Division of the Arts to Host Annual State Employee Art Exhibition

More than 200 state employees and their family members have registered to show artwork at Delaware State University Art Center/Gallery

Dover, Del. (February 16, 2022) – The Delaware Division of the Arts is hosting the 11th annual Delaware State Employee Art Exhibition. The free exhibition will be open to the public from February 21 to March 14, 2022 at the Art Center/Gallery at Delaware State University, Dover. This year, more than 200 State of Delaware employees and their family members submitted artwork and will be competing for awards and cash prizes. Prizes to be awarded include:

  • Adult, Amateur, Intermediate and Professional: First Place Awards of $350; Second Place Awards of $250; and Third Place Awards of $150
  • Youth / Teen: First Place Awards of $150; Second Place Awards of $100; and Third Place Awards of $50
  • A Best of Show Award of $400
  • An Art Education Award of $200 for reimbursement for arts instruction and materials
  • People’s Choice Award, Facebook and in-person ballot

Additional awards including Honorable Mentions will be awarded at the discretion of the judges. Awards are limited to one cash award per artist per classification.

Visitors are invited to join Division and Art Center/Gallery staff for a special, weekend-long celebration of all this year’s participants and to see the winning artwork during the exhibition’s final weekend, Saturday, March 12 and Sunday, March 13 from 12-4 p.m. There will be activities, snacks, and giveaways for Gallery visitors.

The exhibition at the Arts Center/Gallery can be viewed during these hours:

  • Monday: Closed to the public
  • Tuesday: 10 a.m.-6 p.m.
  • Wednesday-Friday: 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
  • Saturdays, March 5 and March 12: 12-4 p.m.
  • Sunday, March 13: 12-4 p.m.

Full visitor information can be found here.

Sponsored by the National Arts Program in support and cooperation with the State of Delaware and the Delaware Division of the Arts, the exhibit is judged by professional artists and visual art professionals. The Delaware State Employee Art Exhibition is designed to give artists at all skill levels a unique opportunity to exhibit their creative work and to compete for cash prizes.

Participants must be a current employee or immediate family member of a current employee of the State of Delaware. All entries must be the original work of the applicant and completed within the last three years. View last year’s participant artwork.

More information

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Contact: Kaitlin Ammon, Program Officer, Marketing and Communications
302-577-8280, kaitlin.ammon@delaware.gov


Four Delaware Arts Organizations Receive American Rescue Plan Grants from the National Endowment for the Arts

The National Endowment for the Arts grants funding to 567 arts organizations to save jobs and to fund operations and facilities, health and safety supplies, and marketing and promotional efforts

Wilmington, Del. (February 2, 2022) – At the end of January, four Delaware arts organizations – Art Works for All, Inc., The Delaware Contemporary, Delaware Shakespeare, and Wilmington Children’s Chorus – received either $50,000 or $100,000 American Rescue Plan (ARP) grants directly from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA). These four organizations are among 567 arts organizations nationwide – located in all 50 states, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Washington, DC – that will receive a total of $57.75 million in nonmatching funds to save jobs and to fund operations and facilities, health and safety supplies, and marketing and promotional efforts to encourage attendance and participation.

“Our nation’s arts sector has been among the hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic. The National Endowment for the Arts’ American Rescue Plan funding will help arts organizations rebuild and reopen,” said Dr. Maria Rosario Jackson, chair of the NEA. “The arts are crucial to helping America’s communities heal, unite, and inspire as well as essential to our nation’s economic recovery.”

The NEA received more than 7,500 eligible applications requesting $695 million. To review applications, the agency employed more than 450 expert readers and panelists to review and score each application using the published review criteria.

The ARP grant awardees represent the diverse nature of arts organizations around the country, serving both rural and urban communities and representing all 15 of the NEA’s artistic disciplines. Seventy-eight percent of the awardees are small or medium sized organizations with budgets of less than $2 million and 27 percent are first-time NEA grantees due to the NEA’s active encouragement of applications from a variety of organizations for this opportunity while providing numerous resources for navigating the application process.

The ARP was signed into law in March 2021 and included $135 million to the NEA for the arts sector. This is the third installment of ARP funding. In April 2021, the NEA announced $52 million (40 percent) in ARP funding will be allocated to 62 state, jurisdictional, and regional arts organizations for subgranting through their respective programs. With this special award, the Delaware Division of the Arts developed two short-term grant opportunities to help secure jobs and support Delaware’s nonprofit arts organizations and artists that add value to the state’s economy and bolster the creative life of our communities. The Delaware Division of the Arts awarded ARP funds to 36 arts organizations and 13 individual artists.

About the National Endowment for the Arts

Established by Congress in 1965, the National Endowment for the Arts is the independent federal agency whose funding and support gives Americans the opportunity to participate in the arts, exercise their imaginations, and develop their creative capacities. Through partnerships with state arts agencies, local leaders, other federal agencies, and the philanthropic sector, the Arts Endowment supports arts learning, affirms and celebrates America’s rich and diverse cultural heritage, and extends its work to promote equal access to the arts in every community across America. Visit arts.gov to learn more.

