Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Non-Profit of the Week: CommonThreadz

When you combine an opportunity to buy limited-edition artist designed t-shirts to help support a cause that also supports other causes simultaneously, you get
Commonthreadz works to provide orphans and vulnerable children in developing countries with school uniforms. Why school uniforms? Instead of food, medicine, shelter or education? Millions of these children have never been able to step foot in a school either because they cannot afford a uniform or they will have the stigma of AIDS if they do not acquire one. A uniform can mean social acceptance and an education: the key to survival and adult employment. As you can read on their site, Commonthreadz creates individual strength in the children instead of dependency which can often happen when charities provide the poor with necessities.
A modeled t-shirt developing social awareness for Environmental and Energy Study Institute
Although Commonthreadz utilizes traditional fundraising tactics by accept donations and acquires sponsorship, they created a unique way to provide a school uniform for an orphan. Commonthreadz commissioned talented artists from all over the world (I'm talking Hong Kong, Mexico, Vancouver, and beyond here.) to design limited edition t-shirts. Each t-shirt design is an interpretation of a social issue to build awareness for other charities that Commonthreadz supports like Habitat for Humanity and the National Breast Cancer Foundation. So therefore, when you visit you can:

  1. Purchase a super soft, cool t-shirt that most likely no-one else will have.

  2. Provide an orphan with a school uniform. Therefore providing this child with an education.

  3. Raise awareness and funding for other non-profits in the country.

  4. Pat your back for helping save the world today.

My suggestion is buy your t-shirt today.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Click for Craft

It is my belief that some web-sites exist purely to reduce our daily productivity through endless hours of clicking. As an avid on-line shopper, I can attest that is one of those sites. The ultimate craft fair can be best explained by it's motto: Buy, Sell and Live Handmade.

It operates as a marketplace for all things handmade: crafters set up shops for craft-lovers to buy from. Their mission is to enable people to make a living making things, by creating a virtual community to reconnect makers with buyers. To date, hosts 170,000 shops worldwide, which translates to alot crafts to choose from. Items range from stationary, jewelry and quilts to prints, home fixtures and beauty items. The beautifully designed site utilizes technology that allows you to search for goodies not just by category, new items or best sellers but also by color (just click on any swatch) and geography (you can find local crafters in Delaware!).

If in need of a gift or just a nic nac, this is the place to go. When you join as a buyer or a seller you join an inspiring and encouraging community. Just beware: you will get addicted, so set aside an evening or five to click around.

Monday, July 28, 2008

There's a little Guggenheim in All of Us.

That is, if you actually carry a peice of the Guggenheim on you. In case you didn't know Frank Lloyd Wright's most recognizable masterpiece, the Guggenheim, has just undergone a little nip and tuck in exterior restoration. To celebrate the 50th anniversary of this landmark, the Guggenheim took fragments gathered during the restoration and presented them in hand-crafted acrylic and sterling silver forms of jewelry- called "Restoration Rocks."

California-based jewelry artist Cara Tilker has created nine different designs including earrings, pendants, bracelets, a ring, and cuff links each containing fragments of the Guggenheim. So if tote bags or coffee mugs are not your style to distinguish yourself as a museum patron, visit and pick yourself up some rocks, literally.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Best Bet for a Delaware Weekend

If traffic on Rt-1 South to the beaches in July makes you queasy, rest assured and make the u-turn back north on up to Wilmington. There's so much happening this weekend up in New Castle County there's no excuse not to take a break from the beach!

Iron Hill: good brew and good pizza, what could be better?

Starting over in college town, Newark, quench your thirst for a crisp one at the Newark Food and Brew Fest. Tomorrow from 2 until 10 p.m. gallivant up and down Main Street Newark while enjoying over 40 varieties of beer from 17 participating breweries. Can you say Blue Moon? But don't spend all your dough on the beer and be sure to hit up the Hops & Shops sidewalk sale with special discounts and sales from local retailers. Participating Newark businesses include Klondike Kate's, Iron Hill, Deer Park and Home Grown Cafe.
Before or after (granted you have a designated driver) the Newark Food and Brew Fest, stop by the Riverfront for the Pennsylvania Guild Fine Craft Fair at the Chase Center. Over 170 artists will unload their best for sale and there will also be live demonstrations, music, food (isn't there always?) and family fun. This fair runs all weekend so visit to plan your trip.

And don't forget, when you're ready to head back south, stop by Charcoal Pit for a grilled cheese and triple thick chocolate shake. That's the only reason I ever go up to Wilmington, don't you?

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Non-Profit of the Week: Gorilla Art by Koko

Sure, we've all dreamed of filling our living room walls with Warhol, Monet and Van Gogh, but paintings by Apes? Never.

