For such a small state, Delaware has a lot to offer the art enthusiast.
When I first moved to Delaware in 2000, I was impressed with the major museums like the Delaware Art Museum and the Delaware Contemporary Art Museum, both located in Wilmington. I lived in Wilmington then and quickly discovered the Art Loop—a free, self-guided art event which brings together art lovers and the community.
Happening the first Friday of each month, the Art Loop features a variety of artists, live entertainment, refreshments and a gathering of neighbors who all share a love of the arts and local businesses. Art Loops happen in towns and cities all over the country; in some locations, they are called “First Fridays,” so it’s fitting that the Wilmington Art Loop takes place on the first Friday of the month. The Art Loop Shuttle typically offers two routes originating at the Delaware Center for the Contemporary Arts.
Delaware Art Museum is a private, not-for-profit arts organization supported by earned and contributed income, not the State of Delaware. The museum is best known for its large collection of British Pre-Raphaelite art, works by Wilmington-native Howard Pyle and fellow American illustrators, and urban landscapes by John Sloan and his circle. In addition to its permanent collection, the Delaware Art Museum hosts an exciting calendar of events and classes for both children and adults. It is truly an integral part of the community.
The Delaware Contemporary focuses on work by local, regional, national, and international artists. Founded in 1979, the museum provides an opportunity for local and emerging artists to showcase their work and offers over 24 exhibitions annually.
Biggs Museum of American Art in Dover opened in 1993 to display the art collection of its founder, Sewell C. Biggs. The museum displays the finest Delaware-made furniture and silver as well as twenty-five galleries arranged to emphasize the evolution of Mid-Atlantic fashion in the fine and decorative arts from the early 1700s to the present. Read more about the collection here. In addition, the Delaware by Hand is co-located at the Biggs Museum featuring an impressive group of contemporary Delaware visual artists and artisans.
Art Leagues & Galleries
In addition to our art museums, there are active Art Leagues throughout the state and an impressive list of Art Galleries in almost every city and town.
Art Leagues tend to be non-profit organizations dedicated to expanding the local art community through classes, exhibits, and provide support to both new and experienced artists.
The Dover Art League is a non-profit organization dedicated to providing opportunities for local artists of all ages and skill levels. They offer high-quality programming, gallery exhibitions, and art classes.
Rehoboth Art League, located on a 3+ acre wooded campus in Rehoboth, presents more than two dozen solo, group, and special art exhibitions each year. Members works are always on display in one or more of the galleries and the best is featured in Members’ Showcase Exhibitions. In addition to the annual Cottage Tour of Art and the Outdoor Dine Art and Fine Craft Show, there are many events, programs, and artist opening parties throughout the year.
The Milton Arts Guild is a non-profit dedicated to providing art shows that offer original, high quality, handcrafted, and diverse mediums of art. Located in the heart of Milton, the Gallery is open Wednesday through Saturday from 11 am – 3 pm. You can preview some of the Artist Members work in the Members Gallery.
Founded in 2004, the Mispillion Art League shares art through exhibits and a variety of art classes. There are now 300 members and a wide range of classes and events, both at the Art League in the heart of Milford and in the community through its Outreach Program. There are so many fun classes for children, adults, and seniors. Learn more and register here.
The Millsboro Art League promotes interest in, and creates a passion for, the creative arts by encouraging involvement, sharing expertise, and lending support to aspiring and established artists in the Millsboro area.
The Art League of Ocean City, although located across the state line in Ocean City, Maryland, is a non-profit art gallery featuring rotating exhibits of local artworks by artists from the Delmarva Region. Galleries display new exhibits of regional and local artists monthly and exhibits kick off with an opening reception from 5-7 pm on the first Friday of each month. Additionally, they offer workshops for artists of all ages and skill levels.
To cover all the galleries sprinkled throughout the state would take a year of blog posts, but I would like to point out some of my personal favorites, many of which we have highlighted in the past.
The Peninsula Gallery located in Lewes, DE features Fine Art and custom framing, conservation, and restoration. The gallery features monthly exhibitions and ever-changing displays by local, regional and international resident artists.
The Ellen Rice Gallery located in Ocean View, DE originated when Ellen Rice opened her gallery on Atlantic Avenue in Ocean View in 1999 to display her own work and handmade creations of some local artisans she loved. It has grown to now represent more than 100 artisans working in a variety of mediums. The Gallery is open all year and offers ample parking.
Gallery 37 located in Milford, DE is a destination for Artful Living in the heart of Milford. Find art, jewelry, and more from some wonderful local artists and artisans. One of my favorites, Arden Bardol, exhibits her wonderful jewelry and creations at Gallery 37.
LaFate Gallery at Wilmington, DE is founded by Eunice LaFate who was born in Jamaica but now lives in Wilmington. She is self-taught and has been painting for more than 20 years. In 1993, she opened her gallery on N. Market Street. Several of Eunice’s paintings hang in my home and my office.
Mezzanine Gallery located on the 2nd floor of the Carvel State Office building in Wilmington. The gallery features one-person exhibitions of Delaware artists in various disciplines.
Find Gallery 50 at Rehoboth Beach, DE. This gallery features a contemporary art and frame shop on Wilmington Avenue in Rehoboth Beach. I just attended the opening of a pastel exhibition by Jerry Strum, an Active Adults Realty client and our Stager. Several of Jerry’s paintings hang in my home! Gallery 50 features artworks from renowned, established, and emerging artists from both the local area and around the world.
Cape Artists Gallery located in Lewes, DE. Cape Artists share a gallery located on West 3rd Street in Lewes. They all display some of their original artwork in the Gallery and participate in the management of this cooperative shop. Jean Bowers is one of the Artist Members and an Active Adults Realty client. Several of Jean’s paintings hang in my home.
We love to celebrate all the arts, events and things to do in our great state of Delaware. Please be sure to sign up for our Locals NOW email newsletter to be up to date about area events, our favorite Delaware businesses and so much more!