Art for All at The Delaware Contemporary

Nov. 11 showcase for artists offers works for any budget

On Saturday, Nov. 11, The Delaware Contemporary hosts an event that is not only a fundraiser but also a call to action for the community to become art owners as well as art appreciators. The event, SABA III, creates a convivial, arty atmosphere focused on the promotion of art collecting for any budget or environment.

SABA III’s goal is twofold: To provide an opportunity for artists of all ages and stages to showcase their work, and to ignite community interest in collecting by providing affordable pieces for every level of interest.

The event is built around the aura of mystery—the artist of each work in the event is unnamed until the piece is purchased. “The excitement is in the ‘anonymous factor’—whose work are you actually purchasing?” says Kathrine Page, interim Gretchen Hupfel Curator of Contemporary Art. “Works range from those by local art students to emerging and established artists, Contemporary Studio Artists and staff members. The artists’ names will not be revealed until after the artwork has been purchased.”

Each participating artist is tasked with creating a 6×6-inch piece. That size, Page notes, is the “sweet spot” for art donations as well as art collectors. More work can be displayed and accommodated in a variety of spaces in that format, and it’s also easy to install. She says several other galleries and museums use a similar model in their events.

SABA III is more sale than auction—all artwork will be sold on a first-come, first-served basis at a flat price of $25 per piece. The competitive element will be centered around who can get to the artwork first.

Executive Director Joseph J Gonzales is looking forward to the first major fundraising event under his tenure. He’s hoping it will create energy around art, artists and the art of collecting in a competitive environment. “Many arts organizations host events like this not only because they are mission-related and good fundraisers, but equally imperative as fun, festive ‘awareness’ occasions,” says Gonzales. “And bringing people together who love art to compete for ownership makes for an exciting evening.”

“We’re looking forward to a fun frenzy of purchasing during the event,” says Tatiana Michels, The Contemporary’s marketing manager.

Artist Delona Seserman will be participating. “The piece I donated depicts a geographical symbol of our state. It also represents my token of appreciation for the mission of The Delaware Contemporary,” she says. “Come to SABA to see what it is!”

Seserman has been an active studio artist, docent and teaching artist of The Contemporary since her move to Delaware in 2012. She observes first-hand that the organization delivers a complex art experience through annual exhibitions, artist studios and residency, and cultural events that promote the importance of a strong community. “There are not many organizations that can compel so harmoniously the essence of contemporary art in our society as The Delaware Contemporary,” she says.

The evening also includes live music and catering from food truck Pizzeria Pronto. Tickets range from $25-35 with a limited $100 patron preview option available, offering patrons the early chance to preselect works. Get tickets at decontemporary.org.

City Theater Company’s Reverence for Sondheim

The founders of City Theater Company (CTC)—Jon Cooper, Michael Gray and Tom Shade—launched the company in the early ‘90s with a nod to their “dramaturgical touchstone,” Stephen Sondheim. Now, more than two decades (and many tributes) later, CTC presents yet another Sondheim classic with Sunday in the Park with George.

The musical was inspired by French painter Georges Seurat’s A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte. It takes the audience into the world of George (a fictional Seurat), who is fixated on the creation of his masterpiece, and his great-grandson George, himself a cynical contemporary artist.
Brendan Sheehan stars as painter Seurat in a stripped-down take on what it means to create art for both artist and audience. Founding Artistic Director Tom Shade returns to direct alongside Producing Artistic Director Michael Gray.

CTC’s production runs Dec. 1-16 at The Black Box on the Wilmington waterfront. Tickets are $15 (youth to age 15); $20 (students and military personnel with ID) or $40 (VIP) and are available now at city-theater.org.

Filling the Square with Noontime Music

Market Street Music’s venue, First & Central Presbyterian Church, sits on Rodney Square—one of the busiest business and social hubs in our city. Yet many of the countless workers, students, visitors and Wilmingtonians who traverse the square are unaware of the diverse and affordable mid-day musical menu available to them each week.

