (established in 1960 to celebrate the life of Dr. Frederick Douglass Stubbs, the elementary school’s namesake). In 1961, he was a member of Studio Ten. Other members included Robert C. Moore, Theodore Wells I, Gertrude Jenkins, Marilyn Rittenhouse, Muriel Cooper, Marie Goss, and C. Charles Carmichael. Such were Ricks’s networks when he started at P. S. DuPont High School in 1964.

imagePhotograph of Carol Shrier Reed during Afro-American Images 1971 installation, Wilmington Armory, Delaware, 1971. Photograph by Photographers Collaborative (Woldemar Shock and Richard Carter).

In 1968, in addition to teaching, Ricks was in a critical position as program consultant for the Greater Wilmington Development Council. He shared with his mentor, James A. Porter, that plans had begun as early as 1965 to shift the focus of the then Christina Community Center of Old Swedes from recreational programming toward what Ricks saw as a dire need: integrated support of the visual and performing arts for greater New Castle County. Informed by more than 20 years’ work in arts and education in Wilmington, and a summer 1968 feasibility study, Ricks embarked on a holistic development and evaluation process to establish a program that would meet the needs of all ages in personal and cultural growth. His “Wilmington Visual and Performing Arts Center” model addressed new media (television), African American history, theater workshops, and gallery space, for example. Ricks believed that by nurturing first the “various ethnic groups in the immediate community which have made cultural contributions to our society” and then expanding “to encompass a knowledge of worldwide ethnic groups and their contributions to the society of man,” the entirety of Wilmington’s social and cultural life would be enhanced.[1] As Ricks continued to develop and expand the description of the Christina Cultural Arts Center’s programming, he specified emotional, intellectual, aesthetic, perceptual, physical, and social growth as objectives.

imagePhotograph of (left to right) Delilah W. Pierce, Alma Thomas, and Dorothy Porter with Larry Erskine Thomas’ Africa—The Source during Afro-American Images 1971 opening, Wilmington Armory, Delaware, 1971. Photograph by Photographers Collaborative (Woldemar Shock and Richard Carter).

To begin to understand Ricks’s goals for the 1971 exhibition, it is useful to examine his motivations in establishing an entity with the tagline, “creative use of the arts and sciences for humanity.” Numerous factors likely led to the founding of Aesthetic Dynamics and its ambitious first project, but the 1968 occupation of Wilmington was a probable key local influence. The city’s residents joined in the national mourning of the loss of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on April 4, 1968. When the community’s response escalated, the National Guard was activated, and remained in the city for nine months, constituting the longest occupation of a U.S. city following King’s murder. Tensions from the prolonged military presence, coupled with the flight of many downtown residents to the suburbs, created for some a culture of fear and uncertainty about venturing into the city. Such anxieties were mitigated through various solutions initiated by government agencies, nonprofit organizations, and private individuals, such as Ricks.

With the traumatic events of 1968 still fresh, Ricks and the group of dedicated arts professionals established Aesthetic Dynamics and conceptualized a major exhibition to connect the local community with the contemporary contributions of Black artists. Of equal significance for Ricks was a means to publicly recognize and celebrate several distinguished individuals in the field. The exhibition was dedicated to his mentor James Porter, who had passed away on February 28, 1970. Romare Bearden, Loïs Mailou Jones, and Hale Woodruff each received an honorarium for their contributions to the arts and humanities at the February 5 opening events.

imagePhotograph of Dr. Albert J. Carter and guest with James A. Porter’s Self-Portrait (1957), Shattered Mirror (1955), and Spanish Man with Ribbon (date unknown) during Afro-American Images 1971 opening, Wilmington Armory, Delaware, 1971. Photograph by Photographers Collaborative (Woldemar Shock and Richard Carter).

Descriptions of Afro-American Images 1971 and its objectives from the time vary. The newly founded Delaware State Arts Council was the lead sponsor, and council coordinator Polly Buck announced it as the first original exhibition of art by African Americans in the state. The Wilmington Armory (where the guard was housed during the 1968 occupation) hosted the exhibition, and while rentals were common, the art exhibition, which the writer compared to the 1913 New York Armory show, was a first. The space was selected for its size, location, and status as a community space, with Ricks noting that, “The armory is a place where you can walk in regardless of how you are dressed, unlike a museum.”[2] Afro-American Images 1971 represented the creation of a space for Black artists who were largely excluded from major arts institutions and an experience for Black museumgoers who, in 1971, were likely still experiencing de factor segregation in many parts of the United States, Wilmington included.

Listed on the exhibition pricelist and the catalogue’s title page are the names of Aesthetic Dynamics members, with whom Ricks had established deep connections. Writers, dancers, visual and performing artists who served as teachers, cultural promoters, and social activists gathered to realize Afro-American Images 1971. Poet Lula Cooper published in Wilmington’s The People’s Pulse and was a member of the executive committee of the Concerned Citizens, a multiracial group dedicated to protesting businesses in Wilmington with discriminatory practices in the mid-1960s. Additionally an artist and civil and social justice activist, Cooper served as director of the YWCA Delaware, among other positions. Gertrude Jenkins was a graduate of Delaware State University, settling in Wilmington in 1960 to teach physical education and dance in the public school system. As an active member of Aesthetic Dynamics and Play Crafters, she became a well-known choreographer in Delaware and Pennsylvania. She taught at P.S. DuPont High School for several years and was there when Afro-American Images 1971 was staged. Also at the school was Carol Shrier Reed, an art teacher who shared an office with Ricks. Reed felt Ricks’s plans for Aesthetic Dynamics and the inaugural exhibition were significant, especially considering the recent National Guard occupation. Reed recalls Ricks speaking of the timeliness and urgency to celebrate Black creativity. As an Aesthetic Dynamics member, Reed traveled with Ricks to pick up work from participating artists and helped assemble the partition walls and install the show at the Wilmington Armory. Reed’s father, Alfred, and sister, Linda, assisted with fundraising and marketing of the exhibition.

imagePhotograph of (left to right) Loïs Mailou Jones, Dr. Albert J. Carter, Delilah W. Pierce, and others during Afro-American Images 1971 opening, Wilmington Armory, Delaware, 1971. Photograph by Photographers Collaborative (Woldemar Shock and Richard Carter).

Photographer Woldemar Shock taught social studies at P. S. DuPont High School, where he met Ricks. In addition to assisting with the installation of Afro-American Images 1971 as an Aesthetic Dynamics member, Shock photographed the works of art for the exhibition catalogue and gathered invaluable documentation of the project, capturing the assembly of the show as well as the opening. Shock’s pictures comprise the greatest visual archive of the exhibition, showing how it was configured in the Wilmington Armory’s vast drill hall and capturing key individuals in attendance like Dr. Albert J. Carter, Loïs Mailou Jones, Delilah W. Pierce, Dorothy Porter, Alma Thomas, and Governor Russell W. Peterson, among others.

Aesthetic Dynamics member Jane Laskaris, on staff at Delaware State University, taught psychology, and her husband, painter Leo Laskaris, taught art at Stanton Central Elementary School. Member Barbara Greenhill was an art instructor at Tatnall School, and Simmie Knox—a key member and collaborator of Ricks—taught art at Howard High School with Robert C. Moore.

imagePhotograph of Governor Russell W. Peterson and Percy Eugene Ricks during Afro-American Images 1971 opening, Wilmington Armory, Delaware, 1971. Photograph by Photographers Collaborative (Woldemar Shock and Richard Carter).

Perhaps the most fitting way to conclude this essay is by briefly acknowledging the longevity of Ricks’s creative undertaking. Aesthetic Dynamics continues to this day, 50 years after its founding, and over those many years, the collective has presented visual and performance arts programs that celebrate Black creativity. Ricks was explicit in asserting that Afro-American Images 1971 was not assembled for political purposes, but rather with the intention to “make the public, both [B]lack and white, aware of the wealth of artistic power and talent found in Black America.”[3] The group’s membership has grown, fed by arts educators and advocates like Arnold Hurtt, Rita Volkens, Valerie Kennedy, B. Ben Pearce, and Carl Vincent Williams. It is a living entity, a model that shifts to meet the needs of Delaware’s communities, utilizing the “creative use of the arts and science” as inspiration.

Margaret Winslow
Curator of Contemporary Art

Visit the Delaware Art Museum to see the restaging of Percy Ricks’ historic exhibition, co-presented with Aesthetic Dynamics, Inc. Afro-American Images 1971: The Vision of Percy Ricks is on view through January 23, 2022.

1. Percy Ricks, “The Wilmington Visual and Performing Arts Center,” 4, Rose Library, Emory University Archives, James A. Porter, collection no. 1139, box 43, folder 3.
2. Ruth Jillya Kaplan, “75 Black Artists—And Guard’s the Host,” Evening Journal (Wilmington, DE), January 26, 1971, 21.
3. Percy Ricks, “Introduction,” in Afro-American Images 1971 (Wilmington, DE: Aesthetic Dynamics, Inc.), 3.

Top: Photograph of Percy Eugene Ricks with unknown painting, 1970. Courtesy of JENN and Associates.

Historic Wilmington-based artist collective returns, featuring Jazz performances by Arnold Hurtt and the Funk Factory Band, Wayne Morgan Band

The Delaware Art Museum presents a pair of jazz shows this fall during the upcoming exhibition Afro-American Images: The Vision of Percy Ricks highlighting the multi-disciplinary diversity of Aesthetic Dynamics’ membership. Arnold Hurtt, the current vice president of Aesthetic Dynamics, will take the stage at the Delaware Art Museum on Sunday, November 7, at 1:30 p.m. with his group, Arnold Hurtt and the Funk Factory Band. On Sunday, December 5 the Museum will present the Wayne Morgan Band–a quartet that features Wayne Morgan on drums with its sound anchored by Hammond B3 organ. These jazz performances play homage to the many artistic disciplines brought together under Percy Rick’s vision.

Arnold Hurtt and the Funk Factory Band has been singing and playing rhythm and blues together since childhood. Hurtt will lead the 5-piece ensemble, on trumpet. The Wayne Morgan Quartet is a mix of jazz, rhythm and blues that pays tribute to Wilmington’s history as an organ jazz town. Both bands will play live music for in-person guests at the Museum, with a virtual livestream option for audiences at home.

Afro-American Images: The Vision of Percy Ricks looks back on the moment in Wilmington’s history, February 1961, when African American artist collective Aesthetic Dynamics presented its first major undertaking: an exhibition of over 130 works of art by 66 African American artists. This exhibition will include most of the artists who participated in the 1971 show, many known locally, and pair the exhibition with dynamic jazz performances. “Ricks loved music. He loved all kinds of music like jazz and rhythm & blues. That’s how we paired up,” remembers Aesthetic Dynamics member and jazz performer Arnold Hurtt.

These performances are made possible by support provided through the PNC Arts Alive initiative that is funded by the PNC Foundation. The livestreaming of these performances is sponsored by AARP. 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.

IF YOU GO:

WHAT: Arnold Hurtt & The Funk Factory Band
WHEN: Sunday, November 7, 2021, 1:30 p.m. – 2:30 p.m.
INFO: delart.org

WHAT: Wayne Morgan Quartet
WHEN: Sunday, December 5, 2021, 1:30 p.m. – 2:30 p.m.
INFO: delart.org

WHERE: Delaware Art Museum, 2301 Kentmere Pkwy, Wilmington, DE 19806
COST: Tickets to each performance are $10 Members, $15 Non-Members, $10 Virtual

Press Contact: Amelia Wiggins, Director of Communications & Engagement, 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 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.

Free Día de los Muertos Event Offers Performances and Activities

The Delaware Art Museum presents the fourth annual Día de los Muertos: Walking Among the Ancestors event on Saturday, October 30, 2021, from 11 a.m. – 4 p.m. Guests of all ages can experience a variety of activities, such as an Indigenous ceremony, labyrinth walk and contribute to ofrendas by bringing pictures of loved ones and food to leave at the altars.

Community Engagement Specialist Iz Balleto says, “We are grateful that the Museum continues to open doors to the Indigenous community and properly educate people on traditions.” He adds, “There has been an explosion of knowledge and now more people than ever are aware of some of the elements of Día de los Muertos. It’s important for us to demonstrate that it’s not just a party, it’s a ceremony.”

Día de los Muertos is observed in Mexico and other countries in the days leading up to All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day, and, therefore, is often conflated with a Halloween traditions. However, the holiday combines the celebration of those who have passed with reverence for the act of mourning, and is neither scary nor prank oriented.

This year’s event honors ancestors and pays respect to people lost through gun violence in Wilmington. The Museum has engaged Catrinamia, the skeletal embodiment of a well-to-do woman who has passed, as host of the ceremony planned for 11 a.m., with emcee India Colón.

Balleto says, “It’s magical to see Catrinamia performing in front of you, especially for the children. Catrinamia is a symbol that lets people know that death doesn’t miss a house, and that it’s all how you honor death. You see the beauty and not the fear.”

Dance performances by “Campantlanezi” Danza Azteca del Anahuac and Nanticoke Jingle Dancers will honor Indigenous culture and represent different tribes, with more performances by Ballet Mexico Lindo, Seylin Abarca, Mariachi Arrieros and the Black Diamond Dance Collective. In the auditorium, the Museum is screening “CatrinaMia” by Irving Viveros, a short film which documents Rosa Ruiz’ artistry. Arts and crafts tables will be available and La Payasita Ranita will be on site to entertain children.

Food by Los Gallos Mexican Taqueria and Los Taquitos de Puebla and beverages will be available for sale.

Most of the event takes place outdoors, however, proof of vaccination is required to explore the Museum galleries. The Museum’s COVID-19 policies are listed here.

Although this is a free event, registration is strongly encouraged. To register, or for more information on the event, delart.org. In the event of bad weather, the program will either be delayed or canceled.

Sponsored by the Center for Interventional Pain & Spine, Hoy en Delaware, Nuestras Raices Delaware, Salon Ruby, the Latin American Community Center, Black Diamonds Dance Collective, Guerrilla Republik, and 302GUNSDOWN. 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.

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

IF YOU GO
WHAT: Día de los Muertos: Walking Among the Ancestors
WHEN: Saturday, October 30, 2021, 11 a.m.—4 p.m.
WHERE: Delaware Art Museum, 2301 Kentmere Parkway, Wilmington, DE 19806
COST: Free; registration required.
INFO: delart.org

“Afro-American Images 1971: The Vision of Percy Ricks” opens at the Delaware Art Museum on October 23.

Opening October 23, 2021, “Afro-American Images 1971: The Vision of Percy Ricks” honors the 50th anniversary of a groundbreaking exhibition of Black art. Presented by the Delaware Art Museum and Aesthetic Dynamics, Inc., the show will be accompanied by rich programming celebrating African American culture.

Visitors to the Delaware Art Museum will view a restaging of the historic exhibition “Afro-American Images 1971.” Nearly 100 works of art by nationally-known artists like Romare Bearden, Sam Gilliam, Alma Thomas, and Faith Ringgold, as well as local luminaries Edward Loper, Sr. and Edward Loper, Jr., will be on display. The show is accompanied by robust programming including performances, gallery talks, and a family day.

The exhibition celebrates the legacy of Wilmington artist and educator Percy Ricks. Ricks founded the Wilmington-based artist collective Aesthetic Dynamics, Inc. and mounted “Afro-American Images 1971” to emphasize the influence of African American artists in Wilmington. “Aesthetic Dynamics Inc. and the Delaware Art Museum embarked on this project to ensure that Percy Ricks, his legacy, the work that he has done to support the art community in Wilmington is thoroughly documented,” states Margaret Winslow, Curator of Contemporary Art. “We look forward to celebrating Ricks’ vision with visitors this fall through the many exciting events planned at the Museum.”

Performances will feature live and online music by Aesthetic Dynamics members: Arnold Hurt & Funk Factory on November 7 and Wayne Morgan Band on December 5, both at 1:30 p.m. On November 6, artist Oliver Patrick Scott will lead a gallery talk, and the public is invited to participate in a Wikipedia Edit-A-Thon to support the documentation of artists in the exhibition. A Family Day on November 14 and the annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service at the Museum will further connect visitors with Black artists and performers.

“This fall, we look forward to sharing the dynamic artists, past and present, who shape our city,” says Saralyn Rosenfield, Director of Learning & Engagement. “There are opportunities for visitors of every age to experience this powerful exhibition.”

“Afro-American Images 1971: The Vision of Percy Ricks” represents a multi-year collaboration between the Delaware Art Museum and members of the community, signifying an important moment in the Museum’s ongoing process of re-establishing itself as an inclusive artistic hub for the city of Wilmington. The Advisory Committee for this exhibition consists of humanities scholars, community leaders, and members of Aesthetic Dynamics, Inc. with strong understanding of art history, American history, social justice, and the creativity of Black artists. Members include Raye Jones Avery, Harmon R. Carey, Bebe Coker, Colette Gaiter, Arnold S. Hurtt, Dr. Julie McGee, Dr. Kelli Morgan, Dr. James E. Newton, Dr. Jeanne Nutter, Rita Volkens, and Marilyn P. Whittington.

Organizers and Sponsors: This exhibition was organized by the Delaware Art Museum and Aesthetic Dynamics, Inc. This exhibition is made possible by the Johannes R. and Betty P. Krahmer American Art Exhibition Fund and the Emily DuPont Exhibition Fund. This exhibition and its related programming are made possible through grants from the Jessie Ball duPont Fund, PNC Arts Alive, DuPont, Corteva Agriscience, Bank of America Charitable Foundation, and the TD Bank Charitable Foundation. This exhibition is sponsored by AARP and M&T Bank. Additional support provided by The News Journal. 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.

