Public ART Unveils Last Fleet

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ART boat created by Scott & Gail Angelucci sits on the banks of the Mispillion River.
ART boat created by Scott & Gail Angelucci sits on the banks of the Mispillion River.

On Sunday, March 22, Downtown Milford, Inc. (DMI) will showcase the ‘Art on the Riverwalk Tour’ (ART) Project with, “Launching Augusta: the Last Fleet” from 3 to 5 pm at Abbott’s Grill, located at 249 N Front St in downtown Milford. The last six boats to be added to this public art project will be unveiled as residents and visitors have the opportunity to meet the artists and their students.

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 “Last Fleet” brings the total to 18 sculptures that will be displayed permanently along the Mispillion River.

Boat building is an ancient art and integral to Milford’s history. There were originally seven boat-building yards in Milford but over time they all closed. Vineyard Boat Yard was bought by the present owners, Sudler and Joan Lofland. They rescued the Augusta, which was lying derelict in another state and restored it to its former glory as it is now moored back in the Mispillion River.

“It’s going to be exciting to see the new boats. The artists have done a great job,” Lee Nelson, Executive Director at DMI said. “Each one is unique and showcases our branding of River Town, Art Town, Home Town.”

The artists that imagined the final fleet are all from from Kent and Sussex Counties: Karen Brittingham from Ellendale, Linda Chatfield from Wyoming, Paul Drzymalski from Dover, Kim Klabe from Rehoboth Beach, Erica Rae Lokai from Magnolia and Keith Steck from Milton. Reflecting Milford’s branding of ‘Rivertown, Art Town, Hometown’, each of the artists worked with a high school art student as a mentor throughout the creative process. The decorated sculptures from this final phase will be displayed permanently around town during early summer, joining twelve sculptures already in place.

The program includes the unveiling of the boats and introductions to the artists and their students. Abbott’s Grill has donated the location and Abbott’s Bounty to nibble on and a cash bar will be available. Tickets cost $12 for adults, children under 13 free, and are only available online at www.Downtownmilford.org–Art Project – Launching Event Tickets. Tickets are limited.

This program is made possible, in part, by a grant from the Delaware Division of the Arts, a state agency dedicated to nurturing and supporting the arts in Delaware, in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts. ART is also partially funded by a grant from Kent County Fund for the Arts. For more information, individuals are encouraged to contact Lee Nelson at (302)839-1180, e-mail Director@DowntownMilford.org or visit http://downtownmilford.org