Now through May of next year, Market Street Music offers a respite from the weekly grind in the form of Thursday Noontime Concerts. The series delivers plenty of musical diversity: Center City Chorale; violin & piano duo Dina Nesterenko and Oksana Glauchko; countertenor Augustine Mercante and pianist Hiroko Yamazaki; Brandywine Harp Orchestra; Cartoon Christmas Trio, and much more. And best of all, it’s free (a suggested $5 donation is welcomed).

Music Director David Schelat notes that the series was developed to help introduce different genres of music. “Thursday Noontimes provide such a sampling of musical styles, listeners can enjoy a half-hour ‘taste’ and see if it’s to their liking,” he says.

The doors are open every Thursday at 12:30 p.m., and all are welcome. For more, go to marketstreetmusicde.org.

Not the Same Ol’ Song and Dance

Oscar Compo leads high school vocal majors in "In The Beginning" from Children of Eden by Stephen Schwartz at the 25th Anniversary celebration of the Cab Calloway School of the Arts. Photo Joe del Tufo

Celebrating its 25th anniversary, the Cab Calloway School of the Arts overcame a bumpy beginning to become, according to one parent, almost perfect

When the Red Clay Consolidated School district announced in 1992 that it would launch a Creative and Performing Arts Middle School, it wasn’t hard to find students to start refilling a mostly empty building that then housed the dying Wilmington High School.

“Some thought it was going to be a breeze, that all they had to do was sing and dance all day,” recalls Sally McBride, a Red Clay parent who served on the committee that helped found the school.

As it turned out, the school’s curriculum developed with as much substance as style, and this year there’s plenty of singing and dancing going on as what has become the Cab Calloway School of the Arts is celebrating its 25th anniversary.

Indeed, visitors should not be surprised to observe art students painting in the hallways, musicians playing pianos in the lobby, or a trio bursting out of a classroom and breaking into song in the middle of a class period.

There’s a certain irony to the origin of the school, opened a few years before the lifting of a federal court desegregation order for northern New Castle County schools. In the desegregation era, Wilmington High’s enrollment declined sharply, largely because white families in the nearby blue-collar suburban areas chose to send their children to private or parochial schools.

In search of a solution, a group of Red Clay School Board members, administrators and parents hopped on a train to New York City and found their answer in, of all places, Harlem, recognized as a major African-American residential, cultural and business center since the early 20th century.

As they visited a classroom in a middle school whose curriculum blended academic subjects with the performing arts, “the kids were practicing for a musical, and their work was so good, so powerful, that tears ran from our eyes,” recalls Bill Manning, once the legal counsel to former Gov. Pete du Pont and then president of the Red Clay School Board.

Creating a new school, even in an existing building, in a mere six months or so proved quite a challenge. There were lots of startup issues—textbooks not arriving on time, the transformation of a spare closet into a library, to name just two.

Separate Board of Directors

But the middle school came together well, due in no small measure to dedicated parents and enthusiastic support from the local arts community. It helped too that Red Clay, recognizing the unique character of its new magnet school, created a separate board of directors that functioned as a mini school board.

As the school was opening, its leaders realized that Cab Calloway, the legendary singer and bandleader, was living at Cokesbury Village retirement community in Hockessin. They invited him to the school’s ribbon-cutting in November 1992. Soon after, his daughter, Cabella Calloway Langsam, joined the school’s board of directors. A year later, the Red Clay Board of Education renamed the school in Calloway’s honor.

After the bandleader’s death in 1994, Langsam remained involved with the school until she moved to Arizona several years ago. Today, photos, paintings and other Calloway memorabilia—most of them donated by Langsam—adorn many of the school’s walls.

In its first three years, the middle school blossomed, and parents urged Red Clay to expand the program to include a high school. That occurred in 1997, but the first couple of years were rocky.

Enrollment wasn’t large enough to sustain a broad high school curriculum, so academic options were limited, and hardly rigorous. “If you’ve only got 29 seniors, you can’t offer six Advanced Placement courses,” says Julie Rumschlag, who took over as the school’s dean in 1999.

