On Thursday, September 12, The Mispillion Art League (MAL) donated a life-size painting of Howard Pyle’s The Mermaid to the Greater Milford Boys & Girls Club to adorn the entrance to the Richard Y. Johnson Aquatic Center at the Club. MAL President Judy Struck and past President Sharon Hepford ceremoniously transferred the painting to Tod VanEyken, Executive Director of the Milford Club, directly following a Board of Directors meeting.
“We want the work of art to be placed in a public place where it can be appreciated by many,” commented Hepford. “The Aquatic Center at the Boys & Girls Club is the perfect place for the art to be displayed.”
The painting was originally on display in downtown Milford across from the Riverfront Theatre as part of the Delaware Art Museum’s surprise pop-up art campaign titled Art Is Everywhere.The program highlighted the museum’s year-long Centennial Celebration as public art was displayed on main streets and landmark outdoor spaces across Delaware. Installations of the pop-up art was completed in 15 locations across the State of Delaware and Milford was chosen as the only location to retain the pop-up art after the program ended. MAL decided to transfer the painting to the Boys & Girls Club so that the life-size painting could be appreciated by the public and act as an inspiration for the children at the Club that are engaged in art education.
“We are honored to receive this painting from the Mispillion Art League, it will make a great addition to the building,” commented Executive Director of the Milford Club Tod Van Eyken. “I hope that this painting can inspire our kids and help them develop an appreciation for art.”
The Mermaid and its creator Howard Pyle hold a special place in the hearts of Delaware art lovers. He was the inspiration for the founding of the Delaware Art Museum in 1912 as the Wilmington Society of the Fine Arts. A native of Wilmington, Delaware, Pyle is one of America’s most popular illustrators, artists and writers. The Delaware Art Museum has a remarkable collection of his works and personal papers in their collection
The original of Pyle’s The Mermaid was given to the Delaware Art Museum in 1940 as a gift of the children of Howard Pyle in memory of their mother, Anne Poole Pyle. The work of art illustrates a shipwrecked man being rescued from an angry sea by a mermaid as the moon rises in the background. The Mermaid was found unfinished on his easel in his studio when he set off for Florence, Italy to study mural painting. Pyle died while he was there, due to a sudden kidney infection, and his full intentions for the piece were never realized.
The painting will hang at the entrance of the Richard Y. Johnson Aquatic Center in the Greater Milford Boys & Girls Club off of Airport Road. The pool at the Club is the home of the Milford High School Buccaneers Swim Team as well as the Club’s own Milford Marlins Swim Team. The Milford Club is the only Boys & Girls Club in Delaware to offer swimming scholarships through the Michael Phelps Foundation and has hosted Olympic competitors Lacey Nymeyer and Gil Stovall as part of the 2012 Fitter & Faster Swim Tour. The pool is available to Club members and the public alike. Additional information about the Greater Milford Boys & Girls Club can be found by contacting the organization at 302-422-4453 or visiting the Club at 101 Delaware Veterans Boulevard.