If you go:
WHAT: “Afro-American Images 1971: The Vision of Percy Ricks”
WHEN: October 23 – January 23, 2021
WHERE: Delaware Art Museum, 2301 Kentmere Pkwy, Wilmington, DE 19806
INFO: delart.org

Exhibition Programs: Presented by PNC Arts Alive. Registration and details at delart.org/whats-on.
Artist Talk with Oliver Patrick Scott – Saturday, Nov 6, 1 pm
Wikipedia Edit-a-Thon: African American Artists – Saturday, Nov 6, 11 am
Arnold Hurtt & Funk Factory – Sunday, Nov 7, 1:30 pm
Wayne Morgan Band – Sunday, Dec 5, 1:30 pm
Afro-American Images 1971 Family Day – Sunday, Nov 14, 12 pm – 3:30 pm
Inside Look Gallery Discussion – Sunday, Dec 5, 12:30 pm & Friday, Dec 10, Noon. A collaboration with the University of Delaware.
Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service – Monday, Jan 17, 2022

Press Contact: Amelia Wiggins, Director of Communications & Engagement, 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 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 to for the latest exhibitions, programs, and performances or connect with us via social media.

Image: Waiting, (detail) 1968. Ernest Crichlow (1914–2005). Lithograph, composition: 12 × 11 1/2 inches, sheet: 18 1/2 × 13 3/4 inches. Delaware Art Museum, Acquisition Fund, 2019. © Estate of Ernest Crichlow.

I had the pleasure of leading two “Inside Look” gallery talks at the Delaware Art Museum this September on Randolph Rogers’s sculpture Ruth Gleaning (c.1850). Museum visitors and I were fortunate to have the opportunity to gather in-person to discuss Rogers’s work, in the Museum’s recently reimagined American art galleries. As a graduate student studying nineteenth-century American art—and the artworks of Rogers in particular—I was thrilled to interact with Museum visitors and spend time looking closely at the sculpture. Together, we discussed the narrative depicted, Rogers’s practice abroad, and the technical aspects of carving marble. More broadly, examining Ruth led us to consider evolving tastes in American sculpture, and why Rogers’s work was exceptionally admired in the nineteenth century.

Ruth Gleaning illustrates a story from the Book of Ruth in the Old Testament. A Moabite widow, Ruth accompanied her mother-in-law Naomi, also a widow, to Bethlehem. Searching for food after they arrive, Ruth resorts to picking remnants of grain from the recently harvested field of Boaz, a wealthy landowner. Boaz spots Ruth and goes to see her, inviting her to continue to harvest in his fields. Taken by Ruth’s selflessness, loyalty, and beauty, Boaz falls in love. The two eventually marry and have a son named Obed, an ancestor of David.

Rogers’s sculpture depicts the moment when Ruth meets Boaz for the first time. Crouched on the floor with wheat in her arms, Ruth pauses her labor and looks up at her future husband. Although many other sculptors portrayed Ruth, Rogers distinctively captured a fleeting moment of heightened emotional tension, allowing viewers to connect with his subject in new ways.

Rogers travelled to Florence in 1847 to study with the Italian Neoclassical sculptor Lorenzo Bartolini. He modeled Ruth in clay in 1850, shortly before he set up his studio in Rome in 1851. Ruth Gleaning was his first important work and secured his place within a colony of American artists working in Italy. Rome offered American sculptors unparalleled resources: training by Italian artists, access to marble, collections of classical works of art, and trained artisans. For Rogers, the latter was essential; like many of his fellow countrymen, Rogers did not know how to carve marble. He relied on skilled workmen to execute his designs in stone. His studio functioned almost like a factory, with teams of artisans responsible for each component of the sculpting process. As a result, Rogers was able to produce as many as fifty copies of Ruth Gleaning over the course of his career.

As museumgoers and I began to look closely at the sculpture, we noticed its technical sophistication. One participant pointed to the realism of Ruth’s toes, which appear curled to bear the weight of her pose. Another identified the convincing way in which Rogers had rendered her hair, which cascades over her left shoulder, as well as the foliage below her feet. The drapery was notable, too, imbued with a sense of weight and naturalism that revealed the contours of Ruth’s body. We discussed how Rogers was known for combining elements of realism and neoclassicism, the prevailing style at the time. Details like her idealized facial features, partial nudity, and drapery derived from the antique. Rogers drew upon classical sculptures like Crouching Venus for his composition, utilizing local collections in Rome to his advantage.

Most striking to museum visitors was Rogers’s proficiency as a storyteller. Folded over like the wheat she holds, Ruth’s pose corresponded to the nineteenth-century ideology of “true womanhood,” which related a woman’s virtue to submissiveness, humility, and domesticity. Interestingly, many of Rogers’s patrons were women, who ordered sculptures like Ruth Gleaning to reclaim control over and redomesticate their homes in the years following the Civil War. Statues like Ruth Gleaning were not only markers of wealth and status but also reflections of the virtuousness of their owners. As tastes in sculpture changed and the New Woman movement emerged in the 1880s, however, such ideals were threatened. Indeed, by the early 1900s, Rogers’s sculpture had found its way into a popular tourist destination in New York City: an Italian restaurant named Mama Leone’s.

Now on view at the Delaware Art Museum, the sculpture can be seen in a new light once again. Carved in Rogers’s studio in Rome, Ruth crossed the Atlantic to the United States, taking on new meanings over the course of the sculpture’s life. As museumgoers and I examined Ruth Gleaning, we began to uncover the many ways in which Rogers’s sculpture continues to tell stories even today.

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

Ruth Gleaning, c. 1850. Randolph Rogers (1825–1892). Marble, 47 × 26 × 26 inches, base: 20 × 28 × 28 inches. Private Collection, Delaware, Courtesy of Art Finance Partners, LLC. Installation image of Picturing America (American Art through 1900), 2021. Photograph by Carson Zullinger. © Delaware Art Museum.

Enjoy Art through a New Dimension at Fundraiser in the Sculpture Garden

The Delaware Art Museum debuts a new al fresco fundraiser on Saturday, October 2, 2021, 3-5 pm. Sips and Sculptures celebrates the changing seasons with live jazz, individual charcuterie plates and 24 wines selected by FranksWine. The event will connect people to art outdoors and feature wines paired with the Museum’s outdoor sculptures. Proceeds benefit the Museum. Rain date is October 3.

“The Museum continues to find ways to engage the community in outdoor events, and this is a unique opportunity to see our sculpture garden in a new light – with wine pairings!” says Maggie Oda Lyon, Director of Advancement for the Museum. “Guests can roam at their leisure and chat with wine experts and Museum guides at each of the six sculptures we’ve included in the pairings.”

Oenophiles and aesthetes will appreciate the unique characteristics of the three-dimensional art identified to match the grapes, terroir and other features of the wines.

“FranksWine was thrilled to be offered the challenge of pairing wines with sculptures,” says Frank Pagliaro, Owner of FranksWine. “We engaged many of our favorite industry peeps to help us further elevate both art forms—the art of vinification and the fine art of sculpture.”

Pagliaro began by reaching out to Scott Phillips of Bouchaine Wines to create pairings with Crying Giant by Tom Otterness. This piece is the focal point of the Copeland Sculpture Garden, so named after Gerret and Tatiana Copeland, owners of Bouchaine Vineyards in Napa Valley, Calif.

Another example of a wine coupling includes Protecting the Future by Domenico Mortellito, paired with organic, sustainable and natural wines selected by Pagliaro and John Toler of Dreadnought Wines.

Attire is “fall casual” chic. Guests may bring chairs and blankets, and some will also be available on site. Guests take home their individual cheese boards and souvenir wine glasses.

Tickets must be purchased in advance at delart.org. The cost is $55 for Members and $65 for Non-Members. Guests must be at least 21 years of age. Featuring fine food and beverages by Jamestown Catering.

For more information about the event, visit delart.org.

To ensure compliance with current COVID-19 policies, visit our website.

This event is presented by FranksWine. 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.

IF YOU GO
WHAT: Sips and Sculptures
WHEN: Saturday, October 2, 2021, 3-5 pm
WHERE: Delaware Art Museum, 2301 Kentmere Parkway, Wilmington, De 19806
COST: $55 Members, $65 Non-Members
INFO: delart.org

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

Charles Edward Williams Commemorates Literary Giant Alice Dunbar-Nelson

The Delaware Art Museum has commissioned Charles Edward Williams for a series of works, I Sit and Sew: Tracing Alice Dunbar-Nelson. The exhibition of Williams’ twelve pieces opens Saturday, October 2, 2021, running through February 6, 2022. The exhibition, which will be installed in the newly-renovated Picturing America gallery focusing on early American art, is included with Museum admission.

Dunbar-Nelson (1875–1935) was an important American literary figure with a Delaware story. The poet and political activist spent most of her career writing and lecturing in Wilmington and taught at Wilmington’s Howard High School from the early 1900s to 1920.

Williams, born in 1984 in Georgetown, South Carolina, draws on historical photography of the Civil Rights Movement to inspire his work. Pairing vibrant colors with distinct portraits, Williams establishes an emotional connection between the image and the viewer.

“The Museum has been looking at Williams’ work for some time,” says Margaret Winslow, Curator of Contemporary Art. “This commission presented a beautiful opportunity to engage with Williams and align his work with a significant Wilmington story, and the pieces will create opportunities for meaningful conversations while they occupy an exhibition space alongside our permanent gallery of historical portraits.”

When exploring Alice Dunbar-Nelson’s life, Williams began by surveying Dunbar-Nelson’s diaries, photographs, and published works. Throughout her poetry and personal writing, Dunbar-Nelson reflected on key social and cultural moments, such as the ratification of the women’s right to vote in 1920. Williams was drawn to Dunbar-Nelson’s frustration with the hindrances of a male-dominated world and her determination to actively respond to the first World War.

“As an American visionary, writer, and political activist, Alice Dunbar-Nelson sought after the truth of the human spirit and the vast wonders of togetherness,” says Williams. “In her challenging circumstances, she remained faithful to self-discovery and shared those tender truths for helping us, humans, find our way. In a world where she felt alone, she shared in her writings what it felt to be connected.”

Williams’ pieces are multimedia explorations of Dunbar-Nelson’s work and life. Paint is integrated with fishing line, sewn items, etched glass, and more, with some lines of Dunbar-Nelson’s poetry incorporated into the works. The exhibition is named after one of Dunbar-Nelson’s poems.

“Beyond simply interpreting Dunbar-Nelson’s words, Williams has followed her travels and leisure time, such as fishing,” Winslow says. “He uses these intimate and less formal observations to make the literary giant approachable.”

Williams is represented in numerous public collections including the Mississippi Museum of Art, 21c Museum Hotels, the North Carolina Museum of Art, and in the private holdings of Michael and Susan Hershfield and the Petrucci Family Collection of African American Art, among others. Solo exhibitions of Williams’ projects have been presented at the Urban Institute for Contemporary Arts in Grand Rapids, the Polk Museum of Art at Florida Southern College, and the Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art, among others. He has participated in group shows at the Knoxville Museum of Art, Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, and Allentown Art Museum, among other galleries and museums across the United States and abroad.

This commission aligns with the research of David Kim, a Whiting Foundation fellow and English professor at the University of Delaware, where the Alice Dunbar-Nelson Papers reside. Kim’s community engagement project, “Alice Dunbar-Nelson: A Vision for Wilmington,” celebrates Dunbar-Nelson’s contributions to the city’s history and inspired the commission.

To ensure compliance with current COVID-19 policies at any time, visit our website.

For more information about the exhibition, visit delart.org.

Organizers and Sponsors: This exhibition has been funded, in part, by the Whiting Foundation. 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.

IF YOU GO:
WHAT: I Sit and Sew: Tracing Alice Dunbar-Nelson
WHEN: October 2, 2021 – February 6, 2022
WHERE: Delaware Art Museum, 2301 Kentmere Pkwy, Wilmington, DE 19806
COST: Free with Museum admission
INFO: delart.org

Press Contact: Amelia Wiggins, Director of Communications & Engagement, 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 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 to for the latest exhibitions, programs, and performances or connect with us via social media.

In January 1894 author and artist George du Maurier took the world by storm with the first installment of his serialized novel, Trilby. The saga of the doomed artist’s model, which featured illustrations by du Maurier, appeared in eight installments in Harper’s New Monthly Magazine, each issue selling out rapidly. In September 1894 Trilby was released in book form and by February 1895 had sold over 200,000 copies in the United States alone, making it one of the best-selling novels of the Victorian era.

image Wistful and sweet, from Trilby, by George du Maurier (New York: Harper & Brothers, 1895). M. G. Sawyer Collection of Decorative Bindings, Helen Farr Sloan Library & Archives, Delaware Art Museum.

Set in the 1850s in bohemian Paris, the story follows the lives of the title character, an artist’s model said to have “the handsomest foot in Paris,” her love interest, artist Little Billee, and a musician named Svengali. Smitten by Trilby’s beauty and wanting to possess her, Svengali puts her under his spell with his powers of hypnotism, making the previously tone-deaf model an accomplished singer who performs all over the world in an amnesiac trance. Svengali keeps Trilby in this trance for five years, cutting her off from Little Billee, her true love, and ruining her health. Of course, this sensational tale has an equally melodramatic ending, with Svengali dying of a heart attack, Trilby dying of a nervous affliction, and Little Billee dying of a broken heart.

The popularity of Trilby is impossible to overstate. Author and poet Margaret Sangster acknowledged the profound effect it had on popular culture in her 1894 Harper’s Weekly article, “Trilby from a Woman’s Point of View”:

There are not a few people who will remember the first half of 1894, not for the hard times, nor for the strikes, nor the yacht-races, nor any other thing of public interest or private concern, so much as for the pleasure they had in reading Trilby. Never before did the month intervening between installments seem so long, nor did so many readers anxiously await the next development.

By the end of 1894 Trilby was a cultural phenomenon that had permeated nearly every facet of society, from fashion (Trilby-inspired shoes, hats, and—coinciding with another craze of the times—bicycling costumes) to housewares (foot-shaped toothpick holders and snuff boxes), to food (ice cream and even sausages in the shape of a foot).

imageAdvertisement for The Trilby from the Montgomery Ward & Company Catalogue & Buyers’ Guide, 1895. Helen Farr Sloan Library & Archives, Delaware Art Museum.

Of course, nothing this popular is safe from satire, and Trilby was no exception. The odd story of a woman’s beautiful feet inspired countless parodies, including an operatic burlesque called Thrilby: A Shocker in One Scene and Several Spasms, an amateur play by John Sloan and his friends called Twillbe, and a novel called Billtry, in which the title character is a male model with very long feet. Instead of becoming an accomplished singer, like Trilby, Billtry is taught to play the accordion with his feet while standing on his head by the evil Mrs. Snively.

imageA gentleman . . . standing on his head on a footstool, from Billtry, by Mary Kyle Dallas (New York: The Merriam Company, 1895). Carol Jording Rare Book Acquisition Fund, Helen Farr Sloan Library & Archives, Delaware Art Museum.

In the collections of the Helen Farr Sloan Library & Archives we find a few examples of these spoofs: the John Sloan Manuscript Collection contains photographs, a playbill, ticket, and script of Twillbe, performed at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in December 1894 by Sloan (as Twillbe), Robert Henri (as Svengali), C. S. Williamson (as George Domarryher), and Everett Shinn (as James McNails Whiskers). Note Sloan’s enormous foot in the photograph!

imageTicket and playbill for the performance of Twillbe at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, December 1894. John Sloan Manuscript Collection, Helen Farr Sloan Library & Archives, Delaware Art Museum.

imagePhotograph of John Sloan as Twillbe, 1894. John Sloan Manuscript Collection, Helen Farr Sloan Library & Archives, Delaware Art Museum.

We also have a copy of the novel Billtry, which is what I find the most exciting as the cover design itself is a parody of the original 1895 design for Trilby attributed to artist Margaret Armstrong. The Armstrong cover features references to the plot of the novel, including a book and quill, an artist’s palette, and a winged heart caught in a spider’s web, meant to symbolize Svengali’s ensnaring of Trilby and her inability to escape him. The parody cover, rendered by an unknown artist, looks very similar at first glance. Upon closer inspection, however, we see that an accordion and jug of wine have replaced the book and quill (a nod to Billtry’s ability to play the accordion with his feet), a pig with wings has replaced the palette (a reference to the phrase “when pigs fly,” meaning something that is impossible), and a pair of large feet have replaced the heart.

imageLeft: Trilby, by George du Maurier (New York: Harper & Brothers, 1895). M. G. Sawyer Collection of Decorative Bindings, Helen Farr Sloan Library & Archives, Delaware Art Museum. Right: Billtry, by Mary Kyle Dallas (New York: The Merriam Company, 1895). Carol Jording Rare Book Acquisition Fund, Helen Farr Sloan Library & Archives, Delaware Art Museum.

Though Trilby brought du Maurier fame and fortune, it also brought him an untimely death; some of his final words were reportedly, “Its popularity has killed me at last.” He died in October 1896, at the height of the Trilby boom and just after completing his last novel, The Martian, which began its first installment in Harper’s that very month. In a tribute to him, Willa Cather wryly noted that “Du Maurier certainly did his duty by his American publishers. They made a fortune on Trilby, and now to effectually advertise his new book he conveniently dies.” Trilby’s popularity waned significantly after du Maurier’s death, and most twenty-first-century readers have never even heard of it, though its influence on popular culture is still apparent today: it is often cited as the inspiration for Gaston Leroux’s 1910 novel Le Fantôme de l’Opéra (The Phantom of the Opera), and the term Svengali is still used to describe a person who manipulates and controls with evil intent.

