Milestone Tour

The Popular Southeastern Delaware Artists Studio Tour Celebrates 25 Years

This year marks the quarter-century anniversary for the annual Southeastern Delaware Artists Studio Tour (SEDAST). While the number of featured artists and range of their artistry has continued to evolve throughout SEDAST’s history, its core mission has remained the same: to provide a venue where attendees can witness local artists at work and have the opportunity to purchase their artwork directly.

“The tour was originally started as a ‘grassroots’ effort by a group of seven local artists and artisans to raise public awareness of the quality of art available in the southeast Delaware area,” shared artist Jeanne Mueller.

SEDAST was the first of its kind in the area, and it was immediately well-received by the public. In fact, the first tour was attended by over 400 people. It has since become known as one of the area’s staple annual events.

An inherently unique experience, SEDAST presents attendees of all age ranges with the opportunity to get a “behind-the-scenes look” at talented artists working in their personal surroundings. Attendees can also interact with the artists and ask them questions about how they create their art.

Throughout its long-running history, SEDAST has traditionally taken place the Friday and Saturday following Thanksgiving, allowing it to serve as a tranquil alternative to the notorious Black Friday chaos. Rather than braving the crowds at large retailers, just to purchase lackluster gifts, SEDAST attendees may find comfort in purchasing locally made holiday gifts that are truly one-of-a-kind. 

Because of its self-guided structure, SEDAST offers the flexibility for attendees to move at their own pace over the two-day event. In addition, it is always free to the public.

Because of its ever-evolving nature, there are always new things to see at SEDAST, which is likely why so many attendees return year after year. Tourgoers can always count on a vast range of featured artists who create their work through many different media, such as watercolor, oil, acrylic, mixed media/collage, pastel, ceramics, jewelry, stained glass, blown glass and photography. This year, there is even greater diversity in terms of “types” of art presented than ever before. 

SEDAST also proudly supports local arts through its “Art in the Hat” raffle, which was introduced as an element to the tour in 2000. The raffle prizes include pieces of artwork donated by each participating artist, and 100% of the raffle proceeds go to art-education programs in the Indian River School District. 

“The “Art in the Hat” raffle has been well-received by attendees of the tour, and over $63,000 has been contributed to local schools to date,” said Mueller.

Be sure to mark your calendar for the 25th annual SEDAST, which takes place November 29-30 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Mary Yeagley Bower, Ceramic and Tile Artist

Mary makes her first appearance at SEDAST this year. Much of Mary’s work is inspired by the nature sights she observes firsthand and tend to be coastal-themed. For her first tour showcase, Mary plans to provide participants who come to her Ocean View home studio with an exciting inside look at one of her latest creations, which contains octopi.

Sabie Carey, Clay

One of the proud founding artists of SEDAST, Sabie has created any piece of pottery you can think of in the over 40-plus years she has been working with clay. Dinner sets, lamps, and mugs are just a few of her many creations — and all functional because she wants the future owners to enjoy using her work. SEDAST participants who go to Sabie’s Millville studio will be fortunate enough to observe as she creates a masterpiece from just a hunk of clay. Sabie will also be providing explanations of her approach, giving a full studio tour and showcasing a gallery of her work.

DAMON PIA, Acrylic Painter

A 15-year SEDAST featured artist, Damon is a full-time artist who once created large murals before morphing into a landscape and surrealist acrylic painter.
He draws inspiration for most of his work through listening to ambient music and observing late-afternoon light. During this year’s SEDAST, Damon plans to unveil the third installment in his four-painting series called “The Enlightenment Series.” The painting presents someone’s hands lighting a lighthouse.

Story and Artist Profiles by Alison Clary

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