Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Top Ten Biggs'est Moments of 2008

Dick Clark's countdown has nothing on my Top Ten list of best Biggs moments of 2008. This past year has been nothing but fantastic, groundbreaking and inspiring for the Biggs Museum. I think the best way to put it is, "we're on the map!" Just this week, the Biggs Museum has been mentioned in Art Knowledge News and The Baltimore Sun, showing just how much the Biggs Museum is beginning to be noticed as a major and important museum in our country. We are looking forward to 2009, which I'm beginning to think will be The Year of You & Art. All three exhibitions on tap for next year, Biggs Shot, Award Winners and Biggs is for Kids, consist of the same major component: you and your art. We are encouraging our visitors not only to experience the Permanent Collection and its history but also to engage in creating art and enjoying work made by local artists, all the while connecting with the people in your community. So cheers to a great 2008, and onward and upward to an even Biggs'er year in 2009.

10. Our smashing new web-site and blog. Anyone in the world can now see why we're such a Biggs deal.

9. Our new clock! The Biggs Museum recently acquired a James Kinkead walnut clock for the Permanent Collection.

8. The Biggs nabs the back cover of the February Antiques Magazine, promoting the Delaware Silver Exhibition.

7. The Biggs opens Forgotten Dreams, the first ever comprehensive display of the works of Delaware painter, Edward Grant.

6. Biggs gives back to local artists of all abilities by hosting the Expressions of Time Photography exhibition and Young at Art, an exhibition featuring artwork made by children with disabilities supported by the Child HELP Foundation and VSA of Delaware.

5. Biggs shakes things up at the fall Margarita Tastings. Those mini-quesadillas were good enough to make it number one.

4. The Biggs' Delaware Silver collection served as the special loan exhibition for the DE Antiques Show in November 2008.

3. Over 400 guests attended the 2008 Biggs Museum Gala, held in May.

2. The Biggs' received an education grant for $5,000 from Kraft Foods Inc.

1. And by far the biggest endeavor ever taken on by the Museum, the Biggs opens the Delaware Silver Study Center in March 2009, accompanied by temporary exhibition, Masters in Our Midst, a 100+page publication, and a slew of programming, causing the largest growth spurt in the number of visitors ever.

Monday, December 29, 2008

"Oh Be Nice!"

I read an interesting article yesterday about the "Happiness Effect." Apparently, researchers are studying the effects our social network's (also known as our friends, family, coworkers) moods have on our moods the same way their behaviors might. For example, Joe Schmo in the next cubicle whom you eat lunch with every day has just started the South Beach Diet, and suddenly your #4 Double Cheeseburger Value meal isn't looking so healthy. Researchers believe that if your network is happy, then you are likely to be happy. I don't recall every meeting someone who didn't have the desire to be happy, so how to we give our so called "network" a little "smile injection"? You be nice of course. And that is exactly what Melissa Morris Ivone over at the Operation NICE blog is doing daily, giving us daily tips on how to be more courteous, fun, warm and make the world a much more lovely place to exist in.

From her Nice News bits and Nice Assignments to her Nice testimonials, there's such a warm feeling to her blog that you only get from a warm chocolate chip cookie out of the oven. After reading a few of the testimonials this morning, you realize, as she puts it, "a little nice goes a long way." So just in time for your New Year's resolution, think about how you can be nice in 2009. And if you're in need of some tips, Melissa is sure to help.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Time's A Tickin' For 2008

My daily morning routine includes a steaming cup of English Breakfast Tea with my Mother and the News Journal. Her comment, "There must really be nothing going on if the News Journal put Longwood Gardens wedding proposals on the front cover," justifies my enjoyment of news broadcasts and publications this time of year: it's complete recap (kind of like Sportscenter on steroids) with side servings of warm fuzzies. All the Best of 2008s remind of us of the bad (economy, gas prices, what else is news?), the good (gas prices right now and hello, Michael Phelps?) and the ugly (Hurrican Ike, bernard madoff).
My most recent countdown included Time Magazine's Person of the Year issue with who else on the cover, but Barack Obama. Included in the issue were Pictures of the Year. The photos document every breathtaking world story of the year, from the massive earthquake in China, Phelps taking a plunge in the Olympics, to the Democratic and Republican National Conventions and scenes of soldiers heading to Iraq. From there we go back to the Person of the Year, where president-elect Barack Obama has got himself a new photo album. Time Magazine stresses that being named Person of the Year is not an honor. In fact, their definition of the designation goes like this: “The person or persons who most affected the news and our lives, for good or for ill, and embodied what was important about the year, for better or for worse.” While the photos of his college years are interesting, Obama's Nation of Hope Collage definitely show that we as a country are anxious for more groundbreaking history to come, no matter how it comes or who it comes from.

While some of 2008's events may not leave you feeling with the urge to raise the champagne glass, there's always a reason to celebrate the future and the endless possibilities of what is to come. And if we didn't, what would we recap in December 2009?

P.S. Don't forget the Runner-Ups. It is my personal belief Tina Few should have made the cover, but that's just me.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Tired of just "untitled"?

I'm always frustrated looking at art work with "untitled" titles. I compare it to buying a puppy, naming the little dog is the best part! So I constantly fail to comprehend why artists, after all the blood, sweat, and tears put into their piece, don't even bother to throw a title line on their work. They certainly can't use the excuse, "I'm not really creative."

I'm not sure if Mark Kostabi has an inability to name his works, but he certainly has a fun way of doing it. You may not have heard of this American artist before but you may have seen his work on several commercialized products. He designed album covers for Rolling Stones and the Ramones and numerous products such as a Swatch watch, limited-edition vases, espresso cups, computer accessories and a Giro d'Italia pink jersey. He's been a leader of the Lower East Side art scene for many years and has just taken the leap into the TV Scene in his show, Title This.

Plain and simple, Title This, is a tv show hosted by Mark Kostabi in which he invited celebrity contestants to compete in creating titles for his works for cash rewards. Now before you think Hulk Hogan and Ryan Seacrest are dueling it out renaming Mona Lisa, this is not your typical reality tv contest. By celebrity, I mean well-known art critics, dealers, jounralists and such. Although us Delawareans are unable to watch Title This live every Wednesday, as it's only broadcasted in Manhattan, you can watch any episode on their web-site. (Thank you You-Tube). Depending on your humor personality, you may or may not appreciate Title This. It's intellectual sarcasm at its finest, but i see it as wit at its best. Who doesn't love a good tag line anyways?

Friday, December 19, 2008

Louvre Loves Lost DaVinci

If you've ever stumbled upon a long lost pair of socks you thought was gone in the laundry mix years ago, I'm sure you can imagine the degree of excitement of one of the Louvre Curators yesterday when they made a fascinating discovering of some unknown drawings on the back of a painting by Leonardo da Vinci. These drawings, found on the work, "The Virgin and Child with Saint Anne" (circa 1500)were accidentally discovered when the painting was unhooked for restoration as part of a program that was in the mix with the "Mona Lisa." The drawings found by the staff included a horse's head and half of a skull, and left the staff so surprised they almost wrote them off as stains.

This is an exceptional discovery because the Louvre had already conducted extensive testing on the back of the painting. After infrared camera photographs were taken, an additional drawing, portraying Child Jesus playing with a lamb was shown. Although these drawings are believed to be done by Da Vinci himself as they are of his style, drawings on the back of paintings are rare and Da Vinci did not partake in this prior. Further research will soon tell whether or not these drawings were done by Da Vinci.

Either about an early Christmas present at the Louvre. Maybe I should head over to the Schoonover Gallery and double check the backs of all the illustrations.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Hit Us With Your Best Shot

Here ye, Here ye, All Photographers living in the Mid-Atlantic, we need your works!

The Biggs just announced a "Call for Entries" for the Biggs Shot 2009 Competition. Biggs Shot 2009 is the second juried photography competition and exhibition hosted by the Museum. Stephen Perloff will serve as the juror this year. He comes with an impressive background as the editor of The Photo Review Magazine and The Photograph Collector Magazine. The theme for the competition is open and any medium will be accepted. The 2005 Biggs Shot exhibition featured 40 selected works and the 2009 exhibition will feature double the amount. In addition, Biggs Shot 2009 will be the first on-line exhibition hosted by the Biggs Museum.

You've got until January 31, 2009 to get your entries yet, but don't wait til the last minute. All of the details are on our web-site. You can even submit an application on-line this time around. So hop to it, chop chop, and hit us with your best shot.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Non-Profit (or Doing) of the Week: The Ultimate Soup Kitchen

Feeding America has just one up'd the McDonald's dollar menu, in a big way. Feeding America, formerly known as 2nd Harvest, is the nation's leading domestic hunger-relief charity, providing food assistance to more than 25 million low-income people facing hunger in the US each year. Feeding America distributes more than 2 billion pounds of food through their network of more than 200 food banks that serve all 50 states.

In this economic climate, the issue of hunger is apparent more than ever. The strong increase in unemployment has sent droves of people to local food banks, pantries and kitchens in search for a meal for themselves and their families. As hard as both our local and national food charities work, they are all equally having trouble keeping the shelves stocked. Hence to say, our help is needed. Even though we are all feeling the pinch, it is now more than ever we reach out to those who are in need.
The Fill a Bowl, Feed America is the perfect solution to those who wish to support hunger, but may not have the time to purchase those non-perishables and get them to the food bank. Simply make a donation on their web-site and the money will directly go to feeding the hungry. Just a donation of $1 provides 16 bowls of food for the hungry!, proving that donations in any amount can make a difference. $20 will provide 640 bowls of food! I'm thrilled to share that one of our greatest supporters of our educational programs, Kraft Foods, is taking our donations further, by matching every dollar donated up to $200,000. This gift is in addition to the 4.5 million dollar gift over three years to Feeding America to purchase and operate up to 25 mobile pantries. By making an average of three trips a week, each mobile pantry can distribute the equivalent of 1,143,042 meals annually to Americans who might otherwise go hungry.

I know you've got a few bucks to spare, so instead of your Starbucks latte this afternoon, fill up some bowls for hunger instead. Your donation will even be recognized on their interactive donor wall.... i dare you to be the top "bowler!"

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Cycle Your Way To A Beautiful Christmas Tree

When it comes to "going all out" for holidays, museums are right up there with Macy's. A combination of cold weather and hometown visits, leave many families searching for ways to entertain in much warmer indoor environments. Delaware historical and cultural museums are no exception...Yuletide at Winterthur, Longwood, Hagley, the Delaware Agriculture Museum...Warm up to the Biggs's no hard task to fill your December Saturdays with morning shopping and afternoon Museum visits.

But it wouldn't be the holidays without all of the decor. We Museum peole want to make sure we spruce the place up for all of our visitors. Wherever you may visit, the Christmas tree is always the center of attention. However, year after year, I feel like I'm seeing the same tree, same angel, same lights, same glass ornaments, yawn. So when I read about Tate Britain Museum's Christmas Tree in London, I almost wanted to hop a transatlantic to see it myself.

Each year, the Tate Britain selects an artist to create a Christmas tree for the gallery. This year's selected Multimedia artists Bob and Roberta Smith went all out and created ‘Make Your Own Xmas’ a tree you not only view but also interact with. The tree, made from timber, bicycles and lamps, will be brought to life by the visitors when they provide pedal power to illuminate the tree. Eight bicycles of various sizes to fit all have been fixed to stands around the trunk, each holding a generator that is connected to a set of light bulbs that decorate the tree. Make Your Own Xmas is a spirited, thought-provoking response to the season of contemplation, celebration and consumerism. The artist's aim was to introduce an energetic, hands-on approach to art by getting the public actively involved in his work.

So much comes to mind when thinking about this work....going green through self-power, interactive art with the public, .... art is moving in a direction that we never might have expected, and everyone is invited for the ride.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Mindless Monday Fun: Wordle Out

Mindless Monday Fun this week gets wordy when you visit Wordle, a new toy that generates "word clouds" from any sized combination of words you could think of. I think of it as boomeranging your favorite saying out into wordle space and it comes back as a beautiful and colorful jumple image.

Why make a wordle? Why not is the question. But from I see this is a great way to creat a visual using words. We may view the words differently in a wordle, than we would on a college ruled notebook. The clouds give greater prominence to words that appear more frequently in the source text. You can tweak your clouds with different fonts, layouts, and color schemes. The images you create with Wordle are yours to use however you like. You can print them out, or save them to the Wordle gallery to share with your friends.

A picture is worth a thousand words…

Friday, December 5, 2008

Non-Profit (or Doing) of the Week: Xerox Helps Us Give Thanks

Whenever I see a member of our Armed Forces, I almost always feel compelled to tell them "thank-you" for their dedication to serving our country. With millions overseas as we speak, there are plenty of troops that I (or you) will never get to thank. Xerox has decided to help us and increase community morale with their project, Let's Say Thanks. Originally started in local communities as campaign drives, Xerox hosts a free service that allows visitors to select from a range of postcard designs created by US children and add a personalized message to a soldier. The cards are then printed out and delivered to soldiers deployed in Iraq, Afghanistan and other locations.

There are no tricks up Xerox's sleeves, just good will. Let's Say Thanks is an easy way for anyone to send thanks and good wishes to deployed servicemen and women. their way to provide. All you have to do is pick a design (a nice stack of them picked from thousands of entries drawn by children in the U.S.) pick a standard message or write your own and send! Xerox then prints all the cards and mails them in care packages made by military support organization Give2TheTroops®.To date, more than 12,000 postcards have been mailed to soldiers. With the launch of Let's Say Thanks, more soldiers can expect to receive messages from home.

So take just a minute to write a warm message to travel far, someone is sure to love it. Now, I wonder if Xerox will send my Christmas Cards for me? Nah.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Dancing Makes Temporary Exhibition Double Club Interactive

This is definitely a first for me. I write on installation art frequently because it always intrigues me how we bring art literally into our living environments. German artist Carsten Höller’s seems to take his work a step further, stretching the definition of art, and literally create the environment. Holler, who currently has a revolving hotel room installation on display in the Guggenheim, has just opened up his newest installation: Double Club, a form of a fully operational bar, restaurant and nightclub. Double Club, commissioned by the Fondazione Prada, features two entertainment environments as the bar is divided between two cultural influences: the culture of the West and the culture of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. A line in the middle of the club divides the club from the Congo side, decorate with neon palm trees and the Western side filled with lush leather sofas, similar the neighboring urban night clubs.

Is the music? Of course, but how do you choose the type with two cultural influences? You don't play Carrie Underwood in a sushi restaurant do you? The rotating dj sits in the middle of the club and switches up the genre depending on which side he is facing? And if you're there for nourishment? You shouldn't have any problem finding something to eat on the two separate menus?

Still not enticed? Make your evening visiting this installation a good cause. A percentage of the profits from The Double Club will be donated to the City of Joy charity, which is a hospital for victims of violence and rape in Congo.

So why Congo, ArtInfo sat down with Carsten and asked. Carsten responded, I’ve been asked “why the Congo?” a lot, but why not? It is an interesting place. For many people the name “Congo” has some sort of trigger function — they just think of the political troubles and the wars. We’re trying to propose looking at it in a different way."

And why do this at all? In a sit down with Bloomberg, Carsten says, "Art — I mean its representational function — is in my opinion very exhausted. Art should be experience more than representation. You make your own representation of it. You don’t go through somebody else."

So what to make of this endeavor? Is it for self-promotion? Is it for a good cause? A good time? Is it really art? I'm all for fundraising, but is the distinction between art and entertainment becoming cloudy? Or is entertainment a form of art?

Friday, November 28, 2008

Google Your LIFE

It feels like yesterday I uploaded my first "album" on Webshots so that all of my college co-eds could see my photos taken with my new digi cam. Photo sharing on-line has come a long way since then and LIFE magazine's new album created with Google definately takes the cake for most forward thinking.

I couldn't recall a single article I've ever read in LIFE magazine, but I could definitely remember some of the photographs I've seen, documenting some of the biggest events in my lifetime. So wouldn't it be awesome if you could flip through an album of all LIFE mag's photos, even some of the ones that never made it to print? Well Google and LIFE are making that possible in their new on-line album. You better set aside some time for clicking, because there are millions to see, stretching back all the way to the 1750s. Now how does one shuffle through millions of photos without a headache? No worries, Google has done all the proper filing and organizing. You can search by decade or subject, such as people, travel, sports and events. So you can go from a Kennedy Family Photo op to the 1984 Superbowl, to an African desert quite easily. I've already fallen in love with the Pablo Picasso section. How could you not resist this face?

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Art all the way down Broadway, with a pit stop at Macy's

The Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade is a holiday tradition for most, whether it involves braving the crowds and cold to watch it up close or at home on the couch with a play-by-play by Matt Lauer. Besides the live entertainment and plethora of marching bands, the large scale helium balloons are my favorites. Who wouldn't get excited at the site of a 50 foot helium Snoopy?

In 2005, Macy's introduced the Blue Sky Gallery series in the Thanksgiving Day Parade, when they invited artist Tom Otterness to create a balloon version of one of his classic peices of Humpty Dumpty. This was a strong effort by Macy's to inject contemporary art into a pop culture phenomena. Jeff Koons followed up in 2007 with "Rabbit.) The parade is paying tribute to beloved art Keith Haring, who would have turned 50 this year by featuring one of his ink on paper drawings, Untitled (Figure with a Heart, 1987). During his career Haring devoted much of his time to works that carried social messages and often dreamed of having one of his works turned into a balloon. In 1988, Haring was diagnosed with AIDS and went on to work with his self-titled Foundation to support AIDS & HIV research until his death in 1990.

The 48 foot tall, three-dimensional balloon of his work sends a message at a very relevant time of year. I can't wait to see it on the big screen Thursday morning.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Mindless Monday Fun

I can make a sure bet most of us are easing our way through the short work week on Wednesday. For me, the corn casserole can't come soon enough, not to mention the Black Friday bobbie sandwhiches the day after. Hence to say on this gloomy Monday, let's just have some good ole' internet fun with one of my recent favorite sites.

When I was in college in Baltimore, whenever one of us was down in the dumps we went to a place in Towson called Just Puppies. Self-explanatory, is was a place with Just Puppies. Armed with anti-bacterial wipes, you could run in, play with a poodle, a Yorkie, a Golden Retriever, get hassled to buy one and walk out 20 minutes later feeling warm and fuzzy with no worries. Well, before I disappoint you, Just Puppies is not coming to Dover, but there is a fantastic new web-site that fits the bill for anyone no matter where they live. It's the puppy cam.

Over four million people have viewed and been fascinated by this live video feed of a San Francisco family's five Shiba Inus named, Autumn, Ayumi, Amaya (the girls) and Aki, Akoni and Ando (the boys). Only six weeks old, the owners put in a puppy cam so that they could monitor them while out of the house. A coworker of the owner's saw the video feed and asked for the link, from there you've got six new puppies as famous as Lassie and Beverly Hill Chihuaha. So check these guys out and ready, set, awwwww.

Friday, November 21, 2008

A Delaware Delight: Christmas comes early for Hospice

I don't remember too much from early childhood (under the age of 4) but I do remember my Pop-Pop. A great man, mostly known for Republican Politics and his buffalo in the community, had his life cut short by a brain tumor. To this day I can still have a photographic memory of his last days, visiting his home with my parents, running up the stairs into his bedroom and spending time with him watching tv, reading and listening to stories. To this day, I still hold those memories close to my heart. I was too young to fully understand how seriously ill my Pop-Pop was at the time, but I knew he was in the best place to spend the last few days of his life: at home and with his family.

