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For the second year in a row, members of the Sunshine Plein Air Artists visited Buena Vista: A Delaware Country Estate to paint scenes of the historic property. The artists are a non-profit group of seniors who meet each summer to paint in the out-of-doors.
During the summer of 2020, Emily Spadafora, coordinator of the group, had contacted Buena Vista Site Supervisor Sara Clendaniel about the possibility of allowing the artists to paint outdoors on the property. “Since our members are seniors, many of whom live alone,” Spadafora noted, “I feel if we can give them a reason to safely get outside for a bit they may not feel so isolated and down.”
The nation was still in the thick of the COVID-19 pandemic but Delaware Gov. John Carney had just issued Phase II guidelines that allowed some public venues to re-open in a limited fashion while continuing to take all of the recommended steps to safeguard public health. Following proper protocols, including social distancing, the arts group was allowed to visit Buena Vista for a fun-filled day of painting on July 28, 2020.
Almost eleven months later, and with a great deal of progress made in containing COVID-19, the fully vaccinated members of the Sunshine Plein Air Artists again visited Buena Vista on June 15, 2021 for a cool spring day enjoying the estate’s beautiful natural surroundings, relishing in each other’s company and creating their own historic scenes.
“Coming to Buena Vista is always one of the highlights of our plein air season,” said Spadafora. “The buildings and grounds are so beautiful and the staff is very gracious and welcoming. It’s a lovely interlude, whether we’re painting or just sitting and enjoying this oasis.”
Located at 661 S. Dupont Highway (Route 13), southwest of New Castle, the main section of the Buena Vista mansion was built between 1845 and 1847 by John M. Clayton, United States secretary of state from 1849 to 1850 under presidents Taylor and Fillmore, and United States senator from 1829 to 1836, 1845 to 1849, and 1853 until his death in 1856. The home later became the residence of C. Douglass Buck, governor of Delaware from 1929 to 1937, and United States senator from 1942 to 1948. Buena Vista and its grounds were donated to the State of Delaware by the Buck family in 1965 and now serve as a conference/event center administered by the Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs.