Each month we feature arts and community-based organizations and their programs and projects funded by the Delaware Division of the Arts in our Arts Spotlight which will be included on our monthly e-newsletter, Arts E-News and online. If you haven’t signed up yet for Arts E-News, please do so here.
Funding for Division of the Arts grants is provided by the Delaware General Assembly and the National Endowment for the Arts. To view past grants awarded (1999 to present), please visit our Grants Awarded page.
Grant Types: GOS – General Operating Support; PS – Project Support
Kingswood Community Center
Early Learner’s Music Program
The Kingswood Community Center Early Learning Academy (ELA) has partnered with the Wilmington Children’s Chorus (WCC) to create a play-based, culturally responsive, and developmentally appropriate music program for early learners. The program serves all children in the ELA (ages 12 months-five years) by providing developmentally appropriate music classes. Children learn to explore themselves, their peers, and the world around them through singing, movement, instrument exploration, and creative self-expression during twice-weekly music classes. The program is designed to support the ELA students in reaching their developmental milestones by incorporating music-based activities tailored to their curriculum. Access to music education in early childhood can have a tremendous influence later in life. Unfortunately, early childhood music classes are costly – often ranging between $20-$50 – which makes them inaccessible for most families in the Riverside community (Riverside has the highest rate of childhood poverty in Wilmington, at over 70%). Enriching the children’s lives with music at such an early age has important cognitive and social benefits, which last beyond these initial classes and will instill a life-long love of music in the community center’s youngest students.
The Early Learner’s Music Program is a partnership between Kingswood Community Center (KCC) and the Wilmington Children’s Chorus (WCC). Founded in 1946, Kingswood Community Center, Inc. (KCC) sits in the heart of the Riverside Community located in Northeast Wilmington. KCC’s mission is to enable people in Northeast Wilmington and surrounding communities to achieve their potential for economic, social, and personal well-being. KCC offers programs for the youngest and oldest alike, as it includes an early learning center for 12 months to 5 years of age, before and aftercare, after school programming for school age youth, and a senior center for the elders in the community. In addition to programming, KCC provides resources, opportunities, and events to all ages. The Wilmington Children’s Chorus (WCC) is dedicated to ensuring all children, regardless of their family’s ability to pay, have access to high-quality musical education. The only tuition-free community children’s chorus in the nation, their mission is to empower young people to change their world through music.
The project began in September and will complete a full quantitative analysis at the mid-point (March) and endpoint (August). Qualitatively, KCC staff have seen a tremendous impact on the children in learning the fundamentals of music and literacy, even at a young age. For example, parents have shared with staff that their children are singing more at home and encouraging their siblings to sing along with them, demonstrating increased socialization skills around music. In particular, one mother shared that her three-year-old arranges her stuffed animals in a circle when she gets home from school and sings “hello” songs to each stuffed animal, which mirrors the “hello” songs the children sing to each other when they begin every music class. This demonstrates retention of the songs, understanding of the purpose of the musical activity, and adoption of the classroom culture into her home life.
Inner City Cultural League
The Inner City Cultural League, Inc. (ICCL), also known as Sankofa, presents numerous events, programs, and activities throughout the year, some for the local community and others for citizens and visitors throughout the state. African and African American culture is celebrated through music, art, dance, and theater, tying in everything that helps make for healthy communities, including technology and physical and mental wellness. The Sankofa After School and Summer Program incorporates all of the artistic and cultural activities and is also designed to provide extra school activities such as technology, math, reading, and science. Youth in 3rd through 12th grades are welcome to participate.
ICCL’s signature group is the Sankofa African Dancers and Drummers. Since the 1990s, youth have been learning and performing West African rhythms and movement. Performances are held at most of the ICCL’s annual community events including the African American Festival, Positively Dover, Sankofa Cultural Arts Center Awards Gala, Kwanzaa, Dover City-Wide Black History Program, and the Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration. Some of these events are hosted in partnership with other organizations. Other performing artists include the ICCL’s string orchestra, steel drums, and guitar group.
On January 15th, as part of its annual celebration of Martin Luther King, Jr., the Sankofa String Orchestra & Drums will once again perform on the campus of Delaware State University (DSU) for the Martin Luther King National Holiday Program. Presented by DSU in collaboration with the ICCL, the event is free and open to the public. Last year, there were approximately 500 people in attendance, including college students, dignitaries, performers, and other guests. The Sankofa String Orchestra practices each week during the school year and Sankofa Open Jam Sessions are held every other Friday evening. Sankofa youth, including those in the string orchestra, drum and dance, and the After School Program, often participate at special events, such as DSU’s homecoming parade, Dover Comic-Con, and performances for the Dover Public Library as well as private community members.
The mission of the ICCL includes providing opportunities to community members, especially those who may be considered at-risk, to participate in artistic and cultural activities, programs and events, to enhance decision making, forge leadership qualities, and provide a path toward social and economic empowerment. ICCL always seeks ways to engage the community, while keeping its mission to serve less advantaged, and at-risk populations in Dover.
The projects above are 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 these and other Delaware arts events on DelawareScene.com.
The Division offers a variety of grant programs for individual artists; nonprofit, tax-exempt organizations chartered and based in Delaware; and schools and government entities that support arts activities. View a full list of Division grants on the Grants Overview page.