Lewes public art exhibit in Canalfront Park on hold

Concrete slab snaps during installation
May 29, 2023

Art enthusiasts anticipating a visual wonder in Canalfront Park this summer will need to wait just a bit longer.

As artist DeWitt Godfrey and his team were installing “Paviljoen,” the city’s 2023 temporary art exhibition, the concrete pad supporting the piece cracked and split open as Godfrey was shaping one of the metal arches. Assisting the crew was a crane from the Lewes Board of Public Works.

Commissioned specifically for Lewes, the pieces needed to be secured and bent into the appropriate shape. To secure the arches to the concrete pad, brackets were nailed down at the end of the arches.

According to the public art committee, specifications provided by Godfrey for the concrete pad were not followed by the contractor, causing the foundation to crack. In the interest of safety, officials have postponed the installation until the defective pad can be replaced. There is an expectation of a mid summer installation and an extended run for the temporary piece.

Project coordinators at the site said the concrete pad was to be 6 to 8 inches thick with rebar and partially submerged. The pad was less than half the minimum of 6 inches and laid on top of what appeared to be a mulch bed. There was no rebar within the pad; installers said if it was in place, it would have helped support the pressure.

An earlier press release had indicated the name of the piece was “The Gathering,” explaining it represented a place for people to come together. Godfrey said that is the incorrect name and “Paviljoen” – the Dutch word for pavilion – is the appropriate name for the piece.


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