Red Clay adopted a velvet glove approach toward the high school program. Rumschlag remembers being told, in essence, “you have to make it work or we’re going to close the high school.” But the school board also gave her additional resources to beef up academics.

Student art adorns the Cab gallery. Photo by Joe del Tufo

To supplement what the district provides, Cab’s original board of directors has morphed into a separate entity, the Cab Calloway School Fund, which serves as a fundraising organization, providing enough money each year to pay for two staff positions and to help purchase musical instruments and other equipment.

As the pieces came together, Cab has evolved into a top-performing academic school, with its emphasis on the arts perfectly complementing the science and math-focused Charter School of Wilmington, with whom it shares the old Wilmington High Building.

Because of their strong reputations, “students at both schools inspire each other to work harder,” McBride says.

Nine Majors

And there are partnerships and synergies as well. Cab students participate on Charter athletic teams, and Charter students can try out for roles in Cab’s theater productions. Cab’s marching band performs at Charter’s football games. If there’s an extra seat in a class Charter offers, a Cab student can register, and vice versa. Besides taking all the courses needed to meet the state’s graduation requirements, Cab students can choose from nine majors: dance, digital media and communication arts, instrumental music, piano, strings, technical theater, theater arts, visual arts and vocal music.

Getting into the school is a challenge. Students have to take “assessments” in two of those major areas before even qualifying for the admissions lottery, which is conducted according to the rules of the state’s choice enrollment system.

“The quality of the dancers has really changed,” says Allyson Cohen-Sherlock, who began teaching at Cab the year the high school opened. “There are 14 or 15 spots open every year, and I see maybe 100 people [at the assessments].”

Overall, Cab enrolls 940 students in grades 6-12. From the students who complete the assessments and apply for the lottery, about one-third are admitted, Rumschlag says.

Parents appreciate the way the school integrates the arts into its regular academic subjects.

“They put on a one-act play in their history class. That makes it easier for them to learn,” says Erin Lacey, who has daughters in sixth and seventh grades. “My sixth-grader had to write a parody song for an English assignment. She’s writing poetry and she doesn’t even know it.”

Piano teacher Margaret Badger’s children began attending Cab well before she joined the faculty in 2012. As a parent, she was impressed by faculty members and their care for and dedication to students. “When I joined the faculty, I found that that passion is real. Every teacher is extremely committed to their subject,” she says.

Dan Kafader was a visual arts major at Cab, graduating in 2003. He came back as a science teacher after working at schools in Philadelphia and in Cecil County, Md. He offers a personal example that “our graduates can pursue a lot of different things—not only arts careers, but also careers in science and math.”

Ethan Hunter Raysor, a 2012 Cab grad who dances with the First State Ballet, performs during the anniversary event. Photo Joe del Tufo

James Mikijanic, who teaches technical theater and manages the school’s theater (the old Wilmington High auditorium was gutted several years ago and rebuilt with state-of-the-art equipment ideal for both performances and instruction), says he enjoys working at Cab because “the students who come here want to be here. That’s not always the case now in education.”

On a Monday morning, he says, “sometimes a teacher will want to ask the class how their weekend was, and someone will ask if we can’t get on with the lesson.”

Senior theater major Megan Allen says she chose to attend Cab because “I knew it was a really good academic school as well as an arts school.”

Stage Combat

She has found many opportunities to pursue interesting activities that aren’t possible at most high schools, like co-writing a play with one or her classmates and taking a class in stage combat, which Mikijanic describes as “how to create safe but realistic-looking violence on stage – with hand-to-hand combat, knives, rapiers and swords.”

With experiences like these, “there’s no such thing as a typical Cab experience,” says Kuno Haimbodi, president of the senior class.

The school “invites you to learn and think from multiple perspectives,” he told the audience in the theater nearly filled for an anniversary celebration in late September. “And, apart from the basement mice and the occasional cockroach, I have enjoyed every single moment of it.”
Teachers too have to deal with multiple perspectives.

