First of three public art projects installed in Lewes

Artist Vivien Collens brings whimsical pieces to George H.P. Smith Park
April 25, 2022

Walkers, joggers and even those lost in George H.P. Smith Park will be greeted by Lewes’ latest public art project. 

Installed April 20, three pink aluminum sculptures that are part of artist Vivien Collens’ Squirt series stand tall along the walking path around Blockhouse Pond near the new Lewes Elementary School.

Collens’ work is the first of three public art projects slated to come to Lewes this summer.

Collens works mostly in welded aluminum, which she’s been doing since learning how to weld in 2017 during a residency at Salem Art Works. Prior to that, she was a painter for many years.

She has two tendencies in her work – organic and geometric. “I’m always trying to combine them,” she said. 

“Lewes Squirt,” as she’s calling it, is made with hollow square tubes and sheared flat aluminum plate. 

“It’s really made out of geometric materials, but it has an organic aspect to it,” she said. “This is part of my process of trying to unify my right and left brain in my artwork.” 

The Lewes pieces can be interpreted in any way the viewer wants, she said, but to her they’re a cross between trees and flowers.

Collens was born in Cleveland, Ohio. After graduating with a bachelor’s degree from Carnegie Mellon University, she studied in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, for two years, receiving a master’s degree from Institute Allende. She now resides in the Hudson Valley region of New York. 

Lewes’ second public art project this summer is “Absent Monuments” by artist Rose DeSiano. It will be installed Thursday, April 28, on the Johnson Avenue end of George H.P. Smith Park. The Lewes Public Art Committee has been working with the African American heritage commission to find art to honor previous cultures of Lewes. 

On Tuesday, May 17, the third piece, a 3D photo collage called “Lava and Leaves,” by artist Letha Wilson, will be installed in Canalfront Park. 

Public art committee Chair Cliff Diver said the city is creating a nice art loop throughout Lewes. In addition to the three projects this summer, Lewes has an eye-catching mural by artist Kyle Confehr along the Lewes-to-Georgetown Trail. Art in Bloom has also contributed to Lewes’ art scene by installing mosaic murals on the Savannah Road drawbridge, the Silent Sentinels whirligigs at the trailhead near the Lewes library and the menhaden fishing mural on the Beacon Motel. 

Lewes’ temporary art projects will remain on display until September. 

“We’re really interested in trying to promote the arts and discussion of arts,” Diver said. “We’ve had a lot of interesting dialogue with people; not necessarily agreeing that it’s good art, but everybody has been enjoying talking about it. It’s been a real positive experience. The art doesn’t stay up long, so if you don’t like it, you’re not stuck with it.” 


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