History of Millsboro Art League
In 1988, Ms. Alice Hudson talked to an artist named George Bradford, who expressed a desire for a place to show his art in the Millsboro Area. Alice inquired about showing art in the Millsboro Library and was given approval. She held a meeting of friends and community leaders on the front porch of her home to discuss the possibilities of forming an art league, and later presented it to the Women's Club as a Civic Improvement Project. The Millsboro Art League was formed in July 1988 by the citizens of Millsboro and the surrounding area with the primary purpose of promoting the visual and cultural arts. The organization elected a slate of officers and a 9 member board. Thelma Monroe, who was Mayor of Millsboro at the time, was the Art League's first president. Meetings were held on the second Thursday of each month.
Until a permanent location could be acquired, meeting places consisted of several restaurants; the home of Bill Howlett, when he was President of the Art League, and the basement of St. Mark's Episcopal Church. Art classes were also held in Grace Methodist Church Hall. Individual and group exhibits were hung in the Millsboro Library and Frankford Library each month and a reception was held at the inception of each new exhibit. Artwork was also hung at local businesses and in the schools. By 1989 the membership had grown to 68.
On March 20, 1989, the Art League applied for and was granted "non-profit" status as a 501c 3 corporation. In July 1989, the Art League was awarded its first grant from the National Endowment for Arts and State of Delaware titled Traveling Exhibitions/Sussex, and was commended for efforts in displaying work in public places.
Educational programs were offered to the public, and art classes for children were initiated and continue to this date. In 1990, the 1st Annual Children's Art Show was sponsored by the Art League. Prizes of art supplies were awarded to 1st and 2nd place in high school, junior high and elementary schools. In 1994, land was purchased to build a new library on State Street, across from the W. B. Atkins Little League Park. When the new library was completed in 1998, the old library building was rented to the Art League, where we continue to operate.*
The Millsboro Art League has grown from the handful of charter members to over 100 members at the present time. Our permanent facility provides the opportunity for artists to continue learning and exhibiting work in an atmosphere of "community".
* It is interesting to note the history of our building. It originally was the first Grace United Methodist Church. When a new church was built, Dr. Blaine Atkins purchased the building and rented it to the government as a United States Post Office. When the Post Office moved to its new building, Dr. Atkins rented it to Alice Hudson, who opened "Alice's Clothes Tree". When Ms. Hudson relocated her business, the Millsboro Women's Civic Club moved into the building and organized Millsboro's first Public Library.
Alice Hudson, MAL founder.
Photo by Caroline Watson
Courtesy of Delaware Beach Life Magazine