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Once 'emerging artist,' now an 'established professional'

Shannon McNaught * Delaware
shannon.marvel@doverpost.com
Milford Beacon
Milford Beacon

The Delaware Division of the Arts has recognized Nicholas Serratore, of Lewes, with one of 12 Established Professional Awards in the 2020 Individual Artists Fellows Program.

He has earned a $6,000 grant in addition to the acknowledgement and exposure at exhibits planned in Dover, Rehoboth and Wilmington.

“I’m using it, first of all, to get new pastels,” 51-year-old  Serratore said. “I use a lot of pastels, so I’m going to explore brands I always wanted but haven’t tried yet.”

Pastels are his preferred medium, but he was trained in all media at Hussian School of Art in Philadelphia, near his hometown of Abingdon.

“I’ve been painting since I was a kid, it was just something I was naturally attracted to. I always knew I was going to be an artist and study art and work in the field,” he said.

Right out of college, around 1990, Serratore landed a job in the art department at the Electric Factory in Philadelphia. At the time, Electric Factory Concerts was handling advertisements for multiple venues, including Tower Theater, Theatre of the Living Arts and John F. Kennedy Stadium.

“It was cool to come out of art school at 21 or 22 and get that position,” he said.

It didn’t allow much time for him to paint, though. Serratore moved to Lewes full time in 1995 and refocused on his craft. His preferred subject is landscapes.

“I like to do atmospheric-type landscapes. My work is very soft, very moody, also very personal,” he said. “I am always in tune with the landscape, the natural surroundings. I like to do various stages of the day or the year, the same scene – not to be repetitive but to view it differently.”

Serratore is planning to exhibit his work at Rehoboth Beach City Hall later this year.

“I’m going to explore the landscapes that I do but on a larger format,” he said. “I want to take a scene and do it in five, six, seven or eight versions, all different from each other but from the same focal point.”

His work is featured at Peninsula Gallery in Lewes and The Trippe Gallery in Easton, Maryland.

Beyond his art, Serratore is the exhibitions director at the Rehoboth Art League and teaches pastels. He owns and runs a warehouse of studios in Milton called The Studios on Walnut, where the Milton Arts Guild makes its home.

The Established Professional Award is an affirmation.

He was named an Emerging Artist by the Division of the Arts in 2012. He applied for the Established Professional Award multiple times.

“It took me several years of getting rejected. You find out why and I wouldn’t say it changes your art, but you keep it in mind. It was a lot of years of putting myself out there,” he said. “So for me it was an accomplishment. Being recognized by the state is quite an honor.”

Find out more about his work at serratoreart.com.

About Division of the Arts fellowships

“Individual Artist Fellowship grants provide the recognition and exposure that artists need to successfully promote their work,” said Paul Weagraff, director of Delaware Division of the Arts. “The financial award allows them to pursue advanced training, purchase equipment and materials or fulfill other needs to advance their careers.”

This year, 139 artists applied and 19 were awarded fellowships. The top honor, the Masters Award and $10,000, went to Mark Unruh, of Wilmington.

Twelve people were named established artists, six emerging artists and two honorable mentions. View the full list at arts.delaware.gov/iafrecipients.

The work of the Fellows will be featured in a group exhibition, Award Winners XX, at the Biggs Museum in Dover June 5 to July 23, with an award ceremony and reception Wednesday, June 10 at 5 p.m. Selections from the exhibit will be displayed at CAMP Rehoboth Aug. 1-31 and at Cab Calloway School of the Arts in Wilmington Sept. 4 to Oct. 25.