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Arts Playlist: NEA Chair praises support for arts in Delaware

Delaware Public Media

The chair of the National Endowment for the Arts visited the First State Tuesday.

During a day long tour of Delaware, Jane Chu touted the investment state government has made in the arts community.

Local advocates say the arts in Delaware are $142 million industry supporting almost 4,000 jobs and generating $9.9 million in local and state revenue.

Chu says rising state support for the arts under Gov. Jack Markell (D-Delaware) is one reason for those numbers.   She notes annual funding for the arts in the First State doubled under Markell from $1.7 million dollars to $3.5 million.

“Not all states have four sources of state support for the arts like Delaware has – legislative appropriations, the State Cultural Access Fund, The Delaware Arts Trust Fund and The Arts Stabilization Fund," said Chu. "These sources complement the National Endowment for the Arts investment in partner ship with the Delaware Division for the Arts.  And it gives artists and arts organization a stronger network of resources to thrive."

Delaware received just over $693,000 from the NEA this fiscal year.

Chu has been touring the country to mark NEA’s 50th anniversary and its impact on the arts nationwide.

In Delaware, she stopped by the Delaware Contemporary and Creative District in Wilmington.

Chu says the Creative District holds great promise – not only as an economic development tool that brings artists to Wilmington to work and live – but an effort that unites those already there.

“The arts not only has the opportunity to spark the vitality and make people say 'I want to be there too,’ – and probably bring in some tourism –they have an opportunity also to bring the community together in a natural way to work on the same project,” said Chu.

Chu also credited the Creative District leadership for listening to the community and welcoming in diverse groups to the project.

Chu also held a town hall at Wilmington's Baby Grand and visited the Biggs Museum of American Art in Dover as part of her visit.

Delaware Public Media' s arts coverage is made possible, in part, by support from theDelaware Division of the Arts, a state agency dedicated to nurturing and supporting the arts in Delaware, in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts.

Tom Byrne has been a fixture covering news in Delaware for three decades. He joined Delaware Public Media in 2010 as our first news director and has guided the news team ever since. When he's not covering the news, he can be found reading history or pursuing his love of all things athletic.