Milford artists bring The Big Draw to Delaware

On a recent visit to Europe, Rosemary Connelly of Milford realized her hometown was missing something big – the Big Draw.

Delaware State News/Jennifer Antonik

The international event highlights artists of all ages and levels through a monthlong celebration in hopes of spreading the news of the difference art can make in the lives of average people.

“It originated in the UK in about 2000. It has since spread to 25 countries around the world. I discovered this when I was in Europe and presented it to the Mispillion Art League,” she said. “Now, we’ll have something every day in October. It’s for everyone who wants to have fun.”

The Mispillion Art League, based out of Milford with members from across the state, will host Delaware’s first Big Draw with free activities throughout the month. But it won’t stop in Milford, Ms. Connelly assured.

“We’ve invited other arts organizations to participate. But Mispillion Art League has the largest number of happenings,” she said. “We’re hoping it will bring people to Milford and recognize Milford as an art town and that Mispillion Art League is a driving force for the arts in Delaware.”

The art league will host classes designed to pique every interest and free activities each Saturday this month, hoping to bring out the crowds starting with the last day of the Riverwalk Farmers Market as families gather to paint pumpkins provided by Good for the Core farm out of Harrington free of cost.

That day, Saturday, Oct. 5, Trey Small with Postcard Connect will be available for the community to sign postcards that will later be delivered to a hospital and others can splash paint on a canvas or work on handprints at the art league.

Saturday, Oct. 12, the town will close off Park Avenue so Milford can celebrate art with sandcastles. The event will be sponsored by Bayhealth with sand donated by Pennsy Supply. There also will be a chalk walk throughout town, painting with coffee with Cathy Walls at Dolce Bakery and Coffee Shop, and other free activities.

Award-winning Delaware sand carvers, Andy West and Darrell O’Connor, will be building a large sandcastle. They will show you how sand stands – how to make tall spires, windows, doors, stairs, arches and more.

Scribble Saturday and an art trail will take place Saturday, Oct. 19. Both events will be at the Mispillion Art League and along the Riverwalk down to the Vinyard Shipyard where sketchers from Urban Sketchers will be found creating their own artwork.

Imagination stations will take over the Mispillion Art League on the fourth Saturday of October when visitors can create origami birds, magnets and at least four other fun activities.

“This is about just coming out and having fun and playing with your kids. Little kids are so open to art and they will just draw with abandon. Then, we get to a point in life and we stop doing it,” Ms. Connelly said. “The fact that it was a big thing and that it was for everyone and not just for artists to get everyone out making art is what I liked. People seemed to have such a good time. When I teach my classes, people tend to be intimated by art. You hear this over and over: ‘I can’t draw a straight line with a ruler.’ And the fact is – you don’t have to draw a straight line.”

Other businesses in the area and across Delaware are getting in on the artist action. Red Bandana in Milford will host a paint your own superhero prop event. Jerry’s Artarama from Newark will host their own events at that location like drop-in drawing activities. They will also bring art supplies to the Mispillion Art League for mini trade shows during October.

John Mollura, a well-known photographer in the Milford area, will host a light painting event at the Delaware Music School’s Milford branch during October, which Ms. Connelly said will be a “really cool way to bring music and fine art together.”

As music students play various types of instruments, Mr. Mollura will shine lights onto the wall which will create a light wave effect from the music.

“We’re partnering with the Music School of Delaware and they’re going to bring in some of their students and have live music playing in their concert room. And, what we’re going to do is set cameras up on tripods and do real long exposures and give people light sources. So, it’s not going to be pictures of people, it’s going to be these crazy light waves through the air,” he explained. “It’s going to be a very trippy, Pink Floyd-y kind of thing. It’s just something different. Photography is so technical. I thought, ‘How can we get photography encorporated?’ Let’s take away all the limitations of having quote-unquote right photos that are exposured properly and on purpose and use this light painting because it doesn’t matter.”

The idea came to Mr. Mollura during a meeting with Ms. Connelly while brainstorming the monthlong event, but it isn’t his first experience experimenting with creative outlets.

