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Each month we’ll feature a handful of 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
Winter in Wilmington Holiday Drive-Thru Light Show
Jack Lewis: Delaware’s Hidden Gem
Biggs Museum of American Art
Dover and many cities throughout Delaware
In this time of a pandemic, the Biggs Museum has strategically decided to maintain a feature exhibitions program that is educational, entertaining and uplifting to visitors both inside and outside the museum’s walls. The current lead feature exhibition, “Jack Lewis: Delaware’s Hidden Gem” is a perfect example of this approach to museum storytelling right now.
On view until Nov. 22, 2020, this show features 50 works by the artist Jack Lewis from the 1930s to the early 90s. The exhibition was created to focus attention on Lewis’s local scenes, especially in Kent and Sussex County and the Eastern Shore, through years to interpret his artist’s process as he drove all over the Delmarva Peninsula to capture street scenes, townscapes, landscapes, marine images and other sites of the region.
For folks who need a little more distance, the museum created object labels as well as flashcards of many of the featured artworks and compared those images to photographs of what the site looks like today. Then, the location was mapped to create a driving tour of Jack Lewis’ favorite spots and tourists are encouraged to create and share their own artistic representations of the places they discover.
The Jack Lewis exhibition had unexpected popularity soon after it was opened. The primary article covering the show ended up being reprinted in over 30 newspapers throughout the Mid-Atlantic region. While our attendance is understandably slower than this time last year, nearly 700 museum visitors have seen the show in person and the driving tour map has been accessed several hundred times either from the museum’s website or through the QR codes on the exhibition labels. Finally, the virtual programs, including watercolor workshops and a curator-led tour that we have produced around the Lewis exhibition have also attracted notable participation since the show opened in August. Anecdotally, we have heard from many visitors that they are very excited to see so many works by the artist in one place, that they love how the show gets people to enjoy Delaware’s secret places and that we allow folks to see how their towns have changed since the 1930s.
Delaware Art Museum
Essential Workers Photography Campaign
The Delaware Art Museum presents a celebration of essential workers throughout Wilmington with a photography campaign. On view starting Veterans Day, November 11, 2020, in the Museum’s Orientation Hallway.
COVID-19 has reminded us all just how much our community relies on our essential workers. Nurses, bus drivers, farmers, teachers, firefighters, and many others have supported us over the past months ensuring that our needs are met. This photography project brings faces and voices to the many people who have kept our community going through this pandemic. By combining portraits with personal stories of working on the front lines, the campaign explores what essential work entails and honors those individuals who continue to dedicate their lives to it every day.
This exhibition is a way to celebrate and thank essential workers in our community. DelArt’s essential workers, Operation Technician Iz Balleto and Teaching Artist and Curator in Residence JaQuanne LeRoy, shared their experiences.
Balleto, who lost a cousin to COVID-19, was inspired by his own experience as an essential worker at the Delaware Art Museum to create the campaign. Even a closed museum has critical operational needs. “I was looking at empty walls in the Museum. I was essential, and still report every day. Apart from that, I thought about everybody else who was going to work. Not everyone had the opportunity to work from home; we had to get up no matter what.”
Balleto added, “What’s essential to a community is different than the definition of first responders. I wanted to highlight the people out here in Wilmington, the heroes in our community, who are more than just doctors and nurses. There are people who take care of children and the elderly; people who make sure we have food, from the bodega to the grocery to the bakery–they all matter. This is a love and a sacrifice.”
LeRoy said, “Corner store bodegas represented an area of essential work that stood out for me. Growing up in Wilmington, the bodega was a staple, meeting your immediate needs without having to go to a grocery store.”
He added, “Understanding most of those are small businesses run by families and the risk they undertook to be open for the community, I thought that was very special and was happy to see as a part of this campaign. Those decisions where you might have to groom someone else to step up and be more involved when elderly people are at risk changes that family dynamic.”
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.