Arts Castle creates Delaware Art Walk

Entertainment options are in short supply as the COVID-19 pandemic rages on throughout the country, but The Arts Castle has created a safe way to get out and enjoy Delaware’s artistic side with a self-guided art walk through the heart of the city.

Downtown Delaware is home to several ghost signs or old hand-painted advertising found on buildings. Pictured is “The Bee Hive” sign located on the south side of the building at 4 N. Sandusky St. in downtown Delaware. Joshua Keeran | The Gazette

This winter, the community can head to The Arts Castle to begin their journey through downtown, taking in wide-ranging forms of expression that include sculptures, glass mosaics from Lynda Elias and Virginia Corwin, Delaware’s ghost signs, and more.

Pamphlets for the Delaware Art Walk have been created, including a map of all the different stops. Arts Castle Executive Director Diane Hodges said the pamphlets were possible thanks to Fidelity Federal Savings and Loans, whose donations that were originally intended for the high school jury arts exhibit were used for pamphlets after the cancellation of the exhibit. Pamphlets can be found outside the Castle, at Boardman Arts Park, Gallery 22, and on The Arts Castle website.

Hodges said the idea for the art walk stemmed from earlier conversations about future art projects coming to Delaware and her wish to show off all that already exists within the city.

Pictured is the “Strohm Meat” ghost sign painted on the side of what is now Bun’s Restaurant at 14 W. Winter St. in downtown Delaware. Joshua Keeran | The Gazette

“Over the summer, Susie Bibler at Main Street Delaware, Eron Fletcher from the (Richard M.) Ross (Art Museum), some others, and I had been talking about art in Delaware,” Hodges said. “They’re looking at possibly having more murals and things like that in Delaware. I pointed out that we already have art in Delaware. I think a lot of people don’t realize how much there actually is they can go and see on their own.”

Following the conversations, Hodges contacted the Delaware County Historical Society, Boardman Art Park, and the Ross about the artwork they had available. From there, the walk began to take shape. Hodges said the walk, which is made for any and all to partake in, includes a total of 19 stops and takes around an hour to complete, beginning and ending at The Arts Castle at 190 W. Winter St.

The timing of the walk couldn’t be better either, Hodges said, given the rigors of being cooped up as a result of the pandemic.

“Right now, everybody is looking for things to do to get outside, to stay busy, and destress,” Hodges said. “I thought this might be something where people pass by a lot of these places every day and they really don’t really see what is there … The idea was just to get people to get out and explore Delaware and the art we have, and destress for a little while.

“It just seemed like it was the right time to do it,” Hodges added. “And the fact that Main Street and the Ross are working on long-term projects in the community, I just thought, ‘We have something now, so why wait?’”

While the event is meant to give people an option to get out and explore at a time where it’s increasingly difficult to do so, Hodges said the walk isn’t meant to be a one-off. In fact, she said plenty of people have already reached out about other stops in Delaware that could be added to the walk, and as more projects come to the community, there are plans to continue and expand the walk.

“I hope people just get out and take an hour to walk around Delaware and see some art and take a deep breath,” Hodges said. “I think families, especially, are looking for things to do with their kids … You can do it any time at all. This is, at least, one more option to add that is very doable.”

For more information on the art walk, visit

The Delaware County Historical Society researched Delaware’s “Ghost Signs”, including “The Bee Hive” and “Strohm Meat” signs. We produced a “Ghost Signs” Tour with the history of each sign. Tours were offered as part of a Delaware First Friday.

The self-guided Ghost Signs Tour brochure shows you all the “Ghost Signs” still visible on Downtown Delaware buildings with locations, notes, and images about the products and companies.  You can download the brochure at Delaware Ghost Signs Tour.