Artists, writers and musicians thrive here!
In 2012, I began facilitating a writing event between the Rehoboth Art League and the Rehoboth Beach Writers’ Guild. Two artists were invited to showcase their work once a month.
Some writers created stories, while others gave their interpretations of the art. Other writers struggled at times to say anything at all, because in previous experiences, they were given a prompt like, “Each morning he regretted he had not _____ .”
After everyone shared, I invited the artists to tell us about their inspiration, their medium, and any details they wanted known.
Invariably, the first thing the artists did was to thank the writers and express their disbelief and gratitude that someone “saw all that” in their painting or photograph. Next they would ask the writer if they could have a copy of their work.
Five years later we added music to the mix, and a monthly event called Art in the AM was born. The works of three artists are displayed on the RBWG website one month prior to performance, and between nine and 12 writers each choose one artist’s work to write about.
The star of the event is often local musician Stuart Vining, whose grandparents moved to Rehoboth in the 1920s. Stuart has been singing and playing guitar for more than 50 years. His eclectic folk-style ballads lend a unique interpretation to the artwork.
Stuart explains, “Art in the AM is reminiscent of the words used in the introduction of the old ‘Twilight Zone’ television series. We are traveling to a new dimension in sight (the artwork), mind (the writing) and sound (the song). Usually, the artists are quite pleased and amazed at the interpretations of the song choices, because music is such a powerful trigger of our memories. The best explanation is, it's magical.”
RBWG Executive Director Maribeth Fischer has been surprised at some of the audience connections. “A woman purchased a piece of stained glass that she fell in love with, she said, while listening to what the writers were saying about it … she saw all the ways the patterns and composition of color in the glass connected to her own life.”
This month, a new collaboration has produced a book called “Scenes: A Collaboration of Coastal Writers & Artists.” It was the brainchild of writer Cindy Hall, who edited and curated the collection. This publication features 20 pieces of art by 14 local artists and 36 pieces of writing.
“One of the reasons I love living in this area is the thriving arts community,” Hall said. “I like the idea of using art as a prompt for writing and then exploring how the work was interpreted by each.”
Local author Crystal Heidel, who launched her own publishing company, Byzantium Sky Press, designed the interior of the book and created the cover, showcasing artist Howard Eberle’s watercolor, “Dusk.”
Randy Roberts’ photograph titled “The Grill of Many Colors” inspired six of the written pieces in this anthology. Roberts says, "I found this [truck] sitting in a farm field just outside of Hooper’s Island, and I just had to take its photograph."
October will bring an exciting inaugural event: The 2019 Big Draw Festival DE. Bayhealth is sponsoring the Mispillion Art League’s statewide art event, which will offer more than 50 activities and classes for artists and non-artists, families and children.
Artists Rosemary Connelly and Sonja Frey tell me that folks will be making chalk art on the street, painting a mandala on the MAS building, crafting origami birds, sketching dancers and actors in costume, learning to create wicked zombie makeup for Halloween, and much more.
For info about the 2019 Big Draw Festival DE, go to www.facebook.com/thebigdrawde2019 and www.mispillionarts.org/big-draw-de/. To purchase “Scenes: A Collaboration of Coastal Writers & Artists,” visit Browseabout Books in Rehoboth Beach.
Correction to my Sept. 13 column, “Community support is vital for Alzheimer’s walk Sept. 28,” Jody Trinsey was incorrectly referred to as “she” instead of “he.”