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Explore the Work of Brian Selznick in Wilmington, DE

Save the date for this exciting event!


Eye peeping through the #5, inside view with Hugo looking out for the Invention of Hugo Cabret, 2007. Brian Selznick (born 1966). Pencil on watercolor paper, 11 x 8 inches. © 2007 by Brian Selznick. Courtesy of the National Center for Children’s Illustrated Literature, Abilene, Texas. Eye peeping through the #5, inside view with Hugo looking out for the Invention of Hugo Cabret, 2007. Brian Selznick (born 1966). Pencil on watercolor paper, 11 x 8 inches. © 2007 by Brian Selznick. Courtesy of the National Center for Children’s Illustrated Literature, Abilene, Texas.

Brian Selznick single handedly changed the way I think about books and storytelling when he published his award winning novel, The Invention of Hugo Cabret. Like many, I was utterly charmed by the fictional Hugo Cabret, an orphan who lives in the walls of a busy Paris train station. In 2008, Selznick was awarded the Caldecott Medal for The Invention of Hugo Cabret, which was made into the Oscar award-winning film Hugo (2011), directed by Martin Scorsese.

Selznick’s illustrations animate the imaginations of children and adults with his blending of illusion, history, and adventure. As a result, I am looking forward to the upcoming…

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AAUW Dollars for Scholars Used Book Sale in Delaware

Image Courtesy of AAUW

Image Courtesy of AAUW

This is one of the biggest used book sales in Delaware, and one that I always try to attend since it benefits a great cause. Money raised from this sale goes for local scholarships, and as a writer and reader, I applaud their efforts to make education accessible. The books they sell cover tables stretching from one end of the Concord Mall in north Wilmington to the other. One of the best things about buying in Delaware is that we have no sales tax.

The sale starts tomorrow, February 27, and runs through Sunday, March 2, 2014. Buyers looking for deep discounts can buy a bag for $10 and fill (does not apply to collectibles). Best of all, books have NOT been picked over; NO buyer restrictions. 

45th Annual AAUW Dollars for Scholars Used Book Sale

Dates: February 27 to March 2, 2014

Location: 4737 Concord Pike, Wilmington, Delaware Concord Mall

Time: 10 a.m. To 9:30 p.m. Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. 11 a.m. To .5 p.m. Sunday

•Area’s largest sale of gently used books:

•All items are donated, sorted and priced.

•Find DVDs, CDs, VHS tapes, records, sheet music, puzzles, ephemera.

•Books sorted into more than 50 categories, including:

◦Art, Collectibles

◦Delaware/Mid-Atlantic History

◦Travel, Cookbooks


◦History, Civil War, WWII


◦Audio Books


•Great Prices:

◦Most items $1 to $5.

Collectibles up to $100

◦Saturday at 6:00 p.m. – most items half price (does not apply to collectibles)

◦Sunday: Buy a bag for $10 and fill (does not apply to collectibles).


Update 2/27/2014: I just found this story on shopping library sales. I had to LOL; it sounds so much like the sales I have attended. Be kind to your fellow shoppers though. I have pulled books for people when I overheard authors they wanted; they returned the favor.

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Making Your Dream Wedding Come True: Part 1

Selecting the right theme for your wedding, party, or engagement can make all the difference when crafting an event that is both memorable and enjoyable. Whether you choose to make your day whimsical or romantic; silly or sophisticated, local venues can help you to create a distinctive event that is both fun and festive.

Romance on the High Seas

Kalmar Nyckel
Wikipedia: Original up loader was Halfblue at en.wikipedia

A cruise ship wedding may be out of reach during tough economic times, but that does not mean that you have to forgo the romance of a shipboard wedding. The Kalmar Nyckel, Delaware’s own historic tall ship, sails from two ports every season, making it easy to coordinate your wedding plans.

The original Kalmar Nyckel sailed from Sweden to the New World in 1638 leaving its passengers to establish the first permanent European settlement in the Delaware Valley, the Colony of New Sweden in present-day Wilmington, Delaware.