Those memories would not be possible if it wasn't for Delaware Hospice. DE Hospice made it possible for my Pop-Pop to spend the remaining days of his life at home and with his family, as opposed to hospital, where he and our family, may not have felt as comfortable. Since his death in the late 1980s, Delaware Hospice has continued to grow immensely this year. Since 1982, Delaware Hospice has provided exceptional care and support to 30,000 patients and their families. Its mission is to help each patient, each day, live the fullest, most comfortable life possible. Just this past Spring, the Delaware Hospice Center opened in Milford, meeting the needs of those who require short-term stays for symptom management. Visiting hours are unlimited and care is never denied, the 16 suites provide a comfortable home-like atmosphere to patients.
The mission of Delaware Hospice alone is enough to motivate and inspire anyone in our area to support and help this organization. This week-end is their biggest annual fundraiser, The Festival of Trees kicks off the holiday season and raises funding to support its programs and services. The New Castle and Kent County festivals are this weekend, followed by the Sussex County event (at Georgetown DTCC) next week. The festival of trees features a beautiful display of trees and wreaths, sponsored by local businesses and individuals and were decorated by local artisans. Some of the trees are available for purchase and some are raffled. On Saturday, the Festival is for families, including photo-ops with Santa and loads more fun. Check the web-site for the times and admission for the Festival of Trees closest to you. This is the time of year we spend most with the ones we love, so help make it possible for all families to do the same.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Taking a Shot at Proving a Point

Ever since Damien Hirst made big bucks a couple of months ago stepping away from the dealer-artist relationship norm, he has shaken the force beneath artists who may feel controlled by their dealers. Case in point, see below:

In Toronto, art dealers normally collect 30-60% in commission on all artwork sold. Do the math, and very little is left for the actual creator of the work sold. Seem fair? Because there is no existing rank, certification or organization protecting artists, they're most times left as easy prey for art dealers. You can compare the artists to damsels in distress, or your mother-in-law (can't live with them & can't live without them), artists rely on these dealers to stay afloat in the art market, but often times they're taken advantage of.

One Toronto artist in particular, Viktor Mitic had just about had enough after a local art dealer came to his studio. He tells the media, "He came into my studio talking on his cell trying to sell a painting by Pistolleto to someone in New York. Without even pausing, he just said that my paintings need to be more penetrating and left. That same day I drove down to a gun range in Buffalo N.Y.; I rented an assault rifle and blasted a "more penetrating" painting, a portrait of Christ named Hole Jesus."

Hole Jesus will be on display at Trias Gallery Nov. 27- Dec. 18. 2008 in Toronto. While Viktor's motives were quite loud, I completely empathize with his frustration. Just as artists need art dealers, the dealers need the artists as well, being Damien Hirst as a perfect example as to the potential losses art dealers can incur when an artist sells directly to the public. As much as the dealers recognize the public's tastes and needs, in no way does that give them the same credibility to instruct artist's on their work. And so the story goes in the Art Market world......

Monday, November 17, 2008

Non-Profit (or Doing) of the Week: The Consignment of Your Life Line

In my bottom night stand drawer, I've got a Star-Tac, Color LG, and a Nokia cell phone. A cell-phone user for over 8 years, I've got quite a collection going as a result of a rotating 2-year contract with Verizon. Every two years, right around Christmas time, a new phone arrives (with a manual, thank goodness) and the old one goes right in the drawer. Can't throw them away, would be too harmful for the environment, but what am I to do with them? Recently, I've learned, just flip them for cash! Better yet, flip them for a cash donation to a charity!

The folks over at Flipswap have answered all the questions when it comes to your old cell phone devices and even your ipods. The average cell phone user changes their device every 18months, leaving millions of unused cell phones out there. As electronics aren't biodegradable and even contain toxic parts that could leak into landfills and pollute our environment, we should put our old cell phone junk to better use.

Flipswap lets you get rid of your cell phone while helping those in need (an if you're in need, you can even take the cash yourself, but let's stick to being philanthropic here). In just three simple steps you can help your environment by properly recycling your cell phone and send your favorite Charity a little cash as well. Here are the steps.

1. Look up the value of your cell on for an instant quote. It's like the Kelley Blue Book of Cells, be honest here!
2. Print out the prepaid shopping label online.
3. Drop the phone in your mail box.

