Mayor Encourages Engagement with City Arts Initiatives

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This post appears courtesy of the City of Wilmington – the original post can be viewed here.   The City of Wilmington is well known in the region for its varied and plentiful arts and entertainment opportunities. Among the City’s most popular venues are the Riverfront, The Grand Opera House, The Delaware Art Museum and World Café Live at the Queen. In recent years, among those cultural and entertainment offerings have been the increasingly visible and successful arts programs and events managed by the City, which are made up of a diverse array of City Cultural Affairs programming.

Mayor Dennis P. Williams began his work to support and promote the arts community in Wilmington by encouraging Cultural Affairs Director Ken Briscoe and Marketing & Special Projects Coordinator Jeni Barton to think differently about how arts and culture could be enhanced by using existing resources in new ways. “The City benefits from a unique arts environment where Cultural Affairs programming can be directly connected to the community, as well as to generate a healthy arts economy downtown and around the city’s neighborhoods,” said the Mayor. “Jeni’s expertise as a visual artist, and her background and education in the arts, uniquely qualifies her to lead the way for arts programming, and to act as the administration’s liaison with the arts community.”

The Mayor’s Office of Cultural Affairs manages arts-anchored initiatives that promote local artists and connect Wilmingtonians with the organic culture of the city. Monthly favorite Art on the Town supports local artists by providing them with spaces to exhibit and sell their works, as the City partners with over 70 local galleries, museums, shops, churches and cafes to present over 320 exhibitions annually. Low-cost advertising opportunities for participating businesses, and open, free access to the exhibitions continue to contribute to the monthly event’s popularity.

The City of Wilmington also manages a municipality-operated foreign and independent film cinema, Theatre N.  For nearly a decade, Theatre N was the only movie theatre downtown. In that time, the theatre has cultivated new and diverse audience of loyal patrons by partnering with local and national independent filmmakers to provide a space to screen new, small, and independent works. The theatre is available for wide varieties of innovative and unique entertainment.

Most prominently, the City of Wilmington’s Cultural Affairs and Arts Programming features a wide variety of regionally popular cultural festivals, including the ever-popular annual Clifford Brown Jazz Festival, 4th of July Concert and the Riverfront Blues Festival. The ongoing lunchtime concert series, In The Square, and the Summer in the Parks are examples of other celebrations of local music, food, and arts focused on downtown employees and children across the city’s neighborhoods. Each of these programs are made possible by partnerships with Downtown Visions and The Grand Opera House respectively. The Cultural Affairs Office is excited to add a local musician night to the DuPont Clifford Brown Jazz Festival this year and partner with local businesses and organizations to provide jazz programming throughout the entire month of June that will offer another level of community engagement to the festival.

Growing support is also building for the City of Wilmington Fringe Wilmington Festival, which was once held annually, but through the efforts of Barton has been refined to three separate festivals throughout the year, celebrating one artistic genre at a time: live performance, film and visual artwork. Wilmington is one of only 205 Fringe Festivals in the world. However, we are the only one that devotes a festival to each genre. Along with the more edgy and experimental content of Fringe, which includes one-man shows, magic acts, stand-up comedy, dance, and a 24-hour filmmaking contest, Fringe also provides artists with affordable performance spaces and box office services, and creatively utilizes unique and vacant spaces around the city for performances.

Barton emphasizes the uniqueness of Wilmington’s arts environment. “This is a city where we can support our diverse arts and culture scene by engaging in the impressive number of world-class arts offerings available to us. We feel strongly that the City’s unique identity and our range of offerings is an ideal way to find your way to the many high quality arts organizations who are renowned in their disciplines and who choose to call Wilmington home.”

For more information about the Mayor’s Office of Cultural Affairs, and programming mentioned in this article, please visit our website at: www.WilmingtonDE.gov.