A virtual exhibition, featuring more Trilby-inspired items from the Museum’s collections, may be found on the DelArt website, and several items are on view through November in the cases outside the Library on the lower level of the Museum.

Delaware Korean Festival Offers Free Performances and Activities Outdoors

The Delaware Art Museum presents the seventh annual Delaware Korean Festival on Friday, September 24, 2021, from 5 pm – 8 pm in the Copeland Sculpture Garden and North Terrace. Guests will explore traditional and modern Korean culture with family-friendly activities and performances. The event is free; registration is required.

“Since 2015, the Korean community has organized with the Delaware Art Museum to share Korean culture with communities in Delaware,” says Jin Twilley, President of the Delaware Korean Association.

The Festival coincides with the Korean holiday ChuSeok, which is comparable to American Thanksgiving. It celebrates the arrival of a Korean staple, rice, which is harvested in September.

Festival activities include Korean-inspired crafts and a traditional game, jegichagi, which challenges players to keep a shuttlecock-like paper implement in the air with their feet. Guests will be able to pose for selfies with Korean cultural items, learn to write their names in Korean and guess at Korean trivia. Korean food and beverages will be available for sale.

In addition to traditional and modern music and dancers, Tiger Kicks Martial Arts will be on hand to perform Tae Kwan Do and demonstrate moves for guests to try.

“We are pleased to return to the Delaware Art Museum after holding our 2020 festival virtually,” says Twilley. “We have nearly 100 volunteers, including students from the Delaware Korean School, who will be on hand to show pride in their culture.”

Masks are required to use the restrooms indoors. The Museum’s COVID-19 policies are listed here. The Festival’s rain date is Saturday, September 25.

To register, or for more information on the event, visit our website.

Organizers and Sponsors: This program is presented in partnership with the Delaware Korean Association. Additional sponsorship for this event provided to the Delaware Korean Association by Overseas Koreans Foundation. 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 Korean Festival
WHEN: Friday, September 24, 2021, 5 pm – 8 pm
WHERE: Delaware Art Museum Copeland Sculpture Garden and North Terrace, 2301 Kentmere Pkwy, Wilmington, DE 19806
COST: Free
INFO: delart.org

Press Contact: Amelia Wiggins, Director of Communications & Engagement, 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 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 to for the latest exhibitions, programs, and performances or connect with us via social media.

Collecting and Connecting: Recent Acquisitions, 2010-2020 will be on view through September 12.

DelArt visitors have a last chance to satisfy their curiosity about the 1,000+ objects the Museum has acquired in the past decade. A selection of these artworks is showcased in the exhibition Collecting and Connecting: Recent Acquisitions, 2010-2020, on view just through September 12.

The Museum’s recent acquisitions spanning centuries, styles, cultures, and mediums now call the Delaware Art Museum home. The exhibition gives a behind-the-scenes look at how and why the museum collects.

Throughout the exhibition’s run, visitors have made connections between works of art across the Museum’s five collections (American Illustration, British Pre-Raphaelites, American Art to 1960, Contemporary Art, and the Helen Farr Sloan Library and Archives). The new acquisitions have also expanded the stories the Museum tells with art, adding depth and diversity through significant acquisitions by Black and women artists.

“Adding to collections allows the Museum to continue to tell engaging, complex stories – many that have been historically marginalized – through the works of art in the galleries. By collecting, we write and preserve history through artwork so that future generations will be able re-examine and re-contextualize it as well,” writes Margaretta Frederick, Annette Woolard-Provine Curator of the Bancroft Pre-Raphaelite Collection.

“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,” says Caroline Giddis, 2020 Delaware Art Museum Appel Curatorial Fellow who co-curated the exhibition with Frederick. Giddis will encourage visitors to draw their own connections during gallery talks over the exhibition’s closing weekend.

Gallery talks: Friday, September 10, Noon and Saturday, September 11, 1 pm. Registration and info at delart.org.

Additional recent acquisitions are installed and highlighted throughout the Museum and will remain on view, including in the reimagined first floor galleries which have reopened throughout the summer.

Acknowledgement of Support

This exhibition was organized by the Delaware Art Museum and is made possible by the Hallie Tybout Exhibit Fund. This organization is supported 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, Director of Communications 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.

Image: Dream, 2010. Gretchen Moyer (1956–2015). Pastel and acrylic on paper, 22 × 29 inches. Delaware Art Museum, Gift of David Moyer, 2016. © Estate of the artist.

Reimagined galleries celebrate the legacy of Howard Pyle and the power of American illustration.

On Saturday, September 11, the Delaware Art Museum will unveil its reimagined galleries of American illustration, completing a series of gallery renovations throughout the Museum’s main floor. Shaped by feedback from over 100 Delawareans, “Illustration: America’s Imagination” explores the legacy of Howard Pyle and the power of illustration.

DelArt was founded to preserve the art and legacy of Howard Pyle. The reinstallation relocates the work of Pyle and his students to the spacious Peggy Woolard Gallery at the heart of the Museum. Images and objects from Pyle’s studio introduce visitors to the legacy of this Wilmington artist, who influenced generations of illustrators. Visitors to the new space will explore Pyle’s rich career and view his most significant works, including the five-foot-tall stained-glass window he designed for Tiffany.

The new display spotlights the power of illustration in American culture. Reproduced illustrations in books and magazines hang near the originals rendered in oil paint, demonstrating how these images became part of the fabric of popular life. “Illustrations were like Instagram 100 years ago – they were everywhere, and they shaped American visual culture,” says Chief Curator and Curator of American Art Heather Campbell Coyle. “Even today, these illustrations have tremendous power to spark imagination, take us back in time, and transport us to far-off places.”

The reimagined galleries also bring a critical lens to the values on display in the collection, guided by the feedback of visitors and of illustrators of color. In a new interpretive video, local leaders and contemporary illustrators respond to representations of race, sexuality, and gender in historic American illustration. The new galleries highlight the work of women and African American illustrators, a collecting focus of the Delaware Art Museum for the past five years and an area of recent conservation.

DelArt’s new display of Howard Pyle and American illustration marks the final and largest section of a reinstallation project that has transformed the Museum’s main floor over the past year. In addition to highlighting American Illustration, these stunning new displays showcase the Museum’s collections of the British Pre-Raphaelites, American Art through 1900, and John Sloan and the Eight.

One hundred Delawareans shaped the project by participating in focus groups and responding to prototyping. Community voices are also integrated into a new permanent collection audio tour available to visitors. “We are grateful to the community members who guided this project and look forward to sharing their voices with visitors this fall,” said Amelia Wiggins, Director of Communications & Engagement.

Illustration: America’s Imagination opens on Saturday, September 11. Free guided tours of the Museum are available most Sundays at 1 pm, with information and registration available at delart.org.

Sponsors: The Museum’s reinstallation is made possible by the generosity of Sewell C. Biggs and foundations including the Choptank Foundation, the Starrett Foundation, the Richard C. Von Hess Foundation, and the Sansom Foundation. 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: Amelia Wiggins, Director of Communications & Engagement, 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 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 to for the latest exhibitions, programs, and performances or connect with us via social media.

Image: So the Treasure Was Divided, from “The Fate of a Treasure Town,” by Howard Pyle, in Harper’s Monthly Magazine, December 1905. Howard Pyle (1853–1911). Oil on canvas, 19 1/2 x 29 1/2 inches. Delaware Art Museum, Museum Purchase, 1912.

For 150 years Americans have been fascinated with the medieval past. From Mark Twain’s Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court to HBO’s Game of Thrones, medieval fantasy realms have inundated literary and pop culture. The same is true in the medium of young adult fantasy literature and its illustration. The Delaware Art Museum’s upcoming Fantasy and the Medieval Past exhibit explores how American fantasy authors and illustrators have reinterpreted and reused the medieval past to populate their own fantasy worlds. The exhibit showcases 19th and early 20th century works from the permanent collection by the artist Howard Pyle in conversation with contemporary illustrations created within the past 20 years. These conversations allow visitors to experience the changing American understanding of the medieval world over the past century.

image Left to right: Mansa Musa King of Mali, 2001. Cover illustration for Mansa Musa: The Lion of Mali, by Khephra Burns, (Gulliver Books, 2001). Diane Dillon (born 1933) and Leo Dillon (1933–2012). Gouache on Bristol board, composition: 6 x 8 1/2 inches, sheet: 10 x 12 1/8 inches. Courtesy of the artist. © Diane and Leo Dillon. | King Arthur of Britain and decorated initial K with title and design, 1903. Illustration for “The Story of King Arthur and His Knights,” by Howard Pyle, in St. Nicholas, January 1903. Howard Pyle (1853–1911). Ink and graphite on illustration board, composition: 9 1/8 × 6 3/16 inches, sheet: 11 11/16 × 9 1/16 inches. Delaware Art Museum, Gift of Anne Poole Pyle, 1920.

One such conversation is between Howard Pyle’s King Arthur of Britain and Leo and Diane Dillon’s Mansa Musa King of Mali. At the turn of the century Pyle authored and illustrated his own version of the Arthurian legends of King Arthur and his court. These books were meant for what we now consider a “young adult” audience, although the term did not exist at the time. Pyle envisioned a book that could straddle the generations, with parents reading to their children and both ages enjoying the story equally. Pyle’s King Arthur is a perfect representation of kingship as it was understood by Pyle and his contemporaries a century ago; White, male, and Eurocentric.

This understanding spoke more to 19th-century American biases than it did an accurate reflection of the medieval period. In reality, the medieval world was much more global and multicultural than previously understood. Extensive trade routes connected East Asia with the Middle East, the Middle East to Africa, and Africa to Europe. One such route crossed the Sahara Desert and brought precious materials such as ivory and gold from the Sub-Saharan Mali Empire to the Mediterranean Sea and then onward to the ports of Northern Europe. One of the most famous Mali kings was Mansa Musa. He was known for both his immense wealth and the hajj, or Islamic religious pilgrimage, he took to Mecca, crossing most of North Africa and showering gold on the city of Cairo along the way. In Leo and Diane Dillon’s illustration of Mansa Musa he is shown on this pilgrimage. The Dillons have cleverly represented Musa as a knightly figure on horseback. He sports chainmail armor and a western style crown on top of his head covering. For American audiences these features immediately identify Musa as a powerful, medieval, ruling figure, just like Pyle’s The Lady of Ye Lake. Both men are depicted gazing off into the distance as if they are contemplating complicated matters of state. By illustrating a book about the life of Mansa Musa, the Dillon’s have helped to educate young Americans on the true diversity and globalism of the medieval period.

image Left to right: The Ironwood Tree, 2004. Cover illustration for The Ironwood Tree, The Spiderwick Chronicles Book 4, by Holly Black and Tony DiTerlizzi, (Simon & Schuster, 2004). Tony DiTerlizzi (born 1969). Acryla gouache on plate-finish Bristol board, 14 3/4 x 10 3/8 inches, frame: 23 7/8 x 19 inches. Courtesy of the artist. Spiderwick Chronicles © Tony DiTerlizzi & Holly Black. | The Lady of Ye Lake and decorated initial T with title and design, 1903 from The Story of King Arthur and His Knights, by Howard Pyle (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1903). Howard Pyle (American illustrator, 1853–1911). Ink and graphite on illustration board, composition: 9 1/16 × 6 1/4 inches, sheet: 14 5/8 × 11 1/8 inches. Delaware Art Museum, Museum Purchase, 1912.

Another visual conversation occurs between Howard Pyle’s Lady of the Lake and Tony DiTerlizzi’s The Ironwood Tree. Pyle’s Lady is depicted with all the traditional trappings of femininity. Her long hair is bound into two twists and she fingers one of the many necklaces around her neck. This gesture reveals the lady’s wrists which are encased in several jeweled bracelets. Here Pyle has created a woman who is the object of our gaze, not a participant in any action of the story. DiTerlizzi’s woman from the Ironwood Tree makes for an interesting comparison. This illustration was created for The Spiderwick Chronicles, a series of highly illustrated chapter books coauthored by DiTerlizzi and Holly Black. Although written a century later, The Spiderwick Chronicles are reminiscent of Pyle’s stories of King Arthur. They too were published as a serial in multiple volumes and contain extensive illustrations created in close conversation between the artist and the author. Unlike Pyle’s work, DiTerlizzi and Black have included in their books a strong female character whose actions are central to the story. In fact, she is the only main character in The Spiderwick Chronicles who is trained in combat and she often fights off enemy forces with her sword. In The Ironwood Tree DiTerlizzi has combined traditional elements of female medievalist representation with those demonstrating the strength and agency of this character. Her hair is bound similarly to Pyle’s Lady of the Lake and she is shown in a dress with jeweled necklaces and rings. Yet, her pose, eyes closed and a sword clutched to her chest, looks remarkably similar to medieval tomb effigies of medieval knights. This visual comparison elevates the character’s status from object of beauty to knightly protagonist. It additionally reflects a 21st century American interest in strong female characters, particularly in the young adult fantasy genre.

Regardless of the century, 20th or 21st, medieval-inspired creatures abound in fantasy illustrations. Some examples, such as dragons and unicorns seem plucked straight for a medieval bestiary, or book of beasts. Others, such as the gargoyle, were inspired by medieval architecture. Stories and Lies, illustrated by Ian Schoenherr for Kristin Chashore’s Bitterblue, shows a gargoyle with his tongue sticking out that is reminiscent of one of the famous gargoyles on the roof of Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris. Although medieval architecture does contain numerous examples of gargoyles, fantastic creatures, and other grotesques, this particular gargoyle was a creation of the French architect Viollet le Duc as part of his 1840s restoration of the cathedral after damage sustained during the French Revolution and subsequent political upheavals. All the same, this representation of a gargoyle has stuck in the minds of American audiences and has become a standard representation of a medieval inspired fantasy creature.

Fantasy and the Medieval Past runs from September 25, 2021 to January 31, 2022 in the Ammon galleries on the upper level.

Emily Shartrand

Join Emily for gallery talks in the special exhibition on October 16, and browse the novels illustrated by Tony DiTerlizzi, Leo and Diane Dillon, and Ian Schoenherr in the Museum Store.

Stories and Lies, 2012. Illustration for Bitterblue, Graceling Realm Book 3, by Kristin Cashore, (Dial Books for Young Readers, 2012). Ian Schoenherr (born 1966). Ink on paper, composition: 8 3/4 x 11 1/2 inches, sheet: 9 3/4 x 12 inches. Courtesy of the artist. © Ian Schoenherr.

This fall, the Delaware Art Museum will debut Fantasy and the Medieval Past, on view September 25, 2021 through January 2, 2022 in the Ammon Galleries on the upper level. The exhibition draws on the Museum’s significant collection of Howard Pyle illustrations, connecting them with the contemporary Young Adult fantasy illustrations of Tony DiTerlizzi, Leo and Diane Dillon, and Ian Schoenherr.

Emily Shartrand, University of Delaware instructor and lecturer at Muhlenberg College, conceived the exhibition when she was a Museum fellow. She says, “It looks at how the American concept of fantasy in the medieval past has changed in the last century. The concept has adapted with our own, more inclusive narrative of what it meant to be medieval.”

Pyle wrote and illustrated his own versions of the King Arthur and Robin Hood legends, as well as other stories and novels that bring to life mythical quests of the Middle Ages.

Shartrand adds, “Pyle was essentially writing Young Adult books in the 19th century. He was thinking of something parents and kids could read together.”

Fantasy fiction themes often include medieval knighthood, and Pyle’s work depicts the White, male, and western perspective that was dominant in a time that is considered the golden age of illustration. Contemporary authors continue to repurpose topics such as knights while questioning the White perspective and ushering in a new era of diverse literary characters.

Heather Campbell Coyle, the Museum’s Chief Curator and Curator of American Art, says, “I’m always excited when contemporary artists engage with historical art. Howard Pyle is one of those artists that illustrators and filmmakers keep returning to, and he was always looking to the past in his own work.”

The exhibition invites visitors to compare King Arthur of Britain, an illustration Pyle made for “The Story of King Arthur and His Knights” with the real-life Black monarch artistically rendered in Mansa Musa: the Lion of Mali, written by Khephra Burns and illustrated by Leo and Diane Dillon.

Contemporary fantasy often represents female characters as sword-carrying adventurers, as opposed to the damsels-in-distress of classical literature. Even the perception of architecture has evolved, with contemporary books’ medieval cities and castle complexes denoting African and other non-European design and placement.

One element remains consistent: creatures such as gargoyles, dragons and unicorns continue to be mainstays in the beautifully-illustrated genre.

Contemporary America’s changing understanding of gender equality, cultural identity, disability, and difference are reflected in works such as the cover of The Ironwood Tree, The Spiderwick Chronicles Book 4, by Holly Black and co-creator/illustrator Tony DiTerlizzi. It is displayed alongside Stories and Lies, Ian Schoenherr’s illustration for Bitterblue, Graceline Realm Book 3, by Kristin Cashore.

Fantasy and the Medieval Past runs through January 2, 2022. It includes 28 works of art and six books that will transport visitors to fantastic, and diverse, medieval realms. While visiting the exhibition, illustration enthusiasts will also have the opportunity to visit new Museum galleries devoted to Howard Pyle and American Illustration, set to reopen on September 11 in the Peggy Woolard Gallery. For more information, visit delart.org.

