Artist studio tour is now 25 years old

The SouthEastern Delaware Artist Studio Tour (SEDAST) will celebrate its 25th year on Friday, Nov. 29 and Saturday, Nov. 30, and that’s something for which organizers and tourgoers are very, very thankful.

“That’s a big deal,” said SEDAST spokesperson Jeanne Mueller.

A quarter-century of artisans opening their studios to the community, offering an alternative to the crowds and craziness of the traditional kickoff of holiday shopping — “It’s a great way to spend Black Friday,” Mueller said.

An artist and former studio tour participant herself, Mueller said there are several things that have contributed to the continued success of the self-guided tour, which includes studios from Bethany Beach to Fenwick Island and west to Dagsboro.

The most important is “good artists,” Mueller said. The tour is a juried event, with participants chosen for the quality of their work. “Just because you apply doesn’t mean you’re going to get in.”

The other important factor, according to Mueller, is “a good mix” of artists and media. This year, the list of 13 artists includes painters in a variety of styles and types of painting, as well as a glass-blower, jewelry artists, a potter, a tile artist, a stained-glass artist, a photographer and a pastel artist.

Three of the four original artists are still in the tour this year — Laura Hickman, Ellen Rice and Sabie Carey.

This year, Rice is introducing her new studio as part of the tour. It’s so new, in fact, that the new address didn’t make it into the printed tour guides. The new Ellen Rice Studio & Learning Center is located at 30370 Cedar Neck Road, near the James Farm Ecological Preserve, just past the Big Fish Grill, on the left.

“This is a new adventure, having a place where I and others can teach and gather,” said Rice. “I hope to turn this into a place of fun activities, cultural growth, friendship and inspiration. The welcome mat will always be out.”

Tile artist Mary Yeagley Bower is new to the tour this year. In addition to tiles that can be used as display pieces, Bower also designs custom tiles for areas such as kitchen backsplashes.

As it has since 2000, SEDAST will also feature its “Art in the Hat” raffle, in which each artist on the tour has contributed a piece of their work. Those who purchase raffle tickets can choose their favorite items on which to take a chance.

All of the proceeds from Art in the Hat, as always, will go toward art programs in area schools. Since the raffle began, $63,000 has been raised to help local art teachers with programs and supplies.

The maps showing studio locations are available at Indigo Opal Salon in Rehoboth Beach and Jayne’s Reliable in Dagsboro, as well as Gallery One, Ocean Vayu Yoga, the Ellen Rice Studio & Learning Center and Good Earth Market & Restaurant, all in Ocean View. The map will also be available at other area businesses and is online at the official tour website at


By Kerin Magill
Staff Reporter