The Gabby Guy gets artsy with DCAD, then confronts the legacy of the OG—Original Gabby—while stopping to smell the roses.

Modern day Medicis

Wilmington and Delaware are undoubtedly experiencing a surge of positive growth—you might even go so far as to say a renaissance. The Delaware College of Art and Design recently celebrated the artful aspects of the 16th century’s cultural and scientific renewal during DCAD & the Renaissance, the school’s annual scholarship gala.

The theme as conceived by DCAD director of development Valerie Jermusyk was designed to exhibit (and sell) the students’ Master in the Making art works while celebrating the patrons who help make their attendance at the college possible.

Guests arrived on Market Street at a white tent that stretched almost a full city block. The tent housed dozens of silent auction items and three full-scale vignettes of Planning Factory’s atmospheric dining experiences, including a complete South Beach experience for 24, and the Ocean Drive Deco Disco Dance Party. Another outstanding auction item: The Jeans Pool, a shopping shindig for denim—with daiquiris—at Cindy Pettinaro Wilkinson’s posh cement swimmin’ hole.

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Inside DCAD’s Toni and Stuart B. Young Gallery several stiff individuals (mannequins dressed in renaissance costumes from OperaDelaware) and the much livelier honorary Irénée and Kitty du Pont warmly welcomed all. Board chairman Stuart B. Young and his wife, Toni Young, loved the new party theme, Stuart commended its cumulative creativity over singular, big-auction item dependence, with, “Hey, you can’t get a Wyeth every time.” No you can’t, unfortunately. Mrs. Young was proud and amused by her husband’s agreeing to don, for the first time, a jester’s hat in red and gold velvet that they’d purchased in Venice seven years ago. “Finally,” she exclaimed.

Renaissance revelers literally broke bread together, thanks to whole loaves of artisan breads, with sausages and sliced Italian meats and cheeses prepared by chef Billy Rawstrom of Maiale Deli and Salumeria.

We broke bread with co-chairs Lisa Baird and Lynda Schmid, both attired in period equestrian garb, both obvious lovers of horses and art. In addition to researching and creating the life-sized pony silhouettes positioned overhead, they also worked with students to paint a replica of Leonardo DaVinci’s “The Last Supper” as backdrop to what was the evening’s most divine moment: a cast of students re-enacting the master work as a living tableau. We asked student overseer Emily Waddell why she cast herself as Peter: “For my quiet demeanor and poise, of course.” Why photography grad Carrie Bookman as Jesus? “She has the hair, with ink extensions.” And, finally, why fine art grad Kirk Quay as Judas? “He’s a sneaky little dude,” Waddell said. “But I love him.”

Impressed onlookers included landscape architect Jeff Seemans and wife Pamela Bounds Seemans—“Delaware’s premier folk artist,” Jeff beamed—Lynda Schmid’s husband, Lou Rosenberg, president of Mitchell Associates and maker of unique writing journals, with friends Jay Headley and Denison Hatch; Denise Avayou, a graphic designer who donated a complete graphic identity of her design for the auction; artist Paul Cava, who donated one of his photographic prints and a collage; Elisa and Dick Poole, owners of their eponymous art gallery in Rehoboth Beach; and Wilmington gallery gliterati Sadie Somerville and Rodney Jester (no hat, no bells).

DuPont Co.’s Terry Caloghiris and lovely wife, Mireille, DCAD board members, appreciated the correlation of the renaissance theme with the renaissance of Wilmington. “Change is good,” Terry asserted—for the miracles of science and art.

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Page 2: Stop and Smell the Roses


Stop and Smell the Roses

This year’s Friends of Wilmington Parks annual Jasper Crane Rose Garden Party gathered friends, admirers and fans of the late Sally Rinard in Brandywine Park to honor the original Gabby.

Heading to the park, we were greeted by Sally’s longtime best friend, George Meldrum. George, of the Nemours Foundation, had received that day a sealed, embossed, oversized presidential invitation to the June 22 festivities observing gay pride and rights at the White House. Quite an honor.

The memoriam display to Sally “Sassy” Rinard included a framed photo of Sass, an homage written by Carol Kipp, a bouquet of Sally’s favorite flowers, a copy of her novel “Pretensions,” and a collection of her writing for Women’s Wear Daily and Out & About—as well as a few of her sassiest Gabby columns for Delaware Today—all compiled by book editor Katherine Ward, a friend since their days at Tower Hill School. Katherine assured us that Sassy had always been assertive and inquisitive. “She was not afraid to ask anything,” said Katherine, who recounted how Sally seized the opportunity to approach a recently divorced Jackie O at a party in New York City and asked, “What are your plans for the $23 million?”

Friends president Ed Weirauch had only nice things to say about Sally, “She was a lovely person, with such an uplifting personality.” Sally left a good portion of her estate to the Friends when she passed in June 2008. Ed explained that renovation of the park’s Sugar Bowl band shell is a result of Sally’s bequest. “She was so generous to us,” added executive director Mike Porro. Looking forward to the inaugural performance at the Sugar Bowl in the spring.

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Ladies’ man Bill Cohen confessed, “I was Gabby’s tuxedo date. I could bathe, shave, dress, at the drop of a name or invitation.” Bill fondly recalled escorting Sally to a seven -course dinner at the Hotel du Pont, which replicated the first-class menu served on the last night of the Titanic. “They should replicate their replication,” Bill suggested. The daring duo, not content to sit between courses, slid onto the dance floor of an adjacent wedding in the Crystal Ballroom. Bill misted while musing, “She had a soul sparkle that was genuine, deep and infectious.”

Lyn Doto, a longtime friend, frequent Gabby subject and a stand-in who wrote a Gabby column in Sally’s final days, said, “She always had the cutest flowered notebooks. I’d never talk to her with that book in her hand,” she kidded. But Katherine Ward’s closing of her eulogy of Ms. Rinard may have said it best: “Ta-ta, Sassy. The experience of knowing you was like none other.”

I, Mike Dodson, must say that I never felt the pressure of being the new guy until FOWP’s honoring of the original Gabby and meeting the many people who loved her. Thanks, Friends. I will try to fill her YSL pumps. Sally, I hope you are somewhere sipping Champagne and gabbing it up with Jackie O and the rest of the best.

Ciao for now. Or as the original Gabby would say, Ta-ta, ’til next time. 


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