Riva Brown has been a professional artist for over three decades. She was educated in the Wilmington Public School system and graduated from high school in 1971 as a member of the National Honor Society. She enrolled at the University of Delaware in the Bachelor’s in Art program, receiving her degree in 1975 with a minor in Art History. Finding herself in a boring job in a local crafts store upon graduation from college, Brown taught herself Calligraphy to pass the time. She then began doing envelope addressing, flyers, posters and a variety of compositions with a strong calligraphic base, which has formed the core of her career. Then, as now, the emphasis was on complex projects, interweaving watercolor and gouache with calligraphy. Brown was a founding member and past president of the Delaware Calligraphy Guild, and past Board Member of the Delaware Foundation for the Visual Arts (DFVA). She holds Signature Status in the Delaware Watercolor Society (DWS).
Brown has shown in a variety of shows both locally and in the surrounding area including Evening of Art, Immaculata College, the Rittenhouse Fine Arts Festival, Ronald McDonald House, United Cerebral Palsy’s Best of Delaware, and the DFVA sponsored shows such as Arts and Antiques.
Brown's paintings have been displayed in the lobby of the Hotel duPont, the office of the Governor, the Carvel State Building, the City/County Building, and the Delaware Center for Contemporary Art. She has also exhibited in the galleries of Hardcastle’s, You’ve Been Framed, Framehouse Gallery, Obelyn Gallery in Annapolis, Maryland, and the Talleyville Frame Shop and Gallery.
Brown’s Calligraphy and Watercolor paintings have been commissioned or purchased by both private citizens, and professionals and businesses, as well as the Delaware judiciary of both the Family, and Supreme Courts of Delaware. Two Governors of Delaware have also used her services including the awards certificate designs for the newly re-instated Governor’s Awards for the Arts.
The typography for the State of Delaware on the tourist posters and State Highway map is hers. In addition, religious organizations, both synagogues and churches including many from Delaware and surrounding states such as the historic Community Synagogue in Manhattan, Christ Church in Greenville, and Grace Church of Wilmington, have called upon her expertise. She is an approved wedding document creator for the Society of Friends.
Brown has provided calligraphy work for many graphic design studios including Lyons, RT&E, Graphic Design Associates, Shipley Associates and Mraz Design to name a few. She has done work for many of the corporations in town including duPont, MBNA, Artesian Water, Christiana Care, St. Francis Hospital, Verizon, and the American Life Insurance Company (ALICO).
Brown has created marriage documents for scores of couples looking for a significant way to commemorate their wedding, including Jewish Ketubahs, Quaker, interfaith, same gender, and non-traditional marriage documents. She has received the State of Delaware Fellowship Grant as an Established Professional in the category of Folk Artist for the creation of these pieces and has been described as a State Treasure.
These are but a few of the many impressive accomplishments to her name. Brown and her husband Bill are co-owners of Living Letters Studio, at 1815 W 13 St., Suite 5 in Wilmington, Delaware, where they provide a full range of hand and computer lettering, custom framing, and where Brown's paintings are on regular display. We are open Monday through Friday 9 - 5:30.
Wilmington, DE 19805