There's enough eye candy on display in the Mispillion Art League's new co-hosted exhibit,“pARTners,” to make Willy Wonka proud.

There’s enough eye candy on display in the Mispillion Art League’s new co-hosted exhibit,“pARTners,” to make Willy Wonka proud.

The flavors of art styles and mediums in the show are as diverse as the whimsical sweets the fictional Wonka made in his chocolate factory.

pARTners offers about 80-plus pieces by more than 30 artists, who work in watercolors, oil and acrylic paintings, paper constructions, pottery, woodwork, metalwork and photography, plus other mediums.

The show is a collaborative one offering works from the Milton Arts Guild and the Nanticoke River Arts Council in Seaford, the Dover Art League, as well as MAL members.

The exhibit was created to help give members in small art leagues in Kent and Sussex counties the opportunity to share their work outside of their respective towns, said MAL Exhibits Chairwoman Cathy Serwalt.

Best in Show

pARTners proved to be a big deal for Dover Art League watercolorist Winifred Way. Way’s portrait of a little girl wearing a dress and a dubious facial expression, in a piece simply titled “Girl – White Dress,” resulted in her being named co-winner for the exhibit’s Best in Show award, during the opening reception of the show last Friday in Milford.

“This is a good thing,” the Dover resident said of the inaugural exhibit.

Way shared the Best in Show honors with MAL oil painter Mark Reeve, who created the piece “Torn Apart,” which depicts two dilapidated barn structures inspired by two real barns located near MAL’s gallery.

“It’s very encouraging to have other art leagues come join us for this show, because there’s so much great art happening in the region,” the Milford resident said. “You get a chance to interact with other artists who are exceptionally well-talented and it is really an honor to be a part of that.”

Lower Sussex artwork

Milton Arts Guild acrylic painter Jason Janjanin said showcasing his artwork in pARTners has forced him outside of his comfort zone. While Janjanin is accustomed to his artwork being appreciated in Milton, exhibiting his pieces in Milford has been new territory for him.

“For me, it’s great because I’m not stuck in Milton,” the Rehoboth Beach resident said. “Because of this partnership, I’m able to spread out a little bit more.”

Janjanin has three pieces in the show, including a painting of an old tunnel titled “The Journey Begins.”

The painting is symbolic of how people go through dark times, yet they have to trust that they’ll make it through to the other side safely, he said.

“It’s like [you have to believe] God is with you, because you don’t know where you’re going,” Janjanin said.

Representing another art league in Sussex County is oil painter Fred Sponseller, a member of the Nanticoke River Arts Council in Seaford.

Sponseller is exhibiting three works, including a clever piece titled “Tranquility Shattered.” The painting portrays the great Battle of Gettysburg just moments before it takes place. In the background, you can see the Confederate Army marching toward the Union Army, while in the foreground there’s a cherry pie sitting on a window sill.

Sponseller values the tranquility that the Mispillion Art League has provided him through the creation of pARTners.

“I’ve shown my pieces down in Millsboro and Seaford, but never up this way,” the Seaford resident said.

“It’s nice to see other artists,” he added.

Sequel to 'pARTners?'

Serwalt said hosting pARTners at the Mispillion Art League’s gallery is beneficial to MAL, because it’ll likely drive new visitors to the gallery.

“You always hope to bring a few new people in,” she said before the opening reception. “Friends of the [non-members] who are showing their paintings will likely come.”

Serwalt said she doesn’t know if pARTners will be held again next year, because she plans to retire from her role of exhibits chairwoman soon. But by the sense of camaraderie forged on Friday between MAL members and their fellow exhibiting artists who live outside of Milford, it shouldn’t come as a surprise if this art show becomes an annual event, moving forward.


WHAT ‘pARTners’ art exhibit

WHEN Gallery hours are 2 to 5 p.m. on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, and 6 p.m. on Fridays. The exhibit ends Aug. 23

WHERE Mispillion Art League, 5 N. Walnut St., Milford


INFO Visit or call (302) 430-7646