The Grand Plan

Steve Bailey sees his Grand Opera House as more than a performance venue. To him, it’s a cornerstone of urban revitalization. And if it takes a little rock ’n’ roll to make it happen, well then, rock on. 


Published:

Stephen Bailey is the man responsible for attracting top acts
such as The White Stripes to Wilmington in recent years.
Photograph by Thom Thompson
www.thomthompson.com

 

You have no idea how much I’m not coming to Wilmington,” Stephen Bailey told Ken Wesler in 2000. Bailey was a well-connected music promoter. Wesler, then executive director of The Grand Opera House, needed him to lure national acts to the city.

Bailey was flattered, but the idea of chucking his comfortable, self-employed lifestyle in sunny Florida turned him off. Like many Floridians, Bailey conducted business poolside, after tennis, a nap and a nice seafood lunch.

Wesler persisted. He knew exactly which buttons to push. “Ken told me there was a renaissance going on in Wilmington,” Bailey says. “And he knew that revitalization and community engagement totally floated my boat.” Wesler’s offer of a six-figure salary didn’t hurt, either.

Bailey took the job as associate director of the Grand, Wesler’s second in command, on a yearly contractual basis. He never imagined that six years later, he’d replace Wesler.

Now executive director, Bailey has no time to swat tennis balls, but his schedule does guarantee one thing: Wilmington will rock. For the ’08 season, he’s booked k.d. Lang, Natalie Cole, George Winston and Savion Glover. And the city still hasn’t recovered from the Grand’s sold-out performance by The White Stripes in July.

There’s one problem: Bailey is now the No. 1 guy who says his strength is being “the No. 2 guy.” For the past several years, he happily booked big acts—Lyle Lovett, Cindi Lauper, Peter Frampton—while Wesler got the credit. Now Bailey is forced to do the two things he swore he’d never do: make presentations to the board and represent the Grand publicly. He fears that “no one is there anymore to take the backslaps.”

Bailey will endure for one compelling reason: Convinced that Wilmington is embarking on its next frontier, he believes the Grand will play a major role. When the city finally pops, he thinks, people of every economic bracket will be served by his theater.

But in order to get a standing ovation, he has to escape the shelter of Wesler’s shadow and embrace the place he’s spent his entire career avoiding: the limelight.

 

Bailey is paying the price for taking a long weekend in Montana with his wife, Maryann. In two days he’s accumulated about 900 emails, and more keep popping up on two of his three computers. Today he’ll book Wilmington resident and blues-folk legend David Bromberg for next year and start building his 2009 line-up. He’s talking to B.B. King’s people. Steve Winwood, Smokey Robinson and Al Green are also possible acts.

Bailey is hyping a new Grand, “one that promises to be the most diverse and entertaining line-up in years.” The big names add marquee value, but he also wants to introduce new artists to new audiences. That’s why proven sellers like comic David Sedaris and jazz guitarist Pat Metheny are booked, yet unproven commodities such as Irish singer Mary Black and jazz trumpeter Chris Botti have a shot, too.

Booking the Grand is as complicated as a Bromberg guitar lick. There are many generations of audience members to please, and survival for performing arts nonprofits means pleasing all audiences almost all the time. That explains why “Jackie Mason: The Ultimate Jew” plays one night and Queen Latifah plays the next.

Then there’s the MBNA-Bank of America situation. MBNA and its former CEO, Charles Cawley, were the blood flowing through the Grand’s veins. When Wesler saw the Bank of America buyout coming, he reconfigured internal systems, dumped a few positions and ended bonuses for remaining staff. When Bailey took over, the Grand was basically stable, but he hadn’t anticipated the after effect of the sale. “What happened later was the reduction of funding became way more precipitous than we imagined,” he says.

At its height, 60 percent of revenue came from ticket sales. Donations from MBNA, DuPont, AstraZeneca, Wilmington Trust and other corporations made up the rest. MBNA contributed the most. Few people understood that Cawley’s largesse kept the extras running, like the Grand’s music and dance schools and free children’s summer programming. It wasn’t unusual, then, for 17,000 kids to pop into the Grand over a seven-week span.

“Losing that [revenue] was the one-two punch,” Bailey says. So he hired respected arts marketer Mark Fields as his managing director. The pair implemented two substantial changes: a better subscription plan and a new community engagement department.

Bailey is hoping the community engagement department will turn things around. Fields considers it the most pragmatic way to build audiences. “People support an organization they can believe in,” Fields says. “And our deep commitment to the community obviously goes beyond what you see on stage.”

The effects have trickled down. The Grand School of Music is now called The Arts Academy to reflect a holistic approach and other subject matter. Outreach programs are expanding. Collaborations with local arts groups are underway. Whether all of that will make up for funding losses, no one can say yet. But if subscription numbers are any indication, it’s possible. As of September, subscriber renewal numbers hit 92 percent, beating the total for the previous season. And with the new plan, people can subscribe as late as April.

Like Bailey and Wesler, Bailey and Fields are as stylistically different as two people can be. Bailey is forthright, direct and, he says, “cowboyish.” Fields calls himself “deliberative and buttoned-down.” But philosophically, they’re agreed.

“The Grand belongs to the community,” Fields says. “Our job is to be caretakers of that public trust—highfalutin’ sounding, I know, but if people have a personal stake in the Grand, it just strengthens our viability in the community.”

 

For Bailey to be struck with the desire to serve the community, he first had to serve himself. He was born in Maine in 1955 to a family that hunted, farmed and loved music. He remembers his dad spinning Tex Ritter records and his mother sobbing the morning after Patsy Cline died in a plane crash.

Bailey loved music with every fiber of his being, but he couldn’t play for beans. After failing on the glockenspiel in his high school marching band, he lugged gear for garage bands, mixed sound and designed lights. “I loved music so much and it was so painful not to play,” he says, “but I had to be around it—kind of like I couldn’t get heroin so I settled for methadone.”

He skipped college and traveled the world. By age 26, he had already seen India, Africa, Afghanistan, Turkey, Iran and Nepal. He returned to Maine, tired, at age 27. He quit music.

In 1985 he accepted a gig overseeing production at Raoul’s Nightclub in Portland, Maine, but ended up cultivating a national music scene, instead. He met artists like Warren Zevon and David Bromberg, who then hired Bailey as his tour manager. When Bromberg retired from the road, Bailey became program director at the State Theatre, also in Portland, which he ran until it closed in 1996. Armed with formidable contacts, he founded the Eastern Performing Arts Center Coalition in 1996. The coalition booked acts at East Coast venues that couldn’t otherwise draw big acts. One of Bailey’s clients was the Grand.