Shartrand will lead special exhibition gallery talks on October 16 at 11:30 am and 1 pm. Register at delart.org.

Press Contact: Amelia Wiggins, Director of Communications & Engagement, awiggins@delart.org or 302-351-8503.

IF YOU GO:

WHAT: Delaware Art Museum’s Fantasy and the Medieval Past Exhibition
WHEN: Saturday, September 25, 2021 – Sunday, January 2, 2022
WHERE: 2301 Kentmere Parkway, Wilmington, DE 19806
COST: Free with Museum admission
INFO: delart.org

Acknowledgement of Support:

Fantasy and the Medieval Past was organized by the Delaware Art Museum and Emily Shartrand through the support of the University of Delaware’s Lynn Herrick Sharp Curatorial Fellowship. This exhibition is made possible by the Edgar A. Thronson Foundation Illustration Exhibition Fund. Additional support is provided, 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 to for the latest exhibitions, programs, and performances or connect with us via social media.

Image: Stories and Lies, 2012. Illustration for Bitterblue, Graceling Realm Book 3, by Kristin Cashore, (Dial Books for Young Readers, 2012). Ian Schoenherr (born 1966). Ink on paper, composition: 8 3/4 x 11 1/2 inches, sheet: 9 3/4 x 12 inches. Courtesy of the artist. © Ian Schoenherr.

Wilmington native returns to the city to perform August 8.

The Museum will present dancer Raphael Xavier’s work The Musician & The Mover on the final day of the City of Wilmington’s 34th Annual Clifford Brown Jazz Festival. The performance is an exploration of freestyle and improvisation in two forms: break dancing and Jazz music. The performance will follow a full day of dance featuring local performers. This festival is free and open to the public.

Xavier, a Wilmington native, has gone on to achieve national success for his artistic achievements: a 2013 Pew Fellowship, a 2014 MacDowell Fellowship, a 2016 Guggenheim Fellowship, and a 2018/19 Caroline Hearst choreographic residency. Formerly a member of Rennie Harris Puremovement, he now lectures on dance at Princeton’s Lewis Center. Not only a consummate choreographer, Xavier is a talented artist of spoken word.

XAVIER’s: The Musician & The Mover continues a 2021 DelArt series featuring Black performance artists. In November, DelArt will present Desire: A Sankofa Dream by MBDance. This past July, the Museum premiered a commissioned work of choreography by Dara Meredith, who is also scheduled to perform before Xavier at Clifford Jazz Festival.

In addition to his performance on August 8, Xavier will lead a variety of community engagement activities prior to the Sunday Dance Festival:

July 20, 4:30 pm – 6 pm, Spoken Word Workshop with Richard Raw @ Wilmington Public Library
July 28, 7 pm – 8:30 pm, Open Mic Event @ Delaware Art Museum
July 29, 7 pm, Dance Workshop @ Christina Cultural Arts Center
Aug 6, 10 pm – 1 am, Jam Session @ TBD location

Sponsors: This event is made possible through a partnership between the Delaware Art Museum, Cityfest, Inc and the City of Wilmington. These organizations are 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. The presentation of Raphael Xavier was made possible by the New England Foundation for the Arts’ National Dance Project, with lead funding from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Press Contact: Amelia Wiggins, Assistant Director of Learning & Engagement, 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 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.

Reimagined galleries celebrate collection highlights and diversify stories told with art

On Saturday, July 31, the Delaware Art Museum will unveil its reimagined galleries of British Pre-Raphaelite art, continuing a series of gallery reopenings throughout the summer. Shaped by feedback from over 100 Delawareans, “Radical Beauty” explores the artists who rebelled against the Victorian art world to forge new ways of artmaking.

DelArt’s Pre-Raphaelite art collection is one of the largest outside of Great Britain, an attraction that draws art lovers far and wide to Wilmington. The reinstallation moves the collection to prominent main floor galleries at the Museum’s entrance.

The Museum’s collection of Pre-Raphaelite art was developed through the gift of Wilmington mill owner Samuel Bancroft. In recent years, the collection has been expanded with new acquisitions and interpretation. “The reimagined galleries celebrate not only the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, but also the women artists in their circle and the diverse models they painted,” says Margaretta Frederick, Annette Woolard-Provine Curator of the Bancroft Collection. A new Museum audio tour features the story of Jamaican Pre-Raphaelite model Fanny Eaton, told by her great grandson. The Museum also recently acquired an academic study of an unknown Black model, by Victorian artist William Wise. Frederick hopes to uncover the model’s story through research and share it with visitors in the future.

The new gallery design vibrantly showcases a variety of art forms. “The Pre-Raphaelites were radical in ignoring divisions between art genre,” says Frederick. “They created paintings, wrote poetry, and sometimes merged the two.” The new galleries will integrate rich displays of decorative art, part of the Arts and Crafts Movement fostered by William Morris and Pre-Raphaelite artists. One showstopper is a newly acquired stained glass window of Noah, by Edward Burne-Jones.

Visitors to the galleries will also find fresh context for old favorites, developed in response to community members’ questions and interests. Audiences are invited to consider how the Pre-Raphaelites responded to industrial pollution and to explore the barriers female artists faced in Victorian England. “We are grateful to the community members who guided this project. We look forward to sharing their voices with visitors when the new galleries open,” said Amelia Wiggins, Assistant Director of Learning and Engagement.

Radical Beauty opens on Saturday, July 31, and guided tours are available in August, at delart.org. Reimagined main floor galleries will continue to open throughout the summer, and the Museum will remain open during these changes. Please check delart.org for details and updates.

Full Schedule of Closures and Reopenings:
On view now: New gallery of John Sloan and The Eight
On view now: Picturing America (American Art through 1900)
Through September 8: Howard Pyle and American Illustration Closed
Saturday, July 31: Radical Beauty (British Pre-Raphaelites) Opens
Saturday, September 11: Howard Pyle and American Illustration Opens; main floor galleries are fully reopened.

Sponsors: The Museum’s reinstallation is made possible by the generosity of Sewell C. Biggs and foundations including the Choptank Foundation, the Starrett Foundation, the Richard C. Von Hess Foundation, and the Sansom Foundation. 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: Amelia Wiggins, Assistant Director of Learning & Engagement, 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 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 to for the latest exhibitions, programs, and performances or connect with us via social media.

Top: And their ears were dull of hearing, 1877. James Smetham (1821 – 1889). Oil on canvas, 27 3/4 x 18 1/2 inches, frame: 29 1/4 x 36 3/4 x 1 3/4 inches. Private Collection. The Council Chamber, 1872-1892. Edward Burne-Jones (1833–1898). Oil on canvas, 49 1/4 × 105 5/8 inches, frame: 75 x 126 inches. Delaware Art Museum, Samuel and Mary R. Bancroft Memorial, 1935. Hymenaeus, 1869. Edward Burne-Jones (1833–1898). Oil paint over gold leaf on panel, 32 1/4 × 21 1/2 inches, frame: 36 x 49 1/2 inches. Delaware Art Museum, Samuel and Mary R. Bancroft Memorial, 1935. Within the Beguinage, 1905. Aelfred Fahey (active 1902–1909). Oil on wood panel, 11 1/2 × 13 1/2 inches, frame: 21 x 18 inches. Delaware Art Museum, Samuel and Mary R. Bancroft Memorial, 1935. Romeo and Juliet, 1869-1870. Ford Madox Brown (1821–1893). Oil on canvas, 53 3/8 × 37 inches, frame: 62 1/2 x 44 1/2 inches. Delaware Art Museum, Samuel and Mary R. Bancroft Memorial, 1935.

Enslavement, Education, and Freedom

Absalom Jones was born enslaved in 1746 on “Cedar Town” plantation in Cedar Creek Hundred, Sussex County, Delaware. Abraham Wynkoop, a wealthy Anglican justice of the peace and assembly delegate, owned Cedar Town. Wynkoop’s grandfather emigrated from Holland to New Netherland (New York) in the 17th century. Abraham Wynkoop moved to the southern-most of the “Lower Counties” in the 1730s. Abraham saw Absalom’s intelligence and had him work in the house. Absalom sought instruction, saved money, and bought books including a Bible. Abraham Wynkoop died in 1753. Benjamin, his middle son, inherited Cedar Town.

Benjamin Wynkoop sold Cedar Town and Absalom’s mother and siblings. In 1761, Wynkoop brought Absalom to Philadelphia, joined St. Peter’s Anglican Church, and became a prosperous merchant. Wynkoop permitted Absalom to attend a Quaker-run night school for Black people founded by abolitionist Anthony Benezet. Absalom’s mathematics education was useful in Wynkoop’s store which sold European cloths. Benjamin Wynkoop married into a prominent Anglican mercantile family.

In 1770, with their enslavers’ permission, Absalom Jones married Mary Thomas. Mary was enslaved to St. Peter’s parishioner Sarah King. Absalom, and his father-in-law John Thomas, purchased Mary’s freedom with donations and loans primarily from Quaker abolitionists. Absalom and Mary repaid the borrowed money, saved more money, and bought property. The British briefly occupied Philadelphia during the Revolutionary War. The Wynkoop family went to Dover, Delaware staying with Mary Wynkoop Ridgely. The Wynkoops worshipped at Dover’s Christ Church. Absalom oversaw the Wynkoop store and house. Although Wynkoop refused, Absalom kept asking to buy his freedom. Absalom persisted because Wynkoop could take his money and property. In 1784 Benjamin Wynkoop manumitted Absalom and paid him for his services.

imageLeft to right: Absalom Jones, 1810. Raphaelle Peale (1774–1825). Oil on paper mounted to board, 30 x 25 inches. Delaware Art Museum, Gift of Absalom Jones School, 1971. The Revd. Richard Allen, 1823. John Boyd from a painting by Raphaelle Peale. Stipple engraving, 16 x 11 1/2 inches. Library Company of Philadelphia.

Founding of the Free African Society with Richard Allen

Absalom Jones started attending St. George’s Methodist Episcopal Church. He met Richard Allen, who had also been enslaved in Delaware. They became lifelong friends. In 1787, they founded the Free African Society (FAS), the first mutual aid society organized by Black people. W.E.B. DuBois called the FAS “the first wavering step of a people toward organized social life.” FAS members paid monthly dues to benefit those in need. Jones and Allen were class leaders and lay preachers. The membership increased. They helped raise money to build a gallery. One Sunday morning in 1792, Jones, Allen, and other Black worshippers were directed to the gallery. Absalom knelt and starting praying, but ushers told him to move. He refused, and an usher attempted to physically move him. The prayer ended. Absalom Jones and Richard Allen led most of the Black members out of St. George’s in protest.

Yellow Fever

The FAS, assisted by Dr. Benjamin Rush, a signer of the Declaration of Independence, started the African Church of Philadelphia. The devastating 1793 yellow fever epidemic interrupted their work. Initially, Dr. Rush, a prominent physician, thought Black people were immune to the virus. He appealed to Absalom Jones and Richard Allen to help stricken White Philadelphians. There had been other yellow fever epidemics in Philadelphia. It is doubtful that Jones and Allen believed Rush’s immunity theory. No one knew that the virus was spread by infected mosquitoes. Rush trained Jones and Allen to treat patients, and they trained Black nurses. Other FAS members buried the dead. Black Philadelphians proved equally susceptible to the virus. Fall’s colder weather killed the mosquitoes. The epidemic ended. Over 4,000 people perished. Matthew Carey published an account of the epidemic that accused Black nurses of stealing and extorting money. Absalom Jones and Richard Allen published a refutation.

imageLeft to right: Title Page, A Narrative of the Proceedings of the Black People, 1794. Absalom Jones (1746–1818) and Richard Allen (1760–1831). Library Company of Philadelphia. A Sunday Morning View of the African Episcopal Church of St. Thomas in Philadelphia, 1829. Kennedy & Lucas from a drawing by W. L. Breton (c. 1733–1859). Lithograph, 9 3/4 x 13 3/4 inches. Library Company of Philadelphia.

The African Episcopal Church of St. Thomas

The African Church affiliated with the Episcopal Church. Richard Allen favored the Methodist tradition, and he organized the African Methodist Episcopal denomination. Absalom Jones agreed, after prayerful reflection, to provide pastoral leadership. The African Episcopal Church of St. Thomas was dedicated on July 17, 1794. It applied to join the Episcopal Diocese of Pennsylvania on conditions that guaranteed self-determination but ceded participation in diocesan governance.

Absalom Jones and others explained the church’s founding: “[W]e arise out of the dust and shake ourselves, and throw off that servile fear, that the habit of oppression and bondage trained us up in.” In October 1794, The African Episcopal Church of St. Thomas was admitted to the diocese and incorporated in 1796. Bishop William White ordained Absalom Jones a deacon in 1795 and a priest in 1802.

Abolitionism

Absalom Jones knew Boston’s African freemasonry founder Prince Hall. Jones became Pennsylvania’s first African masonic Grand Master. In 1799, Absalom Jones and others petitioned the President and Congress to abolish the transatlantic slave trade and slavery. The petition asserted, “If the Bill of Rights or the Declaration of Congress are of any validity, we beseech that … we may be admitted to partake of the liberties and unalienable rights therein …. ” On January 1, 1808 The Rev. Absalom Jones delivered a “Thanksgiving Sermon” celebrating legislation prohibiting the transatlantic slave trade. Rev. Jones preached that “[God came] down to deliver suffering [Africans] from the hands of their oppressors … when … the constitution [mandated] that the [African] trade… should cease … [and] … when [legislation was passed] outlawing the slave trade. [T]his day [we] … offer up our united thanks.” The African Episcopal Church of St. Thomas formed a school and was active in moral uplift, self-empowerment, and anti-slavery efforts.

Rev. Jones’ Legacy

Absalom Jones died February 13, 1818. He bequeathed Raphaelle Peale’s 1810 portrait to his nephew George Jones. The portrait made its way to the Absalom Jones School in Delaware and was later donated to the Delaware Art Museum.

Absalom Jones’ achievements are commemorated on three Pennsylvania state historical markers. Delaware’s state historical marker honoring Absalom Jones is in Milford. Absalom Jones was featured in the 2013 exhibition “Forging Faith, Building Freedom: African American Faith Experiences in Delaware, 1800-1980,” organized by the Delaware Historical Society. His story is prominently told in the Smithsonian’s Museum of African American History and Culture. The Episcopal Church recognizes February 13 as Absalom Jones’ feast day. The African Episcopal Church of St. Thomas uses Absalom Jones’ altar on his feast day, and his ashes are enshrined in the parish chapel.

Arthur K. Sudler
William Cal Bolivar Director
Historical Society & Archives
African Episcopal Church of St. Thomas

DelArt, City Lore, Inc. and Artists Alliance, Inc. are researching the art created by a 1970s government program for an upcoming traveling exhibition.

The Delaware Art Museum is pleased to announce that it is a recipient of a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities in support of an upcoming historical exhibition honoring the art produced by the 1973 Federal Comprehensive Employment and Training Act.

Working in collaboration with New York’s City Lore, Inc. and Artists Alliance, Inc., the Delaware Art Museum is planning a traveling exhibition honoring the Federal Comprehensive Employment and Training Act of 1973, which led to public employment of artists at a scale not seen since the Works Progress Administration of the 1930s.

The Federal Comprehensive Employment and Training Act (CETA), signed into law by President Richard Nixon on December 28, 1973, provided federal funds in the form of block grants for states to train workers during a period of high unemployment. States in turn distributed the funds to different cities, allowing a localized approach. Some cities and states, such as San Francisco, Chicago, New York City, and Delaware, used CETA funds to hire artists to create public service art projects. From 1974 until its repeal by President Ronald Reagan in 1982, CETA led to the employment of ten thousand artists around the country.

Margaret Winslow, curator of contemporary art at the Delaware Art Museum, says, “we are excited to embark on this important research project with City Lore and Artists Alliance, Inc. In Delaware, CETA funding supported more than 50 artists and arts administrators who organized community performances, produced murals throughout Wilmington, and photographed people and events in Delaware during 1976 Bicentennial celebrations. CETA impacted the trajectory of arts and culture throughout the state, just as it did across the nation.”

image CETA artist Selvin Goldbourne drawing a portrait; © Blaise Tobia, 1978.

Molly Garfinkel, Managing Director of City Lore, Inc., says “City Lore is thrilled to collaborate with Artists Alliance Inc., and the Delaware Art Museum on this timely and exciting initiative. The history and impact of CETA funding on artists, communities, and the arts ecology in the United States is woefully under-documented, but CETA provides valuable precedents and lessons for the current moment. CETA helped to demonstrate that artists and cultural workers deserve to be considered a critical part of the U.S. labor force. Moreover, artists applied to CETA-funded public service employment projects not just to stand in line for a check, but to do something meaningful with their time, skills, and resourcefulness. CETA funds enabled cultural workers to take risks, to grow, and to engage in new forms of collaboration—both with each other and with their communities. It helped many existing cultural organizations to establish a foothold and expand programming and capacity. Why does supporting culture matter? Culture should be supported because it is part of our daily lives, and it is an integral part of civic life. Expression of culture has much to do with how well we understand ourselves and each other, build relationships with and get along with one another. Being able to do this is as relevant now as ever.”

“We are so looking forward to hosting this collaboration at our Cuchifritos Gallery + Project Space in the heart of the Lower East Side this fall,” added Jodi Waynberg, Director of Artists Al-liance Inc. “There is hardly a more fitting moment to reflect on the benefits to our communities, individual arts workers, and cultural institutions when the United States invests in its labor force. We are thrilled that that NEH has afforded us the opportunity to amplify this extraordinary history and reimagine sustained recovery that could extend beyond this moment of insecurity in order to truly rebuild.”

