Delmarva Drives
Helping to Sell Local Art PDF Print E-mail
Written by Fran Severn   
Sunday, 08 May 2011 07:37


I got an invitation in the mail the other day about an upcoming art show and sale. It was a show I participated in the past two years, selling my photography and copies of my book, “Art Drives on Delmarva: A guide to over 350 studios, galleries and attractions on Delmarva.” I won’t be participating this year; neither of the other times did I sell enough to even pay for my gas. Few of the other artists did, either.


It’s not that the artwork wasn’t good or that the show was not well-planned. It’s just that there are way too many of these little, local shows. Every town with an artists’ group has its own show which features maybe a dozen artists, some crafts, a few souvenir-type things, and a hamburger stand. The budget for publicity is small, so there are a few flyers put up at local shops, posts on the community website, and some word of mouth. The local residents turn out, but they are generally not buying anything. They are there to visit with their friends and provide visible support.


It’s sad, because the artists set up hoping to make a few sales and maybe start a following or get invited to bigger shows. But there is simply too much competition and too little publicity. Even if tourists want to find and support the small shows, they don’t know where or when they are. And if the shows which are geographically near each other are not scheduled at the same time, it’s another obstacle to success. People aren’t going to drive from Onancock to Denton to Lewes on one afternoon. So a lot of hard work by organizers and participants goes for nothing.


I have an idea that might help. Take a cue from Kent County and Southern Delaware. They have ‘studio tours’ – weekends which are dedicated to self-guided driving tours to the studios of artists throughout their areas. They are well-publicized and draw over a thousand people each weekend who enjoy viewing art and are happy to trek through the area to visit the studios.


Why not do something similar for the small art shows and festivals? If the organizers of the little events get together and choose a common weekend, they can pool their resources, get a little more coverage, and maybe draw in other businesses who might participate (special deals at local restaurants; packages at a B&B). It might be smart to set it up geographically: this weekend Talbot and Dorchester Counties; next weekend, Kent and Caroline. It could evolve into planning a month of ‘Arts Weekends’ on the Shore.


It’s disappointing to see a lot of good art go unnoticed. Maybe re-thinking the way the art shows are scheduled and run may bring in more visitors and help the artists and their communities.

Chincoteague's "Mother Earth" Day PDF Print E-mail
Written by Fran Severn   
Friday, 06 May 2011 06:17


With its existence and lifestyle so tied to nature, it’s no wonder Chincoteague is celebrating spring in a big way this weekend. “Mother Earth” Day activities are happening at the Refuge Visitor Center and at Robert Reed Park on the waterfront by the old drawbridge.


“Go Wild, Go Birding” is the theme at the Refuge. The migratory birds are still passing through on their way north, and this is a chance to see the last of them. There is an early morning bid walk planned, as well as wildlife crafts including soap carving sponsored by the Ward Museum, wildlife artists displaying their works, and live animals from the Salisbury Zoo, Pocomoke Discovery Center, and Pocomoke State Park. Bus tours of the island and tours of the lighthouse are scheduled, too. It runs from 9-4. Info at 757-336-6122.


Over at the park, the focus is on living ecologically, with the stage for live music using solar panels for power, environmental energy displays, and bicycle-powered spin art. There’s a sale of artwork made from recycled materials and information and sale of organic food at the farmers’ market. There’s even a pre-schooler play area run by the local pre-school mom support group. The event runs from 10-4. It’s all put on by www.Chincoteagueculturalalliance.org.

Bug & Bud Fest: Milford's Ode to Joy PDF Print E-mail
Written by Fran Severn   
Monday, 25 April 2011 13:37


Whimsy has always been a part of the Shore’s culture. This Saturday, Milford, DE celebrates spring with its cheerful, funny, celebration: the Bug & Bud Festival.


The buds are the blooming flowers that are brightening the landscape. The bugs are ladybugs – Delaware’s state insect and a vital part of the ecology as they cheerfully nibble their weight in aphids that strike at the buds. So the Festival is a celebration of a perfect symbiotic relationship.


‘Lest you think this is an afternoon of scientific treatises and informational displays, far from it! There are gardening experts and flower vendors and tree seedlings will be given away, but mostly, this is fun. Like the costume parade with participants judged on their best ‘bug’ and ‘tree’ outfits; an art show, over 100 vendors, bug-decorated paddle boats, and stand-up paddling.


The Bud & Big Fest runs from 9-4 on Saturday. For more information, www.downtownmilford.org

Tweets on the Shore: Delmarva Birding Weekend PDF Print E-mail
Written by Fran Severn   
Monday, 25 April 2011 13:22


Dedicated bird watchers will be migrating to the Shore April 28-May 1 for the annual Delmarva Birding Weekend. The Shore is as popular with frequent flyer feathered visitors as it is with people at this time of year. While the birds are flitting about and checking out their favorite perches, the birdwatchers will arm themselves with binoculars, field guides, species checklists, and long lenses on their cameras to record just who landed and where.


Naturalists say over 400 species of warblers, shorebirds, waterfowl, and raptors either live here or stop by on their way to other nesting and feeding areas. Last year, 204 species of birds were definitely sighted during the weekend. The organizers have set up boat trips, paddling trips, and walking treks through marshlands, waterways, woods, and grasslands – all the Shore habitats – for an ornithological overload.


On Friday and Saturday, there are Tally Rallies, as birders compare their personal checklists against the master list of all birds ever sighted on the Shore. Friday’s is at Dogfish Head Brewing in Rehoboth from 5-7; Saturday’s at Angler Restaurant in Ocean City at the same time. In addition, this is the weekend of the Ward World Championship Wildfowl Carving Competition at the O.C. Convention Center. Birders may well see species there that they missed in the wild, but they can’t count them on their checklist.


For a full schedule and other information, www.delmarvabirding.org

Operation Medicine Drop: Dump the Drugs! PDF Print E-mail
Written by Fran Severn   
Thursday, 21 April 2011 09:51


For years we’ve been told to dispose of leftover drugs by flushing them down the toilet. Simple, fast, effective, and safe.


Well, maybe not so much.


All sorts of pharmaceutical residue are showing up in water supplies, even in places where it goes through municipal water treatment systems. Those aren’t set up to detect most drugs, much less filter them out. Even scarier, drugs are showing up in what was thought to be pristine rivers and bays far from population centers. Folks checking water quality are finding fish and frogs with growths that look like makeup from a zombie movie and male creatures with female organs. Scientists think this is the result of weird combinations of pharmaceuticals mixing with the DNA stew. And that’s got some sobering implications for those of us higher up on the food chain.


Which brings us to Operation Medicine Drop. This Saturday, several locations in Worcester County are accepting prescription on OTC drugs that are leftover or past their effective use dates. You can clean out your medicine cabinet and take the old painkillers, antibiotics, blood pressure meds, antihistamines – anything and everything – to the drop off spots. They will be property and safely disposed of. (In case you are interested, that involves shipping them to a special incinerator that’s designed to prevent even the smoke from getting into the general, breathable atmosphere.)


You can find a list of the locations and times at www.worceseterhealth.org. If you can’t make it, there are alternative ways of safely getting rid of old drugs. (www.smartxdisposal.net)


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