As business picked up, Bailey and his first wife grew apart. He blamed their divorce on the industry, so he quit music again.

He moved to Florida and drove a tour bus, mainly for elderly women en route to Disney World. “My biggest problem was how to avoid them kissing me as they were leaving,” Bailey says. “It was the happiest I’d ever been.”

Maryann Kukucka, a periodontal surgeon, lived across the street. She and Bailey fell in love and married. She convinced him to restart Eastern Performing Arts Center Coalition, which he did. Then Wesler called with a job offer. A year later, the Baileys moved to Delaware.

Bailey had reservations. Maryann had to sell her practice, and he wasn’t sure he had the stamina for the Grand. “Then (ex-board member and former UD president) David Roselle said to me, ‘You know, Steve, sometimes you’re just called to serve,’” Bailey says. “That was the real turning point for me.”

 

The reason Bailey chose Wilmington over Florida is still about music, but not the business of music. It’s how the music enriches the community, how important music is to Wilmington’s revitalization, how music feeds our souls.

Wesler didn’t reel Bailey in by letting him loose on stage to wail on an imaginary guitar. He took Bailey to the Riverfront, then a skeleton of what it is now. He introduced him to then-Mayor Jim Sills. They met developers and investors. “[Wesler] dragged me around for seven hours, and everybody seemed locked and loaded,” Bailey says. “They were taking this town by the bootstraps.”

Bailey is doing the same thing now, says Joseph DiPinto, director of the city’s Office of Economic Development.

“Steve understands that a lot more attention needs to be paid to every neighborhood, and people in the Highlands and Southbridge have got to be participants,” DiPinto says. “What he is doing with community engagement is reacquainting them not just to culture, but also to a city that belongs to them, too.”

Bailey says the Grand is an economic engine, an elevator of the quality of life, and an avenue for people who might otherwise feel exclusion or despair.

“I’m finding out, now that I’m sitting here,” he says, “that you can actually manipulate quite easily the level to which any organization like this elevates the community and serves as an education tool for our most important resource: children.”

Skeptics would say that’s easier said than done.

“Well, it isn’t easy,” Bailey says. “But somewhere along the line, there will be and should be a replacement for the level of commitment that Charlie and MBNA had. That’s our job as nonprofits, not to whine about it. To go out, re-create and reinvigorate the level of commitment in other people.”

The Grand’s development team will work hard to turn Bailey’s words into sponsorships. He isn’t suggesting that corporate Delaware stop funding shelters and halfway houses. “But I argue that we sometimes give, in just as dramatic a sense, salvation.”

Paul Weagraff, director of the Delaware Division of the Arts, says that without more benefactors, the Grand would have to restructure to seek alternative resources. “But I don’t think that’s where the Grand is headed,” Weagraff says. “Clearly, it is the premier arts center on Market Street and will add greatly to the revitalization.”

And it’s all in the hands of an ex-rocker who’s part anti-establishment, part company man. A guy who dines by candlelight with his wife every night, yet drag races in his spare time. It’s a metaphor for life. Bailey drives fast, but he’s never seriously wiped out.

While Bailey has the vision, Fields will make the marketing pitches. That means Bailey has devised a way to share the spotlight with his No. 2 guy. But even he accepts that when the music starts, he’ll have to come out tapping, alone.

“My worries continue to be, is Wilmington really ready for me? Are people in Delaware ready for me?” Bailey says. “Over and over again, much to my delight, it appears they are. So far.”

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September 2018

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Cost: Free

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View map »


Sponsor: Delaware Division of the Arts
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Website »

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Where:
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5105 Kennet Pike
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View map »


Telephone: 800-448-3883
Contact Name: Information and Tours
Website »

More information

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Sponsor: University of Delaware Library, Museums & Press
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Cost: free

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View map »


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Website »

More information

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Cost: Included with general admission ($5-20)

Where:
Winterthur Museum, Garden & Library
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View map »


Sponsor: Winterthur Museum, Garden & Library
Telephone: 800.448.3883
Contact Name: Information and Tours
Website »

More information

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Sponsor: Winterthur Museum, Garden & Library
Telephone: 800-448-3883
Contact Name: Information and Tours
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View map »


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Website »

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More information

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Sponsor: Luray Productions
Telephone: 302-559-0607
Contact Name: Lois Lipton Parker
Website »

More information

Join us on The Patio, voted Best Outdoor Dining by Delaware Today readers! Happy hour 4PM - 6:30PM, live entertainment 6PM - 9PM, local craft beer, handcrafted cocktails, creative gastropub menu,...

Cost: menu items vary

Where:
Hilton Christiana
100 Continental Dr.
Newark, DE  19713
View map »

More information

Take in the elegant sunsets aboard the Riverboat Queen on our Thursday Sunset Dinner Cruises! Start your weekend early dockside with this delicious BBQ on the River buffet, featuring options to...

Cost: $45 Adults $22.50 Children ages 3-12 Children under 3 FREE

Where:
Public Docks
Behind Iron Hill Brewery
Wilmington, DE  19801
View map »

More information

Timothy Barr paints with a heightened sense of the relationship between color and light, infusing natural images with a serene and meditative radiance. He creates fine oil paintings of the colorful...

Cost: free

Where:
Somerville Manning Gallery
Breck’s Mill, 2nd Floor
101 Stone Block Row
Greenville, DE  19807
View map »


Telephone: 302-652-0271
Contact Name: Rebecca Moore
Website »

More information

By Peter Shaffer Directed by Steve Tague. Enlarge! Enliven! Enlighten! Lettice is a vivacious tour guide at a rather ho-hum historical manor, who grabs and keeps tourists’ attention with...

Cost: 15-32

Where:
Studio Theatre, Roselle Center for the Arts
110 Orchard Rd.
Newark, DE  19716
View map »


Telephone: 302-831-2204
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Established Color, an exhibition of vibrant still life paintings by Thomas Del Porte, will be on view in the Mezzanine Gallery from September 7-28, 2018. Del Porte received a 2018 Fellowship in...

Cost: Free

Where:
Mezzanine Gallery in Carvel Building
820 N. French St.
2nd Floor
Wilmington, DE  19801
View map »


Sponsor: Delaware Division of the Arts
Telephone: 302-577-8278
Contact Name: Roxanne Stanulis
Website »

More information

Have you ever pondered the genius behind the invention of the s’more, or wondered how anyone could survive a camping trip without bug spray and quick-dry fabrics?  Happy Campers! has answers for...

Cost: members free, included with admission

Where:
Winterthur Museum, Garden & Library
5105 Kennet Pike
Wilmington, DE  19807
View map »


Telephone: 800-448-3883
Contact Name: Information and Tours
Website »

More information

Forgeries—false works claiming to be genuine—aren’t expected to have much worth. As such, it may be surprising to learn that items once deemed worthless frauds and illegal acts can serve as...

Cost: Free

Where:
University of Delaware's Morris Library
181 S. College Ave.
Special Collections Gallery
Newark, DE  19717
View map »


Sponsor: University of Delaware Library, Museums & Press
Website »

More information

Husband and wife painters, Kirk McBride and Lynne Lockhart exhibit over 40 new paintings in a two-person show. Lynne is known for her expressive yet anatomically accurate oil paintings of animals...

Cost: free

Where:
The Station Gallery
3922 Kennett Pike
Greenville, DE  19807
View map »


Telephone: 302-654-8638
Website »

More information

The Delaware Art Museum commissioned a project by New York-based artist Hank Willis Thomas which explores identity, history, and the actions motivating contemporary society. Thomas will interpret...

Cost: Free with Museum admission.

Where:
Delaware Art Museum
2301 Kentmere Parkway
Wilmington, DE  19806
View map »


Website »

More information

In 2017, the Delaware Art Museum received 13 works of art previously on display in the Hotel du Pont in downtown Wilmington. The gift included watercolors by Andrew Wyeth and oil paintings by N.C....

Cost: Free for members; Included in Museum Admission charge for non-members.

Where:
Delaware Art Museum
2301 Kentmere Parkway
Wilminton, DE  19806
View map »

More information

A needle's eye in a pond, a Greek temple in the garden, an Ottoman tent sitting on a hill—these are just a few of the inspirations for our upcoming, first-ever outdoor exhibition Follies:...

Cost: Included with general admission ($5-20)

Where:
Winterthur Museum, Garden & Library
5105 Kennett Pike
Wilmington, DE  19807
View map »


Sponsor: Winterthur Museum, Garden & Library
Telephone: 800.448.3883
Contact Name: Information and Tours
Website »

More information

The intimate vision of each artist—a mingling of reality and invention—blends the natural world with abstract shapes. Whether in luminous or subdued colors, these forms conjure up a cityscape...

Cost: Free with Museum admission.

Where:
Delaware Art Museum
2301 Kentmere Parkway
Wilmington, DE  19350
View map »


Website »

More information

Schedule a private group tour followed by lunch or dinner with a historic, revolutionary war era presentation.* Ideal for conferences, corporate meetings, special interest groups. $25 per...

Cost: $25–$45

Where:
The University and Whist Club
805 N Broom St
Wilmington, DE  19806
View map »


Sponsor: The University and Whist Club
Telephone: 302-658-5125
Contact Name: Stacey Inglis
Website »

More information

FREE COMMUNITY EVENT: MID-WEEK WORD REFRESHER Come join us at the Mid-Week Word Refresher every Wednesday at Faith Victory Christian Center from 11:00am - 12:00pm. Refreshments will be...

Cost: FREE

Where:
Faith Victory Christian Center
301 Commonwealth Avenue
Claymont, DE  19703
View map »


Sponsor: Faith Victory Christian Center
Telephone: 302.354.6726
Contact Name: Alvin Walker
Website »

More information

Eleganza Luncheon & Fashion Show Wednesday, September 26 11:00 AM – 2:00 PM Join us for our annual luncheon and fashion show, presented by the Ministry of Caring Guild and benefiting...

Cost: Contact Office

Where:
Hotel DuPont
42 W 11th St.
Wilmington, DE  19801
View map »


Sponsor: Ministry of Caring Guild
Telephone: 302-652-5523
Contact Name: Cindy Gamble
Website »

More information

Since the early 20th century, abstract art has prompted audiences to consider how the materials, shapes and subjects found within an artwork form the viewer’s response to it. Abstract art...

Cost: Free

Where:
University of Delaware's Mechanical Hall
30 North College Ave.
Newark, DE  19716
View map »


Sponsor: University of Delaware Library, Museums & Press
Website »

More information

In recent years, the Arctic has occupied a central place in urgent climate change discussions. However, the Indigenous peoples of the region have long understood the need to respect an...

Cost: Free

Where:
Old College Gallery
18 East Main St.
Newark, DE  19716
View map »


Sponsor: University of Delaware Library, Museums & Press
Website »

More information

Self-educated mineralogist George F. Kunz assembled several renowned mineral collections throughout his lifetime. This exhibition highlights the last of his assembled collections, purchased by...

Cost: Free

Where:
University of Delaware's Mineralogical Museum
225 Academy Street
Penny Hall
Newark, DE  19716
View map »


Sponsor: University of Delaware Library, Museums & Press
Website »

More information

MAB offers high quality and affordable ballet training for ages 4 - 18 and Adult Ballet.  MAB is now offering classes in Tap and Jazz.  Classes begin Tuesday, September 4, 2018.   For more...

Cost: see website

Where:
Mid Atlantic Ballet
506 Interchange Blvd
Middletown, DE  19711
View map »


Sponsor: Mid Atlantic Ballet
Telephone: 302-266-6362
Website »

More information

LURAY PRODUCTIONS NEW YEARS EVE Monday, December 31, 2018            7:30 PM - Midnight Minquadale Memorial Hall 129 East...

Cost: 70-80

Where:
Minquadale Memorial Hall
129 East Hazeldell Avenue
New Castle, DE  19720
View map »


Sponsor: Luray Productions
Telephone: 302-559-0607
Contact Name: Lois Lipton Parker
Website »

More information

Join us on The Patio, voted Best Outdoor Dining by Delaware Today readers! Happy hour 4PM - 6:30PM, live entertainment 6PM - 9PM, local craft beer, handcrafted cocktails, creative gastropub menu,...

Cost: menu items vary

Where:
Hilton Christiana
100 Continental Dr.
Newark, DE  19713
View map »

More information

Visit the former dairy and farm while exploring the ever-changing estate landscape on this narrated tram tour. Hear accounts of estate history as you see how we have repurposed historic work areas....

