Delaware’s arts community was hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Museums, galleries and theaters remain shuttered or limited by the virus, leaving many artists, writers and dancers out of work.
Now, Connections Community Support Programs - a state nonprofit behavioral health services support provider - hopes to help that group with affordable housing.
The group's communications director Theresa Buchanan joined Delaware Public Media’s Kelli Steele on this week’s Arts Playlist to discuss the project.
Connections Community Support Programs' (CCSP) Quaker Arts Project is building, preserving and converting three existing apartment buildings and one commercial building in Wilmington.
“It’s actually part of a larger project that the Creative Arts District in West Center City is kind of initiated with Wilmington Renaissance Corporation and the Wilmington Alliance," said Theresa Buchanan, the communications director for CCSP. "They're trying to sort of revitalize that area and make it an area for creative arts and to actually “bring up” the neighborhood.”
Buchanan says the project will include 53 affordable housing apartment units - and those involved in the arts will have first preference for them, hopefully by the end of this year.
“Connections has other affordable housing facilities - that’s really the main reason why this has come into existence," said Buchanan "But what we wanted to do is become a good steward of the neighborhood as well and be part of the Creative Arts District and Wilmington Renaissance.”
She notes that 23 of the units will include creative studio space. Common areas will include four art studios which can be reserved by the tenants, a computer lab for written word artists, a fitness/multipurpose room for dance artists, and four music rooms for musical artists.
In addition, there will be a community garden, a “tot lot” and a community room with a meeting/study room, and a kitchenette.
Filling these units will also provide increasing demand for local jobs and businesses, raise property values in the area, and hopefully reduce crime.
Delaware Public Media' s arts coverage is made possible, in part, by support from the Delaware 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.