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

Top: Wilmington Parade, 1976. Norma Diskau (born 1942). Gelatin silver print, image: 6 5/8 × 10 inches, sheet: 10 7/8 × 14 inches. Delaware Art Museum, Gift of the artist, 2015. © Norma Diskau Calabro.

Free Virtual Writers Workshop with Keynote from Delaware Poet Chet’la Sebree

The Delaware Art Museum Store presents a free virtual edition of its fifth annual Wilmington Writers Conference on Saturday, July 24, 2021, from 10 am — 1 pm. The Museum’s signature literary event serves to inspire writers at all stages of their creative journey.

The keynote speaker is award-winning poet Chet’la Sebree, who will read from her just-released second book, Field Study, and lead a workshop for writers. Sebree is the winner of the 2020 James Laughlin Award from the Academy of American Poets. She is also the author of Mistress, selected by Cathy Park Hong as the winner of the 2018 New Issues Poetry Prize and nominated for an NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Literary Work-Poetry (2020). She is the Director of the Stadler Center for Poetry & Literary Arts and an Assistant Professor at Bucknell University.

Sebree summarized plans for the multi-genre workshop, saying, “We never write in isolation. We’re always, whether we know it or not, in conversation with history, culture, art, family, etc. I’ll give a short craft lecture where we’ll walk through work that makes this multi-layered conversation transparent and discuss how we can apply some of those strategies to our own work. We’ll then do some generative writing exercises that prompt us to write ekphrastic poetry (poems that respond to art) or braided essays that make links between popular culture and our lives.”

Jessa Mendez, Lead Museum Associate, says, “I’m so excited that Chet’la is our keynote speaker and workshop presenter this year! She is a brilliant writer, and it is a gift to have her back at the conference. The Museum Store is so proud to be presenting this event. I know it will be a fun, engaging day for local writers as well as those who don’t live in the area but can now join us in a virtual space.”

Poetry, in particular, is a democratic art form that can strengthen an institution’s connections to the community, making this conference a good fit for the Museum’s mission and vision. The event is free and virtual for broad accessibility.

The Museum and Sebree have a history: she was the 2019 conference’s coordinator, and has contributed wall text to a current exhibit, Collecting and Connecting: Recent Acquisitions, 2010-2020. Between her keynote speech and workshop, she will participate in a chat with Museum employee and Brevity Bookspace owner Saliym Cooper.

Signed copies of Sebree’s books, Field Study and Mistress, will be for sale at the Museum Store and its website, delartstore.org.

Workshop registration is required, and can be made on our website.

More information about Sebree can be found on the Museum’s blog. For more information on the event, visit our website.

This event is sponsored by Happy Self Publisher. 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.

IF YOU GO:
WHAT: Delaware Art Museum’s Wilmington Writers Conference
WHEN: Saturday, July 24, 2021, 10 am — 1 pm
WHERE: Virtual
COST: Free
INFO: delart.org

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

Early this spring, I enjoyed leading two Inside Look discussions at the Delaware Art Museum on Marie Spartali Stillman’s embroidered tunic and shoes. The textile pairing is included in the museum exhibition, Collecting and Connecting, Recent Acquisitions, 2010-2020, and displayed in a section that prompts visual dialogues on dressing and clothing. Due to the pandemic, I led the talks on Zoom, and the online format led to fascinating discussions on the Pre-Raphaelites, the artist’s family history, and the Aesthetic Movement.

The British artist Marie Spartali Stillman (1844-1927) designed this matching embroidered tunic and shoes and decorated the garments with cascading floral designs. Though undated, the ensemble is likely from the late nineteenth century and perhaps created for her daughter Effie upon her marriage in 1905. Stillman created a mix of floral designs, including tulips, clovers, and morning glories. In a sense, Stillman fabricated a still life on the garment and shoes to decorate the body of the wearer. With her focus upon florals and the natural world, she references the Pre-Raphaelite aesthetic and the practice of depicting the natural world through close looking. The British art critic John Ruskin, ardent supporter of the Pre-Raphaelites, advocated truth to nature, specifically equating beauty and spirit to the natural world. Our discussion group was particularly intrigued with the Victorian language of flowers and the possible meanings Stillman attached to each floral pairing. We started to consider the morning glories and love-in-a-mist, a selection attached to symbols of love and possibly a reference to her daughter’s impending marriage. In light of Stillman’s Pre-Raphaelite ties, our group also started to parse out how the fashionable ensemble could reflect early Renaissance aesthetics studied by the artists, such as Botticelli paintings celebrating spring and Italian poetry. Moreover, we connected how the tunic reflected the Aesthetic Movement belief in improving life by surrounding oneself with beauty, reflected in the embroidery design or silk.

Participants began observing Stillman’s relationships with other Pre-Raphaelite artists, including Dante Gabriel Rossetti and Ford Madox Brown. Our discussion group included descendants of the artist, who offered insights into Stillman’s family and their dedication as patrons of the art. The conversation benefitted from the intimate anecdotes on the Spartalis interest in horticulture and gardening, and of the artist’s surviving collection of embroidery and silk. Stillman became closely connected to a mid-nineteenth century artistic milieu, and eventually married the painter and journalist William James Stillman to enter the transatlantic art world of the Aesthetic Movement. As a group, we considered the tunic and shoes in the larger framework of a bohemian circle in Britain in the mid-nineteenth century and the style of the dress. Compared to the structure of women’s garments in the Victorian era, the tunic is reminiscent of “artistic” dress of the period with the freeing silhouette. The group even mentioned how the tunic’s sleeves and construction appeared similar to Japanese kimonos, perhaps a reference to Stillman’s connection with the expatriate painter James McNeil Whistler and the emerging Japonisme among European artists as they grew increasingly inspired by Japanese art and design.

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As we continued to examine the tunic, participants discussed female artists working in the Victorian era and their degree of access to art academies and exhibition opportunities. Most women in the nineteenth century, like Stillman, would have been taught needlework skills. The tunic and embroidery raise questions on how definitions of gender have become attached to different artistic mediums and materials during the nineteenth century, or what was traditionally deemed appropriate for women. Stillman has often been overshadowed by a Pre-Raphaelite circle narrative dominated by men, or labeled as an amateur artist due to her focus on watercolors and embroidery. Our discussion raised important questions about how to rewrite narratives in a museum, or who gets included within the galleries themselves to present an inclusive art history.

Stillman also worked alongside William Morris’s wife, Jane, and shared summers at Kelmscott Manor in the Cotswolds in southern England. We compared the wildflower designs on the ensemble to Morris’s embroidery and considered the possible collaborations between the two artists. The floral designs perhaps reference visits to Kelmscott Manor and the gardens, seen in Stillman’s own watercolors of the residence. Participants also noted the Pre-Raphaelite interest in reviving craft and return to handwork, such as the attention to decorating and furnishing interiors with artistic beauty. This artistic circle became passionate about decoration’s role in providing aesthetic pleasure and the spiritual benefits of beauty, seen with a wearable ensemble. Discussing Stillman’s embroidered tunic and shoes, we began to understand her central role in Victorian artistic circles and her vision in capturing Pre-Raphaelite beauty.

Lea C. Stephenson
PhD student in Art History at the University of Delaware

Inside Look is a collaboration between the Delaware Art Museum and the University of Delaware’s Department of Art History and Community Engagement Initiative.

Our next Inside Look discussions are scheduled for September 24 & 26, 2021. Join us!

Top to bottom: Embroidered Shoes, not dated. Marie Spartali Stillman (1844–1927). Embroidery on silk, each: 4 1/2 × 3 × 10 1/2 inches. Delaware Art Museum, Gift of Eugenia Diehl Pell, 2016. | Embroidered Tunic, not dated. Marie Spartali Stillman (1844–1927). Embroidery on silk, 53 × 19 inches. Delaware Art Museum, Gift of Eugenia Diehl Pell, 2016.

Delaware Art Museum’s new galleries of American Art from 1757–1900 open June 19.

On Saturday, June 19, the Delaware Art Museum will unveil its reimagined American art galleries, kicking off a series of gallery reopenings throughout the summer. Shaped by feedback from over 100 Delawareans, “Picturing America” expands the American stories told with art.

Developed largely through gifts from local donors, the Museum’s collection reflects art produced and collected in Delaware and the Brandywine Valley. “The new galleries offer a chance to reinterpret historic American artworks to share a more inclusive history,” says Chief Curator Heather Campbell Coyle. “New acquisitions by women and Black artists have added depth and diversity to the collection.”

New design showcases the collection vibrantly. A highlight of the new American galleries is a large salon-style display, wrapping walls from floor to ceiling with Gilded Age artworks. Recent acquisitions on view include a bust of Frederick Douglass by Isaac Scott Hathaway, landscapes by 19th-century African American artists Robert Duncanson and Edward Mitchell Bannister, and a new painting by Mary Macomber.

Visitors to the galleries will also find fresh context for old favorites, inviting audiences to consider how the nation’s history of enslavement and violence toward Native Americans impacted the people pictured in the paintings. Community leaders, including representatives of Delaware’s Lenape and Nanticoke tribes, consulted on the new interpretation. “We are grateful to the community members who guided this project. We look forward to sharing their voices with visitors when the new galleries open,” said Amelia Wiggins, Assistant Director of Learning and Engagement.

Picturing America opens on June 19, a day when the Museum welcomes community members to gather at the Museum to celebrate during the 2nd annual Beyond Juneteenth: Egungun Festival. The Festival, which commemorates the emancipation of Americans who had been enslaved, is hosted by Abundancechild, Dr.G and Rachelle Wilson and is free, with registration at delart.org.

Reimagined main floor galleries will continue to open throughout the summer, and public tours are available at delart.org. The Museum will remain open during these changes. Please check delart.org for details and updates.

FULL SCHEDULE OF CLOSURES AND REOPENINGS:

Saturday, June 19: Picturing America (American Art through 1900) Opens
British Pre-Raphaelites Closed through July 30; Howard Pyle and American Illustration Closed through Sept. 8.
Saturday, July 31: Radical Beauty (British Pre-Raphaelites) Opens
Saturday, September 11: Howard Pyle and American Illustration Opens; main floor galleries are fully reopened.

Sponsors: The Museum’s reinstallation is made possible by the generosity of Sewell C. Biggs and foundations including the Choptank Foundation, the Starrett Foundation, the Richard C. Von Hess Foundation, and the Sansom Foundation. 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 Amelia Wiggins, Assistant Director of Learning & Engagement, awiggins@delart.org

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

The Wilmington Writers Conference, presented by the Museum Store, is celebrating its 5th anniversary on Saturday, July 24, with a free virtual event. This year, the Keynote Speaker and workshop presenter is award-winning poet Chet’la Sebree. Some of you may know Sebree from her time at the Museum, including a role as the 2019 Conference Coordinator. Her highly anticipated second book, Field Study, is out now.

Sebree’s journey for creating Field Study included research that became an integral part of the story. “I am often surprised at how this collection ended up manifesting in this layered patchwork,” Sebree said. “I wasn’t convinced that anyone would publish this project that blurs the line between poetry and prose, fact and fiction, so I gave myself permission to put the ancient Greek philosopher Heraclitus in conversation with the historical Pocahontas and Disney’s fictionalized version of her. I allowed myself to let Olivia Pope from Scandal and Annalise Keating from How to Get Away with Murder to be in conversation with sociologist Tressie McMillan Cottom and warrior poet and feminist Audre Lorde. I did a lot of reading and took in a lot of media while working on Field Study. And from all of these texts, I collected language and allowed them to move through the space on the page as they needed, as I saw the connections between one conversation and another.”

The resulting book in some ways evokes the spirit of Collecting and Connecting: Recent Acquisitions, 2010-2020, so it is particularly interesting that Sebree contributed wall text to the exhibition. “A museum lover to my core, I’ve always wanted to write label copy, so it was such an honor to write something in response to Collecting and Connecting,” she said. “It was nice to be able to sit with the art and see all of the ways in which the three pieces— Curlee Raven Holton’s The History Matters (1999), Aaron Douglas’s The Window Shopper (1955), and Bart Parker’s Untitled (1968)—were in conversation with each other, the ways in which they were distinctly different.”

Sebree was kind enough to offer us a sneak peek of what she has planned for conference participants, and they are in for a treat. “I am excited!” the poet said about returning to the conference as a keynote speaker. “The great part about having been able to be involved in this conference and this community in the past means that I have a good sense of what direction might be useful when it comes to the keynote (which I plan to connect to the Collecting and Connecting exhibition) and the breakout session.”

She will also be letting us in on her creative process with what’s sure to be an amazing workshop. “We never write in isolation. We’re always, whether we know it or not, in conversation with history, culture, art, family, etc. I’ll give a short craft lecture where we’ll walk through work that makes this multi-layered conversation transparent and discuss how we can apply some of those strategies to our own work. We’ll then do some generative writing exercises that prompt us to write ekphrastic poetry (poems that respond to art) or braided essays that make links between popular culture and our lives. I’m still ironing out the details, but the prompts will be multi-genre and get us thinking in new ways!”

Signed copies of Field Study and Sebree’s first book, Mistress, will be available in the Museum Store.

Learn more about the Wilmington Writers Conference and register.

Jessa Mendez
Lead Museum Associate

7 new trustees’ diverse areas of expertise will solidify key partnerships and expand art audiences.

On May 13, Delaware Art Museum members voted in a slate of new trustees that reflects the exciting future envisioned for the 109-year-old art institution. Aligning with the values that will carry the Museum into its next chapter, the new board members bring expertise in community development, creative entrepreneurship, and art collections. Under the leadership of the young, dynamic Executive Director Molly Giordano, the Museum is poised to solidify its standing as an anchor institution in its community.

“This extraordinary new slate of DelArt trustees reflects the institutional values we share and the strategic vision for the Museum’s future,” said Delaware Art Museum Board President David Pollack. The seven trustees joining the Delaware Art Museum board this spring are:

  • Fatimah Conley, Interim Chief Diversity Officer, University of Delaware
  • Jeanana Lloyd, Director of Talent Optimization and Planning, ChristianaCare
  • Yvette Santiago, State Director of Delaware Valley Government Relations, Nemours Children’s Health System
  • Christopher Savage, Podiatrist and Founder of Brandywine Podiatry
  • Eric Smith, Director of Operations at Carvertise
  • Susan Thomas, Founder, IAM for Social Good
  • Ronald Varney, Principal at Ronald Varney Fine Art Advisors.

The seven new members join twenty returning trustees with valuable experiences, knowledge, and a commitment to the Museum’s mission of connecting people with art.

The new trustees’ diverse backgrounds will allow the Museum to cultivate new partnerships, working collaboratively with keystone organizations throughout greater Wilmington. Fatimah Conley, Jeanana Lloyd, and Yvette Santiago will help the Museum build on existing collaborative relationships with the University of Delaware, Christiana Care, and Nemours, and offer experience engaging new audiences. The community development experience of Susan Thomas, founder of IAM for Social Good, will further deepen the Museum’s ability to connect local communities with art.

Entrepreneurs Eric Smith and Christopher Savage bring experience that aligns with the Museum’s investment in growing Wilmington’s creative economy. Ronald Varney will help the Museum share its art beyond the region, building national relationships between art audiences and DelArt’s unique collections.

Molly Giordano, a longtime DelArt leader who was named Executive Director by the Board of Directors this past February, believes the expanded and diversified board will be key to the Museum’s plans for its next chapter. Giordano states, “I envision a Museum that works collaboratively with organizations throughout our region to develop Wilmington’s creative economy and ensure access to the arts for all.” Giordano is now working with staff, trustees, and volunteers on a strategic planning effort that will outline the steps necessary to realize that vision. DelArt’s strategic plan will be shared publicly this fall.

Experience Music, Dance, Food Trucks and Traditions at this Ancestral Celebration

The Delaware Art Museum will host a second annual Juneteenth event on Saturday, June 19, 2021, from 10 am – 4 pm in the Copeland Sculpture Garden and Labyrinth. The free Beyond Juneteenth: Egungun Festival, is an opportunity to not only celebrate a historic holiday, but also to look forward and build community.

The day begins with a libation followed by a Juneteenth flag raising ceremony with Baba Hamin El. Nadjah Nicole and Jea Street, Jr., will perform “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” known as the Black national anthem. The festivities continue with live performances from The Sankofa African dancers, Ghetto Songbird, Hezekiah, Egungun lle Igoke, Ebony Zuudia, Stiggz Stigalo, Tonantzin Yaotecas Aztec Dancers, Egungun Oloba, Robert Muhammad and the 2020 winner of the inaugural National Miss Juneteenth Pageant, Saniya Gray. Guests can enjoy vendors and food trucks. There will be kid-friendly arts and crafts stations with Kyma, such as paper drum making and art therapy with 7God in the Labyrinth, and a drum circle.

The hosts of the event are Abundancechild, venture culturalist and Ifa priestess; Dr. G, holistic, spiritual and metaphysical life coach; and Rachelle Wilson, founder of the Make Some Intelligent Noise criminal justice and prison reform movement.

Abundancechild, founder of the event, said, “We call this ‘Beyond Juneteenth: Egungun Festival’ because it’s more than a celebration of a Black holiday. It’s a veneration and tribute to our community’s collective ancestors. We take the opportunity of a well-known tradition and build upon it to learn, connect, and be empowered, so we can acknowledge the ancestral legacy we have yet to grow into.”

