Cape Spirit


Sculpture proposal for the City of Lewes, Delaware

Art in Bloom, a committee of the civic organization Lewes in Bloom, contacted me in May, 2021 requesting a site meeting to consider designing and installing a landmark sculpture.  Its mission is to enhance the beautification and cultural environment of Historic Lewes and the community at large by means of public art.

My creative drive is rooted in nature and in the immersive and diverse experiences that people share with it, creating a unique sense of place. For my proposal, I chose to honor the winds and the currents that are the birthright of Lewes. The magnificent confluence of these forces over time built the very environment that has sheltered and nurtured the area surrounding the city of Lewes, Delaware for more than three hundred and ninety years and native Americans throughout our neolithic history.

Long before the first humans set foot on these shores, the swirling tides and winds have been creating the dune capped spiral cusp that defines this place on Earth and protects the Lewes / Cape May inlet. The sculptural image emerged slowly and freely in my imagination as my attention was drawn to the world above our heads; the clouds, the birds, and the towers reaching to the sky.  An image of the place emerged that evoked a connection between the environment and people who live and visit here, and the land that reflects a concrete yet ephemeral continuity with the forces of nature.

The proposed sculpture, Cape Spirit, is figurative in its proportions and gesture, rising upward in a posture of open joy and celebration. The image is conjured from the swirling energies in the ocean, the bay, and the clouds, and a conveys sense of joy about the existence of this place. My inspiration for the design was by visualizing the connection between the bay and the ocean and the the town of Lewes: the towers and dunes; nautical knots, nets and ropes; the waves, wind, and clouds; and wind blown jet trails; and humans enjoying playing and connecting with nature, flying a kite, swimming, casting a line, surfing and wind sailing. The sculpture blends the nautical knot with the human form as it reaches up to the sky in celebration.

The Art in bloom committee has embraced this proposal and is in the process of attaining the approval of a group of overseeing authorities with the objective of securing a permanent and central site for the installation. Subsequent to their interest, I have been reaching out to professionals in the production piping industry to measure feasibility and identify potential industrial collaborators for the project. A consulting licensed physical engineering firm has expressed confidence in the design and created a concept drawing for the foundation.

The next stage of the project is design development. Scale models of the sculpture will be made and used to create a set of photo collages of the artwork in situ. These models and images will assist with developing specifications to make a refined design ready for fabrication and installation of the sculpture.

This project proposal is supported, in part, by a grant from the Delaware Division of the Arts, a state agency, in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts. The Division promotes Delaware arts events on

Cape Spirit     Rick Rothrock 2021

Art in Bloom is working to bring 
Cape Spirit to Lewes! Learn more about Cape Spirit from the people bringing it to Lewes, DE!