Delaware Division of the Arts Director Jessica Ball Named to Mid Atlantic Arts Board of Directors

 

Wilmington, Del. (October 7, 2022) – At its June 2022 annual board meeting, Delaware Division of the Arts Director Jessica Ball was named by Mid Atlantic Arts as a new board member for the regional arts organization.

Mid Atlantic Arts was established in 1979 to promote and support multi-state arts programming in a region that includes Delaware, the District of Columbia, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Virginia, and West Virginia. It is one of six regional arts organizations in the United States, and works in close partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts and its member state and jurisdictional arts agencies. Mid Atlantic Arts distinguishes itself through its work in international cultural exchange, model programs in performing arts touring, its knowledge and presence in the jazz field, and its support of folk and traditional arts. The organization nurtures and funds the creation and presentation of diverse artistic expression and connects people to meaningful arts experiences within our region and beyond. 

Ball was named Director of the Division of the Arts in 2021, where she oversees all aspects of managing a state agency committed to supporting the arts and cultivating creativity to enhance the quality of life in Delaware. Jessica brings a collaborative, progressive, transparent approach to arts leadership and administration. Adept at creating and sustaining partnerships across private, government, and creative sectors she facilitates initiatives that expand access to the transformative power of the arts and arts education. Jessica is dedicated to strengthening the cultural sector and growing the creative economy and workforce. Before becoming the Director of DDOA Jessica was the Executive Director of the Delaware Arts Alliance. There, she developed sector wide strategies to advance arts and culture. She worked with cultural, community, and civic leaders on policy and funding initiatives to ensure that the creative sector is vibrant. Jessica graduated from the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Design with dual master’s degrees in Historic Preservation and Landscape Architecture Regional Planning. She has a Bachelor of Architecture from Florida International University. She spent the first part of her career in the fields of design and architecture. She is a visual artist, artisan, and co-founder of Handmade Modern Accessories–a Women and Black-owned creative business. Her diverse background gives her perspective on the importance of arts and culture’s positive impacts on communities. She volunteers on the Delaware Fund for Women’s Young Founders Committee and the Delaware MillSummit Planning Committee.

“I am thrilled to join Mid Atlantic Arts’ Board of Directors at such a critical time for the creative sector,” says Director Ball. “I look forward to advocating for arts organizations and artists in our region while ensuring that Delaware’s creative sector remains at the forefront of artistic ingenuity and innovation. Mid Atlantic Arts’ board is comprised of a diverse, talented slate of individuals looking to move the needle in our sector, and I am fortunate to be at the table working towards that same goal with them.”

To learn more about Mid Atlantic Arts, visit www.midatlanticarts.org.

To learn more about the Delaware Division of the arts, visit arts.delaware.gov.

###

Contact: Andrew Truscott, Program Officer, Marketing and Communications

302-577-8280, andrew.truscott@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.


The Mezzanine Gallery to Exhibit “Polymer Paintings” by Joseph Barbaccia

On view from October 7-28, 2022

Wilmington, Del. (October 3, 2022) – The Delaware Division of the Arts’ Mezzanine Gallery presents 2022 DDOA Individual Artist Fellow Joseph Barbaccia’s exhibition, Polymer Paintings, running October 7-28, 2022. Guests are invited to attend a Meet-the-Artist Reception on Friday, October 7, from 5:00-7:00 p.m.

All his life, Joseph Barbaccia has been inspired by color and form. He was drawn to their motivating force even before his artistic inclinations and aspirations were clear to him. There were no artists among his extended family or their friends, but “at church on Sundays, I remember always wanting to sit in a pew the had a stained-glass window at the end in order to enjoy the colors close up,” as he studied the statues and the bas-reliefs on the walls.

Barbaccia was born in Philadelphia, but when he was a toddler, the family moved to rural New Jersey. He began drawing in earnest when he was six, at first to capture the attention of his second-grade teacher, whom he admired. But soon his family began to take notice. “Since then, except for six months in 1979 when I took a motorcycle trip [out west], I never stopped making images.” After taking classes at Philadelphia’s Tyler School of Fine Arts, Barbaccia traveled through the United States and the South Pacific, drawing and painting in a “mostly representational style.” In 1996 he settled in Potomac Falls, Virginia, where over the next two decades his experiments with encaustics, freestanding sculpture, and mixed media gained increasing attention and recognition.

