Arts & Culture
New Castle County sets the standard for quality of life in so many ways –
from grand opera, blues and jazz festivals to a pulsating arts community that includes
world famous museums and galleries.
Wilmington is home to the Grand Opera House, a premier center for the performing
arts. An 1,190-seat Victorian opera house which has been meticulously restored to
its original grandeur, The Grand presents in excess of 100 performances which range
from full symphony orchestras, dance and opera to stand-up comedians, jazz, world
culture, events, and programs for young people.
The Wilmington Drama League, founded in 1933 when a group of theater artists
began producing plays in the old grist mill on 18th Street in Wilmington, has ably
fulfilled its mission of providing high quality theater entertainment for the local
community to enjoy. The talents and energies of actors, directors, set designers
and builders, lighting and sound engineers, as well as costume, makeup, and prop
technicians have transformed the Drama League’s stage into the compelling fantasy
worlds created by playwrights ranging from Albee, Beckett and Chekhov to Mamet and
Miller, Simon and Shakespeare, Wilde and Williams.
There are a variety of nearby theatrical venues, including the Delaware Theater
Company, the Delaware Children’s Theater, the New Candlelight Theatre in Ardentown
and the Three Little Bakers Dinner Theatre and Country Club. Each theater provides
unique and wonderful entertainment, and should not be missed.
Interested in museums, art or gardens? The Delaware Art Museum possesses a distinguished
collection of 12,000 works of art, focusing on American Art of the 19th through
the 21st centuries and English Pre-Raphaelite art of the mid-19th century. Their
outstanding overview of the evolution of American art includes a pivotal collection
of works from the “Golden Age” of American illustration and the country’s largest
collection of the work of John Sloan.
The Hagley Museum and Library, located on 235 acres along the banks of the Brandywine
River, is the site of the gunpowder works founded by E. I. du Pontin 1802. Exhibits
include restored mills and mill village homes with period furnishings, as well as
the E.I. du Pont Mansion. Although the powder yards closed in 1921,the company continued
on to become a leader in materials research and creator of innovative products from
nylon stockings to firefighters uniforms.
Winterthur, an American country estate, is the former home of Henry Francis du
Pont, an avid antiques collector and horticulturist.
In the early 20th century, H. F. du Pont and his father, Henry Algernon du Pont,
designed Winterthur in the spirit of 18th- and 19th-century European country houses.
The permanent exhibitions in the Galleries at Winterthur invite exploration and
discovery. From a collection of more than 85,000 objects made or used in America
between 1640 and 1860, Winterthur curators have crafted displays that focus on specific
media. Winterthur’s 982-acre country estate encompasses rolling hills, streams,
meadows, and forests. Founder H. F. du Pont translated his love of the land into
a unified work of art that embodies a romantic vision of nature’s beauty.
Nemours Mansion and Gardens is a beautiful 300-acre estate that was the turn-of-the-century
home of Alfred L. DuPont. DuPont lived at a level of opulence that has scarcely,
if at all, been exceeded since that era. The Mansion is a modified Louis XVI French
château designed by Carrère and Hastings from New York. Built between 1909 and 1910,
the house contains one hundred and two rooms. A guided tour reveals a treasure trove
of fine European and American furniture, rare rugs, tapestries, and outstanding
works of art.
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