Today, intimately sized weddings of 75 people or less can sail from either Wilmington or Lewes. The Kalmar Nyckel does not have an onboard kitchen, so any food services must be provided by your caterer, and you must supply your own officiant.

If 75 guests is too small a gathering, up to 90 guests can attend your celebration dockside, with the ship forming a dramatic backdrop or stage for your vows.

Kalmar Nyckel Foundation

1124 East 7th Street

Wilmington, DE


This story was first published in the News Journal in 2009, under the byline of Gail A. Sisolak. All copyrights reserved.

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Friday’s Field Trip: A Day of Play in a Sculpture Garden

After weeks of bad weather, (rain, snow, freezing rain, winter mix, sleet) we finally had a sunny day on Friday. I decided to head over to the Delaware Art Museum, walk their Labyrinth and enjoy their sculpture garden.

Several of the sculptures in the Copeland Sculpture Garden are immensely popular in Wilmington, probably because they are so accessible. The Crying Giant by Tom Otterness is a perfect example. Children love, love, love this piece. They sit on the feet, swing around the legs; make up stories about why the giant is crying, and try to make the giant feel better. That level of interaction between artwork and its audience is hard to find.

Crying Giant Image  by Tom Otterness  Image Copyright Gail A. Sisolak 20123

Trickster Joe Moss, Delaware artist and Newark resident, creates art pieces equally engaging. His sculptures frequently have both a sight and sound component. Orifice II, his bright red disks, is a perfect example. The center directs the viewers gaze to a specific point, while the bowed shapes reflect sound.

Orifice II by Joe Moss Image Copyright 2013 by Gail A. Sisolak

Orifice II by Joe Moss Image Copyright 2013 by Gail A. Sisolak

In these two videos, made by the Delaware Division of the Arts, Moss shares some of his work and his design processes.

My personal favorite is a kinetic sculpture by George Rickey called Three Rectangles Horizontal Jointed Gyratory III. Gyratory? I love new words, so I was immediately intrigued. It only takes a few seconds for the wind to shift and the TRHJG to whirl, creating an entirely new work of art. This would make an ideal gorilla art project. I’d love to sneak in the gardens in the dead of night, and put stickers on the rectangles saying “Oz,” “Narnia” and “Neverland,” and turn the sculpture into a dancing signpost. I’ll have to Photoshop one of my photos some day, since I’d never REALLY destroy another artist’s work.

Three Rectangles Horizontal Jointed Gyratory III by George Rickey  Image Copyright 2013 by Gail A. Sisolak

Three Rectangles Horizontal Jointed Gyratory III by George Rickey Image Copyright 2013 by Gail A. Sisolak

At least I am constant in my affection. I saw Rickey’s Two Red Lines at the Oakland Museum sometime prior to 1973, and it made a lasting impression on me. If fact, it is one of only two pieces I remember seeing.

He’s a video of his work.

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Photo courtesy of Delaware Art Museum

Photo courtesy of Delaware Art Museum

The Delaware Art Museum is pleased to welcome the seventh annual Chinese New Year Celebration on Saturday, February 16. Presented in conjunction with Hanlin Chinese Culture Association, this festive, free celebration includes traditional Chinese art activities, artist demonstrations, a dragon art scavenger hunt, a dragon dance and Chinese yo-yo performance by the Chinese American Community Center Dance Troupe and Yo-Yo Club, and a special musical performance by Taiwanese Music Ensemble of New York. Artwork created by children from the Chinese School of Delaware to commemorate this holiday will also be on view. There is no Museum admission during Chinese New Year and all galleries will be open throughout the day from 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.

Delaware Art Museum

2301 Kentmere Parkway

Wilmington, DE 19806

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Photo Courtesy of Delaware Art Museum    Photo Courtesy of Delaware Art Museum

Photo Courtesy of Delaware Art Museum
Photo Courtesy of Delaware Art Museum

The Delaware Art Museum’s lively New Year’s Eve Celebration returns for its second year on Monday, December 31 from 10:00 p.m. to 1:00 a.m. This entertaining and elegant holiday party will feature delicious food, an open bar–including a special peppermint cocktail and champagne toast at midnight–music, and more!

