When a plan to bring Tom Fruin’s Water Tower to Lewes Canalfront Park was postponed due to COVID-19, the city’s public art committee scrambled to find another project for the community.
The group has come up with a temporary mural to be displayed for at least 18 months on the side of the Board of Public Works’ former electric facility on Schley Avenue. The 48-by-28-foot mural will be visible from the Lewes-to-Georgetown Trail on the stretch between the Lewes Public Library and the Lewes-Rehoboth Canal.
The committee is accepting proposals from artists interested in the project through Friday, Aug. 14. The mural’s narrative and design should reflect the spirit of Lewes.
Cliff Diver, committee chair, said the broad premise really allows artists to be creative.
“Hopefully we’ll get some creative people that have been sitting on their hands for a few months and really want to do something,” Diver said. “It’d really be nice to have this where you’re walking down the path and you’re surprised by something that’s cool-looking, energetic, and you have this moment of joy. A mural can do that.”
The committee has put out an open call to artists throughout Delaware, New York City, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C. Proposals will be judged by the committee in late August. The artist of the winning mural concept will have a quick turnaround to begin work on the piece, as the committee expects the mural to be completed by Tuesday, Sept. 15.
The project’s budget is $5,000 for an artist or a team of collaborative artists. The budget should include the artist fee, supplies, travel expenses, maintenance requirements for 18 months and other associated costs.
Artists will retain ownership of design ideas submitted with an application until a selection has been made and a contract signed. The chosen design will become property of the City of Lewes.
This is the latest public art project in Lewes. In 2019, Art in Bloom unveiled a semi-permanent mural by local artist Damon Pla on the side of the Beacon Motel depicting Lewes’ connection to the sea through menhaden fishermen working in the Delaware Bay.
In 2018, Art in Bloom first major public art project was completed with the placement of three kinetic wind spinners by artist Lyman Whitaker at the trailhead near the Lewes library.
In progress by Art in Bloom is a mosaic to be placed in four sections on the concrete walls of the Savannah Road drawbridge. Each section is 2-by-25-feet and comprises five panels. Local artist Lorelei Meanor designed the project, which shows fish swimming to and from the bay. The project has been delayed by COVID-19, but a portion of the mosaic could be installed as early as this fall after the Department of Transportation completes work on the bridge.
A copy of the request for proposals can be found at www.lewespublicarts.org.