Art, music, jeans and bling add up to fun


Looking for a place to rock the blue jeans and the bling this weekend? Look no further than the 8th Annual Blue Jean Ball and Fall Art Show, to benefit the Lower Delaware Autism Foundation. The ball will be held Friday, Oct. 23, from 7 to 11 p.m. at Nassau Valley Vineyards in Lewes.

Coastal Point • File Photo: People ‘git down’ at last year’s Blue Jean Ball, held by the Lower Delaware Autism Foundation.Coastal Point • File Photo
People ‘git down’ at last year’s Blue Jean Ball, held by the Lower Delaware Autism Foundation.

“It’s always been an art show,” said LDAF Program and Events Coordinator Mary Green, adding that, about three years ago, they made the event less formal by bringing in the “blue jeans and bling” theme.

For those looking forward to a night out, Love Seed Mama Jump will be entertaining the guests, and hors d’oeuvres will be presented by Espuma Restaurant, Martini Bar/Porcini House and Treetop Lounge.

For the art fanciers, local artists have submitted pieces of artwork that will also be for sale. Participating artists include Tara Funk Grim, Laura Hickman and Michele Byrne.

“Nothing is more exciting to me than seeing beautiful colors together,” said Grim, a colorist, of her work. “I love painting en plein air, where direct observation is paramount and invention is thrilling!”

Hickman’s pastels and oils are considered “lightscapes.” They are about real places during a certain time and season of light. Hickman’s works are on display at The Gallery on Central Avenue in Ocean View.

Byrne said she feels there is no better way to paint than “en plein air.” The sounds, smells and mood of the environment become integral to the finished image, she said. Two books of Byrne’s paintings have been published, and she is working on a third.

Other artists returning this year include Matty Adler, Steven Billups, Abraxas, Kim Klabe, Ted Mathias, Theresa Richard, Steve Rogers, Nick Serratore, Jonathan Spivak, Richard Tikiob, Jack Wiberg and Antique Prints Inc.

This year, the ball will also feature a special “new artists” section for guests to peruse, with works from Nina Spencer, Joanne Tramposh, Jean Doran, Pam Carr and Rudelle Hall.

A few pieces of art will also be in the live auction that is held at the event, and there will also be a children’s art showcase, with artwork done by local children with autism. Guests will be able to vote all night for their favorites among the children’s art, and the winner in that voting will receive two season passes to Jungle Jim’s water park in Rehoboth Beach.

As a special treat this year, organizers will also be auctioning off tickets to see actor/comedian Robin Williams at the Borgata in Atlantic City on Saturday, Nov. 28, in an “Art of Comedy” raffle.

Green said the event has seen up to 350 guests in the past, and organizers are hoping to have that many again this year. Last year, they raised between $30,000 and $35,000, and they have a goal of $30,000 again for this year.

Those funds help benefit the many programs and services the Lower Delaware Autism Foundation offers for children and adults with autism. New this year, they have LDAF Connects, through which the foundation encourages employers to consider hiring people with autism and “assists agencies to build bridges to employment for individuals with autism.” They also have a junior golfer program in partnership with the Rookery Golf Course in Milton.

“All of the money we raise in Sussex County stays in Sussex County,” emphasized Green. “We are definitely looking forward to another great event.”

Tickets to the Friday event cost $75 and are available at the door, but Green recommends calling ahead at (302) 644-3410 or going online to purchase tickets beforehand, if possible. For more information, or to purchase tickets, visit www.ldaf.com online.

An autism spectrum disorder is a neurological disorder that impairs a person’s ability to communicate and form relationships with other people. A person with autism may struggle with communication, relating to the world and people around them, and exhibit restricted, repetitive movements and behaviors. Autism is generally first diagnosed at a young age but affects an individual throughout their lifetime. Early identification and intervention are considered key to treating autism.

A study published in October 2009 in the American Academy of Pediatrics’ journal Pediatrics found a parent-reported autism rate of 1 in every 91 American children, including 1 in 58 boys. The Centers for Disease Control estimate that as many as 1.6 million Americans have autism. There are no medical tests to detect autism and there is currently no cure.