111 Atlantic Ave., Ocean View, DE 19970, just 2.2 miles west of Bethany Beach on Rt. 26. Entrance in front.
One of '10 Must-See Galleries and Museums in Delaware'
-- The Culture Trip
The bricks and mortar Ellen Rice Gallery is a continually evolving experience that touches every sense.
Your experience begins with the sounds of trickling water as you step into the atrium garden entrance filled with metal sculptures that are in fact garden furniture, as well as hand blown glass, metal and wood garden art.
As you enter the main showroom through the atrium, 12 ft. tall walls are graced with paintings and prints of the shore and beyond by the gallery's namesake, Ellen Rice, one of Delaware's most widely recognized and collected artists. Flying egret and heron wall sculptures soar near the period copper foil ceiling while ceramic sea life and myriad other art forms grace lower elevations.
Prints of Ellen Rice's paintings are found in bins scattered around the room, so guests with wallets of almost any size can take home a piece of her beautiful and uplifting art.
A large doorway on the far side of the room leads to a room filled with a wide array of colorful, unique, fun and beautiful American artisan made gifts, jewelry, leather and cloth handbags and accessories, home décor and two new additions: children's wooden toys, puppets and art kits and uplifting and humorous books for all ages.
The westernmost room is Ellen's working studio and showroom for what she describes as her most important works, primarily her ongoing Strength of Woman Series created from images that come to her in prayer and meditation.
When Ellen Rice opened her gallery in the spring of 1999 with a small collection of her own work and the handmade creations of a handful of artisans she knew whose work she loved, she said it was with the desire to "create a place away from the hustle and bustle of tourist traffic where people could come and browse at their leisure and be inspired and uplifted among my paintings and myriad other beautiful art forms."
With no backing and no retail experience, but remaining dedicated to her initial idea that the entire gallery be an uplifting experience, within three years of opening, her gallery had become one of the most successful galleries its size in the country.
A national NICHE Top Retailer Award finalist, the Ellen Rice Gallery today represents more than 100 of the country's best artisans working in a variety of mediums, from glass to metal and fine gemstones to wood and leather and ceramics, all hand chosen by Ellen for their uplifting nature and quality of workmanship. Each season brings fresh works from these artists and introduces new artists to the mix.
The Culture Trip, an award-winning international art, culture, food and travel advisory group with over 2 million readers and offices in major cities around the globe, recently said of Ellen's gallery in part:
"The number of small galleries established by independent, native Delawarean artists and devoted solely to their work is admirable. One of the finest examples is the Ellen Rice Gallery...."
Other art entities named in the piece are the Biggs Museum of American Art, the Sommerville Manning Gallery, the Anita Peghini-Räber Gallery, the University of Delaware Museums, the Delaware Art Museum, the Delaware Museum for the Contemporary Arts, the Nemours Mansions and Gardens, the Blue Ball Barn and Delaware Folk-Art Collection and the Schoonover Studios.
Visitors can often meet Rice in her studio space from 2 to 4 p.m. Saturdays and other announced times, as well as by appointment.
The Ellen Rice Gallery is open all year and located 2.2 miles west of Bethany Beach's totem pole landmark on the north side of Rt. 26, a short distance from the building where she first opened her doors 18 years ago. For more information, call 302-539-3405.
Ample free parking surrounds the gallery. The entrance is in the building's front.
The Ellen Rice Gallery
111 Atlantic Ave.
Ocean View, DE 19970