The Doors of Fame

A Record of Arts and Culture in Delaware

November 12, 2021 - March 27, 2022

Marcia and Henry DeWitt Galley

About the Collection

The Rehoboth Art League is one of a few active art collecting organizations in Delaware.  The collection currently contains over 900 items and includes many historical works by prominent Delaware ‘Heritage’ artists, who were instrumental in the formation of the league, in 1938.

One of the main attractions of the Art League’s Permanent Collection—other than the constantly rotating exhibitions, the fine art and objects of the collection itself, and many enriching art courses—are the “Doors of Fame,” a trio of doors that once hung on the League’s original classroom building, the Paynter Studio. Inscribed on these doors are many signatures–acquired by invitation only–of notable artists and cultural figures dating back to the 1930s when the Art League’s front doors first opened.

No tangible object more vividly traces the history of the arts in the Rehoboth Beach community than the “Doors of Fame” and in the tradition of signing them at the Rehoboth Art League.  For over 85 years, these doors have been a valuable historical resource. The more than 285 signers are recognized as part of the pantheon of artists, creative people, local townspeople, notable citizens closely identified with the League, the mid-Atlantic region and the state of Delaware. A close look at the varied signatures–some of which incorporate artistic renderings, shells, caricatures, and more–will reveal names chronicling a history of the Rehoboth Beach art scene, ranging from those who first entered the space to local legends like the late Jack Lewis. These signatures are a “who’s who” of local artistic influence—and a lasting sign of respect.