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Arts Spotlight: September 2020


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

September 2020

Choir School of Delaware
School Year & Season Kick-Off
Wilmington
GOS

The Choir School of Delaware is kicking off the 2020-2021 school year and subscription concert season with events to welcome new students and families from the Wilmington area. As the school systems that feed into our after-school program all have varied reopening plans, the Choir School will begin our year with a combination of virtual and in-person programming. Academic enrichment, tutoring, mentoring, and some rehearsals will be held virtually, accompanied by weekly, in-person, socially distanced rehearsals beginning in mid-September. We are acquiring masks specifically designed for singers to ensure safety of our choristers and families, in addition to our committed volunteer adult singers, staff, and choral scholars.

NOTE: Due to the pandemic and social distancing practices, enrollment is limited for students aged 7-17 to join our transformative, year-round program.

The Choir School’s 2020-2021 Subscription Series, entitled “We Tell the Story,” was carefully curated as a means of literacy intervention for our students. Over the past year, we have noticed that many choristers are reading well below grade level proficiency. With students missing nearly 35% of in-school time due to COVID-19, we have decided to focus on developing literacy and comprehension in the upcoming year. We know our students love to sing, so we have crafted a season that will allow them to improve literacy skills while learning and performing fun choral repertoire!

Joshua M. Freeman Foundation
The Freeman Stage
Selbyville
GOS

The Freeman Stage is a program of the Joshua M. Freeman Foundation (JMFF), a 501(c)3 nonprofit founded in 2007. Our initiatives include our open-air performing arts venue in Selbyville, DE (a few miles north of Fenwick Island) where we present over 60 performances a year, including national recording artists, community theater, tribute bands and local/regional acts. In addition, our Arts Access Initiative provides K-12 students and under-served families of Delmarva year-round access to high-quality, diverse arts experiences at no cost.

The COVID-19 pandemic required us to right-size and re-imagine the way we fulfill our mission this year. After putting our performing arts season on hold for several months, we found a path forward to offer a safe and socially responsible experience for people to enjoy the arts in their backyard. In addition to establishing a “seating pod” system, which can accommodate up to four guests in a round space with six feet of separation, we also transformed our venue into a contactless and cashless operation for the comfort and safety of our patrons. We have successfully presented 3 – 4 shows per week — including a free Young Audience show each Saturday morning — since early July. We’ll be finishing our season this year on September 12, and are pleased to report that our post-performance surveys saw an average 97% positive rating from those in attendance.

Annually, more than 80,000 residents and visitors are impacted through our mission of creating opportunities that elevate the human spirit. However, this special season of the arts in 2020 saw us right-sizing our overall seating capacity to roughly 15% of that in a typical season, due to public health considerations. The decision to move forward with this smaller season was made after careful deliberation by our management team and Board of Directors. In moving forward, we not only provided some much-needed respite and entertainment to the patrons who chose to come out to a show, but we also provided the bands and artists that we hosted this year with the chance to perform, in some cases for the first time since March. We had an outpouring of gratitude from both the audience and the performers who were given the opportunity to do what they love. We will draw on the experiences of this season to continue our planning for 2021, and stay flexible to accommodate whatever public health concerns may be present.

Pacem in Terris
A Visionary Peace Virtual Art Exhibition
Online
PS

Pacem in Terris presents our virtual, juried Listen to My Art Exhibition from September 19-October 11th. This exhibition features visions of a peaceful world or what peace means to Delaware adult visual artists between 18 to 39 years of age. Selected artwork and descriptions of all artists and prize winners are noted. The exhibition gives our community the opportunity to utilize artistic expression as not only a way to heal the heart, but to also visualize – then actualize – peace. The call for art expanded to include work that brings to light institutional racism.

The Listen to My Art Exhibition highlighted artwork of 20 artists. Forty people attended our live ‘Meet the Artist’ gallery sessions, along with ten artists. Over 250 People’s Choice voters selected the strongest vision of peace or the work that captures institutional racism. A jury of local and national leaders selected Maya Constantine (1st place Visionary Peace) $200 and Vasu Jayanthi (2nd place Visionary Peace) $100, Ryan Berry, Nonso Iwu tied for 1st place for the Listen to My Art highlighting institutional racism) $100 each, People’s Choice: Saba Yafai

Possum Point Players
Community Theater
Georgetown
GOS

Formed in 1973, Possum Point Players (PPP) was formed “to contribute to the cultural diversity and vitality of Sussex County, Delaware by bringing the experience of live theatre for entertainment and education to the citizens of Delaware and visitors alike.”

PPP is truly a “community theatre.” Committed to diversity and inclusion in all aspects of our organization, our productions are staged by unpaid amateurs. The actors and directors, costumers and stage crews, ushers, ticket takers and bartenders lighting and sound designers and tech, musicians, and all other volunteers are members of the community.

Our season includes a diverse array of thought-provoking dramas, old and new musical theatre favorites, side-splitting comedies, family shows, and more. Thanks to our ever-growing audience, many of whom are our members and season-ticket holders that have been loyal patrons for several years, our little theatre continues to flourish and grow.

In spite of the many challenges related to COVID19, our youth affiliate, Possum Juniors, was able to safely offer several drive-in screenings in our theatre’s parking lot for the group’s membership.

Also utilizing our spacious parking lot, PPP is excited to present our production of GODSPELL on September 11, 12, 13, 18, 19 and 20 under the wide-open sky, all for the safety of patrons and Possums, while still providing entertainment and stimulation and fulfilling our mission.

As a result of continued growth and fiscal responsibility, PPP strongly believes that, in spite of the current pandemic and the enormously negative impact on the performing arts, we can look forward to a bright future.

Rehoboth Art League
36th Annual Holiday Fair Fine Craft Show
Henlopen Acres
GOS

The Rehoboth Art League will hold its 36th Annual Holiday Fair Fine Craft Show on November 7 & 8, 2020. This event, one of our holiday favorites, brings a juried pool of more than two dozen fine craft artisans to the Rehoboth Art League campus to showcase and sell their work over the course of a weekend. With jewelry, woodwork, fiber art, ceramics, handmade candles, stained glass and more, it is easy to see why the event draws more than 1,000 people each year.

The Holiday Fair gives attendees a chance to explore our facilities—including two historic buildings—and we place our artisans and their booths in each of our five buildings around campus. In a virtual expansion of the event in 2020, the Rehoboth Art League will also be offering online booths for the juried artists in the weeks leading up to the on-campus event, where patrons can purchase their favorite items from the comfort of their home, and arrange for contactless pickup during the on-campus event weekend.

While the Rehoboth Art League hosts a variety of art-inspired events each year, our Annual Holiday Fair is targeted especially for locals, and many people use it as a venue for purchasing one-of-a-kind, handmade items as holiday gifts for loved ones. The funds raised from the League’s Holiday Fair support our other arts programs including exhibitions, art classes, and our outreach arts education, all of which happens year-round.

Events at the Rehoboth Art League are meant to promote the creative work of our member artists—of which we have more than 700—and offer new and exciting ways of thinking to our community, more than 1,000 of whom attend this event each year. Hosting dozens of artists at our campus is one of many ways that patrons can learn more about an artist’s craft and means of production, and it is also a way for our nonprofit to facilitate the sale of artwork for our professional, practicing member artists. This event draws a competitive pool of applicants each year, with fine artisans coming from local towns in Delaware, but also from places that have included Washington, DC, Maryland, Virginia, New York, and even Florida. The high quality of juried work means that the community has come to rely upon the Holiday Fair as a reliable source of handcrafted items, the purchase of which supports an independent artist.

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.



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