Paint Dover! colors downtown next week

“Cross Section” by Siobhan Duggan won multiple awards during last year’s Paint Dover! plein air competition.

DOVER — At least 12 regionally known artists from Delaware, Pennsylvania and Maryland, as well as an accomplished high school senior and artist, will paint colorful scenes of downtown Dover in watercolor, oil, and pastel Wednesday through Friday.

“Paint Dover!” is a plein air painting event and art competition culminating in an artwork exhibition and sales on Friday, Oct. 2 from 4 to 7 p.m. The exhibition and sales will extend from Oct. 6 to 20 in downtown merchant windows.

Everyone is invited to use their artistic skills on the sidewalk, and “paint” with sidewalk chalk that will be provided in the art exhibition area next Friday.

This second-year event is part of Arts Alive at Five! and is offered in conjunction with monthly First Fridays in downtown Dover. The event will be held rain or shine, as plein air artists paint in poor weather from under their auto hatchbacks, umbrellas or shop canopies.

In addition to the artwork produced through Paint Dover!, the public is encouraged to view the mini-mural exhibit that will market the collaborative effort of Wesley College, Delaware State University, and NCALL/Restoring Central Dover, founded in 2017.

A cooperative garden grows vegetables for the local community and flowers for pollinators, offers workshops for kids and adults, and helps local residents start gardens of their own. These murals will be installed in the community garden, nestled behind a residence hall on the Wesley College campus, in early spring to welcome gardeners and usher in the new growing season.

Ms. Duggan’s current work of plein air painting with pastels merges her two favorite worlds of nature and art. She enjoys drawing history and the local landscape, preferably on the sunny side of the street.

“En plein air” is a French expression that means “in the open air” and is used to describe the art of painting outdoors. Artists from around the region will take to the streets, parks, sidewalks and outdoor cafes to participate. Inspired by downtown Dover’s architectural landscape, historic commercial buildings, gardens and scenery, artists will quickly capture changing light and shadows, and the “spirit” of downtown Dover.

The community is invited to look for student, amateur and professional artists painting on Loockerman and State streets, and The Green throughout the three days, and also attend the judging of paintings on October’s First Friday evening.

A variety of awards will be given, including “Iconic Loockerman (Street)” for the image that best depicts Loockerman Street’s commercial activity, and “Dover Heritage” for the image that best illustrates Dover’s rich history as the capital of the First State. Dover City Councilmen Ralph Taylor and Fred Neil have sponsored these awards and will serve as judges for these categories.

“Judging artwork is certainly a new role for me, and I am honored to participate,” Councilman Taylor said. This will be Councilman Neil’s second appearance at Paint Dover!, having been very impressed last year with the quality of work that artists developed in just a day’s time.

Last year, Mayor Robin Christiansen and his wife particularly enjoyed seeing familiar scenes of downtown and The Green depicted in various mediums and in such a high-quality manner. Mayor Christiansen will again serve as sponsor and judge for Dover Mayor’s Choice award.

Troy Windham is this year’s professional arts judge who will select Best in Show, Best Small Work and others. Mr. Windham is a businessman from Dover where he was born and raised and continues to live with his wife Wendy and children, Jack and Ally. He has been involved in the arts over the years as an artist publisher and partner in an art gallery in Florida.

Allison Barry’s painting of downtown Dover was part of last year’s Paint Dover! event and competition. Painting for this year’s event takes place Wednesday through Friday.

A People’s Choice award, voted on by artists and the public, will begin on Friday night and continue as art is placed in downtown merchant windows and displayed in stores, as well as exhibited virtually, Oct. 6-20.

Due to COVID restrictions, artists and their paintings will be in several nodes, and spread out on Loockerman Street sidewalks extending east and west of the Dover Art League to State and South Governors Avenue. Awards will be placed on the artwork Friday night during First Friday and art will be available for purchase.

Diane Laird, executive director for the Downtown Dover Partnership, notes that many professional artists have had limited opportunities to paint this year since so many of these plein air events were cancelled.

More information may be found at Those who wish to paint should pre-register should visit https:/

Artists who wish to paint but have not pre-registered may contact to participate through Oct. 2, the last day of painting.

Maggii Sarfaty painted this work of Loockerman Street last year. She will be attending this year’s event. Awards will be placed on artwork during next week’s First Friday celebration in Dover.

Paint Dover! is part of The 2020 Big Draw Festival Delaware where numerous activities and classes suitable for artists and non-artists, families, and kids will be offered throughout the state of Delaware. The festival is part of an international annual event taking place in over 25 countries and involving more than 500,000 participants.

For more information, contact or call 302-678-2940.

Paint Dover! is produced by Downtown Dover Partnership/Main Street Dover and is partially funded by a grant from the Delaware Division of the Arts, in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts.