9 appointed to New Castle County Arts Commission

Betsy PriceCulture, Headlines



An artist, a landscape architect, the head of the Delaware Art Museum, and a downtown nonprofit exec who’s led the installation of outdoor art are among nine people who have been appointed to the New Castle County Arts Commission.

The new county board was inspired by the Philadelphia’s 1% for Art program, which requires new city construction or major renovation projects to include site-specific public art in the amount of up to 1% of the total budget.’

Championed by New Castle County Council members Dee Durham and Valerie George, the commission is designed to enable all  community members to actively engage in development and promotion of public art activities.

RELATED STORY: New Castle County creates arts commission; will seek funding

“I couldn’t think of a more passionate group of individuals to compose New Castle County’s first Arts Commission,” said Matt Meyer, the New Castle county executive, in a press release. “We are excited to get this group’s work underway to help us explore the possibilities of public art in New Castle County.”


New Castle County Executive Matt Meyer announces members of Arts Commission at the Delaware Art Museum.

The founding Arts Commission members

  • Molly Giordano, executive director of The Delaware Art Museum. She joined the museum in 2010 as the manager of Marketing and Public Relations, where she directed the 100th Anniversary “Art is…” rebranding campaign. Her role involves building alliances with similar-sized arts and cultural non-profits to strengthen opportunities and collaborate with joint and diverse exhibitions showcasing at the museum.
  • Benet Burton, manager and co-director of public art focused projects from the Delaware Art Museum and the Winterthur Museum. He also collaborates on exhibition projects, working with communities on public art goals, and developing and implementing The Public Art Stewards Training Program.
  • Anna Wik, a registered landscape architect. She has extensive educational and practical background in landscape architecture. Wik is currently an associate professor of landscape architecture at the University of Delaware in the Department of Plant and Soil Sciences. She has a passion for community engagement, sustainability, and not only the present and future of our green spaces, but also the lessons taught by our historic gardens and natural resources.
  • Jean Dahlgrean, president of Delaware College of Art and Design. During her more than 30 years in higher education instruction and administration, Dahlgren has developed expertise in growing a student body, creating dynamic curricula, and fostering strategic partnerships. She has spoken nationally and internationally on topics related to achieving excellence in art and design education.
  • Valerie White, owner of the non-profit Bellefonte Arts LLC.  White provides space for local artists to display their works while also offering instructional classes in a variety of media. She  regularly participates in Wilmington’s monthly Art Loop, which showcases the work of local artists. White has a passion for the arts and her work with Bellefonte Arts significantly increased recognition of local artists and helps them derive income from their work.
  • James “Ray” Rhodes, the executive cirector of Christina Cultural Arts Center.  A qualified representative for the non-profit organizations position, Rhodes is actively involved in community initiatives such as REACH Riverside and Kingswood Community Center.  He is a leader in various organizations, including Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity Inc., the 100 Black Men of America (Delaware Chapter) and Suakim Temple, where he serves as a Noble.  Rhodes’ unwavering commitment to serving the needs of count  residents and putting them above profits defines his dynamic leadership style.
  • Cheryl Mack, co-owner of The Bridge Art Gallery, who will be chief of the board. She brings a wealth of expertise from a distinguished career as a curator and project event manager with over 30 years of planning experience. Mack produces monthly art exhibitions at The Bridge Art Gallery showcasing regional and national visual artists, and produces several art exhibitions at The Riverfront supported by the New Castle County Chamber of Commerce.  She serves as the chief curator for the Redding Gallery.
  • Michael Kalmbach, founding director of The Creative Vision Factory. He has overseen the execution of numerous public art works that include murals at the Kalmar Nyckel, Christina Cultural Arts Center and Shortlidge Academy.  Kalmbach has been a member of the Delaware State Arts Council, University of Delaware’s Partnership for Arts & Culture committee,  and Governance Committee Chair for Delaware College of Art & Design. He cites the completion of the Spiral Cemetery Monument, a directory of the souls buried at the Delaware Psychiatric Center, as one of his most important projects..
  • Jarret Harris, a visual artist. Harris has been able to tap into his various skill sets and markets throughout New Castle County, working with organizations such as the Delaware Childrens Museum, Delaware College of Art and Design and the Latin American Community Center.  His talents range from painting murals and canvases, graphic design, event photography and drone pilot.  He is also a fashion and clothing designer for Circa7.

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