Guests will enjoy dancing, drinking, and a special movie screening projected on the side of a gallery wall. A sweet and savory fondue bar stocked with cheese, chocolate, cakes, and fruit will also be available. The countdown at midnight will include noisemakers, clappers, champagne, and a live broadcast of Times Square.

Guests are also invited to stroll through the Museum’s galleries and special exhibitions, including the Centennial Juried Exhibition. This exciting exhibition features a variety of media–drawing, painting, sculpture, photography, video, and installation–from 97 artists living either within the State of Delaware or within 100 miles of the Museum.

Ring in an artful New Year and purchase your tickets ($65 – $75) today by calling 302-351-8512 or online at Valet parking is included in the ticket price.

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Breakfast with the Arts: Part 3

 Weekday Breaks for Art

Wikipedia: DelawareArt Museum: Edward Burne-Jones (1833-1898)

Wikipedia: DelawareArt Museum: Edward Burne-Jones (1833-1898)

Those looking for light bite to start the day should check out the Thronson Café in the Delaware Museum of Art. The café and its terrace both overlook the Copeland Sculpture Garden. Assorted coffees, muffins, bagels, juices and the popular fruit parfait provide the perfect art beak in a busy day.

The Thronson Café is open Wednesday though Saturday, 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., and Sunday noon to 3:00 p.m.

The Delaware Art Museum’s collections are predominantly drawn from late 19th and early 20th century American illustration, as well as works from the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood. The basis of the museum’s collections is the works of Howard Pyle and his pupils, N.C. Wyeth, Frank Schoonover, and Stanley Arthurs. Starting in 1961 Helen Farr Sloan, the wife of artist John French Sloan, began donations that eventually totaled 5,000 objects.

Since the 1970s the museum has added works by modern artists, such as Jacob Lawrence, Louise Nevelson, Robert Motherwell, George Segal and Jim Dine.

For More Information:

Delaware Art Museum

2301 Kentmere Parkway

Wilmington, DE

(302) 571-9590

This story was first published in the News Journal in 2008, under the byline of Gail A. Sisolak. All copyrights reserved.

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Breakfast with the Arts: Part 2

The Art of Nature and the Home

The Garden Cafeteria at Winterthur is reconfigured during Sunday Brunch to create a more intimate dining space focused on food and the glories of the gardens. Diners must stroll past the dessert offerings first, tempting them to forgo other buffet items. This would be unfortunate,

Images courtesy of Winterthur

Images courtesy of Winterthur

since the eclectic buffet items regularly change and include such varied options as sushi, crisp salads and fresh fruit. Boomers who visited the 1964/1965 New York World’s Fair will find memorable Belgian waffles on the menu. Sparkling champagne beautifully enhances the omelets made to order.

Sunday Brunch is served from 10:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m.

The Holiday Brunch menu at Winterthur offers special seasonal temptations, including Berry Muffins with Nutmeg Sugar, Sweet Cream & Currant Mini Scones with Fig & White Raisin Baked Apples and Smoked Salmon on Mini Potato Pancakes with Dill Sour Cream & Fried Capers.

Yuletide at Winterthur allows visitor to experience traditions of the past and dazzling displays in this special wintertime tour. Be transported to a 19th-century market square to see how preparations for winter festivities began, and in celebration of the exhibition Uncorked! Wine, Objects & Tradition, see the scrumptious evolution of the holiday meal from the colonial period to the early national period. Enjoy Winterthur’s unique version of a winter wonderland as you meander through a re-created woodland path offering vistas of the Winterthur Garden enveloped in snow.

Whether you are taking in the breathtakingly decorated trees, the colorful and exquisite room and food displays, or the winter wonderland of the garden, Yuletide at Winterthur is a feast for the eyes.


5105 Kennett Pike

Winterthur DE

(302) 888-4600       

This story was first published in the News Journal in 2008, under the byline of Gail A. Sisolak. All copyrights reserved.