Cost: $5 per person upgrade. Members free.

Where:
Winterthur Museum, Garden & Library
5105 Kennett Pike
Wilmington, DE  19807
View map »


Telephone: 800-448-3883
Contact Name: Information and Tours
Website »

More information

NEW DATE: Wednesday, September 26 | 5:30 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.Location: Kingswood Community Center In partnership with Network Delaware, the Museum will present a Town Hall discussion on the...

Cost: Free

Where:
Kingswood Community Center
2300 Bowers St.
Wilmington, DE  19802
View map »


Website »

More information

Timothy Barr paints with a heightened sense of the relationship between color and light, infusing natural images with a serene and meditative radiance. He creates fine oil paintings of the colorful...

Cost: free

Where:
Somerville Manning Gallery
Breck’s Mill, 2nd Floor
101 Stone Block Row
Greenville, DE  19807
View map »


Telephone: 302-652-0271
Contact Name: Rebecca Moore
Website »

More information

Take in the elegant sunsets aboard the Riverboat Queen on our Thursday Sunset Dinner Cruises! Start your weekend early dockside with this delicious BBQ on the River buffet, featuring options to...

Cost: $45 Adults $22.50 Children ages 3-12 Children under 3 FREE

Where:
Public Docks
Behind Iron Hill Brewery
Wilmington, DE  19801
View map »

More information

Clearing the mind and learning to think not thinking is Zen awareness. Taking the appropriate action in this moment is Zen. Once you know this in your body, walking, standing, sitting down,...

Cost: Free

Where:
Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Newark
420 Willa Road
Newark, DE  19711
View map »


Sponsor: UUFN
Telephone: 302.368.2984
Contact Name: Richard Field
Website »

More information

View the new exhibition “The World Is Following Its People: Indigenous Art and Arctic Ecology and meet several of the UD students who helped bring it to life as curators. This reception...

Cost: Free

Where:
University of Delaware's Old College Gallery
18 East Main St.
Newark, DE  19716
View map »


Sponsor: University of Delaware Library, Museums & Press
Website »

More information

By Peter Shaffer Directed by Steve Tague. Enlarge! Enliven! Enlighten! Lettice is a vivacious tour guide at a rather ho-hum historical manor, who grabs and keeps tourists’ attention with...

Cost: 15-32

Where:
Studio Theatre, Roselle Center for the Arts
110 Orchard Rd.
Newark, DE  19716
View map »


Telephone: 302-831-2204
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Established Color, an exhibition of vibrant still life paintings by Thomas Del Porte, will be on view in the Mezzanine Gallery from September 7-28, 2018. Del Porte received a 2018 Fellowship in...

Cost: Free

Where:
Mezzanine Gallery in Carvel Building
820 N. French St.
2nd Floor
Wilmington, DE  19801
View map »


Sponsor: Delaware Division of the Arts
Telephone: 302-577-8278
Contact Name: Roxanne Stanulis
Website »

More information

We’re very excited that it’s almost time for our 12th Annual Delaware FFA Foundation, Inc.’s Golf Tournament ! This year the tournament will take place on Thursday, September...

Cost: 450

Where:
Heritage Shores Club
1 Heritage Shores Circle
Bridgeville, DE  19933
View map »


Sponsor: Delaware FFA Foundation
Telephone: 302-245-7882
Contact Name: Justin Bailey
Website »

More information

Have you ever pondered the genius behind the invention of the s’more, or wondered how anyone could survive a camping trip without bug spray and quick-dry fabrics?  Happy Campers! has answers for...

Cost: members free, included with admission

Where:
Winterthur Museum, Garden & Library
5105 Kennet Pike
Wilmington, DE  19807
View map »


Telephone: 800-448-3883
Contact Name: Information and Tours
Website »

More information

Husband and wife painters, Kirk McBride and Lynne Lockhart exhibit over 40 new paintings in a two-person show. Lynne is known for her expressive yet anatomically accurate oil paintings of animals...

Cost: free

Where:
The Station Gallery
3922 Kennett Pike
Greenville, DE  19807
View map »


Telephone: 302-654-8638
Website »

More information

Forgeries—false works claiming to be genuine—aren’t expected to have much worth. As such, it may be surprising to learn that items once deemed worthless frauds and illegal acts can serve as...

Cost: Free

Where:
University of Delaware's Morris Library
181 S. College Ave.
Special Collections Gallery
Newark, DE  19717
View map »


Sponsor: University of Delaware Library, Museums & Press
Website »

More information

Try practicing yoga in a beautiful garden setting, strengthening your body and spirit. Our yoga class is open to all levels. We will practice slow, easy motions to get into the rhythm of nature....

Cost: $10

Where:
Winterthur Museum, Garden & Library
5105 Kennett Pike
Wilmington, DE  19807
View map »


Sponsor: Winterthur Museum, Garden & Library
Telephone: 800-448-3883
Contact Name: Information and Tours
Website »

More information

The Delaware Art Museum commissioned a project by New York-based artist Hank Willis Thomas which explores identity, history, and the actions motivating contemporary society. Thomas will interpret...

Cost: Free with Museum admission.

Where:
Delaware Art Museum
2301 Kentmere Parkway
Wilmington, DE  19806
View map »


Website »

More information

The intimate vision of each artist—a mingling of reality and invention—blends the natural world with abstract shapes. Whether in luminous or subdued colors, these forms conjure up a cityscape...

Cost: Free with Museum admission.

Where:
Delaware Art Museum
2301 Kentmere Parkway
Wilmington, DE  19350
View map »


Website »

More information

In 2017, the Delaware Art Museum received 13 works of art previously on display in the Hotel du Pont in downtown Wilmington. The gift included watercolors by Andrew Wyeth and oil paintings by N.C....

Cost: Free for members; Included in Museum Admission charge for non-members.

Where:
Delaware Art Museum
2301 Kentmere Parkway
Wilminton, DE  19806
View map »

More information

A needle's eye in a pond, a Greek temple in the garden, an Ottoman tent sitting on a hill—these are just a few of the inspirations for our upcoming, first-ever outdoor exhibition Follies:...