Badger, the piano teacher, finds that her greatest challenge is “individualizing … trying to find the perfect piece for each of 150 kids.” There are 24 pianos in her classroom, each one equipped with a switch that lets students hear what they’re playing through headphones without disturbing each other’s concentration. One September morning, students were playing jazz waltzes, classic rock and Chopin.

On the other hand, Cohen-Sherlock’s challenge with her dance classes is teaching them to work as an ensemble. Most of her students have taken lessons at private dance schools for years, learning different ways to perform the same moves. “They have to learn how to work together,” she says.

And, she notes, there’s a lot more to dance instruction than teaching the right moves. “We do psychology of dance, anatomy, nutrition and eating disorders,” she says, “and a lot of boot camp cardio. You need a strong core and strong posture.”

Some of those attributes were evident at the anniversary celebration.

Ethan Hunter Raysor, a 2012 graduate who dances with the First State Ballet, covered most of the stage in a brief performance of “Blue Bird Variation from Sleeping Beauty,” while senior pianist Shane VanNeerden dominated the keyboard with Franz Liszt’s “Paraphrase on Verdi’s Rigoletto.”

While the school is too young to have produced its own Cab Calloway, some of its graduates have already launched promising careers. Jeremy O’Keefe, a member of the first middle school class, and 2004 graduate Bridget Matthews are both in Los Angeles, working in the film industry. Nick LaMedica, a 2006 graduate, is a professional actor in St. Louis, and Megan Hellman, a 2000 graduate who formerly danced with the Baltimore City Ballet, is now teaching dance at a college in Florida.

As Kafader noted, not every graduate seeks a theatrical or artistic career, but most put the skills they learned at Cab to good use.

One example is Sarah McBride, a 2009 graduate, who last year became the first transgender individual to speak at a national political convention. She is now national spokesperson for the Human Rights Campaign.

Sally McBride, Sarah’s mother, has remained close to the school since its beginnings, and has marveled at what it has become.

“We may not be the perfect school,” she says, “but we’re close.”

Summer Happy Hour at Delaware Art Museum

Every Thursday from 5 to 7 p.m. until Sept. 14, the Delaware Art Museum will host an evening happy hour on the Museum’s back terrace or in the Thronson Café (weather permitting). Food and drink options will be provided by Toscana. Guests are encouraged to tour the museum’s many exhibits before or after the happy hour or enjoy live music provided by local musician Seth Tillman on July 6 and 13. On July 27, the museum will have a Happy Hour Game Night with a variety of outdoor games, including cornhole and Jenga. The DAM is located at 2301 Kentmere Parkway in Wilmington.

For more information on the Summer Happy Hours and upcoming events, check visit delart.org/programs-events/calendar/.

Gifts Made in Delaware

Look no farther than The First State for your holiday shopping

Art

Delaware By Hand
406 Federal St., Dover
Biggsmuseum.org
674-2111
Pieces are created by the artist and artisan members of the Biggs Museum. The retail store is located at the Biggs in Dover.

Terrance Vann
terranceism.bigcartel.com
The Wilmington-based artist is working with the Wilmington Renaissance Corporation on the 7th Street Arts Bridge.

Christmas Decorations

Marcia Poling Bird Ornaments
Wild Birds Unlimited
7411 Lancaster Pike, Hockessin
hockessin.wbu.com
These bird-themed Christmas tree ornaments are hand-painted in lovely detail by Dover artist and naturalist Marcia Poling. Each ornament offers a unique design, perfect for the bird lover on your list.

Dea Daly
deannadaly.com
From Newark, Dea Daly offers one-of-a-kind ornaments this holiday season. She also sells incense burners and charms made from polymer clay. Orders and custom pieces can also be placed on Facebook or Instagram.