The prolific artist has exhibited widely – over 35 group shows and 10 solo exhibitions – in galleries and major venues throughout the East Coast and the mid-Atlantic, including the Greater Reston Art Center, Delaware Contemporary, Rehoboth Art League, and Washington’s Corcoran Gallery. He’s been the subject of dozens of articles and reviews, both as an artist and as an illustrator with three published children’s picture books (and a fourth underway).

Barbaccia had always had a large studio, but in 2018 he and his wife (also an artist) moved to Georgetown, Delaware, where his workspace was smaller. Realizing “I would have to change my materials and methods to accommodate the new reality,” he landed on polymer clay as “the perfect choice.” The material – with its transparency and a full color spectrum – allows him to create in both two and three dimensions. It led Barbaccia in a new direction. “Approximately 90% of the artists creating with polymer clay create jewelry. I thought the time was right to expand its visual range.”

As well as inspiring Barbaccia, working with polymer clay has challenges. Using atypical art materials, “I sometimes come up against limiting parameters in applications to shows or competitions . . . [including] a list of accepted materials that doesn’t include polymer clay.” And the pandemic has led to a scarcity of his chosen material. But he continues to push against these and other constraints and revels in “showing and sharing my work.”

The Mezzanine Gallery, open weekdays from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., is located on the second floor of the Carvel State Office Building, 820 N. French Street, Wilmington.

Image: “Avatar,” 2021, polymer clay, 20 x 14 x .1 inches

###

Contact: Andrew Truscott, Program Officer, Marketing and Communications

302-577-8280, andrew.truscott@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 Award Winners Exhibit Opening at Cab Calloway School of the Arts

 

On view from October 7-November 4, 2022

 

Wilmington, Del. (September 28, 2022)The works by the Delaware Division of the Arts Award Winners are appearing at Cab Calloway School of the Arts from October 7 to November 4, 2022, with a reception on Friday, October 7, from 6 to 8 p.m. Special readings from literary fellows will begin at 7pm, and performances from students will be held before and after.

These Delaware artists have been recognized for their outstanding quality of work. The exhibition includes multiple mediums.  Visual arts on display include paintings, polymer, photography, charcoal, sculptures, and media arts. Samples of literary winners’ works can be perused in a reading nook, and performance pieces are available for one’s listening pleasure.   

Delaware’s Individual Artist Fellowships recognize artists for their outstanding quality of work and provide monetary awards. Individual Artist Fellows are publicly acknowledged and benefit from the additional exposure to their work. Fellows are required to showcase their work in a public exhibition or performance, so we’ve set up a special section on DelawareScene.com for you to experience their work.

In 2022, the Division received work samples from 132 Delaware choreographers; composers; musicians; writers; and folk, media, and visual artists. The work samples were reviewed by out-of-state arts professionals who considered the demonstrated creativity and skill in each artist’s respective art form. Twenty-five artists were awarded fellowships in the following categories – one, Masters; 13, Established; and 11, Emerging. The 25 selected fellows reside throughout Delaware including Dover, Georgetown, Hockessin, Lewes, Magnolia, Middletown, Newark, Smyrna, Townsend, and Wilmington.

Masters Fellow Linda Blaskey was a writer from the start: “I was always getting into trouble in school because I was writing stories rather than paying attention in class.” Fortunately, she had encouraging teachers, and once she set out on her path, there was no turning back. 

Emerging artist Stephanie Boateng has owned a business since she was 18 years of age selling prints, originals, and stickers of her art. Now the recent University of Delaware graduate is beginning her career as a professional artist, hoping to share the joy she feels when making her work. “My portraits are very emotional beings,” created to be “an experience of happiness, love, and beauty” both for herself and her viewers.

Established artist Joseph Barbaccia is “continuously excited about how a specific medium which is traditionally used in one genre can be expanded to a successful level in another.” In 2018 he moved to Georgetown, Delaware where his workspace was smaller. He landed on polymer clay as “the perfect choice.” The material – with its transparency and a full color spectrum – allows him to create in both two and three dimensions. 

Emerging artist Maia Palmer, in addition to her career as an artist, is also a faculty member at Cab Calloway School of the Arts! She is the high school Visual Arts teacher, and loves sharing her talent and passion for the arts with her students.  She particularly enjoys “the immediacy of drawing . . . the grittiness of charcoal. I love that I can work directly with my hands on the paper.” Her large scale charcoal self-portraits address her personal journey as a migraine sufferer.