Image Credit: Delaware Shakespeare’s performance of A Midsummer Night’s Dream taken by Alessandra Nicole

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Contact: Kaitlin Ammon, Program Officer, Marketing and Communications
302-577-8280, kaitlin.ammon@delaware.gov


The Delaware Division of the Arts, a branch of the Delaware Department of State, is dedicated to cultivating and supporting the arts to enhance the quality of life for all Delawareans. Together with its advisory body, the Delaware State Arts Council, the Division administers grants and programs that support arts programming, educate the public, increase awareness of the arts, and integrate the arts into all facets of Delaware life. For more information about the Delaware Division of the Arts, visit arts.delaware.gov or call 302-577-8278.


Delaware Division of the Arts Encourages Arts Philanthropy Through Do More 24 Delaware

The Division will provide up to $400,000 in matching funds to its FY2022 arts organization grantees in conjunction with the event

Wilmington, Del. (February 1, 2022) – The Delaware Division of the Arts is proud to support the arts sector through Delaware’s largest day of giving, Do More 24 Delaware, on March 3-4, 2022. For the second year, the Division will provide up to $400,000 in matching funds to its FY2022 arts organization grantees in conjunction with the statewide giving day event. The Division’s “stretch pool” funds will be awarded to grantees who fundraise through the domore24delaware.org website over the 24-hour fundraising period starting at 6 p.m. on Thursday, March 3 and ending at 6 p.m. on Friday, March 4. Do More 24 Delaware is organized by United Way of Delaware and Spur Impact Association.

Thanks to the Division’s support in 2021, Do More 24 Delaware raised nearly $2 million from more than 10,000 unique donors for 400+ Delaware nonprofits in 24 hours, and it is hoping to be just as successful this year, if not more. More than 40% of that total raised went to nonprofits in the arts sector. Division funds will again be allocated to its participating grantees in proportion to the donations they raise through the Do More 24 Delaware campaign.

Jessica Ball, Director of the Delaware Division of the Arts states, “Arts and culture organizations have been essential in keeping people engaged in creative activities throughout the pandemic and they continue to be an important part of our economic recovery. The public understands that the recent surge of the pandemic has impacted these organizations and we believe that this ‘stretch pool’ incentive will encourage donors to stretch their donations a bit further to support their favorite arts organizations.”

In conjunction with the giving day, Do More 24 Delaware is presenting two special events to add to the day’s fun and excitement. Once again, the public is invited to tune into the Do More 24 Delaware Livestream this year with Mr. Delaware Gives (Chris Bruce), who is returning for another 24-hour livestream for the length of the event. Starting around 6 p.m. on Thursday, March 3 and concluding 24 hours later, the public can view the livestream on Facebook and YouTube. The livestream will feature nonprofit guests and other leaders and Delebrities who will be chatting informally about their favorite nonprofits. It is a chance to learn more about Delaware nonprofits, the important work they do, and the services they provide to Delawareans.

Also, anyone who makes a $50 donation to one or more of the participating nonprofits during the giving day will receive a link to an exclusive, virtual, one night only benefit concert featuring Backtrack Vocals, an award-winning, five-person a capella group based in New York City. Two of the Backtrack Vocals members went to schools in Delaware. The concert will air on Friday, March 4 at 8 p.m. after the 24-hour giving day officially ends.

To see which Delaware arts organizations are participating in Do More 24 Delaware, or to see the full list of 400+ Delaware nonprofits participating in the fundraising event, people can visit Do More 24 Delaware’s Find a Cause to Support page.

The Delaware Division of the Arts remains committed to supporting the arts and cultivating creativity to enhance the quality of life for all Delawareans. This partnership with Spur Impact, United Way of Delaware, and the Do More 24 Delaware planning team continues to provide a great opportunity to work together in fostering philanthropy in support of the arts.

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Contact: Kaitlin Ammon, Program Officer, Marketing and Communications
302-577-8280, kaitlin.ammon@delaware.gov

Image: OperaDelaware, Joe del Tufo, Moonloop Photography


The Delaware Division of the Arts, a branch of the Delaware Department of State, is dedicated to cultivating and supporting the arts to enhance the quality of life for all Delawareans. Together with its advisory body, the Delaware State Arts Council, the Division administers grants and programs that support arts programming, educate the public, increase awareness of the arts, and integrate the arts into all facets of Delaware life. For more information about the Delaware Division of the Arts, visit arts.delaware.gov or call 302-577-8278.


The Mezzanine Gallery to Exhibit “On Display II” by Shari Dierkes

On view from February 4-25, 2022

Wilmington, Del. (January 31, 2022) – The Delaware Division of the Arts’ Mezzanine Gallery is pleased to present artist Shari Dierkes’ exhibition, On Display II, from February 4 through February 25, 2022. Dierkes was named a 2021 Emerging Artist Fellow in the category of Crafts by the Delaware Division of the Arts. The artist will host a free opening reception on Friday, February 4 from 5-7 p.m. The opening reception will also be a stop on Art Loop Wilmington, the monthly self-guided tour of art exhibits in and around the city.

