Inside the DCCA

A grant from the Warhol Foundation changes the approach to art at Delaware Center for the Contemporary Arts in Wilmington for awhile by opening the curation process to the public. That means you can help create exhibits with the artists themselves, making art less about objects and works that hang on the walls, more about social interaction. See for yourself when planning for “Imperfect City” begins this fall for an opening in March. Till then, don’t miss “Young Country,” a traveling show of art that speaks of place. Organized by DCCA, it hit UArts in Philadelphia and Salisbury University in Maryland before its exhibition in Delaware. “Young Country” examines how artists living in fringe art centers are re-defining ideas of fine art, class, and “country” in America. The exhibition features artists who use rural images and subjects such as horseracing, honkytonks, and homesteading to address how the visual culture of a region shapes perception and identity. The show features work by artists from Cincinnati, Philadelphia, Houston, Seattle, New York, Louisville and Lexington, Kentucky, and other areas. The show grows as it travels. See it at the DCCA beginning Sept. 29.

Currently showing through Dec. 9 is “Natural Forces,” and exhibit of new large-scale sculpture and installations of burnt wood, spiraling metallic pieces, and cardboard constructions that explores the relationship between the destructive and creative forces of nature. Burnt wood, artist Alison Stigora says, bears evidence of survival. Intriguing. Finally, “And the WORD is…” continues through Oct. 14. A group exhibition, “Word” features four contemporary artists who use religious language in their work. That work ranges from humorous and ironic to revelatory. Stephanie Kirk’s photography shows messages on church signs such as, “God wants full custody, not a weekend visit,” and, “You think it’s hot here?” Blind sculptor David Stephens’ large wooden panels offer words from the Bible carved in Braille. Martin Brief’s 14-panel installation shows written book titles searched from containing the word “God.” Nick Kripal steel and salt installation takes center stage, spelling out “Epiphany.” All of it will make you think.

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Finally, DCCA is recruiting a new class of volunteer guides—and you could be one of them. A seven-week training course will prepare you to develop tours for children and adults. No previous teaching or art experience necessary—just an enthusiasm for learning about contemporary art and for working with people. For more, contact education assistant Sarah Ware at 656-6466 ext. 7106, or Applications can be found at the DCCA front desk and online at 656-6466,

Everything’s Coming Up Roses

See the highs and lows, witness the backstage drama, and feel the sacrifices it takes to become a star, all in Stephen Sondheim’s musical “Gypsy.” The musical contains many songs that became popular standards, “Small World,” “Everything’s Coming Up Roses and “Let Me Entertain You,” it gives a comical look at the ultimate show biz mother. It runs Sept. 14-23 at The Wilmington Drama League. After that, look for “The Boys Next Door” Oct. 26-Nov. 4. 764-1192,

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Can You Spell “Funny?”

Going back to school has never been funnier than it is in the Tony-winning “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee.” This hilarious tale of overachievers’ angst chronicles the experience of six adolescents in the spelling championship of a lifetime. Get in on the action. “Spelling Bee” will have you holding your ribs. See it Sept. 14-Oct. 28 at The New Candlelight Theatre.

Room with a View

The 14th Annual Lewes Artists’ Studio Tour on Sept. 15 invites you into the work spaces of 20 regionally and nationally acclaimed local artists. Meet them, see them work and perhaps win one of the works of art to be given away at each location. The tour is always filled with color and form, light and shadow and an inspired view.

Big Things at Brandywine

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If you are one of those holiday super-achievers who has already started gift shopping, take note: “Teasel & Twigs: ‘Tis a Critter Christmas Tale” is the story of the famous Brandywine River Museum holiday critter ornaments who come to life at night. Think “Night at the Museum” with a local twist. On the eve of the annual Children’s Christmas party, the critters scurry through the museum trying to find Roger the Reindeer’s lost berry nose, passing all the museum’s famous paintings and displays along the way. The story was written by Paige Singer as a tribute to her grandmother, the late Elizabeth “Libby” Dean, who helped create the first critters in the early 1970s. Singer, grew up in Chadds Ford, but now lives in Arizona, so her children are unable to visit the museum as she. Singer wrote the book as a way to connect them to her grandmother’s creative world and the community of my childhood” and to “write a poem that would bring to life her art, her critters.” Pictures are by artist Robert Dionne, who has long been inspired by the Golden Age illustrators, especially Howard Pyle and N.C. Wyeth. “It was an honor and joy bringing the critters to life and celebrating Christmas with them every day in the studio,” Dionne says. “Teasel & Twigs: ‘Tis a Critter Christmas Tale” ($20) is available exclusively in the museum shop and at

Better yet, “Picturing Poe: Illustrations for Edgar Allan Poe’s Stories and Poems” shows how the master of the macabre inspired other artists, making him one of the world’s most illustrated authors. See drawings, paintings and first-edition books illustrated by 30 artists, including Édouard Manet, Paul Gauguin, Robert Motherwell and F.O.C. Darley, who Poe selected by hand. See it Sept. 8- Nov. 15,

Also at The Brandywine, the new Music on the Brandywine program begins Sept. 20. The programs feature musicians from Astral Artists, a nonprofit formed to identify emerging classically trained artists. The concert will feature soprano Kathryn Guthrie Demos, a winner of the Astral Artists’ 2012 National Auditions, who performs both traditional opera and contemporary works. She recently made her New York City Opera debut. She’ll be joined by pianist Andrew Hauze, director of the Swarthmore College Orchestra. See Music on the Brandywine now—the next concert will be Nov. 15.