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Winterthur’s Enchanted Woods Creates the Perfect Setting for an Enchanted Summer Day

Photo courtesy of Winterthur

WHAT: Winterthur’s Enchanted Summer Day

WHEN: Saturday, June 16, 11:00 am–3:00 pm

WHERE: Winterthur’s Enchanted Woods, 5105 Kennett Pike, Winterthur, Delaware

Fairy princesses, enchanted woodsmen, and all magical beings are invited to run, skip, and play at Winterthur’s Enchanted Summer Day on Saturday, June 16 from 11:00 am to 3:00 pm. Enjoy a full day of crafts, games, and face-painting as the Celtic tunes of roving musicians fill the air. Craft a silly crown while you marvel at a magician’s amazing sleight of hand. Create magic wands and magnificent mice at the arts and crafts table, and savor delicious ice cream from Woodside Farm Creamery. Dance around the Maypole, or learn how to pot a basil plant in the fantastical surroundings of this special children’s garden.

Families are also invited to explore the museum on the Once Upon a Family Tour or in Winterthur’s Touch-It Room. Capture your favorite moments from the day with a digital camera and enter your photos into the Enchanted Summer Day photo contest. The winner will receive a family membership (or renewal) to Winterthur—good for a whole year. This is a rain-or-shine event; if raindrops threaten, the magic moves inside. Most Enchanted Summer Day activities are included in Winterthur’s regular admission. For more information about the event, visit

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In the spring of 2001, one multi-millionaire made national headlines by becoming the first space tourist.  Hundreds of Delawareans can do something even more fantastic-they can “travel” through time while never leaving the State.  Local historical museums and sites invite you to participate in a wide range of activities.  Visit a Native American longhouse, climb into the cockpit of a C-141 Starlifter, learn to make candles, soap and care for livestock.  All this can be yours, as you become a Delaware Time Traveler.

First Stop: Greenbank Mill

Located on Red Clay Creek in Wilmington, Greenbank Mill has a rich and varied history.  At one time there were many mills along the once abundant stream; today, only the Greenbank Mill remains. The original mill dates back to the 17th century and according to local legend, George Washington’s army used flour and baked goods from the mill. In the 1800’s a second stone building was added to process wool.

Greenbank Mill

Wilmington, DE


Talk to Union and Confederate Soldiers

Fort Delaware State Park, a Union fortress was originally built to protect the ports of Wilmington and Philadelphia.  At one time it served as a prison for Confederate prisoners of War.  From the parking area in Delaware City, visitors take a one-half mile ferry ride to Pea Patch Island aboard the Three Fort Ferry.  A jitney provides transportation from the dock to the fort, where authentically –clad historic interpreters begin your journey back to the summer of 1863.

The day is filled with hands-in history, which might include helping the blacksmith hammer out parts for a cannon or working with the laundress. Visitors can become “civilian inspectors” reporting on conditions at the post.  Cooks, Laundresses, Blacksmiths, sutlers, soldiers, and politicians may be in attendance.

Fort Delaware State Park

Delaware City, Delaware

Visit the Nineteenth Century at Hagley

Hagley Museum is where the du Pont story begins in the Brandywine Valley, and features the original du Pont mills, estate, and gardens on 235 acres along the Brandywine River.

Indoors, you can explore the first du Pont home built in America in 1803.  The Residence reflects the tastes of the five du Pont generations that lived there.

On Blacksmith Hill, part of the workers’ community has been restored.  The din of old power tools in operation can be heard in the restored 1880s machine shop. Learn about the 19th century industrial age by visiting the working roll mill and steam engine.

Hagley Museum and Library

Wilmington, Delaware

Climb Into the Massive C-141 Starlifter

The Air Mobility Command Museum at the Dover Air Force Base houses a growing collection of planes and artifacts.  Many visitors don’t realize Delaware was the home of the first operational WASP (Woman Airforce Service Pilots) during WWII.  One exhibit details what it took to become a female pilot for the military during those early years.  Two original uniforms, designed by the WASPs themselves, are on display.  These were the first blue Air Force uniforms.    

The Air Mobility Command Museum

Dover, Delaware


Portions of this story were first published in the News Journal in 2001 under the byline of Gail A. Sisolak. All copyrights reserved.