Earlier this year during a photowalk through downtown Milford with other avid photographers, Mr. Mollura collected photos of local landmarks which were later turned into coloring book pages for the Big Draw.

“In October, they’re going to be in a lot of stores with bowls of crayons and coloring book pages so people can color Milford however they wanted, and it was all created by local photographers,” he added.

Healing through art

To top off a month of artistic fancies, the Mispillion Art League is teaming with Bayhealth to provide an art cart to patients while they stay at the hospital at Bayhealth Sussex Campus in Milford.

“It’s so cool that we’ve got these other people who also want to be a part of it. Making art is really a playful thing to do. There’s such a joy in taking nothing, basically, and creating your own thing from your heart. It’s just a joyful thing to do and we just want to spread that around and we want to encourage people to come out and just try it.”

Mr. Mollura and volunteers from around the area agree, hoping to expose their communities to the world of art and how it can be its own breath of fresh air to anyone in a way that is unique to them.

“I had this idea. What if I took pictures of people and they saw themselves in a different light? Something different than how they normally see themselves. It was just one of those things that God plopped in the back of my head and I listened. To give people ownership of it, have people write down what they want their life to look like or what they want to strive toward in their own handwriting and then put that on these images. There’s so much power in a printed photograph,” he said. “The act of creating the art, you can really lose yourself in, almost like a meditation sometimes. If you get into the zone enough, you can let a lot of things weighing you down fall away.”

Big Draw Festival

Other Big Draw events happening outside of Milford include the following:


Saturday. 10 a.m.-3 pm

All ages


As part of Milton’s townwide Milton Days, Milton Arts Guild, 310 Walnut St., will be hosting an Art Walk. Artists will be painting, drawing, and selling their work throughout the town, engaging with the public, plus working with children at the art gallery. Visitors will receive a map of the locations where each of the artists will be. Artists will be located on porches around town.

Tuesdays, Oct. 10, 17, 24. 4-8 pm
Ages 10-plus
$15-$30 per person
Developing Artist Collaboration
37401 Malloy St., Rehoboth Beach
Do It Yourself projects with a fine art and illustration twist which will allow a beginner the chance to learn some new techniques or an advanced artist an environment to get creative in an innovative way. Projects come with a glass of wine or beer.
Make reservations online at or by calling 302-567-2839. Parties over five must call ahead.

Saturday, Oct. 12. 10 a.m.-2 pm
Ages 10-plus
$40 includes lunch
Gallery 107 Classroom, 105 Pine St., Seaford
Learn how to draw in ink superhero comic book characters with human proportions.
Enroll prior to class by visiting the gallery or contacting the instructor: Rocco Malago,, 302-480-4003

Sunday, Oct. 13, 1-4 pm
Ages 16-plus. Register by Oct. 11
$15 per person
Gallery 107 Classroom, 105 Pine St., Seaford
Live draped model. There is no formal instruction but there are plenty of artists to learn from and ask questions.

with Myndi Smithers
Thursdays, Oct 17, 24, 31, Nov 7. 1-3 p.m.
Ages 18-plus. Register by Oct. 14
Members $120. Nonmembers $155
Rehoboth Art League, 12 Dodds Lane
This class will help novice sketchers develop confidence in their ability to draw what they see. Basic techniques and skills will be taught as we draw from life and photos.

Sunday, Oct. 20, 1-3 pm
Ages 16-plus
$20 per person
Gallery 107 Classroom, 105 Pine St., Seaford
Students will make necklaces, earrings, and key rings using class provided metal backings, glass bezels, and acrylic paint “skins”.
Enroll prior to class by visiting the gallery or contacting the instructor: Judy Cullen, 302-956-6922,

with Gerilyn Gaskill
Monday, Oct 21. 10 a.m.-1 p.m.
Ages 18-plus. Register by Oct. 18
Rehoboth Art League, 12 Dodds Lane
Watercolor demonstration and paint along. The theme is “Holiday Cards.” Gerilyn Gaskill will also demonstrate tips and techniques, including wet-on-wet, dry brush and glazing. Reference materials will be provided. Ms. Gaskill will spend time with each student and help with any painting questions.

For more information and a list of events, visit the Mispillion Art League online at

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