Hisory, art on the menu in Bethany Beach

The Bethany Beach Cultural and Historical Affairs Committee will host another in its series of cultural events on Wednesday, March 22, at the Bethany Beach town hall.

This time out, the committee is offering a new twist on their series of historical talks and cultural presentations, combining a presentation from historian Gordon Wood with a premier art exhibit by the Bethany Beach Watercolor Society (BBWS).

The addition is not only an eagerly anticipated aspect of the night for the committee members and prospective audience, it’s been great news for the BBWS.

“Speaking for BBWS, I can tell you that BBWS is thrilled and very excited that the Town of Bethany Beach has invited us to have a spring art exhibit in the town hall,” said BBWS President Tinsel Hughes.

The exhibit, featuring 25 local artists from the BBWS, will be hanging in the town hall from March 22 until April 19. On the evening of March 22, there will be a reception at 6 p.m., leading into a lecture by Wood on the subject of the history of the Bethany Beach area prior to 1900.

“In keeping with Mr. Wood’s topic, our spring show will feature both paintings of Bethany Beach (past and present), as well as spring-related paintings,” noted Hughes.

The exhibit will be available for viewing during regular town hall hours Monday through Friday, until April 19. In addition, the BBWS has also made arrangements for the exhibit to be open on Saturday, April 15, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

BBWS members who plan to exhibit at the town hall exhibit include: Sonia Hunt, Morgan Golladay, Anne Hanna, Rina Thaler, Hughes, Dot Chmielewski, Dick Matthews, Elaine Levy, Lorraine Meehan, Elizabeth Forsythe, Fay Kempton, Bob Chu, Joan Kessler, Joyce Flora, Pat Riordan, Dot McCarraher, Helen Hahn, Dot White, Priscilla Ward, Dianne Shearon, Cheryl Wisbrock, Sharon Miller, Joyce Condry, Jeanne Mueller and Dot Braun.

In addition to the public viewing, some of the paintings will be available for sale directly through the artists.

“Our members enjoy displaying their work, and many residents and visitors have decorated their homes with paintings from the Society. We are always looking for opportunities to exhibit,” Hughes noted. “We have been fortunate to be recognized by Karen Pomije, owner of the Beach Cottage, located at 83 Atlantic Avenue, who has invited us to establish a gallery in her shop.”

Hughes noted that the spring exhibit was just the first of its planned exhibits in the coming months.

“We have enjoyed a long and happy relationship with the South Coastal Library for both our meeting space and for the opportunity to maintain a rotating exhibit in the library throughout the year. Additionally, we fill the library with paintings for a summer-long exhibit beginning on Memorial Day weekend of each year,” she noted. “We hold an annual reception to kick off our summer exhibit. This year we will be having a two-day opening reception on Friday and Saturday of Memorial Day weekend.”

The reception for the spring show at Bethany Beach Town Hall is set to start at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, March 22, complete with refreshments. The paintings will temporarily replace the Bethany Beach Museum’s historical exhibits on displays in the town hall lobby.

At 7 p.m. that night, the public will be asked to adjourn to the town hall meeting room for Wood’s lecture on the history of the Bethany Beach area.

Wood said his presentation will focus not just on Bethany Beach but the entire local area, and specifically on the time “before the tourists came,” namely from the first settlements in the area, around 1700, to 1900, when church groups started the town, as such.

The lecture will include information on where those early settlers came from and what it was like living in the area, Wood said.

Wood is the author of a history of the area and speaks regularly on the topic to local groups. But his interest in the topic is a personal one.

“My mother’s family — her maiden name is Evans — they bought all of what, today, is South Bethany in 1702 for 8,000 pounds of tobacco,” Wood noted. “It started out as family research, but then I expanded it. I wanted to know what it was like living here, for each generation, from 1702 to the present.”

Wood has become an expert on the topic and will share his information and expertise with those attending the March 22 cultural event in Bethany Beach. They will also be the first to take in the spring exhibit of the BBWS, as well as getting first crack at perhaps purchasing some of those works of art.

For more information on the event and the exhibit, contact Gloria Farrar at Bethany Beach Town Hall, at (302) 539-8011.