Drink

Brandywine Coffee Roasters
1400 N. Dupont St., Wilmington
brandywinecoffeeroasters.com
731-0427
Price: $10 & up
A great option for the local coffee-lover, Brandywine Coffee Roasters offers delicious, hand-roasted blends, sourced from the world’s best coffee. Sample some at the closest Brew HaHa!, or learn more at brandywinecoffeeroasters.com. The products feature very cool artwork as well.

Highland Orchards
1431 Foulk Rd., Wilmington
highlandorchardsfarmmarket.com
478-4042
Stop by this family-run fruit and vegetable farm for some delicious, seasonal apple cider, made fresh from the farm’s harvest.

Food

Fierro Cheese
1025 N Union St., Wilmington
fierrocheese.com
656-8955
Price: $10 & up
This family-owned and operated maker of quality Italian dairy products, including ricotta, ricotta impastata, mozzarella, curd and queso fresco, is located in the heart of Little Italy.

Maiale Deli & Salumeria
3301 Lancaster Pike, Wilmington
maialecuredmeats.com
691-5269
Price: $49 & up (platters)
More than 30 varieties of sausage and 10 types of salami are available here. All sausages and dried salami are handcrafted in house and made fresh daily.

Walker’s Apiary Honey
351 Wedgewood Rd., Newark
731-0427
Price: $10 & up
Located near White Clay Creek Preserve, this apiary also produces honey—along with wax and ointment.

Entertainment

Local Music at Rainbow Records
54 E. Main St., Newark
rainbowrecordsde.com
368-7738
Price: $10 & up
The entire store is a music and book haven, and we particularly recommend perusing the section showcasing area artists. It features an impressive assortment of records, CDs and tapes by local favorites.

The War on Words Book
amazon.com
654-6483
Price: $9.95
Local wordsmith and O&A editor Bob Yearick has compiled a collection of his columns into a book. Each page is a spot-on, somewhat snarky attempt to eliminate the grammatical gaffes that plague our everyday communications.

Home Goods/Furnishings

Etcetera & Stitches
Newark
etsy.com/shop/etceteraandstitches
Price: $3-$30
This online shop by local artist Kristen Vaughn features her individually-designed cross-stitch patterns, hand-crafted kits and finished pieces. Versatile with nerdy and pop culture references, along with modern embroidery hoop art, these pieces are a perfect stocking stuffer for anyone.

JKB Design
1004 Wawaset St., Wilmington
jbuckley.net
559-3547
From custom cabinets to natural-looking wood tables and desks, Jim Buckley creates carefully crafted furniture to suit your unique specifications and reflect your personality.

Kitchen Accessories at Creations Gallery
443 Hockessin Corner, Hockessin
creationsgallery.com
235-2310
Among the varied home items offered at Creations you’ll find the kitchen accessories that Middletown native Michael O’Grady creates from olive wood imported from sustainable sources in Bethlehem, Israel. The growth habit of the olive trees results in spectacular swirly figures—and, hence, unique conversation pieces for your home.

Michael Quattrociocchi
quattrociocchiwoodwork.com
A member of the Delaware State of the Arts Council, Quattrociocchi focuses “on the true beauty of natural wood while providing an object with functional use.”

Well Born Clay
619 Harrington St., Wilmington
wellbornclay.com
443-621-4036
Price: $15-$65
Specializing in functional wares for people who like to cook and eat naturally.

Jewelry/Accessories

Homespun for Everyone
homespunforeveryone.com
Custom made hats, scarves and more for children and adults.  Also offering lessons in knitting and crochet for adults and children. No experience necessary!

Lolah Soul Jewelry
lolahSoul.com
888-771-7087
She creates “wearable art,” including rings, bracelets, necklaces and earrings.

Monserrat Elements
facebook.com/monserratelements
540-5846
Sara Monserrat Teixido has been making one-of-a-kind, hand-crafted jewelry creations and amulets for more than 22 years.

Olga Ganoudis Designs
1313 Scott St., Wilmington
etsy.com/shopOlgaGanoudis
421-9820
Olga Ganoudis’ hand-made jewelry includes some pieces with Game of Thrones themes.

