Dowtown Preparies for Its Portrait
Artists will converge on downtown to “Paint Dover!”
More than twenty artists from Delaware as well as from Baltimore, the Eastern Shore, New York and Virginia will arrive in Dover on First Friday, October 4 to paint colorful scenes of downtown in watercolor, oil, and pastel. This inaugural art event is part of Arts Alive at Five! and is open to amateur and professional artists, as well as high school and college students. To highlight the event and welcome the artists, downtown merchants are preparing their window displays in a colorful “harvest and arts theme.” Their windows will be judged as part of the Downtown Dover Partnership Merchants Committee fall window display contest.
“En plein air” is a French expression that means “in the open air” used to describe the art of painting outdoors. Artists from around the region will take to the streets, parks, sidewalks and outdoor cafes to participate. 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 throughout the day, attend the judging of paintings, and even cast their vote for best painting in show via a “People’s Choice” award, at which time they may also purchase artwork, some of which will still be wet on the canvas!
The judge of this year’s event, oil and pastel artist Dennis Young owner of Mo’zart Studios in New Castle, recalls participating in a similar outdoor painting event that took place quite a few years ago as part of Dover Days. “It was wonderful to paint in our state’s capital city and the parklike setting of The Green at that time. I am thrilled to see that this year’s event will encourage artists to paint commercial buildings up and down Loockerman and adjacent streets, as well as on State Street and The Green. Downtown Dover has so many ‘painterly’ scenes.”
Diane Laird, Executive Director for the Downtown Dover Partnership, notes that this event is part of The 2019 Big Draw Festival Delaware where over 50 activities and classes suitable for artists and non-artists, families, and kids will be offered throughout the state of Delaware. The Festival is part of an international annual event taking place in over 25 countries and involving more than 500,000 participants. Ms. Laird is excited to see the growing number of registrants to the Paint Dover! event, some of whom are professional painters that travel the region and even the country to participate in plein air events.
Alison Barry is an artist coming from Southern, MD. “I heard that Dover is a cute, historic town with lots of shops and I have been looking for an opportunity to check out Dover’s buildings and local sites in the downtown,” Ms. Barry said. Alison painted in the juried outdoor painting event in Nova Scotia, Canada this summer, and recently Mountain Maryland Plein Air, among others. Registered also for the event is June’s First Friday caricature artist Jim Rehak, who is also on “the circuit” as a plein air painter, most recently painting in Lewes, Chincoteague, Easton and Berlin, Maryland. “I've seen the morning light illuminate those buildings on The Green in Dover and this will create an ideal plein air painting subject.”
Several residents of Dover will host artists that are coming from a further distance than a one-day event will reasonably allow for travel, including Tonda and Joe Parks and Kip and Joe McDaniel.
The event will culminate in a "wet paint" exhibition between 4:30 and 7 p.m. at Loockerman Way Plaza, 126 Loockerman Street where artwork will be available for sale. The public is invited and encouraged to attend the event and cast their vote by 6 p.m. for a favorite painting. All awards will be announced beginning at 6:00 p.m. at the Plaza (rain location Dover Art League, 21 W. Loockerman St.)
Arts lovers and artists of any ability are invited to participate. A variety of awards will be presented including several from the artist judge Dennis Young; Mayor’s Pick as sponsored and selected by City of Dover Mayor Christiansen; two awards presented by staff of sponsor PAM Rehabilitation of Dover; and the People’s Choice award. Jerry’s Artarama and Dick Blick art stores have graciously provided gift cards to be awarded, as well.
Registration information may be found on Eventbrite at Tinyurl.com/PaintDover. Participants are asked to pre-register but registration will also take place upon artist check-in at House of Coffi between the hours of 7-10 a.m. the morning of the event, and at the Dover Art League after 10 a.m. Those that would like to participate “behind the scenes” can visit Tinyurl.com/PaintDoverVolunteer to photograph, provide food for the artists’ casual dinner, or to volunteer otherwise.
The event will be held rain or shine, as artists paint in poor weather from under their auto hatchbacks, umbrellas or under canopies and many merchants will remain open later into Friday evening. Questions? Contact Diane@DowntownDoverPartnership.com 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.
PaintDover! is part of The 2019 Big Draw Festival DE presented by Mispillion Art League. Join us throughout the month of October for a multitude of art events throughout the state, many of which are free!
The Downtown Dover Partnership is committed to driving an improved quality of life for the residents and visitors of Dover, Delaware, through collective collaboration, economic development and promotion of downtown Dover’s unique historic properties. Call 302-678-2940 or visit: DowntownDoverPartnership.com