Cost: Included with general admission ($5-20)

Where:
Winterthur Museum, Garden & Library
5105 Kennett Pike
Wilmington, DE  19807
View map »


Sponsor: Winterthur Museum, Garden & Library
Telephone: 800.448.3883
Contact Name: Information and Tours
Website »

More information

Story Time Thursdays 10:30 - 11 a.m. Enjoy fun animal stories read by our own zoo story-telling team! Story time takes place in the otter circle, in the main zoo, and may include a craft,...

Cost: $7 - $0

Where:
Brandywine Zoo
1001 North Park Drive
Wilmington, DE  19802
View map »


Telephone: 302-571-7747
Website »

More information

Get lost in a book during Mt. Cuba’s Story Time in the Gardens. Children are invited to visit the gardens on Thursday mornings for a story from a nature-themed children’s book. Intended for...

Cost: General Admission

Where:
Mt. Cuba Center
3120 Barley Mill Rd.
Hockessin, DE  19707
View map »


Sponsor: Mt. Cuba Center
Telephone: 302-239-8883
Contact Name: Sara Stevenson
Website »

More information

Schedule a private group tour followed by lunch or dinner with a historic, revolutionary war era presentation.* Ideal for conferences, corporate meetings, special interest groups. $25 per...

Cost: $25–$45

Where:
The University and Whist Club
805 N Broom St
Wilmington, DE  19806
View map »


Sponsor: The University and Whist Club
Telephone: 302-658-5125
Contact Name: Stacey Inglis
Website »

More information

In recent years, the Arctic has occupied a central place in urgent climate change discussions. However, the Indigenous peoples of the region have long understood the need to respect an...

Cost: Free

Where:
Old College Gallery
18 East Main St.
Newark, DE  19716
View map »


Sponsor: University of Delaware Library, Museums & Press
Website »

More information

Self-educated mineralogist George F. Kunz assembled several renowned mineral collections throughout his lifetime. This exhibition highlights the last of his assembled collections, purchased by...

Cost: Free

Where:
University of Delaware's Mineralogical Museum
225 Academy Street
Penny Hall
Newark, DE  19716
View map »


Sponsor: University of Delaware Library, Museums & Press
Website »

More information

Since the early 20th century, abstract art has prompted audiences to consider how the materials, shapes and subjects found within an artwork form the viewer’s response to it. Abstract art...

Cost: Free

Where:
University of Delaware's Mechanical Hall
30 North College Ave.
Newark, DE  19716
View map »


Sponsor: University of Delaware Library, Museums & Press
Website »

More information

MAB offers high quality and affordable ballet training for ages 4 - 18 and Adult Ballet.  MAB is now offering classes in Tap and Jazz.  Classes begin Tuesday, September 4, 2018.   For more...

Cost: see website

Where:
Mid Atlantic Ballet
506 Interchange Blvd
Middletown, DE  19711
View map »


Sponsor: Mid Atlantic Ballet
Telephone: 302-266-6362
Website »

More information

The Farm Stand is located in front of the Museum Store at the Cottage on Thursdays, July–September, 1:30–5:30 pm. Visit us to select fresh, local produce. Parking is available behind the...

Cost: free

Where:
Winterthur Museum, Garden & Library
5105 Kennett Pike
Wilmington, DE  19807
View map »


Telephone: 800-448-3883
Contact Name: Information and Tours
Website »

More information

LURAY PRODUCTIONS NEW YEARS EVE Monday, December 31, 2018            7:30 PM - Midnight Minquadale Memorial Hall 129 East...

Cost: 70-80

Where:
Minquadale Memorial Hall
129 East Hazeldell Avenue
New Castle, DE  19720
View map »


Sponsor: Luray Productions
Telephone: 302-559-0607
Contact Name: Lois Lipton Parker
Website »

More information

Join us on The Patio, voted Best Outdoor Dining by Delaware Today readers! Happy hour 4PM - 6:30PM, live entertainment 6PM - 9PM, local craft beer, handcrafted cocktails, creative gastropub menu,...

Cost: menu items vary

Where:
Hilton Christiana
100 Continental Dr.
Newark, DE  19713
View map »

More information

By Conor McPherson Directed by Ben Barnes  “Sharky” Harkin has returned to Dublin to gather with his brother and friends for a whisky-soaked Christmas Eve of companionship and poker.  When...

Cost: 15-32

Where:
Thompson Theatre, Roselle Center for the Arts
110 Orchard Rd.
Newark, DE  19716
View map »


Telephone: 302-831-2204
Website »

More information

Relax and unwind after a long day with the Museum’s popular Happy Hour series. Enjoy live music on the terrace with friends or tour the galleries indoors. Special themed nights will be scheduled...

Cost: Museum galleries are open with free admission every Thursday from 4–8 pm

Where:
Delaware Art Museum
2301 Kentmere Parkway
Wilmington, DE  19806
View map »


Website »

More information

The Milton Historical Society’s 2018 King Cole Cannery Celebrity Chef Cook-Off takes place on Thursday, September 27, 2018, from 5:30-8:00 p.m. at the Milton Fire Hall, 116 Front Street, Milton,...

Cost: $45 non-members and at the door; members $35 before September 25

Where:
Milton Fire Hall
116 Front Street
Milton, DE  19968
View map »


Sponsor: Milton Historical Society
Telephone: 302-684-1010
Contact Name: Kimberly Fabbri, PhD
Website »

More information

Timothy Barr paints with a heightened sense of the relationship between color and light, infusing natural images with a serene and meditative radiance. He creates fine oil paintings of the colorful...

Cost: free

Where:
Somerville Manning Gallery
Breck’s Mill, 2nd Floor
101 Stone Block Row
Greenville, DE  19807
View map »


Telephone: 302-652-0271
Contact Name: Rebecca Moore
Website »

More information

Take in the elegant sunsets aboard the Riverboat Queen on our Thursday Sunset Dinner Cruises! Start your weekend early dockside with this delicious BBQ on the River buffet, featuring options to...

Cost: $45 Adults $22.50 Children ages 3-12 Children under 3 FREE

Where:
Public Docks
Behind Iron Hill Brewery
Wilmington, DE  19801
View map »

More information

Each month, the DelArt Readers will select a book, collection of articles, or film with a creative slant. These boundary-crossing readings will provide opportunity to question, debate,...

Cost: Free

Where:
Delaware Art Museum
2301 Kentmere Parkway
Wilmington, DE  19806
View map »


Website »

More information

Our final Cigars & Stars dinner of the 2018 season! Join us for a fabulous dinner, premium open bar, live music and cigars by Black Cat, all under the stars on our beautiful outdoor...