She added, “Honoring our ancestors means honoring ourselves, our parents, our children, and treating people how they want to be treated. It’s showing up for each other—something our ancestors have always done. Whether you’re Moorish, or an aboriginal American or believe your ancestors came from Africa, and even if your tribe comes together to celebrate in kilts or with gyros, we need to start having an Egungun energy. We all recognize that someone got freed that day. If we come together, our ancestors will bless us together.”

Juneteenth is a portmanteau of June and nineteenth; it recognizes June 19, 1865, the date that the September 1862 Emancipation Proclamation was read to the people of Galveston, Texas. This event signaled that Union troops would be enforcing the Proclamation in Texas, affecting the practical manifestation of the three-year old law. The reading ceremoniously freed people who had been enslaved or bonded in the final, most remote state that still defied the law by allowing slavery.

Community Engagement Specialist Iz Balleto, who co-organized the event, said, “What matters to us is for all people to know the purpose of Juneteenth and the meaning behind it. That is why, here at the Delaware Art Museum, we value the cultural aspect of Beyond Juneteenth.”

The Smithsonian Institution describes “Egungun,” a word from the Yoruban language, as “a visible manifestation of the spirits of departed ancestors who periodically revisit the human community for remembrance, celebration, and blessings.”

The Beyond Juneteenth: Egungun Festival is part of 155 years of celebrations that commemorate a special date, alternately known as Freedom Day, Jubilee Day, Liberation Day and Emancipation Day, and honor the people who are the Egungun of today’s Black, Indigenous and people of color.

Registration is required for the free event, as the event is expected to sell out early. Some seating is available, but guests are encouraged to bring lawn chairs and blankets, as well as cash or card for food purchases. Face coverings are required inside the Delaware Art Museum for individuals aged kindergarten and up not fully vaccinated from the COVID-19 virus. Fully vaccinated guests may remove their masks indoors and out, except in crowded settings. Social distancing of three feet should be maintained between parties.

Sponsored by Abundance Child Ministries Inc, Delaware Juneteenth Organizing Movement, Ile Igoke, 302GunsDown, The Afrakan Independence Day Organizing Committee and Guerrilla Republik. 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.

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

IF YOU GO

WHAT: Beyond Juneteenth: Egungun Festival at the Delaware Art Museum
WHEN: Saturday, June 19, 2021, 10 am – 4 pm
WHERE: Delaware Art Museum, 2301 Kentmere Parkway, Wilmington, DE 19806
COST: Free
INFO: delart.org

Delaware Art Museum announces new performance The Bridge of Our Roots by choreographer Dara Meredith.

WHAT: Premiere Dance Performance, The Bridge of Our Roots
WHO: Dara Meredith, Dancer in Residence at Delaware Art Museum
WHERE: On-site and Virtual Event
WHEN: Thursday, July 1 at 8 pm

On Thursday, July 1 at 8 pm, Dara Meredith’s virtual dance residency at the Delaware Art Museum will culminate with the premiere of The Bridge of Our Roots. The commissioned dance is inspired by the painting Southern Souvenir No. II created by African American modern artist Eldzier Cortor in 1948. Cortor’s painting depicts the disembodied figures of Black women, torn apart physically and stripped of their identities. Meredith’s dance residency has focused on Cortor’s artwork, on loan from the Art Bridges Foundation and on display at the Delaware Art Museum through July.

“The work will delve into the idea that Black bodies, and Black women specifically, have been ostracized, dismantled, separated, and abused; all the while being the backbone and the foundation of continuity for American culture,” said Meredith, describing the dance. “The work showcases the complexity of what Black women in the south have experienced while having to hold the nation on its breast so that it may live and live on.”

The pre-recorded performance will be filmed in Fusco Hall at night with the painting in the background while six dancers, including Meredith, distill the themes and emotional energy of Cortor’s artwork into choreography.

“They will show in movement what you see and feel through the piece,” said Jonathan Whitney of Flux Creative Consulting, which is producing the event. “Meredith’s performance speaks to the experiences of people of color, especially in the wake of police shootings of unarmed Black women. So it only makes sense to elevate this Black female choreographer to respond to artwork that is about Black female bodies.”

Tickets are now available for the dance premiere, which can be viewed on-site or virtually. A limited number of tickets are available to view the pre-recorded 50-minute performance on-site at the Museum with Dara Meredith, at 8 p.m. on July 1. On-site ticketholders will have access to a special gallery talk in front of Southern Souvenir No. II beforehand, and a live discussion with the choreographer following the performance premiere. Alternatively, virtual tickets may be purchased for watching at home via an exclusive link. All ticketholders will have unlimited virtual access to the recorded performance through July 10.

Prior to the performance, Meredith will host an outdoor dance workshop on Saturday, June 12, 2021 at 2 pm in the Museum’s Copeland Sculpture Garden.Meredith will teach an excerpt of the commissioned dance she is creating for the Museum. All levels welcome; dancers will wear masks and maintain social distancing.

Sponsors: Support provided by Art Bridges. 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.

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

Music, Food, Beverages and Fun on the Museum Grounds Every Thursday

Happy Hours return to the Delaware Art Museum’s Terrace and Copeland Sculpture Garden on Thursday, May 27. The popular, free series offers guests an opportunity to relax and unwind with live music, local brews, wine, cocktails, and rotating food vendors, surrounded by art. Weather permitting, Happy Hours take place every Thursday from 5 pm – 7:30 pm, a time which overlaps with the Museum’s free Thursday evening hours.

The Happy Hours schedule is as follows:

May 27: Joseph Whitney (Steel Drum) and Natalie’s Fine Food Truck
Jun 3: Pristine Raeign (Soul, Funk, Jazz, Motown and the Philly Sound) and Los Taquitos De Puebla
Jun 10: Edgewater Avenue (Americana, Bluegrass) and Toscana Catering
Jun 17: Jea Street (Soul) and Los Taquitos De Puebla
Jun 24: Skinner & Spadola (Acoustic Duo) and Natalie’s Fine Food Truck
Jul 1: The Seedlings (Rock, Blues and Originals) and Los Taquitos De Puebla
Jul 8: Betty & the Bullet (Americana) and Toscana Catering
Jul 15: Pristine Raeign (Soul, Funk, Jazz, Motown and the Philly Sound) and Los Taquitos De Puebla
Jul 22: Betty & the Bullet (Americana) and Natalie’s Fine Food Truck
Jul 29: Edgewater Avenue (Americana, Bluegrass) and Los Taquitos De Puebla
Aug 5: Sharon & Shawn (Jazz) and Toscana Catering
Aug 12: Jea Street (Soul) and Los Taquitos De Puebla
Aug 19: The Seedlings (Rock, Blues and Originals) and Natalie’s Fine Food Truck
Aug 26: Joseph Whitney (Steel Drum) and Los Taquitos De Puebla
Sep 2: DJ Willie Wilmington (Salsa DJ & Dance) and Toscana Catering
Sep 9: Skinner & Spadola (Acoustic Duo) and Los Taquitos De Puebla
Sep 16: Sharon & Shawn (Jazz) and Natalie’s Fine Food Truck

Lauren McMahon, Delaware Art Museum’s Event and Rentals Manager, said, “Our open-air happy hours exploded in popularity in 2020, no doubt because people were seeking outdoor entertainment alternatives due to COVID-19. We are elated that we can continue to increase our value to the community in this way and be part of a vibrant, culturally significant Wilmington. And we hope our outdoor visitors take in some of the indoor arts experience, since Thursday nights are both our free night and our late night.”

No registration is required for the happy hours. Some seating is available, but guests are encouraged to bring lawn chairs and blankets, as well as cash or card for bar and food purchases.

Until state guidelines change, guests are asked to wear masks unless seated and eating or drinking.

IF YOU GO:

WHAT: Delaware Art Museum Happy Hours
WHEN: Thursdays, starting May 27, 2021, 5 pm — 7:30 pm
WHERE: Delaware Art Museum Terrace and Copeland Sculpture Garden, 2301 Kentmere Parkway, Wilmington, DE 19806
COST: Free
INFO: delart.org

Sponsors

Happy Hours are sponsored by Gordon, Fournaris & Mammarella, P.A. and Total Wine & More. 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.

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

As the Museum reinstalls the main floor galleries, we share a “behind-the-scenes” look at how we care for and display the artwork in our collection, and how some of these practices can be applied to artwork in your own home. As a museum registrar, I am responsible for ensuring that the artwork in the Museum’s collection is in good condition, so it remains accessible to museum patrons. In DelArt’s Virtual Spring Magazine, I shared a few tips on how to bring some museum collections care practices into your own home art collections. In case you missed it, you can find it here.

Delaware Art Museum Chief Preparator Jonathan Schoff and Preparator John Gibbons are an integral part of the museum’s collections care work, as well as the 2021 reinstallation project. They are responsible for preparing artwork for display, and for the care, movement, and installation of all the objects throughout the museum. I recently asked them to share their best tips for framing, hanging, and packing art.

Art Handling 101

Use nitrile gloves when handling paintings, photographs, and three-dimensional objects. These prevent oils and debris from your hands from damaging the surface of the artwork. Do not use gloves when handling works on paper, especially delicate and fragile paper. This inhibits hand dexterity and increases the risk of mishandling and damage. Always make sure your hands are clean and dry!

Matting and Framing 101

How do you choose the right mat and frame for your artwork?

JS & JG: There is no set rule, but I would recommend at least a 2 ½ inch mat border around the object. If it is a large work of art, you may want a 3-4 inch border.   Add the border measurements to the measurements of the object, and that will be the frame size you need. Sometimes if you already have a special frame in mind, you may use that and customize the mat to fit accordingly.  It is very important to have a good quality non-acidic archival mat that is either 4 ply or 8 ply.  The thickness of the mat may be of personal preference or cost.

How can you secure the artwork to the mat, so it stays in place when hung?

JS & JG: You can create simple paper hinges. [See video below] I recommend using Japanese paper and wheat paste for your hinges.  Be careful not to oversaturate the hinge with paste. Doing so could wrinkle the paper where the hinge is in contact.  The most important thing is to make sure that the adhesive you are using is reversible and not permanent. In some cases when there is a large paper margin around the image, such as when you are matting a photograph, you can use plastic photo corners to secure the object to the mat. Paper corners can also be made and used to secure works on paper to a mat.

Take a look at how we hinge, mat, and frame a photograph for exhibition at the Museum.

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In this video, Jonathan Schoff is using water to activate a hinge that already has wheat paste on it.

Art Packing 101

If you are moving artwork, plan for safe transport by packing it in archival and protective materials.

  • Do not leave artwork in bubble wrap for long periods of time, as it may leave marks on and stick to the object. Wrap the object in polyester film, glassine (a translucent paper that is air, water, and grease resistant), or archival Tyvek (a breathable pH-neutral material made from polyethylene fibers) before applying bubble wrap. The bubble should face out to protect the art and minimize risk of the bubbles sticking the object’s surface.
  • Apply tape only to secure packing materials to one another; never use tape directly on an art object. To help remove tape from packed artwork, fold over one edge of the strip of tape to create a pull tab. This allows easy removal without the need for a knife or box cutter!
  • Foam core and cardboard can be used to create a slip-case as exterior packing outside of the archival packing materials, to provide a more rigid protective layer. Don’t use these materials directly on the surface of an artwork, because they are not archival, and they may stick to the surface of objects, can easily deteriorate, and may cause staining on the object because of their acidic properties.

What are the 3 essential tips and must-haves for packing artwork?

JS & JG:

  • Carboard sheets, archival plastic, bubble wrap, glassine, and packing tape are essential materials. A box cutter, tape measure, and pencil are essential tools.
  • Use a sturdy box or crate that is foam-lined to provide protection against vibration while traveling in a truck.
  • Sealing plastic around the art can create a microclimate, which will help stabilize the temperature and humidity and protect the art from minor fluctuations. Be aware of where you are storing your art and keep it away from heat or moisture.

Art Hanging 101

What is the standard height for hanging artwork?

JS & JG: We generally hang two-dimensional works of art at a 58-inch center in the Museum. This is so the center of each painting is at a general eye level, averaged at 58 inches. When hanging work at home, there are architectural elements that may force you to hang things at different heights. With groups of smaller objects and limited wall space, you could hang them stacked on top and next to one another in a “salon style.”  Finding relationships with your art is important when hanging in groups. This could be through subject matter, style, or a thematic connection. At the Museum, we generally follow the exhibition design envisioned by the curator. The much-anticipated reinstallation of the Museum’s Picturing America (American Art through 1900) Gallery, opening June 19th, will include a large salon wall. Stay tuned for a behind-the-scenes look at the installation of this gallery!

Elizabeth Denholm
Associate Registrar

Disclaimer: If you are unsure how to pack, move, or storage your artwork, or you have big plans for your own in-home art installation, contract a local fine art handler or art transport and storage company.

Aesthetic Dynamics, Inc. will co-present the exhibition 50 years after its original showing.

Opening October 23, 2021, Afro-American Images 1971: The Vision of Percy Ricks honors the 50th anniversary of a groundbreaking exhibition at the Wilmington Armory that history once ignored.

In 1971, the Wilmington-based artist collective Aesthetic Dynamics, Inc., led by artist and educator Percy Ricks, mounted Afro-American Images 1971. Comprising over 100 works of painting, sculpture, photography, prints, and drawings from nationally-known artists like Sam Gilliam, Alma Thomas, and Faith Ringgold as well as local luminaries Edward Loper, Sr. and Edward Loper, Jr., Afro-American Images 1971 represented the creation of a space for Black artists who were largely excluded from major artistic institutions. The original 1971 show has been restaged almost in its entirety, giving audiences an opportunity to re-experience history as well as the unique approach undertaken by Aesthetic Dynamics, Inc.

“Percy Ricks’ prescience in organizing this 1971 exhibition was remarkable. He chose artists who not only had talent and vision but many who would go on to have long and broadly visible art careers,” says Colette Gaiter, a member of the Advisory Committee and an Associate Professor, Africana Studies and Art & Design, University of Delaware. “This collection of works embodies post-1968 energy that was part of the national Black Arts movement, one of the most important 20th-century liberation movements.” Despite the caliber of the historic exhibition, it has not been widely written about or publicly researched and documented before now. This project calls that omission into question.

Speaking of the exclusion of Black art from the larger story of American Art, independent curator and advisory committee member Dr. Kelli Morgan notes: “There’s always been a critical mass—of people, art historians, collectors, writers, galleries—that have been protectors or guardians that keep [this work]. They’re the communities in which the work resides, and a lot of times those communities are ‘off the beaten path’ or out of major institutions. This show does a lot to demonstrate that we have our own frameworks. We have our own spaces outside of—or even adjacent to—the major Black institution. The show visualizes how other Black arts professionals have kept the work and the history alive […] to illuminate the broader story and activity of so many other Black artists, historians, and curators.”

Crucially, Afro-American Images 1971: The Vision of Percy Ricks represents a multi-year collaboration between the Delaware Art Museum and members of the community, signifying a crucial moment in the Museum’s ongoing process of re-establishing itself as an inclusive artistic hub for the city of Wilmington. The Advisory Committee for this exhibition consists of humanities scholars, community leaders, and members of Aesthetic Dynamics, Inc. with strong understanding of art history, American history, social justice, and the creativity of Black artists. Members include Beatrice (Bebe) Coker,  James E. Newton, Jeanne Nutter, Marilyn Whittington, Arnold Hurtt, Julie McGee, Rita Volkens, Colette Gaiter, Kelli Morgan, Harmon Carey, and Raye Jones-Avery.

“Percy Ricks served as a major advocate for the arts in general, in particular for African American artists,” says Dr. Newton of Aesthetic Dynamics, Inc. “His legacy continues with this historic exhibition.”

Organizers and Sponsors

This exhibition was organized by the Delaware Art Museum and Aesthetic Dynamics, Inc. This exhibition is made possible by the Johannes R. and Betty P. Krahmer American Art Exhibition Fund and the Emily DuPont Exhibition Fund. 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 to for the latest exhibitions, programs, and performances or connect with us via social media.

Image: Waiting, (detail) 1968. Ernest Crichlow (1914–2005). Lithograph, composition: 12 × 11 1/2 inches, sheet: 18 1/2 × 13 3/4 inches. Delaware Art Museum, Acquisition Fund, 2019. © Estate of Ernest Crichlow.>/p>

“What’s Past is Prologue” at the Delaware Art Museum

On April 29, Pyxis Piano Quartet, Delaware Art Museum’s resident classical ensemble, returns “home” to the galleries where they played their very first concert over a decade ago. “What’s Past is Prologue,” premiering in a ticketed virtual concert, will feature the group playing amid the Museum’s renowned collection British Pre-Raphaelite Art.

Founded as the Museum’s resident ensemble and the anchor of Concerts on Kentmere, Pyxis programs its offerings in conversation with the art on view. In the Pre-Raphaelite galleries, they play British works – Two Intermezzi for String Trio by C.H.H. Parry and Gordon Jacob’s Six Shakespearian Sketches – along with Richard Strauss’ blazingly virtuosic Piano Quartet in C minor, Op. 13.

Jacob’s 1946 suite is a musical exploration of Shakespeare’s works, also an inspiration for artist Dante Gabriel Rossetti and the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood. Parry and Strauss wrote their pieces in 1884, during the era encompassing the creation of The Council Chamber by Edward Burne-Jones, the monumental painting framing the ensemble as they play this concert.