You may re-think your dream after seeing the work of Koko and Michael, two talented gorillas who reside in California as ambassadors for The Gorilla Foundation. The Gorilla Foundation is dedicated to solving the extinction crisis facing the ape species by researching interspecies communication, education of the community and conservation of the cause. In an effort to promote support, the Gorilla Foundation has taken paintings done by their two ambassadors, Koko and Michael, and made a limited number of digital reproductions available for you to purchase for your collection. No, this isn't monkey business.
Stink Gorilla More, by Michael

The themes of the pieces from self-portraits to animals. Visit to learn more about our how we can save our friends and get some inspirational artwork out of it as well. After all, your great great great great great great great Grandpa was a monkey.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

"Once upon a time there were four little Rabbits, and their names were--Flopsy, Mopsy, Cotton-tail, and Peter."- Beatrix Potter

Any mention of Peter Rabbit is sure to bring back warm childhood memories. BBC News recently reported an original watercolor illustration by the popular children’s author Beatrix Potter has set an auction record for the sale of a book illustration. The water color fetched over five times the presale estimate, selling for about $580,000 at a Sotheby's auction in London. The water color, painted by Potter in the 1890s, is the final scene from “The Rabbits’ Christmas Party” sequence, depicting a group of rabbits enjoying a traditional Christmas.

The Rabbits' Christmas Party, Illustration by Beatrix Potter

Sotheyby's auction reported the buyer of the watercolor is a privet British collector. "The Rabbits' Christmas Party" was one of 20 illustrations, books, Christmas cards and letters by Ms. Potter for sale in the auction, which in total brought in almost $1.5 million.

On of the Biggs very own illustrations by Frank E. Schoonover

In addition to a fine collection of paintings, furniture and sculpture, the Biggs is proud to feature the largest public holding of illustrations by American illustrator, Frank E. Schoonover. Better known as the "room with the pirates", the Schoonover Gallery is an excellent place to visit if you happen to be an illustration fan.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Workshops Galore!

Silk Painting workshop at the Biggs=Creative fun for all!

It may be the dog days of summer, but the Biggs Museum is heating things up with summer programming. Encoring the filled-up Silk Painting workshop held two Saturdays ago, the Biggs Museum will be hosting an additional Silk Painting workshop next Wednesday, July 31st from 12-7p.m. Elizabeth Collard will lead this mini-workshop to learn the basic skills of silk paintings. Participants will create a beautiful silk scarf and one small wall hanging using vibrant silk dyes, and special techniques. Judging by the photos from last Saturday, this workshop looked like a blast! There are only 12 spaces remaining, so reserve your space today!
Two very proud silk painting crafters.

If writing is your idead of expressing creativity, stop in this Saturday, July 26 at noon for a writing workshop led by 2008 Award Winners fellow, Delia Scarpitti. Delia will show participants how to examine their minds (which she considers the roadmap for the p for the writing journey) through dynamic writing exercises.

Not that it may even be possible on day four of this heat wave, but if your children have grown tired of the pool, sign them up for a fun-filled and air conditioned week at the Biggs Summer Art Series day-camp! Session three begins next week for children ages 5-15. Each child will take part in arts and crafts and create one to be displayed in the museum and one to take home.

Visit our web-site for the details on all these great programs coming up. Pre-registration and pre-payment is required for all programs at the museum. Reserve your space by visiting the on-line gift shop or by calling Beccy at (302)674-2111ext.101.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Best Bet for a Delaware Weekend

I love the Fair. There, I said it and I'm not ashamed. An added bonus to frequent readership of the Biggs Blog will be a weekly "tip-off" for a fantastic outing, event, or excursion in Delaware (and surrounding areas), aka "Best Bet". How coincidental that my first B.B. (Best Bet) recommendation falls on the opening weekend of the Delaware State Fair, one of the largest annual events in the state (they're expecting over 300,000 to attend!).

This ten day event kicked off last night with a bang for half-price admission night and the Demolition Derby and is sure to hold the heat through the end.You may hear this quite often but, "there is something for everyone." Like rides? Traditional fair goers can take a seat on the classic Ferris wheel while others who have a "need for speed" can use their ride tickets for the fastest traveling roller coaster in the world, a new addition to the midway.
Hungry? No need to worry as the fair holds hundreds of food vendors from all areas. From American offerings by Little Richard's and the Grange, pizza from Pete's, gyros from the plethora of Greek stands near the main entrance, and even egg rolls from a Chinese vendor. And that's just your main meal. Funnel cakes, Sno Cones, ice cream, cinnamon buns, apple dumplings (my favorite), and kettel corn are just a few of the dessert choices.