On Display II is a visual storytelling of Dierkes’ artistic journey that includes some of her previous work; her Artist Fellowship application collection; and new works created as a result of the Fellowship. She chose the title, she says, to play on the vulnerability she has experienced displaying her art — the graphic embodiment of her inner thoughts — in a public forum.

“My curiosity about the realities of human life include a deep dive into behavior, psychology, and relationships, and the conversations these elements have with each other,” she notes. “My hope is that viewers get a sense of how the parts of our existence work together, even if not always in harmony. We are imperfect systems.”

Dierkes’ work often uses plants as a metaphor for her experiences in the human condition. Her material choices are often driven by natural resources with malleable properties, such as wood, metal, and gemstones.

Dierkes says the act of creating art, for her, is like the need to eat. “I need to do some form of it to survive. Even more, though, it’s like eating a favorite meal. I not only need to create art, but I also thoroughly enjoy creating it.”

Learn more about Dierkes and her upcoming exhibition with our YouTube Meet the Artist video series.

Image in banner: The Glorification of Motherhood (detail), 2021, mixed media, 7″ x 7″ x 7″

The Mezzanine Gallery is open to the public weekdays from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and is located in the Carvel State Office Building, 820 N. French Street, Wilmington.  All visitors are required to wear face coverings and maintain 3 feet distance from other individuals not in their household.

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Contact: Kaitlin Ammon, Program Officer, Marketing and Communications
302-577-8280, kaitlin.ammon@delaware.gov


The Delaware Division of the Arts, a branch of the Delaware Department of State, is dedicated to cultivating and supporting the arts to enhance the quality of life for all Delawareans. Together with its advisory body, the Delaware State Arts Council, the Division administers grants and programs that support arts programming, educate the public, increase awareness of the arts, and integrate the arts into all facets of Delaware life. For more information about the Delaware Division of the Arts, visit arts.delaware.gov or call 302-577-8278.


State of Delaware Invests in Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Access in the Arts

Wilmington, Del. (January 26, 2022) – The Delaware Division of the Arts is pleased to announce the launch of the Arts Incubator Project, an assessment, training, and planning initiative built on the principles of Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Access (IDEA) for the state’s arts industry with a $1.25 million investment in the initiative.

“A diverse and thriving arts and culture sector is essential to the connection, well-being and economic prosperity of Delaware communities. Therefore, it is critical to invest in arts and culture now so that the sector is well poised to meet the increasingly complex and interrelated social and economic challenges of our time,” said Deputy Secretary of State Kristopher Knight.

Five arts organizations are participating in the pilot program including the Delaware Art Museum, Choir School of Delaware, The Delaware Contemporary, The Freeman Arts Pavilion and Clear Space Theatre Company. This cohort will receive support and guidance from a team of consultants including Caitlin Butler, Amy Sadao, and Sunanda Ghosh. Butler, Sadao, and Ghosh bring experience leading arts organizations to be more equitable, accessible, and responsive; and through that, more durable and fiscally resilient. The consultants will evaluate current financial, governance, and programmatic practices at each organization. Based on this assessment, they will collaborate to develop custom strategies for sustainable practices and programming that integrate the principles of IDEA into all aspects of each organization’s operations.

During the eight-month program, teams consisting of staff, board, and community partners will explore strengths and needs within their organizations, identify, and strategize around key priorities, and develop a plan for next steps. They will also learn from experts through a series of convenings and from each other through peer mentorship.

“We hope, as a result of this opportunity, that these organizations will experience even greater clarity around their visions and next steps, strengthened connections to peer organizations, and improved access to the resources needed to carry out this important work,” said Caitlin Butler, consultant.

During the final phase of the initiative, the arts organizations will be eligible for grant funding to support the implementation of their custom strategies and priority practices developed during the consulting period.

“The arts are a powerful tool for change and transformation, and Arts Incubator Grants awarded by the Division of the Arts will lead to sustainable and impactful outcomes that benefit the organizations as well as their communities,” said Kristin Pleasanton, Deputy Director of the Delaware Division of the Arts.

The plan is to continue the program with additional organization cohorts in 2022.

About the Delaware Division of the Arts
The Delaware Division of the Arts is an agency of the State of Delaware. Together with its advisory body, the Delaware State Arts Council, the Division administers grants and programs that support arts programming, educate the public, increase awareness of the arts, and integrate the arts into all facets of Delaware life. Funding for Division programs is provided by annual appropriations from the Delaware General Assembly and grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency. For more information about the Delaware Division of the Arts, visit arts.delaware.gov or call 302-577-8278.

Image: Clear Space Theatre Company

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Contact: Kaitlin Ammon, Program Officer, Marketing and Communications
302-577-8280, kaitlin.ammon@delaware.gov