This 12th-season concert is especially meaningful – it is the final time the ensemble will play in the galleries where their artistic journey began. On June 21, the Museum’s renowned collection will close as the Museum reimagines the stories it tells with art. Radical Beauty, new permanent galleries of Pre-Raphaelite art, will open on July 31.

The concert’s title, “What’s Past is Prologue,” is taken from The Tempest, a Shakespeare play cited in the Jacob work. Chosen to epitomize the ensemble’s arc allowing the past to shape their future, it also honors these 19th century artists who looked back to the time of Raphael for the impetus that propelled them forward.

“There are no words to describe how inspiring it is to perform the Museum’s galleries,” says ensemble pianist Hiroko Yamazaki. “We are so grateful that this has been our home since 2009. It’s such an intimate and exquisite setting, perfect for our chamber music!”

Pyxis Piano Quartet includes Luigi Mazzocchi (violin); founding members Jennifer Jie Jin (cello) and Hiroko Yamazaki (piano); and for this concert, guest artist Hannah Rose Nicholas (viola). Tickets, priced at $20 per household for Museum Members and $25 for Non-Members, are now available. Ticket holders for the virtual online premiere (Thursday, April 29 at 7 pm) can join the event via an exclusive link that includes a post-performance “meet the artists” discussion and unlimited viewing through May 5.

Sponsors: 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 to for the latest exhibitions, programs, and performances or connect with us via social media.

African poet and scholar Amadou Hampâté Bâ (1900–1991) brilliantly stated, “Every time an old man dies in Africa, it is as if a library has burnt down.” His observation was closely tied to his dedication to preserving oral traditions but perhaps such a poignant reflection could be made about any one person in the world. When an artist dies, especially when young in their career, does a museum die with them?

When David Wojnarowicz died from AIDS-related complications in 1992, he was just 37.

Countless works of art have been created in response to the HIV/AIDS epidemic, and perhaps one of the most powerful is this photograph taken for a collaboration between Wojnarowicz and the German documentary and portrait photographer, Andreas Sterzing, who lived in New York for 20 years. This work of art is so impactful that in 2020 it was named one of the 25 most influential works of American protest art since World War II by The New York Times Magazine.

During the mid 1980s, Sterzing documented art installations and activities throughout the East Village and “Pier 34” artist communities. Sterzing knew both Wojnarowicz and the German gay rights activist and filmmaker, Rosa von Praunheim, who collaborated with fellow filmmaker Phil Zwickler to create the 1990 documentary Silence = Death. The title of the film references the slogan made famous by the mid-1980s poster campaign by the AIDS activist group, ACT UP.

In the film Silence = Death, artists and writers such as Keith Haring, Allen Ginsberg, and Wojnarowicz respond to the AIDS epidemic. The representation by Wojnarowicz of inflicting pain upon his body by apparently sewing his lips together serves as a protest to the silencing of the devastating impact of AIDS by both politicians and society at large beginning in the mid-1980s.

Wojnarowicz was an active member of the East Village art scene in New York City in the 1980s, and his former partner Peter Hujar’s AIDS diagnosis and death in 1987 led him to more direct political activism with an emphasis on the epidemic. 1987 was also the year that AIDS activist Cleve Jones created the first panel for what has become a 1.2-million-square-foot AIDS Memorial Quilt and the year President Ronald Reagan made his first public speech about the epidemic, more than six years after the first cases were reported in the United States. Two years later, Wojnarowicz’s activism led him to create this work with Andreas Sterzing.

David Wojnarowicz was criticized and censored during and after his lifetime for the visceral works of art he created. A creation such as this one, embodied in stark black and white by Sterzing, triggers our kinesthetic understanding. We can imagine the physical discomfort of a needle piercing skin, and we know the color of the lines trailing down the artist’s chin. Today, this image may also be seen through the lens of censorship and the artist’s early death. Wojnarowicz stated, “I think what I really fear about death is the silencing of my voice. I feel this incredible pressure to leave something of myself behind.”

Recently, historians and curators have explored the rich artistic history of New York in the 1980s, a time of vibrancy despite the ravaging of the art community by AIDS. As an important figure in this story, Andreas Sterzing has been included in several museum exhibitions and associated publications. The artist has also made his numerous photographs available for online viewing, including slideshows Something Possible Everywhere: Pier 34 NYC 1983–84 and Alphabet City & the East Village Art Scene NYC 1980s.

Prior to the Museum’s 2020 purchase of Andreas Sterzing’s photograph, David Wojnarowiz (Silence = Death); New York, artistic response to the AIDS epidemic was not visibly represented in the Delaware Art Museum’s collection. This acquisition supports the Museum’s ability to share works of art that translate the expanse of human experience into visual form.

Join me for Art Chat on April 15 when I speak with Andreas Sterzing about art in New York City in the 1980s with a special focus on creative activities at Pier 34 and the work of Robert Jones and David Wojnarowicz.

Margaret Winslow
Curator of Contemporary Art

Image: David Wojnarowicz (Silence=Death); New York, 1989/2014. Andreas Sterzing (born 1956). Pigment print, 24 × 18 1/2 inches. Delaware Art Museum, Acquisition Fund, 2020. © Andreas Sterzing.

DelArt Cinema Screenings Moved to Select Fridays

On the heels of its successful sold-out fall run of drive-in movies, the Delaware Art Museum has again partnered with DelArt Cinema to screen flicks on the Museum’s grounds in the Copeland Sculpture Garden. Film buffs can enjoy socially-distant, crowd-pleasing classics – The Birdcage, All About Eve and The Cotton Club – each projecting a peek into the life of a fictional performer and his or her circle of influence. The events take place on select Fridays from April 16 to May 7, 2021, with more to be announced. Parking begins at 7:15 p.m. and each movie starts at dusk.

Dates and synopses for each film:

The Birdcage, April 16. This 1996 film stars Robin Williams and Nathan Lane as the two very “out” dads – one a drag performer and the other a nightclub owner – of a man worriedly introducing them to his fiancée’s conservative mom and dad. Rated R.

All About Eve, April 23. This award-smashing 1950 film centers on the never-ending cycle of aging stars, in this case Bette Davis’ Margo, and ambitious ingénues, Anne Baxter’s Eve, as well as Marilyn Monroe’s Miss Caswell. Not rated.

The Cotton Club, May 7. This mob-themed Coppola film is a fictional 1984 take on a real Harlem jazz club in the 1930s, starring Richard Gere is the protagonist jazz musician, supported by Gregory Hines, Diane Lane, Gwen Verdon, Fred Gwynne and Maurice Hines. Rated R.

Marion Jackson, Director of Operations for DelArt Cinema, described the film selection process, “We are revisiting The Birdcage, which was rained out last fall. All About Eve and The Cotton Club couldn’t be more different in genres, but each offers an escape from the worries of 2021, with beautiful actors, elegant costuming, and dramatic showbiz storylines.”

Lauren McMahon, Delaware Art Museum’s Event and Rentals Manager, said, “The Museum continues to welcome visitors for the indoor arts experience during COVID-19, but our ability to return to outdoor, after-hours events is really exciting. We are committed to balancing relevance in the community and sustainability, and the increased capacity open-air events offer is invaluable. Our campus is both beautiful and sizable for social distancing, and our parking lot has a terrific layout for drive-in movies.”

Admission is $19 per person and includes popcorn and soda, with a discount extended to Museum members. Children ages 6 and under are free. Admission is by advanced purchase only.

Popcorn and sodas are handed to you upon arrival. Additional concessions are available on site. Museum restrooms will be available in the studio wing, and masks are required for interaction with staff and restroom visits. FM radio transmission is required to hear the movies.

Moviegoers are asked to arrive no later than 20 minutes before show time; late arrivals will be parked at the Museum’s discretion. Rain dates will be scheduled as needed.

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.

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

IF YOU GO:

WHAT: Delaware Art Museum and DelArt Cinema Present Drive-in The Birdcage
WHEN: Friday, Apr. 16, 2021, approximately 8 pm, gates open 7:15 pm
WHERE: Delaware Art Museum Copeland Sculpture Garden, 2301 Kentmere Parkway, Wilmington, DE 19806
COST: $17—$19 (discount for Members)
INFO: delart.org

WHAT: Delaware Art Museum and DelArt Cinema Present Drive-in All About Eve
WHEN: Friday, Apr. 23, 2021, approximately 8 pm, gates open 7:15 pm
WHERE: Delaware Art Museum Copeland Sculpture Garden, 2301 Kentmere Parkway, Wilmington, DE 19806
COST: $17—$19 (discount for Members)
INFO: delart.org

WHAT: Delaware Art Museum and DelArt Cinema Present Drive-in The Cotton Club
WHEN: Friday, May 7, 2021, approximately 8 pm, gates open 7:15 pm
WHERE: Delaware Art Museum Copeland Sculpture Garden, 2301 Kentmere Parkway, Wilmington, DE 19806
COST: $17—$19 (discount for Members)
INFO: delart.org

Enjoy Brunch, Brushes, and Blooms in the Sculpture Garden and Tented Terrace

The Delaware Art Museum has sown a new al fresco fundraiser on Sunday, May 16, 11 am – 2 pm. “Brunch, Brushes, and Blooms” celebrates spring by offering brunch bites and morning cocktails. The rain-or-shine event will connect people to art outdoors with floral designs paired with the Museum’s outdoor sculptures, along with local painters, dancers and other artists creating and performing, and a silent art auction. Proceeds benefit the Museum.

Confirmed artists to date include painters Mary Page Evans, Ekaterina “Kat” Popova, Jonathan Schoff and painter/sculptor Rick Hidalgo, cyanotype artist Emie Hughes, graffiti artist Francesco Iacono, ceramicist Samara Weaver and dancers from the Wilmington Ballet. Floral designers to date include Flowers by Yukie, Barbara Goetz, Nanci Hersh and Carla Pastore.

Maggie Oda Lyon, Director of Advancement for the Museum, said, “We are so excited to start welcoming people back to the Museum in a safe way! Brunch, Brushes, and Blooms will bring guests into the artist’s world. The beautiful floral arrangements – and getting out of the house – will be a welcome start to this spring Sunday. It all supports the work the Museum does throughout the community.”

Attire is “garden party” chic and both the Terrace and parts of the Sculpture Garden will be tented. The Museum will adhere to any outdoor Covid-19 guidelines in place on the date of the event.

Tickets must be purchased in advance at delart.org. The cost is $95 for Members and $115 for Non-Members, with early bird pricing available until April 1. Featuring fine food and beverages by Jamestown Catering.

Visit delart.org for additional information or contact info@delart.org with further questions.

Press Contact: Amelia Wiggins, Assistant Director of Learning & Engagement, awiggins@delart.org or 302-351-8503.

Sponsors: Jamestown Catering. This event 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.

Collecting and Connecting: Recent Acquisitions, 2010-2020 will open on March 13.

This month, visitors to the Delaware Art Museum will have the chance to see some of the most exciting art acquired by the Museum over the past decade, brought together in a special exhibition. Collecting and Connecting: Recent Acquisitions, 2010-2020, will be on view from March 13 – September 12.

The recent acquisitions span centuries, styles, cultures, and mediums, and now call the Delaware Art Museum home. Through this exhibition, visitors are invited to sample some of the 1000+ recent additions to the collection and learn how and why the museum collects.

Collecting and Connecting also encourages connections between works of art that might not normally share a space together. The exhibition mixes art from different times and places, encouraging fresh comparisons.

The cascading drapery in a pencil drawing by Edward Burne-Jones is placed next to an abstracted waterfall by Walter Pach; the falling water echoing the folds of the flowing drapery. Pach’s waterfall in turn speaks to a double photograph of a young Black man in profile against a riveted metal backdrop. The abstract patterning in the photograph echoes the fragments of color emanating from the waterfall hanging nearby. This grouping of unrelated work moves from realist to abstract; 19th to 20th century; England to America in a seamless flow emphasizing unanticipated visual relationships.

“It has been a fascinating exercise to look across the museum’s recent acquisitions and see how much a work from 1857 and one from 2005 can tell the same story,” says Caroline Giddis, 2020 Delaware Art Museum Appel Curatorial Fellow. “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.”

Collecting and Connecting: Recent Acquisitions, 2010-2020 opens on March 13 and runs through 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.

Press Contact: Amelia Wiggins, Assistant Director of Learning & Engagement, awiggins@delart.org or 302-351-8503.

Acknowledgement of Support: This exhibition was organized by the Delaware Art Museum and is made possible by the Hallie Tybout Exhibit Fund. The Delaware Art Museum 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 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.

Installation image of Collecting and Connecting: Recent Acquisitions, 2011 – 2020. Artwork (left to right): Pear, not dated. Barbara Leigh Smith Bodichon (1827-1891). Watercolor and graphite on wove paper, 9 13/16 × 6 3/4 inches, frame: 16 x 20 inches. Delaware Art Museum, Acquisition Fund, 2017; Study for “A Bather“, c. 1891. Albert Joseph Moore (1841–1893). Colored chalks on buff paper, sheet: 18 × 8 5/8 inches, frame: 25 7/8 x 15 ¾ inches. Delaware Art Museum, Acquisition Fund, 2017; Torso, c. 1972. Bernard Felch (1925–2008). Maple, 34 × 19 × 12 inches. Delaware Art Museum, Gift of Edward and Joy Schweizer, 2013.© Estate of Bernard Jackson Felch; Hymen, the Goddess of Marriage Holding a Harp, and A Married Couple Being Blessed, 1876. Edward Burne Jones (1833–1898). Graphite on paper, compositions: 12 3/4 × 6 1/4 inches and 13 × 6 1/2 inches, frame: 22 3/8 x 24 3/8 inches. Delaware Art Museum, F. V. du Pont Acquisition Fund, 2019.

Right now, I really wish we were preparing a big members’ preview for Collecting and Connecting: Recent Acquisitions, 2010–2020, which opens Saturday, March 12. I’m ready for an evening in Fusco Gallery, listening to visitors admire the installation and delight in making discoveries about art. I want to hear my colleague Margaretta Frederick give a tour and share the inside scoop on how the works of art were selected and arranged. (She and Caroline Giddis, our 2020 Alfred Appel Jr. Curatorial Fellow, had over 1000 works to choose from!) And I want to see the Museum filled with enthusiastic art lovers, looking at the art, catching up with each other, and enjoying wine and music in the East Court. For me, in most years, spring exhibition openings mark the end of a few months of hibernation. They’re a chance to dress up and catch up with DelArt members and friends. I think we could all use this, but unfortunately we can’t gather this way this spring—not yet.

So, I’m inviting you to join me at an opening from over 80 years ago, by looking at Helen Farr Sloan’s Gallery Scene, which captures a crowded opening party. The walls are hung tightly with large canvasses. In small groups, visitors stroll about looking at the paintings and their catalogues. Some stop to greet each other and others settle into the couches to gossip. A tall man with a reddish beard—an artist, perhaps?—gestures and declaims. It might be early spring, based on the men’s overcoats and the women’s colorful ensembles. Like the characters in it, the occasion feels lively and familiar.

Helen Farr Sloan’s Gallery Scene entered the DelArt collection in 2014, when the William Glackens retrospective was on view at the Barnes Foundation. I had written for the catalogue and was teaching and giving lectures related to the show, so I must have seen the exhibition ten times. After one of those visits, I walked by Gallery Scene and recognized the painting within this painting. The large canvas on the rear wall is Glackens’ Family Group, a 1910/11 painting in the collection of the National Gallery of Art. With a little research, I was able to determine that Family Group was exhibited twice at the Whitney Museum of American Art around the time that Helen Farr Sloan painted Gallery Scene. In February and March, 1937, Family Group was in New York Realists, 1910–1914, a key exhibition for reviving interest in the early work of the Ashcan School, and in 1938–39, the painting was included in Glackens’ memorial exhibition. Helen Farr Sloan, who had studied with and befriended Glackens’ associate John Sloan in the 1920s, would almost certainly have visited these shows. In the late 1930s, she was living in New York and working with Sloan (they would marry in 1944) on Gist of Art, a book of his teachings.

Of course, this isn’t a documentary photograph, and the paintings on either side of Family Group aren’t easy to discern, so I can’t say for sure which exhibition this might be recording. Avis Berman, Glackens expert and author of Rebels on Eighth Street: Juliana Force and the Whitney Museum of American Art, suggested that, while the scale of the room makes sense for the Whitney Museum when it was on Eighth Street, Farr Sloan probably took some artistic license in the décor. (Personally, I hope the walls weren’t that shade of green!)

I love that the one painting we can recognize is called Family Group, a title that perfectly fits the mood of this gathering of friends and art lovers. I look forward to seeing this work hanging in Collecting and Connecting: Recent Acquisitions, 2010–2020.

Heather Campbell Coyle
Chief Curator and Curator of American Art

Image: Gallery Scene, c. 1938. Helen Farr Sloan (1911-2005). Oil on board, 22 × 24 inches. Delaware Art Museum, Bequest of Helen Farr Sloan, 2014. © Delaware Art Museum / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York.

Longtime DelArt Leader Poised to Steer Museum into its Next Chapter

The Delaware Art Museum’s Board of Trustees announced today that Molly Giordano will serve as its next Executive Director.

Giordano, with her 10-year tenure at DelArt, steps into the directorship as the Museum rebuilds from the impact of COVID-19. In addition to rebuilding visitation and in-person programming, Giordano will oversee a major gallery reinstallation, capital improvements to strengthen the core facility, and numerous upcoming exhibitions, including one celebrating African American art.

