On a recent Tuesday morning, about a dozen volunteers gathered in a Pilottown Village garage to work on Lewes’ next public art project.
One group meticulously glued hundreds, if not thousands, of quarter-sized mosaic pieces to a five-foot board, while another group checked for deficiencies. A third group added grout to complete just one of 20 panels that will be placed on the inside walls of the Savannah Road drawbridge.
The project is the third in as many years for Art in Bloom, a sub-group of Lewes in Bloom with a mission to enhance the Lewes experience through public art. The group is working with artist Lorelei Meanor to create the unique piece that will feature fish swimming to and from the bay.
Meanor, a Lewes resident, has always seen the drawbridge a blank canvas. While teaching a class at Rehoboth Art League, she mentioned her vision to Art in Bloom member Sue Sandmeyer.
“Sue literally took me up on it,” Meanor said. “She took it to Art in Bloom.”
The rest is history.
The mosaic will be placed in four sections on the concrete walls along the sidewalk on each side of the bridge. Each section is 2-by-25-feet, and each section comprises five panels.
The group has been working for about a month so far and is nearing completion of the first section. About 10 to 12 volunteers work Monday and Tuesday mornings, but there are plenty of volunteers available if the project falls behind. Art in Bloom Steering Committee member Ed Zygmonski said there are about 50 volunteers participating in the project.
“It’s really a community project,” he said.
Zygmonski said the group has worked out an agreement with the Delaware Department of Transportation to place the mosaic on the bridge once the state has completed its repairs and maintenance. He anticipates placement in fall.
In the meantime, Art in Bloom will continue working and begin fundraising for the project. Zygmonski said the project’s budget is $25,000. The group has applied for a grant from Delaware Division of the Arts, but will not find out if they’ll receive any funding until later this year.
The first fundraising event is scheduled for 5 to 7 p.m., Saturday, March 14, at Peninsula Gallery, just over the very bridge where the mosaic will be displayed. Meanor will be there to discuss the evolution of the project, and photo prints of a section of the mosaic will be available for purchase.
In June, Art in Bloom and city officials celebrated the completion of a mural on the side of the Beacon Motel. The mural by artist Damon Pla honored Lewes’ menhaden fishing history and the city’s ongoing intimate connection to the bay.
Art in Bloom’s first public art project in 2018 was the placement of three wind sculptures near the Lewes Public Library.