A pour your own mix & match slushy stand? It's like a Big Gulp Bonanza!
People often confuse the terms "carnival" and "state fair". The west side of the fair grounds where the rides stand tall is a pretty far walk from the east side where the true essence of the fair exists, which is the agriculture. The Delaware State Fair is considered the largest showcase of livestock in the state. You'll be amazed and the number of pigs, sheep, horses, cows, goats, and chickens are brought from all over the region to the fair for competition. Be sure to venture to the ag side to see what it really is about.

I'm quite interested to know the requirements for a blue-ribbon barrel of hay.

So you like country music? This is your lucky week! Carrie, Martina, Trace and Brooks & Dunn are all coming to visit this week to entertain. No need to worry if you can't stand the honkey tonk as Daughtry and 3 Doors Down are coming too.

For more information visit and pick your day (or three) to go.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

The Art of Politics

Anyone who owns a tv, radio, magazine newspaper of is a resident of the United States has been exposed to the media craze that is the 2008 Presidential election. Throughout this entire election period (it almost seems like an era), we have become aware of John McCain's and Barack Obama's positions on policies including the death penalty, health care, education, the war in Iraq, and the environment, just to name a few.
Now before you sign off my blog with thoughts of, "It's only day 4 and she's gone political." Trust me this will not be a make-shift Meet the Press session as my knowledge of politics does not extend beyond the occasional Time magazine issue or the CNN live newsfeed playing at the YMCA.

Time Magazine: My politics guru

However, the appropriate discussion to be had here is: where do the arts come into play? And, what are Obama's and McCain's positions on funding for the NEA (National Endowment for the Arts) and the arts in general.
Americans for the Arts, a non-profit organization for advancing the arts in America, recently asked both presidential candidates to provide their positions on the arts and culture in America. As of today, only Barack Obama provided an official statement to the Americans for the Arts. Therefore John McCain's stance will have to be derived from previous votes and discussions.
Barack Obama's position in his briefing (he provided three) is both promising and hopeful. His briefing included a list of legislation he has sponsored in support of the arts, a list of policy positions on arts issues, and a proposal to create a National Arts Policy Committee. His resume of sponsorship is impressive, but even more impressive are his initiatives including: reinvest in arts education, expand public/private partnerships between schools and arts organizations, create an Artist Corps (a la the Peace Corps), publicly champion the importance of arts education, support increased funding for the National Endowment for the Arts, promote cultural diplomacy, attract foreign talent, provide health care to artists, and ensure tax fairness for artists. Despite John McCain not officially submitting a brief of his position of government supporting the arts, recent history can slightly indicate his position. In 1999, McCain voted for the Smith-Ashcroft amendment, hoping to cut all funding for the NEA from that year's budget. Long before that, McCain voted for the Helms Amendment, which hoped to deny funding to work considered “obscene.” Before we jump to the gun thinking McCain as an "arts hater", he justifies his point well. In a January interview on Meet the Press, McCain discussed government spending. He pointed out that government spending, is the key to tax cuts. If you want to pay fewer taxes, you have to settle for fewer government programs, which is our case is the arts. The National Endowment for the Arts is a perfect example to align this argument of how to improve the country. We can all agree that the arts are important. McCain, and other republicans, would agree that the NEA is not necessary because if the arts are important, people will realize it and they will financially support is providing no need for public funding. If no one is recognizing that the arts are important, then how is it possible for the government, which represents its people, create a programs for its advancement? My thoughts to this are, yes people should recognize, but is public funding and support enough to keep the lights on? It is interesting to see McCain’s standpoint as it is derived from tax and government spending mind-set. I think that McCain wants us to really define the arts for ourselves and create our priority list accordingly.
Whoever is elected this fall, I hope that they will follow President Bush's lead. Despite his disastrous reputation during his time in the Oval Office, the NEA has benefited tremendously. In 2008, the NEA was appropriated $144.7 million from Uncle Sam, this highest amount since 1995. There was also a $20.2 million increase in support from the previous year, the highest increase since 1979. Now those are some numbers worth setting fireworks off for.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Jack Lewis Painting Missing

I was shocked to read this morning of the recent theft of a Jack Lewis painting from the President Home at Wesley College in Dover. The painting (appraised at $4500) depicts the home on South State Street and was commissioned by the home's owners 12 year's ago. Jack Lewis is a beloved painter in the community of Dover and the state of Delaware. The painting is believed to be stolen earlier this year during renovations of the home and change of college president.

The home on South State Street, Dover that is depicted in the stolen painting.

