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Arts Playlist: Concord Mall seeks local artists to enhance its community spaces

Concord Mall in North Wilmington is looking to improve its interior with artwork.
Kyle McKinnon
Delaware Public Media
Concord Mall in North Wilmington is looking to improve its interior with artwork.

Art has been shown to have the ability to transform and revitalize public spaces. It humanizes the built environments and can provide a sense of belonging for both locals and visitors.

With that in mind, Concord Mall in North Wilmington is seeking the services of local artists to put together pieces for its interior.

In this edition of Arts Playlist, Delaware Public Media’s Karl Lengel is joined by Concord Mall’s General Manager Tom Dahlke for more on the mall’s creative initiative.

Delaware Public Media’s Karl Lengel talks with Tom Dahlke about Concord Mall’s arts initiative

Concord Mall in North Wilmington seeks to add some artistic flair to the reimagined shopping venue as it continues a shift toward emphasizing small, local businesses.

The mall is asking artists to submit ideas for public display along the mall’s storefronts and walkways. Concord Mall General Manager Tom Dahlke says adding local artists to the mall’s makeup is a natural fit for efforts to change the venue into a place focused more on small, local businesses.

“In the natural order of things, I am looking for artists local to the Delaware area," said Dahlke. "The primary reason for that is because of that local theme, I want people to understand when they come into the mall, they’re not only supporting local businesses, but they’re also, we’re working on this part of it, supporting local artists as well.”

Delaware Public Media
Flyers at the mall are one way Concord Mall management is reaching out to find local artists

He adds it’s just one way they are trying to develop a new sense of place at Concord Mall, and notes the mall added Karaoke Saturdays this summer and is introducing a ‘store of the week’ promotion.

Dahlke says he has had success with this small business mall concept elsewhere, including a mall in Long Beach, California. Dahlke envisions an ongoing showcase of work to engage artists and the community.

“I want to also have a kind of rotating show here in the mall, you know, the easels and the whole nine yards, again, I guess primarily to have opportunities for us to have artists come in and be part of the scene almost," said Dahlke. "I would want them to kind of hang out with their art and discuss it, that kind of thing.”

As for a timetable, Dahlke says that they have no deadlines and “we are doing this as an ongoing theme for the mall." Interested artists can contact Concord Mall on their website or on Facebook.

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.

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Karl Lengel has worked in the lively arts as an actor, announcer, manager, director, administrator and teacher. In broadcast, he has accumulated three decades of on-air experience, most recently in New Orleans as WWNO’s anchor for NPR’s “All Things Considered” and a host for the broadcast/podcast “Louisiana Considered”.