Five local artists have been selected for Phase 2 of Milford’s community art project, Art on the Riverwalk Tour (ART),to begin designing and painting six, four-foot sculptures to be placed in downtown Milford. The ART project began last year as six sculptures depicting the classic yacht Augusta were designed and created by four local artists and displayed permanently along the Mispillion River.
The classic yacht Augusta that was built at the Vinyard Shipyard in Milford, links the town’s historical beginnings of shipbuilding to the modern attraction of the Riverwalk along the Mispillion River. The committee overseeing the Art on the Riverwalk Tour (ART) project has named local Kent and Sussex artists, Linda Chatfield, Eddie Filemyr, Gwen Guerke, Bill Walton and Marcia Reed to take part in Phase 2 of the public art project.
Selected artist Linda Chatfield was raised by her parents mostly in the New England area, as the family followed her father’s engineering career from city to city. Raising her own children in upstate New York, she moved to Wyoming, DE 13 years ago. Formally taught at Boston University where she received her Bachelor’s Degree in the College of Fine Arts and also Delaware State University where she earned her Masters Degree in Art Education, Linda has always had a passion for creation and teaching others.
“When did I learn art? I have never done anything but,” commented Chatfield. “Since I could hold on to a crayon.”
Taking a look at the first six Augusta sculptures that now rest on the banks of the Mispillion River, Chatfield saw the beauty in each representation but also desired to do something a but unique with her public art. Describing the boat as a daunting and challenging shape to paint, she noticed that each artist used the boat as a canvass for their painting but no boat so far had thought about the structure of the boat as a whole.
Linda met with owners of the Augusta, Joan and Sudler Lofland, and toured the boat, shipyard and the workshop where the ships were actually built. Allowing visitors of her specific sculpture to imagine what life was like inside the boat, Chatfield created the illusion of cutting away part of the boat to look inside the bowel. She portrays a table set for dinner, guests sipping on cocktails and even boaters inside the windows waving to people on the shoreline as she painted the structures of the main cabin, wheelhouse galley and bunk areas.
“A boat is made to travel on the water and I wanted to imagine who were these citizens of Milford and how can I honor those that built it,” commented Chatfield. “When you look at this small town, you may not remember that Milford was a bustling shipbuilding port. I hope this boat reminds those that are walking on the Riverwalk.”
Chatfield is not only excited about her own sculpture on display but the larger public art initiative that will includes 18 boats in total. “ [People] will see the expression of all of these artists in the area and their interpretation of Milford and its environment. It will enhance the Riverwalk and be a place where people can enjoy an open-air gallery.”
The second phase of the Art on the Riverwalk Tour is expected to be completed and displayed permanently around town during early summer, joining the original six already in place. For more info on the project, individuals can contact Lee Nelson, Director of Downtown Milford Inc., at (302)839-1190, Director@DowntownMilford.org or visit http://downtownmilford.org.