Step into the entrance of Mango’s, a restaurant in Bethany Beach, and you’ll feel as though you’re in a tropical paradise. A cobalt-blue sea is visible through arched windows. A lizard scampers up a wall, and coral climbs up the hostess stand.
The Caribbean ambiance is the work of Georgetown resident Liz Sexton-Dickerson.â€‹ The Baltimore native, who started drawing as a child, is a graduate of McDaniel College (previously Western Maryland College). An art and communication major, she took classes in studio art, theater art and photography. Painting and drawing, however, remained her primary interests.
A mural that Sexton-Dickerson created for Mango’s, a restaurant in Bethany Beach.
After graduating, she moved to the Delaware coast. While working in Dewey Beach, she met Steve “Monty” Montgomery, an owner of The Starboard.â€‹
“He asked me to do some side art projects for him here and there, and it blossomed,” she says. “One person sees a mural and asks about it, and it snowballed into a business.”
It helps that Montgomery is a partner in several restaurant groups, and actively networks with others.â€‹
“Liz’s creativity helps us bring to life the scenes we hope will put smiles on our guests’ faces,” says Montgomery, who also hired her to do a mural of Amen Corner—the 11th, 12th and 14th holes at Augusta National Golf Club—in his personal “man cave.”
More photos of Mango’s murals.
Sexton-Dickerson also completed a mural for Nick’s Fish House in Baltimore.
“Her attention to detail is remarkable,” says Eric Sugrue, who with Montgomery is an operator at the restaurant. “Her ability to take our vision and make it a reality in the form of a mural is so fun to watch.”â€‹
The artist considers the size of the space and the restaurant concept before creating some sketches. “It can’t be too overpowering,” she says.â€‹
At the beach, most owners want a seaside theme. For Nick’s Fish House, she painted steamed crabs, sweating mugs of beer and a can of National Bohemian Beer (aka “Natty Boh”) strewn across newspapers.â€‹
Since restaurants are busy places, she tends to come in during the off-hours or paint alongside construction workers.â€‹
Another mural Sexton-Dickerson created for Mango’s.
Wearing headphones and listening to music, she’ll work up to eight hours a day until the project is done. The finished painting gets a coat of polyacrylic to protect it from UV rays, salt-laden air and food splashes.â€‹
Sexton-Dickerson’s business is about half murals and half portrait/wedding photography. But the murals, she says, offer a special reward.â€‹
“Having so many people see it, praise it and talk about it satisfies me,” she says.â€‹
For more information and photos, visit sextonink.com.