Do not miss the Award Winners Reception on October 7, from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. Meet the artists to congratulate them on their recognition, socialize in the lobby, tour the art in the gallery, and enjoy performances and readings by the award-winning artists.   

About Cab Calloway School of the Arts: Cab Calloway School of the Arts (CCSA) is the premiere public school with an arts-based curriculum in the state of Delaware. Founded in 1992 by a group of parents seeking quality education in a motivating environment, the school is part of the Red Clay Consolidated School District (RCCSD). Named after the American jazz icon, Cab Calloway, CCSA provides both academic and arts education for students in grades 6-12.

About the Fellowship: The Division offers fellowships in the artistic disciplines of choreography, folk art, jazz, literature, media arts, music, and visual arts. Artists’ work samples are reviewed by nationally recognized out-of-state arts professionals, considering both demonstrated creativity and skill in the art form. The awards—$3,000 for Emerging Artists, $6,000 for Established Professionals, and $10,000 for Masters—allow artists to pursue advanced training, purchase equipment and materials, or fulfill other needs that will help advance their careers. The highest honor—the Masters Fellow—is reserved for those who meet rigorous criteria. Only one Masters Fellow can be awarded each year. Disciplines rotate every three years. During the fellowship year, recipients are required to showcase their work in a public exhibit or performance in Delaware. For more details about the Individual Artist Fellowship program, please visit the Grants for Artist page.

###

Contact: Andrew Truscott, Program Officer, Marketing and Communications

302-577-8280, andrew.truscott@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 Announces 2022-2023 POETRY OUT LOUD Poetry Recitation Contest

High school students in Delaware invited to compete in national poetry recitation contest

 

Wilmington, Del. (September 23, 2022) – The National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation present Poetry Out Loud™ in partnership with Delaware Division of the Arts. This national arts education program encourages the study of great poetry by offering free educational materials and a dynamic recitation competition for high school students across the country. This program helps students master public speaking skills and build self-confidence, while also learning more about both classic and contemporary poetry.

From October 2022 to January 2023, schools are invited to hold classroom and school wide contests, with students advancing to a state competition on March 2, 2023 at the Smyrna Opera House in Smyrna, DE. Non-school organizations, such as after school clubs, libraries, or nonprofit organizations, may also choose to run Poetry Out Loud. Students may only compete in one stream—either with their school or an organization. More information is available at PoetryOutLoud.org, including guidelines for conducting the competition in-person or virtually. State champions will advance to the national finals, which will take place in Washington, D.C. in May of 2023, where $50,000 in awards and school stipends will be distributed. 

Since the program began in 2005, more than 4.1 million students across the country have participated in Poetry Out Loud.

“We are proud to partner with the Poetry Foundation and the Delaware Division of the Arts to make Poetry Out Loud available to students in Delaware,” said Amy Stolls, National Endowment for the Arts director of Literary Arts. “It is inspiring to see students thrive though this program as they develop a deeper understanding of poetry while building self-confidence.”

“All of the student competitors demonstrate their openness to the power of poetry and their commitment to developing skills that allow them to share that power with those around them,” said Michelle T. Boone, Poetry Foundation president. “The young people involved in Poetry Out Loud are remarkable, and we are honored to be a part of this program.”

“There is no better way for students to discover the power of classic poetry and develop vital presentation and oratory skills than participating in Poetry Out Loud. Given the local recognition for participants and the state and national scholarships  offered Poetry Out Loud is an extremely rewarding opportunity for our students, teachers and schools,” say Delaware’s Poet Laureates Al and Nnamdi Chukwuocha.

As part of Poetry Out Loud, the National Endowment for the Arts and Poetry Foundation provide free, standards-based curriculum materials—all available online—which teachers may choose to use in their classrooms. These include an online poetry anthology containing more than 1,100 classic and contemporary poems, a teacher’s guide, lesson plans, posters, and video and audio on the art of poetry recitation. Schools are welcome to access these resources at PoetryOutLoud.org.

How to get involved in Poetry Out Loud
High schools and organizations that wish to be part of the official Poetry Out Loud program must register with the Delaware Division of the Arts by October 31, 2022 to participate. The Division will work with interested schools and organizations to include them in the official Poetry Out Loud program. Schools and organizations that are not in the official program may conduct their own contests using the online resources. Contact Sheila Dean Ross at Sheila.Ross@delaware.gov or by phone at 302-577-8286 or visit PoetryOutLoud.org for more information.

