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Christina Cultural Arts Center turns 70

The Christiana Cultural Arts Center has been a staple in Wilmington for decades and 2016 marks its 70 anniversary.

Executive Director Raye Jones Avery said the center was founded in the 1940s by the women’s club of a Wilmington church to host activities for Polish and Swedish families.

"The demographics of the East Wilmington neighborhood have changed in the '40s and the '50s. By the late '60s that community was more African American," Avery said.


She said the center changed along with its demographics during the Civil Rights Movement. It moved from a church-based sports recreation center to

a very different mission.

"[We] very intentional targeted outreach to families who are of low income and moderate income to improve their access to the arts," said Avery.

That shift also included job training efforts.


The Christina Cultural Arts Center has blossomed since its move to Downtown Wilmington in the 1990s and now serves more than 2,500 students throughout the area.


Avery said the center also played a role in laying the groundwork for the nearby Creative District initiative in Wilmington.


The Center is celebrating its the anniversary by unveiling the Creative Vision Factory's new Community Mosaic on the Shipley St. side of the Christina Building in downtown Wilmington.


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