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Delaware Contemporary appoints new executive director

Leslie Shaffer (Submitted Photo)
The Delaware Contemporary in Wilmington has a new executive director.

An art museum in Wilmington has a new executive director.


Leslie Shaffer has been named executive director of The Delaware Contemporary on Wilmington’s Riverfront.


Shaffer held the position as interimsince April, after initially joining the Delaware Contemporary in 2017 working in the Programs and Public Engagement department.  

She says she now wants to improve the operations at the Delaware Contemporary - and the way in which it interacts with the community


"Our public engagement is something that has always been very interesting to me," said Shaffer. "And I want to push that to the forefront of our upcoming year - starting basically in September.”

Shaffer says she plans to do that in several ways, "We are trying to look at the ways that our existing programs can be a bit more streamlined, overlap and ways that make sense. We’re also looking for new partners - partners that are working with audiences that we may not be or would like to do so more.”

Shaffer says the Delaware Contemporary is also re-envisioning how its staff works together so that each employees’ resources and talents can be put to better use.

As she transitions, Shaffer is touting her accomplishments so far.


“We instituted a new initiative called the Discover Lab. And the Discover Lab is intended for families and busy people to pop in at any time and feel as if they have resources and tools to understand our exhibitions,” Shaffer said.

Shaffer also points to the launch of Project C, an online resource for teaching contemporary art and culture - and the inaugural West Street Art Festival planned for September 22, 2019, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. 

She says this family-friendly festival will aim to build relationships between the museum and the neighborhoods surrounding the Riverfront, where it is located.

Shaffer has previously led Artspace in New Haven, Connecticut and the Contemporary Museum in Baltimore.

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.

Kelli Steele has over 30 years of experience covering news in Delaware, Baltimore, Winchester, Virginia, Phoenix, Arizona and San Diego, California.