Don’t forget that the museum has added new dates for tours of Andrew Wyeth’s recently opened studio. Schedule a Tuesday—and soon— to see how a true American master thought and worked. Tours take place every Tuesday through Nov. 13. The tours on Sept. 11, Sept. 25, Oct. 9, Oct. 23 and Nov. 6 sold out lickety split, so make your reservation for a remaining date soon.  (610) 388-2700,

It’s All About Us

In 1962, the interstate highway system was just getting traction, the Delaware Memorial Bridge had only one span, and the Cape May-Lewes Ferry had not yet set sail. Fifty years later, the state is a much different place, and through it all, Delaware Today has been there to document the changes. See how in “Delaware Yesterday, Delaware Today: 1962-2012” at the Delaware History Center in Wilmington. The exhibit shows how the magazine has evolved from a small black-and-white publication with regular features like the quaint Flo Knows Fashion into the glossy, full-color publication you read today for the latest on great restaurants, the arts, emerging lifestyle trends, home design, interesting personalities and more. Objects from the collection of the Delaware Historical Society round out the story. “Delaware Yesterday, Delaware Today: 1962-2012” is informative, entertaining and nostalgic, and we humbly submit that you’ll find it as interesting as we here at DT do. 655-716,

It’s Still Life

If you enjoy still life painting, see “The Aesthetic Moment: The Art of Still Life” now at Delaware Art Museum in Wilmington. This Outlooks series exhibition features 11 regional painters with different styles, but a common love for the genre. “Aesthetic Moment” is an apt title, given that “aesthetic” derives from the ancient Greek word for “perception.” The still life arrangements are uniquely perceived and rendered by the artists, then perceived uniquely again by the viewer. The featured artists are Stanley Bielen, Deborah Deichler, Dolya Dogal, Paul DuSold, Renee Foulks, Frances Galante, Scott Noel, Carolyn Pyfrom, Carlo Russo, David Shevlino and Frank Trefny. The guest curator is Paul DuSold of Philadelphia, who has shown his work widely across the United States over the last 30 years, concentrating on still life. He studied at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts in Philadelphia and has taught at various regional art schools. His unerring eye reveals a range of still life subjects, themes and styles that will astound you.

The museum’s centennial celebration continues with “100 Works for 100 Years.” The exhibition shows the evolution of the museum’s holdings through at least one work—including new acquisitions and gifts—for each year of its existence. See it indoors and out in the sculpture garden. If you’ve ever wondered how the museum became such a force in Pre-Raphaelite art, this is your chance. Go soon—the exhibition ends Sept. 16. 571-9590,

String Theory

The heavenly Serafin String Quartet has one major change for its season—the addition of new violist Esme Allen-Creighton—and it looks forward to publishing its next CD. See Allen-Creighton and learn more when the ensemble performs at Kennett Flash on Sept. 22. The concert, titled “Quartet Time Machine—From Haydn to Higdon,” will feature short selections by various composers from the 1700s to today ( Then look for the group to return to Trinity Episcopal Church in Wilmington for The Arts at Trinity free concert series ( Serafin will perform with guest pianists Victor Santiago Asuncion and Julie Nishimura. It opens the series on Oct. 20, then closes it on April 20. In between, it remains the ensemble in residence at the University of Delaware, with plenty of concerts for you. As for the CD, it features early chamber works by Jennifer Higdon. “The release will certainly punctuate our year showing a different side of Serafin,” says cellist Larry Stomberg, “ and an interesting reflection on the early style of a great living composer.”

Big Business

Little-known fact: The library at Hagley holds the records of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Hence “100 Years of Picturing the Nation’s Business: Photographs from the Collection of the Chamber of Commerce of the United States of America,” which celebrates the chamber’s centennial. The exhibition shows famous—and not-so-famous—photos, some capturing significant moments such as reaction to the stock market crash, aftermath of the Dust Bowl and news of the Titanic sinking, some showing iconic companies such as Ford Motor Co. and American Airlines in their earliest days. The exhibition opens Sept. 8. While you’re there, see “The American Eagle: Symbol of Freedom and Enterprise to the du Pont Family.” The bird was an important symbol, one that Mrs. Louise du Pont Crowninshield collected and displayed in her ancestral home, Eleutherian Mills. The exhibition is on view through Jan. 1. 658-2400, 658-2400,

Winterthur Specials

If you want to know how to throw one great party, Winterthur’s sixth annual Chic It Up! Design Conference on Sept. 15 focuses on grand entertaining, past and present. Featured presentations include “Elegant Entertaining with Southern Style” by Danielle Rollins, author and contributing editor to Veranda. Preregistration required. Call (800) 448-3883. Don’t forget: Tickets for Winterthur’s peerless Delaware Antiques Show are officially on sale. This year, join internationally renowned designer Carolyne Roehm Nov. 9-11 at the Chase Center on the Riverfront in Wilmington. Author of “A Passion for Interiors,” Roehm is known for her classic style and tastes. 888-4907,

The Name Says it All

Fringe Wilmington Festival 2012 is nothing if not provocative and unconventional. This year’s fest goes down Sept. 26-30, with nearly 200 performance artists, visual artists and filmmakers converging downtown to do what they do the way they want to do it. It’s something to see—because you’re part of the action.

Our Best of Delaware Elimination Ballot is open through February 22!

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