As an owner of several Jack Lewis paintings, some of which are recently acquired and are currently on display at the museum, the Biggs Museum is empathetic for Wesley's loss of this painting. Original artwork is priceless, irreplaceable, an investment, and unique. The artwork an individual displays and holds in their home is a reflection of the owner's personality and tastes. Therefore it is disheartening to hear stories such as this (remember the two Van Gogh paintings stolen earlier this year?) and we can only hope that this painting will be returned to its home (mostly because the painting is of the home!)

Police are currently searching for the painting and the sticky fingers who stole it. If you have any information as to the whereabouts of this painting please contact Dover police at 736-7111 or Delaware Crime Stoppers at (800) TIP-3333.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Non-Profit of the Week: Rice & Vocab

I read a blip in the News Journal last evening reporting survey results that Tuesday is the most productive day of the week for most office employees. I am now here to skew those results by offering you a unique opportunity to kill some time, be unproductive, improve your vocabulary skills and help the U.N. feed the hungry. All at the same time you say?! Yes, it's possible, just by visiting

According to United Nations, about 25,000 people die every day of hunger or hunger-related causes (averaging about one person every 3 seconds). The United Nations claims that there is plenty of food in the world to feed everyone, but the people who need it most are trapped in severe poverty and lack the ability to acquire much needed nourishment.

FreeRice helps perpetuate their mission to feed the hungry by way of vocabulary. Visitors to are invited to partake in vocab testing. For every correct answer by the visitor, donates 20 grains of rice to U.N. to help feed the hungry. In simple terms, your knowledge of good ole' Mr. Webster's book can help feed many abroad!

Fried Rice in Chinese Take-out: not exactly the same kind of rice the U.N. donates, but close.

After just five minutes of playing myself, I was able to acquire 300 grains of rice for the hungry. 75 million grains were donated yesterday and over 39 billion have been to date. I invite you to visit and join the fun. And you thought during the 9th grade vocab quiz, "Ugh, I'll never use this in real life."

Monday, July 14, 2008

Award Winners VIII

Although the Bigg's permanent collection can keep you permanently interested we are always thrilled to open up new, temporary exhibitions. Each summer we host the talents of the recipients of the DDOA (Delaware Division of the Arts) Individual Artist Fellowship in an exhibition entitled, Award Winners. Going into the eighth summer, the Biggs is impressed as ever with the talent displayed. Ryan Grover, Curator, did an impressive job of creatively displaying all four areas of interest (Visual, Literature, Museum and Media). So impressive, that you MUST come see it! Once again, all fellowship recipients are displaying their work in the Biggs Museum from now through the end of October.

In celebration of this exhibit, the Biggs Museum hosted an opening reception last Wednesday evening. It was a great opportunity to pick the artists' brains, meet some "top dogs" from DDOA, and munch on some of my favorite treats from 33 West.
Kristen Pleasanton from DDOA, Ryan Gover from the Biggs and Award Winner in Photography, Chad States

Award Winner Lori Crawford and her daughter stand by one of her works on paper.

Award Winners Robert Bickey (Far left) and Andrew Wapinski (Far right) entertain their guests.

2008 Masters Fellow in Visual Arts, Alida Fish (2nd from left) in good company.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Blogging By Biggs

It has been a long time coming, but we're here! After months of blood, sweat, and typing has finally come together and we are up and running. My name is Sarah DiMondi, the Marketing Coordinator at the Biggs Museum. I hope that you have enjoyed our new site thus far (it is my pride and joy) and that you can use as reliable and constant source for current happening at the Biggs.
However, to tell you the truth, the site is besides the point right now. This is all about the Biggs new blog.... because "it's a "biggs" deal" to us. A year back, this blog wasn't even a twinkle in our eyes, not even an idea or priority. That was, until my fellow Biggs staff and I attended the Arts Summit last October 2007. After only a month at the Biggs, and no prior art or museum experience or knowledge, I was thrilled at the opportunity to listen to lectures led by top professionals in the industry and meet other people throughout DE associated with non-profit and art organizations. Prior to the summit the Biggs staff had agreed that our web-site needed to be re-designed, therefore a lecture led by Chad Bauman from Arena Stage on technology seemed a good fit. Bottom line: you're either blogging or you're not with the times.
So this leads me to this afternoon, a fresh canvas with plenty of ideas. What will the Biggs blog entail you ask? Alot actually. And don't worry I won't bore you with just Biggs news, I'll keep it interesting. There are two worlds the Biggs Museum exists in, the non-profit world and the art-world. From "Non-profit of the Week" and "Best Bet This Weekend" to local exhibition and attraction reviews by Biggs staff, there will be lots to read and enjoy. I hope you decide to check back again and again.