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Explore the Work of Brian Selznick in Wilmington, DE

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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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Free Tickets to Man of La Mancha in DE

Image Courtesy of DuPont Theatre

Image Courtesy of DuPont Theatre


Greater Wilmington Convention & Visitors Bureau giving away two tickets to see the March 25, 2014 evening show at the DuPont Theatre / Wilmington, DE. If you’re interested in catching Man of La Mancha at 7:30pm, then comment on their FB at https://www.facebook.com/GreaterWilmingtonCVB.

*Winner will need to pick up tickets from us before 4:30pm March 25, 2014.

An all new production complete with the Tony-award winning score and book that has inspired theatergoers since the very first note of “The Impossible Dream” was heard on opening night. Enter the mind and the world of Don Quixote as he pursues his quest for the impossible dream. Against all odds, a man sees good and innocence in a world filled with darkness and despair. This lyrical and amusing adventure is a classic tale of the triumph of a man over his own follies.


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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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DELAWARE ART MUSEUM HOSTS FREE CHINESE NEW YEAR CELEBRATION

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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Civil War in Delaware: Part 4

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General A. T. A. Torbert: Wikipedia: Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division. Brady-Handy Photograph Collection.

Alfred T. A. Torbert was the most significant Civil War hero from Delaware said Dr. Gary Wray, Professor of History at Wilmington College. Born in Georgetown in 1833, Torbert served with and was on a first name basis with legendary Civil War figures such as William Tecumseh Sherman and George Armstrong Custer.

Torbert’s father was a farmer, bank teller and part- time minister in Delaware, which meant that he was a man with both political and financial connections. As such, he had ambitions for his son and used his connections to get him into West Point, where Torbert was “noted for his horsemanship, and not so much for good grades,” said Wray.

In the Nineteenth century, classes at West Point were small, continued Wray. Everyone knew everyone else. When war clouds loomed in 1860-1861, each former student had to take sides. While the Civil War has been described as a confrontation pitting brother against brother, said Wray, military commanders regularly faced former classmates across the battlefields. They knew each others strengths and weaknesses, having studied together at West Point.

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


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Civil War in Delaware: Part 3

Slavery in Delaware

Delaware played a major role in the history of African-American freedom, said Reed. Thomas Garrett organized and operated a branch of the Underground Railroad running from Seaford through Middletown and Odessa.

Harriet Tubman: Wikipedia: woodcut artist not listed; W.J. Moses, printer; stereotyped by Dennis Bro's & Co.

Harriet Tubman: Wikipedia: woodcut artist not listed; W.J. Moses, printer; stereotyped by Dennis Bro’s & Co.

Harriet Tubman conducted slaves through Delaware to freedom during the 1850’s. She was assisted by other free people of color and escaped slaves. “From 1863 to 1865, Delaware furnished 924 men to the Union Army as members of four U.S. Colored Troop Regiments,” said Reed.

The Civil War Round Table of Wilmington, Delaware, Inc, the nation’s fourth oldest civil war round table, meets to learn about and discuss these contentious times on the first Wednesday of the month from September through June. Reservations required. For information about featured speakers, visit http://mysite.verizon.net/vze6oji5/index.html .

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


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Delaware and the Civil War: Part 2

Wilmington, home to the state’s manufacturing and trading center at the junction of the Brandywine and Christiana, had woolen mills and other industrial establishments dependent on water power. “Much of the gunpowder fired by the Union military came from the E.I. Dupont & Co.’s Hagley Mills,” said Reed. Harland and Hollingsworth completed three monitors plus several gunboats, while their competitor Pusey & Jones launched an additional half-dozen gunboats.

Sketch of USS Patapsco built by Harlan & Hollingsworth: Wikipedia: Jinian {{PD-USGov-Military-Navy}}

Sketch of USS Patapsco built by Harlan & Hollingsworth: Wikipedia: Jinian {{PD-USGov-Military-Navy}}

Hagley Museum & Library: Restored Roll Mill: Wikipedia: Ukexpat

Hagley Museum & Library: Restored Roll Mill: Wikipedia: Ukexpat

Below the canal and west of the railroad was a rural, agrarian society of farmers and water men, said Reed. Lower Delaware industries consisted of small shipyards at Milford and Milton and local grist mills.

Kent and Sussex, although geographically larger than New Castle County, were definitely rural. Subsistence farms predominated, especially in Sussex, where farmers made enough cash to pay taxes by selling native pine for building timber to be used in Philadelphia, said Reed.  Delaware Bay watermen and fishing vessels home ported at Lewes in Sussex County served as the exception to the rural norm. New Castle, Seaford, Laurel and Milford were hotbeds of Confederate sympathizers.

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