As a former art student, your Gabby Guy was excitedly anticipating attending the ribbon-cutting, opening and dedication of DCAD’s new Tatiana Copeland Student Center—not only to see the next big jewel being set in what is quickly becoming the precious stone necklace known as Wilmington’s Market Street—but also to finally meet the multi-faceted Copelands, Gerret and Tatiana.
Approaching the new student center, adjacent to DCAD’s main building, one’s attention is easily captivated by the color of the floors, walls and ceilings: the school’s official yellow. It’s somewhere between citrine and canary diamond yellow. Pow! On the chilly sidewalk, warm handshakes, hugs and air kisses were bestowed on the evening’s honorees by Senator Tom Carper, Congressman Mike Castle, New Castle County Executive Chris Coons, DCAD board chairman Stuart Young, and DCAD president Jim Lemke, who, before handing the supersized scissors to Mrs. C., asked the huddled guests, “With two-thirds of the Congressional delegation here, where’s Biden?”
When the chuckles subsided, Mrs. Copeland, husband at her side, cut the thin red barrier that stood between the new center and the patiently waiting, shivering student bodies. Once inside, the dignitaries and DCADers dashed to check out the cool, modern, airy, yet very inviting space, outfitted with low, black couches, chairs and elliptical-shaped coffee, hot chocolate, and soy latte tables. A two-story, glass-paneled wall leads to a private entrance to the new student residences upstairs, where six café-height tables and stools stood, each lit with spaceship-shaped, Nogucci-style hanging lamps. It was all conceived and designed by the Buccini/Pollin Group’s go-to architect, Todd Danner of arQutecture, who also did downtown’s Thoroughbred, Plexus Fitness, and is currently transforming the Queen Theater into a New World Café. Wilmington really will be the “in” place to be! According to Chris and Rob Buccini, the Queen should be open for business in 12 to 18 months.
Mr. C., wearing a magenta shirt, purple paisley tie and fuchsia pocket square, claims the only white shirts he owns are for formalwear. He reminisced about how he used to visit the student center site back when it was Mullin’s department store: “It was the place to buy Boy Scout uniforms.” Colorful is the absolute best way to describe the Copelands, besides caring and generous. Oh, did I mention they kicked in over $350,000 for the project?
It was time for the evening’s climactic moment when Tatiana and Stuart stripped away the beautifully draped wall fabric to reveal cool, brushed, aluminum raised letters that read Tatiana Copeland Student Center. The applause was surely appreciative, but you only had to look at the students’ faces to see just how much.
After the cake cutting and toasting with wines from Bouchaine, the Copelands own label, Rob Buccini escorted the honored couple and us back out to the sidewalk to view a few of the most recently completed buildings, or “gems,” in a 10-block long “necklace” that Harry Winston would envy.
Page 2: The Grandest Gala Faux Sure
The Fab Faux, a Beatles tribute band, were the special guest performers at The Grand’s 32nd annual Grand Gala.
In the lobby, we encountered several stunners, including Pamelyn Manocchio (The Grand’s director of development), Christine Molino (The Grand’s director of administration), actress and model Erin Waldie (star of several New Candlelight Theatre productions), and handsome Chris Buccini with his sleek, chic wife Mati, who told us of the couple’s plans to move to Wilmington from New York and how she enjoys doing yoga to Beatles music.
Everyone took their velvet seats, the house lights dimmed and the “fifth Beatle,” Grand chairman Francis J. “Skip” Panella, took the podium. To approving chuckles he wore a replica of a Sgt. Pepper band uniform in Ringo pink. Panella welcomed everyone—including Grand executive director Stephen Bailey, then-Governor-elect Jack Markell, former board chairs Dave Hamilton and Bob Howe—and thanked major sponsors. He was interrupted by more chuckles as Alan Levin (event co-chair with his lovely and self-admitted Wii tennis-addicted wife, Ellen) entered stage right in a “Paul” pale blue Sgt. Pepper get-up. Levin joked that his costume “was just one size away from the largest available…size walrus.”
They were joined on stage by Bailey, David Amado, Lucinda Williams and Richard Fisher for a special presentation to the evening’s honorary co-chairs Gerret and Tatiana Copeland. A large, framed, one-of-a-kind print of The Grand in her night colors by photographer Joe Del Tufo, and much to the Copeland’s visible surprise the entire Grand 2009-10 season was dedicated to them, a first in The Grand’s long history.
A bit overcome and clutching a bouquet of red roses, Mrs. C. recalled how the couple had their first date at The Grand, “dancing on this very stage.” She urged the audience to consider making a commitment to supporting the arts in Delaware their New Year’s resolutions. Ciao for now.
Page 3: First State Fashion Plate | The Belles and Beaus of the Balls
The Belles and Beaus of the Balls