Guests were literally sweating it out in a packed Vinyard shipyard on Sunday afternoon as they eagerly awaited the unveiling of phase one of the Art on the Riverwalk Tour project.
The ART project, led by Downtown Milford, Inc., is slated to permanently display 18 four-foot sculptures modeled after Milford's classic Augusta yacht throughout downtown, decorated by artists in Kent and/or Sussex counties. And the sculptures must be decorated based on the town's slogan: "River Town, Art Town, Home Town." The goal behind the initiative is to bring attention to Milford's history of shipways, highlight the skill of the artists involved with the sculptures and draw more people to downtown.
Having been in the works for about a year-and-a-half, the first six pieces (or phase one) of the ART project was finally revealed Sunday with much acclaim from the guests at the Vinyard shipyard.
The six boat sculptures were decorated by Milford artists Cathy Walls, Scott and Gail Angelucci, Anne Jenkins and David Rule. Both Jenkins and Rule painted two boats. In addition, each artist was paired with a senior from Milford High School. Ann McGehrin assisted Jenkins; Evelyn Orta assisted the Angeluccis, Carlo Rodriguez assisted Walls and Kim McKinney assisted Rule.
Staying afloat with nifty designs
Jenkins and McGehrin designed two boats anchored in a folksy style. The first represents local businesses downtown like the Music School of Delaware's Milford branch, Riverfront Theatre, the Riverfront Farmers' Market and the Santa Claus House. Since Milford once housed seven shipyards between 1680 and 1927, Jenkins took the time to list the names of those shipyards on her second sculpture: Sammons, Reville, Carlisle, Abbott, Ratcliff, Harper and, of course, Vinyard.
Meanwhile, Rule and McKinney introduced two boats with large, bold images and bright colors. Their first piece featured local wildlife like frogs, ladybugs and dragonflies. The second included large musical notes with splashes of bright colors and plops of teal, with the teal specially used to represent the the Riverwalk bridge near the Vinyard shipyard, Rule said.
Then there's the boat sculpture by the Angeluccis and Orta, in which they covered their boat with more than 1,000 pieces of glass, using them to create a whimsical interpretation of Milford. Some of the others designs on the boat included the late and great Milfordian photographer Andrew Komoroski, Milford School District's Buccaneers mascot and a mermaid.
Walls and Rodriguez's boat had more of a photo-realistic look and included a barbershop, the Bug & Bud Festival parade and Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church. Furthermore, the top of the boat features figurines representing local businesses. For instance, there's a roller skate that symbolizes the Milford Skating Center and an elderly couple that represents the Milford Senior Center, Inc.
Page 2 of 2 - What's next?
The first six sculptures of the Art project are slated to be erected in a few weeks, said Lee Nelson, executive director of Downtown Milford, Inc.
Moving forward, the ART project is intended to have two more phases with the next one slated for next June. Each phase will be a year apart and include six sculptures.
For the ART project, Downtown Milford Inc. collaborated with the Mispillion Art League, Milford High School and Milford Parks and Recreation.