More Black History Celebrations, The Grand goes Cajun

Pure Magic

Though “Magical Visions: Ten Contemporary African American Artists” opened at the University of Delaware last week, you’re not too late for the party. A reception with guest curator Keith Morrison happens Feb. 15. “Magical Visions” unites the work of several black artists—Terry Adkins, Sonya Clark, Melvin Edwards, Sam Gilliam, Barkley L. Hendricks, Kalup Linzy, Odili Odata, Karen Olivier, Faith Ringgold and William T. Williams—who have made big changes in media such as fiber, painting, photography, printmaking, quilt making and more. The exhibition continues through June 29 in Mechanical Hall. The reception on Feb. 15 is 5 p.m.-6:30 p.m. 831-8037,

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A Musical Tribute

Here’s a blockbuster collaboration: The Delaware Symphony Orchestra, the Delaware State University Chorus and the Wesley College Chorus will unite for “Journey of the Spirit: A Celebration of African American Heritage Through Music” at the Schwartz Center for the Arts in Dover on Feb. 17. “Journey” focuses on pieces composed by or for the African-American community from the 17th century to today. The program includes the words of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. narrated by the Rev. John Moore Sr. of Calvary Baptist Church in Dover. Go early to hear the pre-concert talk about the history of orchestral music by black composers. It will prove enlightening. 678-5152,

A Different Picture

This could be one of the most important photography exhibitions in recent memory, for both its content and its creator. Pulitzer Prize-winning John Kaplan, a native of Wilmington, presents “Not as I Pictured” at Gallery 919 Market in Wilmington through Feb. 24. The show—the debut exhibition of a national tour—documents Kaplan’s discovery, treatment and recovery from lymphoma. It serves as a benefit for The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society of Delaware. Kaplan’s project about the diverse lifestyles of American 21-year-olds won the Pulitzer for Feature Photography in 1992, and his work has been exhibited around the world. He has twice been named a photography juror for the Pulitzer Prizes. See this extraordinary show. As with all shows at Gallery 919 on Market Street in Wilmington, admission is free. 229-3266

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Interesting Alternatives

We love the Alternatives Museum Shop at The Delaware Center for the Contemporary Arts in Wilmington for one reason: great work by local artists. Through March 28, find Linda Celestian’s felted jewelry, as well as pieces in silk and organza, all designed to depict the energy and life force of the natural world. “This desire has led me to explore and invent many techniques to apply and manipulate the mediums I use,” says Celestian, a graduate of the Morre College of Art. “I’m pouring and splattering, in the case of oil paints and inks, or melting layer upon layer of wax then heating it to let the under layer bubble up in the case of encaustics. I feel akin to nature by making art in the same way the earth came to be, and continues to evolve” See for yourself what she means.

Better yet, plan to visit on a Thursday, when you can also enjoy a free Art Salad lecture. Bring your lunch to munch while you listen to various artists, experts, patrons and academics talk about important topics in art. The lectures last noon-1 p.m. Forgot lunch? Arrange for Cosí to deliver by calling the DCCA at  656-6466 by 11:30 a.m. on Thursdays. For the full Art Salad schedule, scroll to the bottom of the page.

Cajun Hot Sauce and Catholic Capers

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If you’ve ever wondered what real Cajun music is, visit The Grand Opera House on Feb. 17 for performances by BeauSoleil avec Michael Doucet and Marcia Ball. Having earned 11 Grammy nominations and two awards in its 35 years, BeauSoleil is the most acclaimed Cajun group of all time. Marcia Ball has earned four-time Grammy nominations for her Louisiana-style blues. (No wonder she’s an eight-time Blues Music Award winner.) Order your tix, then lace up your dancing shoes.

Next door at live@the baby grand, get your “Late Nite Catechism” Feb. 15-19, when Sister drops in to teach class (her audience) hilarious lessons all about life and religion. You’ll swear you are sitting in your old Catholic school classroom. Even The Los Angeles Times calls it “inspired entertainment.” 652-5577,

On With the Show

We love theater season when it seems to go on and on, as this one has. Continuing this week:

Watch irascible Randal McMurphy turn a mental institution upside down when he and his fellow inmates revolt, and see why “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” won the Outer Critics Circle Award for Outstanding Revival in 2001 while the Second Street Players stage its performance of the 1962 Ken Kesey classic Feb. 10-19. 422-0220,

In the gripping “Parade,” Leo Frank finds himself accused of murder and doomed to pay the ultimate price, thanks to corruption and sensationalized reporting. Can his wife or governor save him? The drama, based on a true story, won two Tonys in 1999. It plays at Wilmington Drama League through Feb. 11. 764-3396,

The drama “Miss Saigon” at the New Candlelight Theatre tells the story of U.S. soldier Chris and his love for native Kim in Vietnam during the war, as based on “Madame Butterfly.” The play runs through March 11. Don’t forget: dinner comes with the show. 475-2313,

Clear Space Theatre Company pays due homage to Noel Coward with its production of his classic farce “Blithe Spirit.” The plot: While researching his next novel, socialite Charles Condomine hires Madame Arcati to mediate a séance, but she somehow summons the ghost of his dead wife, Elvira. Let’s just say Elvira is none too happy about Charles’ new love. See it through Feb. 19. 227-2270,

Here are more terrific offerings from The Rehoboth Beach Film Society, presented with CAMP Rehoboth: “Beginners” and “Wish Me Away,” both part of the gay and lesbian Another Take film series Feb. 18-19. In “Beginners,” Oliver (Ewan McGregor) finally takes the plunge into love with Anna, inspired by the example of his father, who came out after 45 years of marriage and began to live an openly gay life.  “Wish Me Away” tells the story of Chely Wright’s preparations in 2010 to release an album and a book “(Like Me”) that made her the first country music star to reveal her homosexuality. It’s powerful stuff. 645-9095,

The Art Salad schedule at DCCA

Feb. 16

Artist and assistant professor of visual communication at University of Delaware Ashley John Pigford will explore the exhibition “Contraption” and themes found in interactive works of art.

Feb. 23

Christopher Dean of Philadelphia’s Schmidt Dean Gallery and Wilmington artist Dennis Beach will discuss the emerging contemporary art scenes of their cities.

March 1

Delaware-based artist Joe Netta will introduce his work included in the group exhibition “Under Construction.”

March 8

Philadelphia-based artist Leah Bailis will discuss her work included in the group exhibition “Under Construction.”

March 15

DCCA Gretchen Hupfel Curator of Contemporary Art Maiza Hixson will outline the ideas of design and methods of construction in the current DCCA exhibitions “New Work by the Dufala Brothers” and “Contraption.”

March 22

DCCA curator of special projects J. Susan Isaacs will preview themes to be explored in the 2012 Gretchen Hupfel Symposium “SUPERstructure.”

March 29

Philadelphia-based artist Tim Eads will talk about his studio practice and interactive sculptures featured in the exhibition “Contraption.”

April 5

Philadelphia artist Erin Murray will discuss themes she explores in her exhibition “Municipalia.”

April 12

New York-based artist Rebecca Murtaugh will lead a conversation about her studio practice and work included in the exhibition “Intimate Constructions.”

April 19

Philadelphia-based artist Lauren Ruth will address themes explored in her work included in the exhibition “Contraption.”

April 26

Assistant professor and chair of the liberal arts department at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts Kevin Richards will lead a discussion of Billy and Steven Dufala’s exhibition “New Work by the Dufala Brothers.”


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

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