Cost: 125.00 per person, inclusive

Where:
Harry's Savoy Grill & Ballroom
2020 Naamans Road
Wilmington, DE  19810
View map »


Sponsor: Harry's Hospitality Group
Telephone: 130-247-53000
Contact Name: Judy Champion
Website »

More information

7:30 p.m. Gallery Talks | 8:00 p.m. Concerts Concerts on Kentmere presents chamber music performances by Pyxis Piano Quartet, the Museum’s ensemble in residence. During their 10th anniversary...

Cost: $30 Members, $35 Non-Members, $25 Students.

Where:
Delaware Art Museum
2301 Kentmere Parkway
Wilmington, DE  19806
View map »


Website »

More information

Dueling Pianos at Uptown! features a new duo of talented and entertaining pianists every month. Audience driven so it's never the same show twice! Buy Tickets Here!  http://bit.ly/2LfcYtC  

Cost: $18-$23

Where:
Uptown! Knauer Performing Arts Center
226 N High Street
West Chester, PA  19380
View map »


Website »

More information

By Peter Shaffer Directed by Steve Tague. Enlarge! Enliven! Enlighten! Lettice is a vivacious tour guide at a rather ho-hum historical manor, who grabs and keeps tourists’ attention with...

Cost: 15-32

Where:
Studio Theatre, Roselle Center for the Arts
110 Orchard Rd.
Newark, DE  19716
View map »


Telephone: 302-831-2204
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Established Color, an exhibition of vibrant still life paintings by Thomas Del Porte, will be on view in the Mezzanine Gallery from September 7-28, 2018. Del Porte received a 2018 Fellowship in...

Cost: Free

Where:
Mezzanine Gallery in Carvel Building
820 N. French St.
2nd Floor
Wilmington, DE  19801
View map »


Sponsor: Delaware Division of the Arts
Telephone: 302-577-8278
Contact Name: Roxanne Stanulis
Website »

More information

Have you ever pondered the genius behind the invention of the s’more, or wondered how anyone could survive a camping trip without bug spray and quick-dry fabrics?  Happy Campers! has answers for...

Cost: members free, included with admission

Where:
Winterthur Museum, Garden & Library
5105 Kennet Pike
Wilmington, DE  19807
View map »


Telephone: 800-448-3883
Contact Name: Information and Tours
Website »

More information

Forgeries—false works claiming to be genuine—aren’t expected to have much worth. As such, it may be surprising to learn that items once deemed worthless frauds and illegal acts can serve as...

Cost: Free

Where:
University of Delaware's Morris Library
181 S. College Ave.
Special Collections Gallery
Newark, DE  19717
View map »


Sponsor: University of Delaware Library, Museums & Press
Website »

More information

Husband and wife painters, Kirk McBride and Lynne Lockhart exhibit over 40 new paintings in a two-person show. Lynne is known for her expressive yet anatomically accurate oil paintings of animals...

Cost: free

Where:
The Station Gallery
3922 Kennett Pike
Greenville, DE  19807
View map »


Telephone: 302-654-8638
Website »

More information

In 2017, the Delaware Art Museum received 13 works of art previously on display in the Hotel du Pont in downtown Wilmington. The gift included watercolors by Andrew Wyeth and oil paintings by N.C....

Cost: Free for members; Included in Museum Admission charge for non-members.

Where:
Delaware Art Museum
2301 Kentmere Parkway
Wilminton, DE  19806
View map »

More information

The intimate vision of each artist—a mingling of reality and invention—blends the natural world with abstract shapes. Whether in luminous or subdued colors, these forms conjure up a cityscape...

Cost: Free with Museum admission.

Where:
Delaware Art Museum
2301 Kentmere Parkway
Wilmington, DE  19350
View map »


Website »

More information

A needle's eye in a pond, a Greek temple in the garden, an Ottoman tent sitting on a hill—these are just a few of the inspirations for our upcoming, first-ever outdoor exhibition Follies:...

Cost: Included with general admission ($5-20)

Where:
Winterthur Museum, Garden & Library
5105 Kennett Pike
Wilmington, DE  19807
View map »


Sponsor: Winterthur Museum, Garden & Library
Telephone: 800.448.3883
Contact Name: Information and Tours
Website »

More information

The Delaware Art Museum commissioned a project by New York-based artist Hank Willis Thomas which explores identity, history, and the actions motivating contemporary society. Thomas will interpret...

Cost: Free with Museum admission.

Where:
Delaware Art Museum
2301 Kentmere Parkway
Wilmington, DE  19806
View map »


Website »

More information

Glory of Stories introduces young visitors to art and the Museum through a story reading followed by an interactive tour of relevant works of art and a studio art project. This program encourages...

Cost: Free for Members, $5 per child and one adult free for Non-Members

Where:
Delaware Art Museum
2301 Kentmere Parkway
Wilminton , DE  19806
View map »


Sponsor: Delaware Art Museum

More information

Glory of Stories introduces young visitors to art and the Museum through a story reading followed by an interactive tour of relevant works of art and a studio art project. This program encourages...

Cost: Free to Members, $5 per child and one adult free for Non-Members

Where:
Delaware Art Museum
2301 Kentmere Parkway
Wilmington, DE  19806
View map »

More information

Schedule a private group tour followed by lunch or dinner with a historic, revolutionary war era presentation.* Ideal for conferences, corporate meetings, special interest groups. $25 per...

Cost: $25–$45

Where:
The University and Whist Club
805 N Broom St
Wilmington, DE  19806
View map »


Sponsor: The University and Whist Club
Telephone: 302-658-5125
Contact Name: Stacey Inglis
Website »

More information

In recent years, the Arctic has occupied a central place in urgent climate change discussions. However, the Indigenous peoples of the region have long understood the need to respect an...

Cost: Free

Where:
Old College Gallery
18 East Main St.
Newark, DE  19716
View map »


Sponsor: University of Delaware Library, Museums & Press
Website »

More information

Since the early 20th century, abstract art has prompted audiences to consider how the materials, shapes and subjects found within an artwork form the viewer’s response to it. Abstract art...

Cost: Free

Where:
University of Delaware's Mechanical Hall
30 North College Ave.
Newark, DE  19716
View map »


Sponsor: University of Delaware Library, Museums & Press
Website »

More information

Self-educated mineralogist George F. Kunz assembled several renowned mineral collections throughout his lifetime. This exhibition highlights the last of his assembled collections, purchased by...