And voila! Once they've received your phone, they'll process it and send the check to your chosen charity. With free shipping, there is no reason not to partake. Once my new phone comes in December, my Motorola Q is going right to the Biggs Museum.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Free Gift With Purchase

Aren't those words just music to your ears? Well, lately Museums have been just as generous with incentive gifts as your local Clinique Cosmetics counter.

In honor of Philadelphia’s remarkable World Series champions, the Phillies, the Philadelphia Museum of Art will give away its own signature baseballs—Philly All Star and All Star Artists—to the first 100 Museum members and the first 100 general purchasers when tickets for the upcoming exhibition, Cézanne and Beyond go on sale. Member tickets have already gone on sale, but beginning 9 a.m. Saturday, November 1, and tickets for the general public go on sale at 9 a.m. November 15.

Cézanne and Beyond (February 26-May 17, 2008) will present some 150 works, including 60 paintings, watercolors and drawings by Cézanne (1839 – 1906), along with those of 16 later artists for whom Cézanne has been a central inspiration and whose work reflects his extraordinary legacy. Although Cezanne was not known to have played baseball, the PMA created the first Cezanne baseball in 1996. The Museum developed the Philly All Star and Artists All Star baseballs later. The Philly All Star baseball reproduces autographs of Thomas Eakins, Mary Cassatt, Benjamin Franklin, and others; the Artists All Star baseball represents the international league, including signatures of such luminaries as Henri Rousseau, Leonardo Da Vinci, Claude Monet, and Benjamin West.

If Philadelphia is not on your agenda anytime soon, the Biggs Museum is offering our own incentive gift in November and December! If you sign up for a new membership, renew or gift a membership in November and December, you'll be the lucky new owner of either a Greetings from Delaware Exhibition Catalog or a Greetings from Delaware Christmas Card Set. And no one is saying you can't regift your gift from us. We can keep a secret.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Non-Profit (or Doing) of the Week: Ch Ch Ch Check It Out

I'm at WAWA daily, for coffee that is. I just can't seem to get enough of that Hazelnut flavored goodness brewed fresh for me (or atleast I believe it's for me) in a hot pot. Unfortunately, many (or millions) of people also enjoy WAWA, so I find myself frequently in line to pay for my $1.35 cup. Normally I'm staring at the Tasty Kakes and Entenmann's wishing one day they wouldn't contain 45 grams of fat, but today I noticed tons of post-it flyers strung along the counter that read, "Check Out Hunger." So while waiting to check out my thirst for caffeine, I was intrigued to know more about the possibility of checking out my hunger.

Entering into its ninth year, WAWA is hosting the Check Out Hunger Campaign to benefit local food banks in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland and Virginia from Nov 3. through Nov. 30 in all of its 570 stores. And all it takes to help combat hunger is adding $1, $3, or $5 to your bill. Your donation comes with a "soup bowl" cutout that is displayed in the store with your name. The donation will directly benefits the Feeding America food banks in the area.

I love this campaign because I know my support will go directly to my neighbors in need. Last year, Check out Hunger received over $100,000 in donations providing 1 million meals to local food banks. In light of this economic crisis, there is more of a need than ever to help those struggling in our community, especially during the holidays. So next time you're checking out your hoagie, Herrs chips and a Nantucket Nectar, add a dollar on there..... as a convenience to something important.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Caution! A Fragile New Year

There are several fantastic go-to sites for every New York visitor (who really wants to be called tourist?)... Empire State Building, Radio City Music Hall, Central Park, Macy's, Times Square, Rockefeller Center, the list goes on for days(and alot of your hard earned cash to see it all). In the next two months New York enhances all of their attractions, making it a must go holiday destination; the most popular of course being the Times Square Ball that drops at midnight New Year's Eve kicking off a brand new year and a morning full of hangovers.