“Molly demonstrated great leadership in a very challenging period while our Interim Executive Director over the past 13 months,” said David Pollack, President of the Board of Trustees. “The Board has full confidence in her as DelArt returns to fully serving its community. Molly’s deep relationships within the greater Wilmington community, and years of service to that community, position the Museum to realize its vision of becoming an essential resource for its city and region.”

Giordano joined the Museum in 2010 to ramp up DelArt’s centennial celebration. Soon after, she led the “Art is Everywhere” campaign, bringing reproductions of masterworks from the collection to cities throughout Delaware. Her work in successive leadership roles at the Museum contributed to the completion of an institutional rebranding, diversification of audiences, and increased fundraising. In 2017, she led the Museum’s strategic planning process, helping DelArt create a vision to become a more inclusive, vital resource for its community.

“I’m honored to lead the Museum into its next chapter,” remarked Giordano. “I consider art to be a public service, and it has been my great pleasure to help deliver that service to Delawareans – especially this year, when creativity, inspiration, and human connection are so needed.”

In addition to her work at the Museum, Giordano serves as Vice President of the Delaware Arts Alliance and Chair of the Governance Committee of the Delaware Fund for Women. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Political Science and Journalism from the University of Delaware; a master’s degree in Public Administration from the University of Pennsylvania; and will complete her master’s degree in Creative Writing from Rosemont College this spring. Giordano writes fiction and lives in Wilmington with her husband, attorney Phillip Giordano, and their two young children.

Sponsors: The Delaware Art Museum 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 to for the latest exhibitions, programs, and performances or connect with us via social media.

Delawareans helped shape what the reinstalled galleries will look like when they reopen in June, July, and August.

After asking over 100 Delawareans what they think about their museum, the Delaware Art Museum is reimagining its eight main floor art galleries. The existing galleries of American art and illustration and the Bancroft Collection of Pre-Raphaelite Art will close this spring. When they reopen in summer 2021, the art will tell new stories shaped by community members’ feedback.

“There are new works to show and new stories to tell,” says Chief Curator Heather Campbell Coyle. “Entire collections are being relocated to improve visitor experience, and artworks have been conserved for future generations.”

This will be the first comprehensive Museum rehanging since 2005. Since then, thanks to new research and audience input, the collections have grown to include significant pieces by women and Black artists that tell a more inclusive story of the visual arts. Newly acquired works include a bust of Frederick Douglass by Isaac Scott Hathaway, paintings by 19th century African American artists Robert Duncanson and Edward Mitchell Bannister, and Botticelli’s Studio, a painting by Eleanor Fortescue Brickdale on long-term loan to the Museum. The reinstallation will also bring focus to the role of local artists and collectors in the history of art.

The series of gallery reopenings kicked off this past fall, when art by John Sloan was rehung on the main floor of the Museum. That gallery now tells the story of Sloan’s life as a working artist and displays the work of the rebellious painter friends known as The Eight. Visitors are also engaged with considering the role of artists as activists in society.

Throughout the planning process, staff reached out to community members for help designing a better Delaware Art Museum. “Thank you to all the visitors who participated in focus groups and gave us feedback,” says Amelia Wiggins, Assistant Director of Learning and Engagement. “You helped us create bridges between the collections and the everyday lives of Delawareans. We look forward to seeing what fresh connections visitors make with art as galleries reopen later this year.”

The Museum will remain open during these changes, with galleries closing and reopening on a rolling basis from March into September. Visit delart.org for details and updates.

Full Schedule of Closures and Reopenings:

  • On view now: New Gallery of John Sloan and the Eight
  • March 22–Sept. 8: Howard Pyle and American Illustration Closed
  • March 22 – May 23: American Art 1757–1900 Limited selection on view
  • May 26 – June 16: American Art 1757–1900 Closed
  • June 21 – July 21: British Pre-Raphaelites Closed
  • Saturday, June 19: Picturing America (American Art through 1900) Opens
  • Saturday, July 31: Radical Beauty (British Pre-Raphaelites) Opens
  • Saturday, September 11: Howard Pyle and American Illustration Opens; main floor galleries are fully reopened.

Sponsors: The Museum’s reinstallation is made possible by the generosity of Sewell C. Biggs and foundations including the Choptank Foundation, the Starrett Foundation, the Richard C. Von Hess Foundation, and the Sansom Foundation. 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: Amelia Wiggins, Assistant Director of Learning & Engagement, awiggins@delart.org

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

Image: Old Brittany Farm Houses, 1902. Robert Henri (1865–1929). Oil on canvas, 25 1/2 x 32 1/16 inches, frame: 33 x 39 1/2 inches. Delaware Art Museum, Gift of Mrs. Janet J. Le Clair, 1986. Installation image of the the Sue Ann and John L. Weinberg Gallery, “John Sloan and The Eight.” 2021, Photograph by Carson Zullinger. © Delaware Art Museum.

Hanlin Chinese Culture Association and Chinese American Community Center Share Cultural Traditions

The Delaware Art Museum once again partners with the Hanlin Chinese Culture Association and Chinese American Community Center for Chinese New Year – this year, celebrating the Year of the Ox. Beginning Saturday, February 20 and available through February 28, 2021, the public can celebrate the new beginnings of a lunar new year with free videos and art activities.

This virtual program will kick off with footage from lion and folk dance performances, Chinese yo-yo demonstrations, and art activities. A new addition to the celebration for 2021 is dumpling making, which includes an ingredient list and instructions shared in advance and an online cooking demonstration.

Families are encouraged to register online for free art activity supplies, which may be picked up at the Front Desk from February 13 through 21 during regular admission hours. The first 30 families that register will receive a lantern kit (limit one lantern per family). One registrant will be selected at random to receive a print to commemorate the Year of the Ox.

A link to the YouTube playlist of performances and demonstrations will be shared at delart.org on February 20. Families can view the recorded program at their convenience through February 28. This is the fifteenth year the Museum has partnered with community organizations to share Chinese traditions and art.

Taini Hsu, Founder and President of Hanlin Chinese Cultural Association, said, “The connection with the Museum started when I was a docent in 1997. We wanted to bring the Chinese and Asian Americans living in the community to the Museum to explore the art, and at the same time, enable the Museum’s American audience to appreciate our Chinese culture.”

Hsu added, “The lion and folk dances are performed by the young kids in programs at the Chinese American Community Center, but other performances have included visiting artists. I’m originally from Taiwan, and the reason we are able to bring artists in most years is thanks to the Culture Center of Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office in the U.S. They sponsor the event and every year they give away the lantern kits.”

The mission of the Hanlin Chinese Culture Association is to promote Chinese art and culture to the public. The Chinese American Community Center promotes the exchange and integration of Chinese and American cultures by coordinating activities and events throughout the year and by providing a location for various community organizations and clubs to meet.

Partnering with community organizations on Chinese New Year 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.”

This program is in partnership with Hanlin Chinese Culture Association. Lanterns provided by Culture Center of Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office in the U.S.

Media contact: Amelia Wiggins, Assistant Director of Learning and Engagement, awiggins@delart.org.

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.

Delaware Art Museum announces virtual dance residency inspired by Cortor’s artwork.

On Thursday, February 18, at Noon, Dara Meredith’s virtual dance residency at the Delaware Art Museum will kick off with an Art Chat exploring the painting that inspires her, Southern Souvenir No. II by African American modern artist Eldzier Cortor. Scholar Dr. Tiffany Barber, assistant professor in Africana Studies and Art History at the University of Delaware, and Dara Meredith, artistic director at Eleone Dance Theatre and adjunct professor at Temple University, will explore the images of Black femininity in Cortor’s art and discuss his legacy and influence. Meredith’s residency at the Museum will include a series of talks and workshops and culminate in a dance she will choreograph later this year.

“The work will delve into the idea that Black bodies, and Black women specifically, have been ostracized, dismantled, separated, and abused; all the while being the backbone and the foundation of continuity for American culture,” said Meredith, describing the dance she will choreograph at the Museum. “The work showcases the complexity of what Black women in the south have experienced while having to hold the nation on its breast so that it may live and live on.”

The Art Chat and Meredith’s virtual dance residency will center on Cortor’s artwork, on loan from the Art Bridges Foundation through July 2021 and on display at the Delaware Art Museum.

Modern painter Eldzier Cortor was born in Virginia in 1916, but at just one year old his family moved north to Chicago, along with millions of other African American families during the Great Migration. Cortor later attended the Art Institute of Chicago and gained international recognition for his paintings of Black women.

“The Black Woman represents the Black Race,” Cortor said. “She is the Black Spirit; she conveys a feeling of eternity, and the continuum of life.”

The Art Chat virtual event is free to members and $7 to non-members by registration at delart.org.

Sponsors: Support provided by Art Bridges. 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.

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

Southern Souvenir No. II presents an unsettling dreamscape: beneath a dark moon that emanates a halo of greyish light, nude female torsos are strewn among gnarled branches and remnants of domestic life. The painting, by African American artist Eldzier Cortor, evokes scenes of racist violence, the dilapidation of poverty, and the destruction of a natural disaster. The artist’s vision is manifested through meticulous rendering: tiny brushstrokes define shining flesh and worn brick, newspaper mastheads from Birmingham and Charleston are legible, and black tree bark is painted three dimensionally, jutting out nearly half an inch from the picture’s surface. The reality and psychological toll of racial violence is clear, though the artist hasn’t attempted to compose a scene or tell a specific story.

On loan from the Art Bridges collection, Southern Souvenir No. II is on view in Gallery 15, a gallery devoted to the range of realisms practiced by American artists between the 1920s and the 1960s. The heirs of the Ashcan School’s urban realism—Reginald Marsh, Isabel Bishop—hang across from detailed, regionalist paintings by the Wyeth family. Recent acquisitions by Edward Loper, Malvin Gray Johnson, and Robert Neal mark the significant contributions of African American artists in the early 20th century. And psychological tension builds in works by Edward Hopper, Andrew Wyeth, and Hughie Lee-Smith.

Cortor’s approach to realism is different. His meticulous handling and dreamlike juxtaposition of elements align the painting to surrealism and magic realism—artistic movements often associated more with European and Latin American art of this period. This is not to say that these movements didn’t have traction in the United States. In 1943, the Museum of Modern Art opened an exhibition called American Realists and Magic Realists, which featured works by Andrew Wyeth and Edward Hopper among others. In the introduction to that catalogue, Lincoln Kirstein explained the operation of magic realism: “Magic realists try to convince us that extraordinary things are possible simply by painting them as if they existed.” This tradition is not well represented in the Museum’s collection, which is one of the reasons I was excited to borrow Southern Souvenir No. II from Art Bridges.

The other reason, of course, is the consideration of race and American history that Cortor’s painting prompts. Incredibly detailed and gorgeously painted, Southern Souvenir No. II forces us to consider what Cortor experienced on his travels through the American South in the 1940s.

This haunting painting is on view at the Delaware Art Museum through July 2021, and I find myself visiting it often. I’m looking forward to learning more about Southern Souvenir No. II when I host an Art Chat with Tiffany Barber and Dara Stevens Meredith on February 18, 2021. I hope you will join me to learn more about Cortor, modern painting, and American history.

Heather Campbell Coyle
Curator of American Art

Above: Eldzier Cortor. Southern Souvenir No. II, c. 1948. Oil on board mounted on Masonite ™ on wood strainer, 35 1/2 x 64 1/2 inches. Art Bridges. © Estate of Eldzier Cortor / Artist Rights Society (ARS), New York.

Collecting and Connecting: Recent Acquisitions, 2010-2020 will be on display March 13 – September 12.

Curious about the 1,000+ objects the Delaware Art Museum has acquired in the past decade? A selection of these artworks will be showcased in the exhibition Collecting and Connecting: Recent Acquisitions, 2010-2020, on view March 13 – September 12.

The Museum’s recent acquisitions span centuries, styles, cultures, and mediums, and now call the Delaware Art Museum home. Through this exhibition, visitors are invited to sample the last ten years’ additions to the collection and gain a behind-the-scenes look at how and why the museum collects. Collecting and Connecting encourages visitors to draw connections between diverse works of art from across collections and time periods.

“Adding to collections allows the Museum to continue to tell engaging, complex stories – many that have been historically marginalized – through the works of art in the galleries. By collecting, we write and preserve history through artwork so that future generations will be able re-examine and re-contextualize it as well,” writes the exhibition’s curator, Margaretta Frederick.

For each of its five main collections (American Illustration, British Pre-Raphaelites, American Art to 1960, Contemporary Art, and the Helen Farr Sloan Library and Archives), potential acquisitions are considered based on many factors, including the work’s relationship to existing art in the collection and its ability to expand the scope of Museum holdings and tell missing or overlooked stories. When a new object is added, it recontextualizes the existing collection and opens up new interpretations and ideas.

“It has been a fascinating exercise to look across the museum’s recent acquisitions and see how much a work from 1857 and one from 2005 can tell the same story,” says Caroline Giddis, 2020 Delaware Art Museum Appel Curatorial Fellow. Giddis and Frederick co-curated the exhibition to spur visitors to make creative comparisons between artworks. “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.”

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.

Acknowledgement of Support

This exhibition was organized by the Delaware Art Museum and is made possible by the Hallie Tybout Exhibit Fund. This organization is supported 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.

Image: Dream, 2010. Gretchen Moyer (1956–2015). Pastel and acrylic on paper, 22 × 29 inches. Delaware Art Museum, Gift of David Moyer, 2016. © Estate of the artist.

A few years ago, Mary Holahan, Curator of Illustration Art, drew attention to this painting with a timely and well-researched blog post. She elucidated the moment Hoskins depicted, when the “19-year-old stenographer shrinks from her sinister boss’s demand that she succumb to his advances.” Her post describes the plot and reception of Dejeans’ novel about sexual abuse in the workplace. And the gallery label Mary wrote for the work highlighted the tiger-skin rug with the animal’s bared fangs, which echoes the character of the brutish, predatory employer.

When we began testing ideas with focus groups for the reinstallation of the illustration collection, this painting and Mary’s analysis of it engaged our visitors, who linked it to the #metoo movement. They wanted to know even more, asking in particular about the statuette on the mantelpiece behind the young woman. Taking over responsibility for the illustration collection after Mary’s retirement, I wanted to know more, too, so I started looking closely.

Facing each other at last, the girl white, shaking, her eyes aflame by Gayle Porter HoskinsFacing each other at last, the girl white, shaking, her eyes aflame (detail), 1909.

The painting is dark and the details of the statuette are difficult to make out, but it’s carefully delineated and beautifully composed. I thought it likely that the painted sculpture was a miniature version of a real sculpture. Like the rug, I hoped it would add to the illustration’s power.

Like many works of art that will be featured in the reinstalled galleries, this Hoskins painting was slotted for conservation. When it went to our conservator, Mark Bockrath, I asked him to let me know if he could see more as he examined and cleaned it under bright light. In a series of emails this summer, we exchanged photographs of the painting and scans of the published version and talked about what that statuette might depict. With one figure held and draped across another, at first glance (from an art history major) the sculpture looks like a Pietà or lamentation of Jesus, but that doesn’t add anything to the story. I thought it might be the abduction of Persephone by Hades, but I couldn’t find an example of that mythological theme resembling this composition.

And what about that hat on the standing figure? I mused on conquistadors’ helmets, and Mark half-joked that his attire looked more like a fisherman’s gear. After that, I saw echoes of Winslow’s Homer’s heroic lifesaving scenes. So, I started a Google image search using words like fisherman, sculpture, saved, and drowning. Then, I found it really fast. The statuette seems to be a small version of Saved, an 1887 sculpture by Adolf Brütt. The modern, heroic subject, which the artist claimed to have witnessed, resonates thematically with Winslow Homer’s 1884 masterpiece The Life Line, as does and the combination of strong man and supine, drenched woman.

Image of SavedSaved, 1887. Adolf Brütt.

A large bronze cast of Saved (familiarly called The Fisherman)—Gerettet (Der Fischer) in German—stands outside the Alte Nationalgalerie in Berlin today. It was famous in its day, winning Brütt a prize and being selected for the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago and the 1904 Louisiana Purchase Exposition in St. Louis. Living in Chicago in 1904, the 17-year-old Hoskins might have traveled to the world’s fair in St. Louis—over 19 million people did—but there was a lot to see there. Hoskins probably encountered a tabletop version similar to the one he placed on the mantel. Like many popular sculptures, Saved was reproduced at a domestic scale. A 17-inch version sold at auction for €2,000 in 2018, and vintage postcards featuring the sculpture still can be bought online.

Now that we have identified Saved, how might it help us understand the painting? I think the bronze, which is displayed in the predatory boss’s office, speaks to that character’s understanding of himself. The author of the novel makes it clear that the man thinks that what he’s doing helps the young woman. He sees himself as a savior, lifting her and her family out of poverty.

Hoskins’ choice of sculpture is pointed, though more subtle than the tiger-skin rug. Neither is mentioned in the story, and I don’t think these are purely decorative choices. The inclusion of the Brütt is more like an art-historical Easter egg—something that adds to the story for the viewers that recognize it. I imagine more viewers recognized Saved in 1909, and I hope they appreciated Hoskins’ evocative details as much as I do now!

Heather Campbell Coyle
Chief Curator and Curator of American Art

Top image: Facing each other at last, the girl white, shaking, her eyes aflame, 1909. Cover and frontispiece for The Winning Chance by Elizabeth Dejeans (Philadelphia: J.B. Lippincott Co., 1909). Gayle Porter Hoskins (1887–1962). Oil on canvas, 36 x 24 1/2 inches. Delaware Art Museum, Acquired by exchange, 1971.

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.

image

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.

image

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.

image

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 wom