A CENTER FOR THE ARTS FOR OVER 75 YEARS
By RAL Board of Trustee President, Diana Beebe
Seventy-five years ago, our founders gathered on this spot—a grassy, wooded knoll in Henlopen Acres, to establish the Rehoboth Art League and to dedicate this property for its use. Ethel P. B. Leach, who had begun the tradition of summer art exhibits at the Village Improvement Association (VIA), along with a committee of dedicated women, helped to persuade Louise Corkran and her husband, Colonel Wilbur Corkran, of the need for a place where artists could gather, teach, and exhibit their work.
Colonel Corkran generously donated his land and helped to supervise the transport of the William Paynter Farmhouse from Lewes to its new site on the property where it stands today. Soon classes and other programs began, and such artistic legends as Jack Lewis, Howard Schroeder, Orville Peets, and Mary Mullineux joined Ethel Leach and helped the Art League to flourish. It became a center for the arts in Delaware and the entire mid-Atlantic region.
For 75 years the Art League has carried on the founder’s mission of inspiring, educating, and engaging the community, and has provided a place where the arts and culture have thrived. It has become one of the longest lasting and most important arts centers in the region, thanks to the vision of its founders and the leadership, hard work, and dedication of many others over the course of its history. Today, we stand on their shoulders, as we celebrate our Diamond Anniversary and look to the future. ~June 21, 2013