Yesterday, the 2009 Times Square Ball was revealed and it's smashing. The Waterford Crystal ball is bigger than ever, coming in at three-and-a-half meters in diameter and weighing nearly 6 tons. Last year's ball was less than two meters across and less than a ton. A new shaft was built to withstand the increase in size, able to hold the ball almost 145 meters above Times Square.
What's the ball made of? 2,468 Waterford crystal triangles, each etched with a stylized star burst or a stylized angel. Pretty fancy. Some people consider this object a work of art. Is it? It certainly has a design aspect and enough detail to go along with it. The ball is a symbol to many of the new year, of what is to come in the future.
Have you wondered what would happen if the ball ever truly dropped? Or smashed into a million pieces? No Worries, the ball has been tested for winds up to 225 kph and in temps ranging from -20 to 120.
Coming in at a cost of several million dollars (paid for privately), this is the seventh ball in the 101-year history of ball dropping in Times Square. In addition to the news of a new ball this year, it was announced that the Ball will be displayed year-round, not just during the Christmas season. For those of thus who couldn't possibly bear the shopping crowd in early December or the craziness that is Times Square on NYE, this is great news. Just one more thing to add to the agenda on my next trip.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Non-Profit (or Doing) of the Week: Stuff that Bus!

No, I'm not pretending to be Ty Pennington on Extreme Makeover Home Edition, although I could use a megaphone when trying to promote this fun event.

Talks of favorite Thanksgiving side dishes (my mother's corn casserole is to die for) were talked amongst Biggs staff members the other day, meaning this "stuff yourself" holiday is right around the corner. If you're not the family chef, it's likely you may take for granted how lovely it is to sit down to turkey, cranberry sauce, stuffing, pumpkin pie, galor. So when comfort food holiday season comes along, so do food drives; our opportunity to make sure everyone in our community sits down for a warm meal this Thanksgiving. If you're within the Delaware community, I've got just the drive for you.

Food Bank of Delaware and DART (Delaware Bus Transit Service) have teamed up, along with many other partners such a local radio stations and Chick Fila to host the 11th annual Stuff that Bus Food Drive. Last year, they collected over 8 tons of non-perishable foods! The drive begins next Monday, November 10th at the Dover Acme and the Milford Wal-Mart, and continues through the rest of the week in several Wilmington locations. So get to your pantry this weekend and gather up those Tomato Soup and Cranberry Sauce cans. They're looking for tons of items, such as Macaroni & Cheese, Mixed Vegetables, Instant Mashed Potatos, Beans, canned fruits, paper products, laundry detergent and diapers.

Chick Fil-A is helping Food Bank of Delaware to increase participation this year by holding a food drive through November 10 at their Camden location. Bring in 3 cans of food to donate for a FREE chicken sandwich. And if you donate 6 cans, a FREE combo meal is coming your way. If you're unable to make it to Stuff the Bus next week, check your local paper for food drives in your area. Remember, every bit (and bite of food) counts.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Grant Us A Little Of Your Time

After you have voted today of course! No excuses! I stood in line 45 minutes to press that green "vote" button, and I walked out feeling like a certified good citizen. But tomorrow after all the Election Day hoopla, not only will we have a new President, but we shall also have a brand spanking new exhibition at the Biggs Museum, and I must tell you it is fantastic.

On display beginning tomorrow through the end of February, visitors to the Biggs will get a chance to see the brilliant work of regional painter, Edward Grant. Often times not recognized, this exhibition is the first retrospective look at never before seen work of this painter. Born in Wilmington in 1913, Grant (I have nick-named him Mr. Ed myself) studied with some of the most recognized Delaware painters such as Frank E. Schoonover and N.C. Wyeth. With a career spanning over 70 years, Edward Grant dabbled in just about every artistic style including illustration, murals, Photo Realism and Abstraction. Most of the pieces are form Grant's studio, and from what I've heard there was so much to choose from our Curator, Ryan Grover, felt like a kid in a candy shop.

So what should one expect from Edward Grant? I consider this Edward Grant's "hello, world" introduction, so it is definitely comprehensive, displaying examples from all periods of his career. Anyone who appreciates regional landscape will enjoy Grant's work. Many of the depicted "forgotten" scenes of Eastern Shore Maryland and the Delmarva Peninsula will leave anyone wondering, "I've seen this place before."

Well, I don't want to give too much away, mostly because I want you all to visit, you've got plenty of time, but don't you want to be first? Join us Wednesday night for the opening reception, beginning at 5:30. If it isn't the art, Nage Catering should be more than enough to get you through the door.