Cost: Free

Where:
University of Delaware's Mineralogical Museum
225 Academy Street
Penny Hall
Newark, DE  19716
View map »


Sponsor: University of Delaware Library, Museums & Press
Website »

More information

MAB offers high quality and affordable ballet training for ages 4 - 18 and Adult Ballet.  MAB is now offering classes in Tap and Jazz.  Classes begin Tuesday, September 4, 2018.   For more...

Cost: see website

Where:
Mid Atlantic Ballet
506 Interchange Blvd
Middletown, DE  19711
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Sponsor: Mid Atlantic Ballet
Telephone: 302-266-6362
Website »

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LURAY PRODUCTIONS NEW YEARS EVE Monday, December 31, 2018            7:30 PM - Midnight Minquadale Memorial Hall 129 East...

Cost: 70-80

Where:
Minquadale Memorial Hall
129 East Hazeldell Avenue
New Castle, DE  19720
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Sponsor: Luray Productions
Telephone: 302-559-0607
Contact Name: Lois Lipton Parker
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By Conor McPherson Directed by Ben Barnes  “Sharky” Harkin has returned to Dublin to gather with his brother and friends for a whisky-soaked Christmas Eve of companionship and poker.  When...

Cost: 15-32

Where:
Thompson Theatre, Roselle Center for the Arts
110 Orchard Rd.
Newark, DE  19716
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Telephone: 302-831-2204
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September 28th at 5:30pm, Canine Training Workshop ATTENTION DOG OWNERS! Would you like tips on teaching and reinforcing basic obedience to your dog? Do you have any questions regarding your...

Cost: Free

Where:
Outside the Brandywine Zoo Education Building
1001 N Park Dr
Wilmington, DE  19802
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Sponsor: Brandywine Zoo AAZK Chapter
Contact Name: Katlyn Muse
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Timothy Barr paints with a heightened sense of the relationship between color and light, infusing natural images with a serene and meditative radiance. He creates fine oil paintings of the colorful...

Cost: free

Where:
Somerville Manning Gallery
Breck’s Mill, 2nd Floor
101 Stone Block Row
Greenville, DE  19807
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Telephone: 302-652-0271
Contact Name: Rebecca Moore
Website »

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After a decade, the Tilton Mansion Preservation Society, Inc., Medical Society of Delaware and the University and Whist Club came together to bring back this prestigious award gala, in 2017. The...

Cost: $120/person

Where:
The University and Whist Club
805 N. Broom St.
Wilmington, DE  19806
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Sponsor: Tilton Mansion Preservation Society
Telephone: 302-658-5125
Contact Name: Stacey Inglis
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Count Manfredo di San Bonifaico will immerse you in an authentic Tuscan food and wine experience. Journey through over 1000 years of family history in winemaking as you taste all five of his...

Cost: $95.00

Where:
The Clubhouse at Baywood
32267 Clubhouse Way
Millsboro, DE  19966
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Sponsor: Creative Coastal Connections Corp.
Telephone: 302-245-4262
Contact Name: Stacy LaMotta

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NspireD, LLC proudly presents the KALEIDOSCOPE Survivors Ball: Celebrating the Beauty of Broken Pieces. This event is for women living with all types of cancer as well as caregivers, family,...

Cost: $50 before 8/31 & $65 until 9/15

Where:
DoubleTree Hotel
4727 Concord Pike
Unit 525
Wilmington, DE  19803
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Sponsor: NspireD, LLC
Telephone: 610-812-9997
Contact Name: Nicolle D. Surratte
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Better Than Bacon performs in completely unscripted improvisational games, which are all driven by YOUR suggestions and interactions. Every word and every action is completely made up...

Cost: $15

Where:
Uptown! Knauer Performing Arts Center
226 N High Street
West Chester, PA  19380
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By Peter Shaffer Directed by Steve Tague. Enlarge! Enliven! Enlighten! Lettice is a vivacious tour guide at a rather ho-hum historical manor, who grabs and keeps tourists’ attention with...

Cost: 15-32

Where:
Studio Theatre, Roselle Center for the Arts
110 Orchard Rd.
Newark, DE  19716
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Telephone: 302-831-2204
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Have you ever pondered the genius behind the invention of the s’more, or wondered how anyone could survive a camping trip without bug spray and quick-dry fabrics?  Happy Campers! has answers for...

Cost: members free, included with admission

Where:
Winterthur Museum, Garden & Library
5105 Kennet Pike
Wilmington, DE  19807
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Telephone: 800-448-3883
Contact Name: Information and Tours
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Grab your cape and lace up your running shoes! The 1st Annual Asperger's Alliance Superhero Dash & Autism Resource Event is Saturday, September 28, 2018. The Superhero Dash is a family...

Cost: Walk/Run $25/$20 Autism Event Free

Where:
Glasgow Park
2275 Pulaski Highway
Newark, DE  19702
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Sponsor: Asperger's Alliance
Telephone: (302)285-9624
Contact Name: Rebecca Clark
Website »

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Husband and wife painters, Kirk McBride and Lynne Lockhart exhibit over 40 new paintings in a two-person show. Lynne is known for her expressive yet anatomically accurate oil paintings of animals...

Cost: free

Where:
The Station Gallery
3922 Kennett Pike
Greenville, DE  19807
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Telephone: 302-654-8638
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The Delaware Art Museum commissioned a project by New York-based artist Hank Willis Thomas which explores identity, history, and the actions motivating contemporary society. Thomas will interpret...

Cost: Free with Museum admission.

Where:
Delaware Art Museum
2301 Kentmere Parkway
Wilmington, DE  19806
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In 2017, the Delaware Art Museum received 13 works of art previously on display in the Hotel du Pont in downtown Wilmington. The gift included watercolors by Andrew Wyeth and oil paintings by N.C....

Cost: Free for members; Included in Museum Admission charge for non-members.

Where:
Delaware Art Museum
2301 Kentmere Parkway
Wilminton, DE  19806
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The intimate vision of each artist—a mingling of reality and invention—blends the natural world with abstract shapes. Whether in luminous or subdued colors, these forms conjure up a cityscape...

Cost: Free with Museum admission.

