Lewes’ foray into public art in 1975 didn’t end well

September 20, 2017

In 1975, in anticipation of the nation's 200th anniversary in 1976, Lewes Historical Society commissioned a piece of public art to be displayed in the vicinity of the 1812 Park, across from the post office. Cool Spring sculptor Arturo Bassols, who taught at Delaware State University, crafted an abstract piece inspired in part by the church steeples of the town. The public failed to see any connection between Bassols' work and Lewes. Public opinion prevailed and the work was removed from downtown.

University of Delaware agreed to take the piece and display it on the campus of what at the time was the College of Marine Studies at the west end of Pilottown Road. The contemporary feel of the sculpture, it was felt, would be complementary to the newly constructed Cannon Lab building. Wind and weather took its toll quickly on the Bassols piece. After not so many years, it rusted and deteriorated, fell apart and was completely dismantled and relegated to the landfill.

  • Delaware Cape Region History in Photographs, published every Tuesday in the Cape Gazette, features historical photos from Delaware's Cape Region - particularly - and from throughout Sussex County and Delaware generally.

    Readers are invited to submit photos of historic interest. They can be mailed to the Cape Gazette at PO Box 213, Lewes, DE 19958, or via email to

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