Government & Politics

Delaware Arts Advocacy Day, June 9

Screen Shot 2016-06-05 at 4.10.20 PMBy Terry Rogers

In an effort to promote the arts in Delaware, the Delaware Arts Alliance has planned the First Annual Delaware Arts Advocacy Day on June 9, 2016 from 11 AM until 12:45 PM in the Senate Hearing Room of Legislative Hall in Dover. According to Lynn Calder, Marketing and Development Specialist for the Delaware Arts Alliance, the event is designed to benefit the arts in Delaware by showing the strong impact they have on the economy and culture.

“The arts represent a $142.3 million industry and employs 3,868 people full-time,” Ms. Calder said. “We hope that this will highlight the importance of arts education in Delaware’s curriculum, which is helping shape the future workforce of the state.” In Delaware, the arts represent $9.9 million in local and state revenue, while providing a high-quality of life for citizens, Ms. Calder explained.

The First Annual Arts Advocacy Day will include information and discussions on the impact of the arts on the economy of Delaware. In addition, there will be displays of student work from public schools throughout the state as well as live performances by. Poetry Out Loud Winner, Hannah Sturgis, will recite one of her poems to open the Senate Session that day. Delaware Arts Alliance Board President, Dan Cruce, Esquire, who is the Vice-President of Education for Hope Street Group, will announce the creation of the inaugural event to the Senate and House on June 8 at Legislative Hall.

In addition to the revenue created, Ms. Calder said that the arts provide economic benefits for other industries as well. She said that art-related businesses encourage people to patronize other local businesses, such as restaurants and shops. Recently, Delaware approved Arts-Education-K-12 as part of the state standards in order to deepen students’ cognitive skills, positioning them for greater career success.

“Delaware is supportive of the arts,” Ms. Calder said. “State funding for the arts in FY 2017 is at $3.4 million, as reflected in the DDOA proposed budget. Delaware has ranked third in the nation in state arts funding by the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies (NASAA)’s State Art Agency FY 2016 Legislative Appropriations. This notable national achievement is due to a supportive administration, the work of the DDOA and DAA’s consistent advocacy efforts. Promoting the arts in Delaware is important for many reasons. First, arts make Delaware a vibrant place to live and work, so it is significant to companies who are recruiting employees. The arts also bring people together in a creative and artistic way, making for a culturally rich community.”

National research bears out Ms. Calder’s comments. A study conducted by Tom Borrup, director of Intermedia Arts in Minneapolis found during a study of struggling communities that implementing art programs and projects in those communities led to drastic improvement. Mr. Borrup’s study found that art projects promote interaction I public spaces which, in turn, reduces crime. In addition, it encourages civic participation due to an increase in festivals, fairs and celebrations surrounding the arts. Youth become more engaged in the community as they are able to express themselves creatively, opening more doors to them in artistic fields. The arts also encourage preservation of historic areas and encourages development throughout the community as it becomes a better place to live, work and visit.

The public is invited to attend the First Annual Delaware Arts Advocacy Day. Ms. Calder says that she hopes to see Milford artists and residents participating in the event.

“We have reached out to our members and friends through social media and email,” Ms. Calder said. “We will also be connecting with some of our key supporters in the area to confirm their attendance that day.”

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