What’s Worth Trying in the New Year?

Michelle Kramer-Fitzgerald

Discover the Arts in 2019

As we make our New Year resolutions (of which I’m not really a fan, by the way), I’d like to offer a few items for consideration. Why not make 2019 the year to discover the Arts in our community? The suggestions below should be more easily achieved than training for a marathon, and they’re certainly more fun than giving up sweets.

Have a happy New Year…by getting out and discovering Art Worth Trying!

Discover Visual Arts — Delaware Art Museum, The Delaware Contemporary & Art Loop Wilmington

Last month, the Delaware Art Museum happily announced a $1 million gift from the DuPont Company that will underwrite the museum’s Free Sundays program. “Free Sundays Presented by DuPont” offers individuals and families the opportunity to experience the museum’s works as well as interactive arts experiences free of charge. So that more families can benefit, the museum is moving more programming to Sundays, such as its annual Chinese New Year celebration and Korean Festival. Beginning this month, on Jan. 13, “Family Second Sundays” will kick off, with activities for youth from newborn on up and their families. The Sunday schedule is a full day of programming with songs, story time, tours, a “lunch bunch” and plenty of art creation. The Museum is also free on Thursday evenings from 4 to 8. Find more information at delart.org.

Another free opportunity to soak in some incredible works— not only from continually rotating exhibitions but also 26 in-house studio artists—is at The Delaware Contemporary, where admission is always free (although a suggested donation of $12 for adults and $6 for kids under 13 is appreciated). More information on visits and tours can be found at decontemporary.org

For more than 30 years now, Wilmington’s Art Loop has channeled energy into our city and shined a light on the treasure-trove of visual artists in Wilmington and beyond. Whether you walk to downtown venues like Christina Cultural Arts Center, Chris White Gallery and DCAD; hit West End places like Howard Pyle Studio or the Bike Lane Café; or venture out of the city limits to Bellefonte Arts or Talleyville Frame Shoppe & Gallery, “The Loop” is a great way to discover new artists and maybe even get your feet wet as an art buyer.

Many venues also host complimentary artist receptions, where you can chat with the creators in person and enjoy a glass of wine (or punch) while you admire their work. Some of my favorite artists discovered during Art Loop travels include Yakime Akela Brown, Su Horty, Smashed Label, Terrence Vann, Rick Hidalgo, Wendy Mitchell and Lauren Peters.

Best of all, Art Loop Wilmington is free, family-friendly and happens regularly on the first Friday of every month. Information on dates and venues can be found at artloopwilmington.org. ?

Fearless Improv performs monthly through April at The Grand Opera House. Photo courtesy of Fearless Improv

Discover Comedy with Fearless Improv

Live comedy is alive and well in downtown Wilmington, and no one serves it up better than City Theater Company’s own Fearless Improv. They begin the New Year with monthly shows running this month through April in the cozy Sarah Bernhardt Salon of The Grand Opera House. Grab a seat on a comfy couch and watch as Fearless performs short-form skits, made up on the fly, and interactive games where the audience can play a part. Their fast-paced hilarity is something you really should see. Every performance is different, and you never know how the subject (or the night) will end. For tickets and dates, visit thegrandwilmington.org.


Discover Theater — Delaware Theatre Company & Bootless Stageworks

Delaware has a wealth of content for theater lovers to enjoy, but perhaps you’re not quite ready to commit to a full two-hour, music-costumes-and-lights production. There are still interesting options to discover in local theater houses presenting stage readings. A stage reading is a form of theater without sets or full costumes, often done to “try out” a new piece. Actors, who read from scripts, may be seated or have minimal movements. Sometimes a narrator may accompany or read stage directions.

Delaware Theatre Company hosts a stage reading of playwright Jeff Cohen’s The Soap Myth on Thursday, Jan. 24. This play stars Ed Asner and Tovah Feldshuh, and follows a journalist trying to uncover the truth around Holocaust rumors—namely, did the Nazis make soap from corpses of their murdered Jewish victims? Tickets can be purchased at delawaretheatre.org.

Connecting with their audiences is the goal of Bootless Stageworks’ Community Conversations series—which began in December with Neil Bartlett’s Stella—scheduled to return in February and May. The events feature a reading followed by an open discussion with the cast, moderator and audience members. For details, visit bootless.org.

I’ve also heard that City Theater Company has a few planned readings of new works from regional playwrights to announce on its spring schedule. Check out those details later this month on city-theater.org.

The Music School of Delaware offers classes for adults. Photo courtesy of The Music School of Delaware

Discover Your Talent — Christina Cultural Arts Center & The Music School of Delaware

Both of these longstanding Wilmington arts institutions are often thought of as catering only to the young. But in truth, they have plenty of opportunities for the young at heart. January marks new semesters for both organizations and with it, new classes and lessons to explore, a new talent to discover or a chance to re-ignite a long-forgotten passion.

And both offer private lessons for adults in a number of instruments, including piano, guitar and voice.

Christina offers adult dance classes in genres such as modern, jazz, praise and African dance, and all are available as a “drop-in” option for as little as $8 per class. A variety of community-driven classes are open to adults as well, like Women’s Self Defense, a vocal improvisation class called Circle Songs led by local musician Noelle Picara (both available as a $10 “drop-in”) and an adult-focused Narrative Writing class. For a full schedule of programming, visit ccacde.org.

The Music School’s group classes for adults include an Adult Rock Band and Group Cello Class. In addition, the school presents a monthly $10 “drop-in” series called Classical Café, where music enthusiasts gather with faculty artists to discuss a range of musical subjects. Scheduled January through April, Café topics include explorations of Irish/Scottish folk music and the music of Bob Dylan. For details on these and other adult-oriented programs, visit musicschoolofdelaware.org.

So, what do you think? Please comment below.