Late last week, the Delaware Division of the Arts announced that more than 109 arts organizations throughout the state would be awarded grant funding for Fiscal Year 2014. Organizations in New Castle County make up nearly half the list, which includes several well known local spots and groups.
The Delaware Division of the Arts announced last week that $2.9 million in grants for Fiscal Year 2014 have been awarded to numerous art initiatives throughout the state, including several local organizations and even more arts groups in the surrounding areas.
In Hockessin, Art Therapy Express and the Chesapeake Silver Cornet Brass Band each received grants for more than $5,000 that can be put towards their general operating costs, which could include anything from salaries and marketing to electric bills or artist fees for the upcoming year.
The Center for the Creative Arts in Yorklyn also fared well in the application and awards process, receiving more than $54,000 for its 2014 budget.
For "arts stabilization," CCA will receive $12,200. "Arts stabilization" refers to any number of capital projects that typically address physical or structural endeavors.
"That money will be used to waterproof our basement," said CCA Executive Director Carla Pastore. "We have a problem with standing water there so this money means that we can install a new drainage system."
Pastore added that the new drainage system will safeguard programs that are held in the basement, like pottery and ceramics.
CCA will also receive more than $42,000 for general operating support.
"The grant for general operating support helps us run our organization on a day-to-day basis and it's such a welcome relief to us," Pastore explained. "Most corporations tend to give money for specific projects, which is great, but a lot of organizations also need money for the general expenses like electricity and salaries, too."
DDA awarded 109 grants for the upcoming year. Nearly half of the grants will stay in New Castle County with some of the largest awards going to Wilmington mainstays like the Delaware Art Museum ($293,790), the Grand Opera House ($281,810) and the Delaware Theatre Company ($218,910). The grants are based on an organization's budget as well as the grant application.
Division grants support a variety of projects and programs, from storytelling for preschool reading readiness to professional performances in dance, theater and music. Delaware museums and art leagues in large and small communities alike receive support for internationally recognized collections as well as local artists and artisans.
"A record number of applicants in this year's funding cycle confirm the ongoing breadth and depth of arts activity in Delaware," said Division Director Paul Weagraff. "The quality of arts programming remains high at a time when organizations are striving to build sustainable models based on collaboration, innovation and coordinated programming."
Part of the $2.9 million distributed includes a new Delaware Arts Trust Fund, bringing Delaware's public sector support for the arts closer to the national average of 8 percent of the revenue for nonprofit arts organizations. It is hoped that the arts investment —a collaboration of the Joint Finance Committee, the Governor's Office and the Department of State— will yield significant returns in both state and local revenues, as indicated in the Americans for the Arts study, "Arts and Economic Prosperity," released in 2012 and explained at a summit of artists, art supporters and art organizations in Dover in October 2012.
"The state's investment in the arts makes good business sense because the industry plays a critical role in Delaware's economy," said Secretary of State Jeff Bullock. "As one of the state's top ten employers, we know that Delaware's nonprofit arts sector generates more than $142 million annually in economic activity in the state and supports nearly 3,900 full-time equivalent jobs."
$142 million and nearly 3,900 were some of the figures presented in the "Arts and Economic Prosperity" study, compiled from information from Fiscal Year 2010. The overwhelming objective of the results presentation was that the numbers proved that arts organizations, especially non-profit organizations like CCA or the New Candlelight Theatre in Arden, as well as a host of other museums, theaters, groups and organizations up and down the state generated a large chunk of revenue, both on a local and a statewide level.
However, in order to make an impact on the community, an arts organization has to plan programming that will attract local residents and outside visitors. The study was adamant that attracting locals is actually key to economic solvency for most organizations.
To that end, the public can expect to see continued programming from organizations up and down the state, even smaller ones like the Corbit-Calloway Memorial Library in Odessa. It received $2,500 for children's programming and does its best to stretch its grant award as far as it will go by planning a season that includes storytellers, international musicians, puppet shows and theater groups.
"We get a lot of mileage out of the grant money by bringing in all of these guests who can entertain and educate at the same time," CCML Executive Director Karen Quinn said. "And, our audiences love it. We're almost always packed."