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October First Friday

Paint Dover! Returns to Downtown Dover

October’s First Friday will be especially appealing to the diverse Dover community, as arts, music, food, and family-friendly activities are featured in the heart of downtown on Loockerman Street beginning at 4 p.m. on October 1!  The third annual Paint Dover! “plein air” painting event and art competition in downtown Dover will be launched, as we celebrate art throughout the month of October.  And new to this year’s event, award-winning artist and plein air painter, Ray Ewing, will provide a two-hour painting demonstration on Wednesday, September 29 at noon, free to registered artists and interested community members. Dave Bart, Owner of Jerry’s Artarama of Delaware and sponsor of the event, commented that “Dover’s outdoor painting event is top notch.  There are so few held in Delaware, and I am thrilled to be associated with it.”

From September 29 through October 1, amateur and professional artists from around the region will take to the streets, the parks, sidewalks and outdoor cafes to paint outside. Inspired by downtown Dover’s architectural landscape, historic commercial buildings, gardens and scenery, artists will quickly capture changing light and shadows, and the “spirit” of downtown Dover. The community is invited to watch artists paint outdoors throughout the three days, attend the sidewalk exhibition and purchase artwork on Friday. Beyond Ewing, other professional artists that travel the mid-Atlantic plein air painters “circuit” include Siobhan Duggan, Jim Rehak, Stacy Rogers, Maggii Sarfaty, and Jose Ramirez.

“Pastel, oils, pencil, ink and watercolors laid onto paper, wooden boards, and canvas are the most typical media used by artists, creating quite a variety in media and style,” said Diane Laird, Executive Director of the Downtown Dover Partnership (DDP) and originator of the event in 2019.  “These spontaneous paintings provide us with wonderful glimpses of our everyday scenery through the eyes of artists, adding a freshness to what we may take for granted.  Merchants are often thrilled when they see an artist capture their storefront in just a few hours.” Members of the Community members who have purchased paintings have mentioned that images of a favorite downtown shop or location inspired them to recall a time from their childhood or give them pride in our shopping district.  Ms. Laird noted that “the DDP has also been able to use many of these images for marketing purposes which adds variety from traditional ways we visually promote the amenities of the Dover community.

Artists will compete for a variety of awards that total over $1,000 in value, including Dover Councilman Neil’s selection of “Iconic Loockerman (Street),” Councilman Rocha’s painting selection that best depicts Dover’s historic heritage, and a new category this year entitled “THIS is Dover!” for which Councilman Taylor will make the award for the painting that best reflects the “authenticity and diversity” of downtown Dover.  Other awards will include Dover Mayor’s Christiansen’s Choice, two Small Works (under 200 square inches), and four Artist Judge awards selected by Ray Ewing.

A “People’s Choice” award will also be made at the end of October as the community casts their vote for their favorite piece on the night of the exhibition, throughout an extended virtual exhibition, and while the artwork is displayed in downtown shops. Paintings from last year may be seen in the virtual exhibit, which also features The Fig Tree Band, Dover’s hometown band that performed at the 2020 Paint Dover! exhibition: .The Fig Tree Band will also be featured at the live exhibition this year.

Artists and their paintings will be exhibited in several “nodes” on Loockerman Street sidewalks between State and S. Governor’s Ave. beginning at 4 p.m.  Awards will be placed on the artwork Friday night at 6 p.m. and all paintings will be available for purchase.  Last year over $3,000 in paintings were sold. For details about the event, to register to paint, and to attend the Ray Ewing demonstration free-of-charge, visit:

Activities alongside Paint Dover! will include a Storywalk by the Dover Public Library featuring the children’s book “The Dot”, free sidewalk chalk painting, and “sidewalk strolling” to shop and view downtown merchant windows, as downtown merchants will again come together to decorate their windows in an Arts & Harvest theme while competing for “Best Downtown Dover Merchant Window Display” award.  Live music by the Fig Tree at Loockerman Way Plaza, buskers outdoors and inside shops will be featured, along with the Capital City Farmer’s Market that will feature food items.

Josh and Brandye Nobiling - Guitarist and Vocals featuring folk songs of '60s, '70s, and '80s. Dover Art League 

Stu's Blues - With Kathy Doyle, Stu Welch and Jim on Bass, performing blues on upright bass, harmonica and ukulele. Loockerman Street near S. Governors Ave.

The Fig Tree Band at Loockerman Way Plaza Farmers Market through 7 p.m.

Mike Miller – Singer/guitarist playing Americana themed pieces.  Black Swamp Artisan Market New!

Clay Jackson  Saxophonist playing R & B, and Gospel with backing tracks.  5-7 p.m. at Black Swamp Artisan Market; then 7:30 to 8:30 p.m. Grey Fox Grille & Public House  

Rick and Tish Schuman on acoustic guitar and drums with a focus on late 1960’s/early 1970’s and original pieces. Delaware Shoppe and Park Green Galleries                                         

Mollie Raley Hall –Singer/Songwriter on guitar, ukulele and mandolin, playing an eclectic mix of folk and popHouse of Coffi

Rick Hudson - Singer/Songwriter on guitar and harmonica with a focus on blues, old time country and contemporary pieces.  Forney’s Too

Exhibition and sale of paintings will take place on October’s First Friday, October 1, 2021 from 4-7 p.m. and continue in an extended exhibition both virtually and in downtown shops.

Contact, or call 302-678-2940.

Paint Dover! is produced by  Downtown Dover Partnership/Main Street Dover and is partially funded by a grant from the Delaware Division of the Arts, in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts. Additional sponsors include Jerry’s Artarama of Delaware (Newark) and Blick Art Materials.

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