Poetry Out Loud awards
Each state champion will receive $200 and will advance to the national championship, where $50,000 in awards and school stipends will be distributed, including a $20,000 award for the Poetry Out Loud National Champion. The state champion’s school will receive a $500 stipend for the purchase of poetry materials. The first runner-up in each state will receive $100, with $200 for his or her school library. The Poetry Foundation provides and administers all aspects of the monetary prizes awarded and travel arrangements for the Poetry Out Loud National Finals. For further information on Poetry Out Loud, visit PoetryOutLoud.org.

About the Poetry Foundation
The Poetry Foundation, publisher of Poetry magazine, is an independent literary organization committed to a vigorous presence for poetry in American culture. It exists to discover and celebrate the best poetry and to place it before the largest possible audience. The Poetry Foundation seeks to be a leader in shaping a receptive climate for poetry by developing new audiences, creating new avenues for delivery, and encouraging new kinds of poetry through innovative literary prizes and programs.

###

Contact: Andrew Truscott, Program Officer, Marketing and Communications

302-577-8280, andrew.truscott@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.


The Mezzanine Gallery to Exhibit “Inner Reflections” by Kiara Florez

On view from September 2-23, 2022

Wilmington, Del. (August 24, 2022) – The Delaware Division of the Arts’ Mezzanine Gallery presents 2022 DDOA Individual Artist Fellow Kiara Florez’s exhibition, Inner Reflections, running September 2-23, 2022. Guests are invited to attend a Meet-the-Artist Reception on Friday, September 9from 5:00-7:00 p.m.

Painter Kiara Florez was always involved in “artistic endeavors.” As a child she wanted to be a writer, “creating characters and worlds that didn’t exist” and writing stories while drawing her ideas. It was in high school – at age 16 – that Florez turned seriously to visual art. As she learned the fundamentals and explored a variety of media, she came to painting and discovered her style and artistic process. Her works, primarily paint on canvases, use acrylics to mix the primary colors together. She uses only one paintbrush as she lets the painting come to life through an intuitive process. “I often meditate to music or be surrounded by nature to find a visual for the messages and/or emotions I am trying to convey,” says Florez. “My progression of each work is loosely based on jumbles of my thoughts and feelings at the time, so there are moments where the painting can take an unexpected turn. In the end, there is always a personal and spiritual message within each work in this series.”

Based on intuition, her works begin with a faint idea of “how I want the painting to come to life.” But that process is often challenging. Since a work in progress can “change form and go in any direction it pleases,” it can require her to overpaint or even begin again. But while each work springs from a personal message, she leaves any “interpretation and analysis” up to her viewers and is especially gratified when her paintings “speak not just to the mind, but to the soul as well.”

A recent graduate of Delaware State University with a B.A. in studio art, Florez has already been seen in several exhibitions, was the Delaware winner of the 2017 Doodle4Google competition, and has had her work on view at the U.S. Capitol. Her imaginative paintings magically merge the figurative and the abstract, always informed by “nature, music, all forms of art, and dreams.”

The collection that garnered her the Division’s Fellowship is a series of acrylic paintings on canvas, colorful narratives that “explore spiritual thinking and imaginative worlds, using bold colors and wavy lines.” Both figural and abstract, her works are populated with exaggerated shapes in a vibrant color palette, a “loose interpretation of the human figure and nature” that carry Florez’ personal, spiritual messages.

Florez describes her inspiration as an artist: “This collection of paintings explores spiritual thinking and imaginative worlds, using bold colors and wavy lines to express those concepts. I let the colors connect with each other and let them dance across the canvas. The forms and shapes are highly exaggerated and appear in abstract form. Many of my works often human-like beings interacting with landscapes or other beings. The figures may not always have facial or a full body. They may be placed above a natural landscape, floating above mountains or standing tall in the sky. I create openly interpretive paintings for viewers even if there is a personal meaning behind it.” 

The Mezzanine Gallery, open weekdays from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., is located on the second floor of the Carvel State Office Building, 820 N. French Street, Wilmington.

Image: “Stuck in a Daze” (2021) Acrylic painting, 30x40in

###

Contact: Andrew Truscott, Program Officer, Marketing and Communications

302-577-8280, andrew.truscott@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.