Where:
Delaware Art Museum
2301 Kentmere Parkway
Wilmington, DE  19350
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EGYPTIAN FESTIVAL Please join us for our annual Egyptian Festival at St. Mary Coptic Orthodox Church of Delaware from September 29 to September 30. While you’re trying the Egyptian...

Cost: FREE

Where:
St. Mary Coptic Orthodox Church
1644 Otts Chapel Road
Newark, DE  19702
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A needle's eye in a pond, a Greek temple in the garden, an Ottoman tent sitting on a hill—these are just a few of the inspirations for our upcoming, first-ever outdoor exhibition Follies:...

Cost: Included with general admission ($5-20)

Where:
Winterthur Museum, Garden & Library
5105 Kennett Pike
Wilmington, DE  19807
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Sponsor: Winterthur Museum, Garden & Library
Telephone: 800.448.3883
Contact Name: Information and Tours
Website »

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September 29 (Saturday) Iron Hill Powwow This event is to highlight native people (First Nations) that live in the tri-state area by having them share their crafts, dances, songs, games, and...

Cost: $5-adults, $4-students & kids, DAS-$2, kids under 4-Free, Scouts in uniform-Free

Where:
Iron Hill Museum
1355 Old Baltimore Pike
Newark, DE  19702
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Sponsor: Delaware Academy of Science, Inc.
Telephone: 130-236-85703
Contact Name: Maureen Zieber
Website »

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Schedule a private group tour followed by lunch or dinner with a historic, revolutionary war era presentation.* Ideal for conferences, corporate meetings, special interest groups. $25 per...

Cost: $25–$45

Where:
The University and Whist Club
805 N Broom St
Wilmington, DE  19806
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Sponsor: The University and Whist Club
Telephone: 302-658-5125
Contact Name: Stacey Inglis
Website »

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In partnership with the Korean American Association of Delaware  Participate in a cultural exchange with activities and performances exploring both traditional and modern Korean culture and...

Cost: Free

Where:
Delaware Art Museum
2301 Kentmere Parkway
Wilmington, DE  19806
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An indulgent food, wine and music experience that will ignite your senses!  Join us as we celebrate the very best of South Coastal Delaware with 20 top restaurants providing food paired with...

Cost: $75 $85 After September 4 $90 at door

Where:
Independence Clubhouse
23767 Samuel Adams Circle
Millsboro, DE  19966
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Sponsor: Creative Coastal Connections Corp.
Telephone: 302-245-4262
Contact Name: Stacy LaMotta
Website »

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Self-educated mineralogist George F. Kunz assembled several renowned mineral collections throughout his lifetime. This exhibition highlights the last of his assembled collections, purchased by...

Cost: Free

Where:
University of Delaware's Mineralogical Museum
225 Academy Street
Penny Hall
Newark, DE  19716
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Sponsor: University of Delaware Library, Museums & Press
Website »

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In recent years, the Arctic has occupied a central place in urgent climate change discussions. However, the Indigenous peoples of the region have long understood the need to respect an...

Cost: Free

Where:
Old College Gallery
18 East Main St.
Newark, DE  19716
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Sponsor: University of Delaware Library, Museums & Press
Website »

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Since the early 20th century, abstract art has prompted audiences to consider how the materials, shapes and subjects found within an artwork form the viewer’s response to it. Abstract art...

Cost: Free

Where:
University of Delaware's Mechanical Hall
30 North College Ave.
Newark, DE  19716
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Sponsor: University of Delaware Library, Museums & Press
Website »

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MAB offers high quality and affordable ballet training for ages 4 - 18 and Adult Ballet.  MAB is now offering classes in Tap and Jazz.  Classes begin Tuesday, September 4, 2018.   For more...

Cost: see website

Where:
Mid Atlantic Ballet
506 Interchange Blvd
Middletown, DE  19711
View map »


Sponsor: Mid Atlantic Ballet
Telephone: 302-266-6362
Website »

More information

LURAY PRODUCTIONS NEW YEARS EVE Monday, December 31, 2018            7:30 PM - Midnight Minquadale Memorial Hall 129 East...

Cost: 70-80

Where:
Minquadale Memorial Hall
129 East Hazeldell Avenue
New Castle, DE  19720
View map »


Sponsor: Luray Productions
Telephone: 302-559-0607
Contact Name: Lois Lipton Parker
Website »

More information

By Conor McPherson Directed by Ben Barnes  “Sharky” Harkin has returned to Dublin to gather with his brother and friends for a whisky-soaked Christmas Eve of companionship and poker.  When...

Cost: 15-32

Where:
Thompson Theatre, Roselle Center for the Arts
110 Orchard Rd.
Newark, DE  19716
View map »


Telephone: 302-831-2204
Website »

More information

Timothy Barr paints with a heightened sense of the relationship between color and light, infusing natural images with a serene and meditative radiance. He creates fine oil paintings of the colorful...

Cost: free

Where:
Somerville Manning Gallery
Breck’s Mill, 2nd Floor
101 Stone Block Row
Greenville, DE  19807
View map »


Telephone: 302-652-0271
Contact Name: Rebecca Moore
Website »

More information

FORGED OF NATURE FASHION FUNDRAISER Saturday, September 29, 7 - 10 PM Enjoy a performance runway show presented by Ellen Durkan of Iron Maiden Forge and Shannah Warwick of BlckBts. Durkan...

Cost: $65 - $100

Where:
The Delaware Contemporary
200 South Madison Street
Wilmington, DE  19801
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By Peter Shaffer Directed by Steve Tague. Enlarge! Enliven! Enlighten! Lettice is a vivacious tour guide at a rather ho-hum historical manor, who grabs and keeps tourists’ attention with...

Cost: 15-32

Where:
Studio Theatre, Roselle Center for the Arts
110 Orchard Rd.
Newark, DE  19716
View map »


Telephone: 302-831-2204
Website »

More information

Best known for his starring role on the NBC comedy series “Undateable” and the Netflix special “Man on Fire,” Chris D’Elia brings his “Follow The Leader Tour” to The Event Center at...

Cost: $39-$59

Where:
SugarHouse Casino
1001 N. Delaware Ave
Philadelphia, PA  19125
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Zahra Noor Presents A Night of North African & Middle Eastern Dance ​ Starring Nada El Masriya Saturday, September 29th, 2018 Doors: 8 p.m. Show: 8:30 p.m. ​ Location:...

Cost: $25

Where:
Wilmington Friends School Theatre
101 School Road
Wilmington, DE  19803
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Website »

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