Midwinter Co.
midwinter.co
Vintage and minimal classics in modern form, featuring natural gems and unique diamonds. This husband and wife team run a socially responsible business from their home studio in Wilmington, and 10% or more of their profits go to local charities.

Kids

Getting Sew Crafty
gettingsewcrafty.com
Price: $5-$30
A Newark-based business, Getting Sew Crafty provides stylish and functional teething and nursing jewelry and accessories for mom and tot.

Outdoors

Alley-Oop
904 Coastal Hwy., Dewey Beach
alley-oop.myshopify.com
227-7087
Price: Wearables & Accessories $21-$50
Created in 2000 by skimboarding aficionado Corey Mahoney, this Dewey Beach-based company produces its own line of skimboarding gear and skateboard decks. It also runs nationally-acclaimed skim-boarding camps at the Delaware beaches—one of the top skimboarding destinations in the world.

O’Neill’s Fly Fishing
Dedicated to all aspects of fly fishing culture, including seminars, lessons, instruction and custom fly tying. Flies range from $3.95 to more than $10, depending on the pattern. Tim O’Neill operates the business out of his home in Hockessin. Contact him at tim@oneillsflyfishing.com.

Out of the Ordinary

Sore Thumb Designs
sorethumbdesignsllc.com
New Castle-based pop artist Lawrence Moore re-utilizes pages from comic book classics to create custom-designed storage trunks, which add fun and a dramatic splash of color to any playroom, studio or even an office. If you’re set on storage, Moore takes the same “pulp fiction” approach to the leather tote bags that are also for sale on his site.

Zexcoil Guitar Pickups
Lawing Musical Products, LLC
lawingmusicalproducts.com
533-7548
For the musician on your list, these locally-made guitar pickups boast great tone without the nagging hum that comes from most conventional pickups. The unique design is the product of Delaware local Dr. Scott Lawing, an engineer with a PhD from MIT who also happens to be a veteran guitarist with the band In The Light.

Manufacturers of Hope

Peer-run behavioral health nonprofit Creative Vision Factory utilizes art as a means of recovery for its members

The space at 617 N. Shipley St. buzzes with activity—artists talking, teasing each other, drawing, drinking coffee— while Michael Kalmbach, founding director of the Creative Vision Factory, points out a completed peer-led project: a wall-length, patchwork quilt-style mural on canvas, a venture led by CVF members and completed by inmates at the Baylor Women’s Correctional Institution. Member paintings and drawings line the walls. In the rear art room and Kalmbach’s office are blueprints and tiles intended for mosaic projects at the Rick VanStory Resource Center and Christina Cultural Arts Center.

Funded by the State of Delaware’s Division of Substance Abuse and Mental Health, the peer-run Creative Vision Factory opened five years ago as a way to better serve members of society struggling with or recovering from mental health and addiction disorders. And the organization’s focus—recovery through visual, literary and performing arts—serves as a powerful tool of expression and social integration, Kalmbach says.

Although he is an Intro to Arts Theory professor at Delaware College of Art and Design and a 2008 graduate of the University of Delaware’s Master of Fine Arts program, Kalmbach considers himself a peer of the people he serves. A recovered drug and alcohol addict, he recently reached 14 years of clean and sober living.

“Luckily for me, I’m able to identify as a peer from prior experiences, and have been working in the arts community long before that,” he says. “It’s been fun.”

Funding Born of a Lawsuit

With almost 500 individuals welcomed through CVF’s doors since it opened in 2011—that’s approximately 60 per week—his job also entails a lot of hard work and dedication, and as the first state-sanctioned organization like this in the area, it’s an evolving concept.

Funding originated from a lawsuit against the state’s psychiatric center for being out of compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990.

“It’s legalese for ‘don’t warehouse people,’” Kalmbach says. “There have been people living at state hospital for 15-20 years, or innocents detained, that could be out in the community. This lawsuit brought in some federal funds to say that progress had to be made during settlement agreement.”

Part of that agreement included incorporating peer support into the state’s mental health system.

Kalmbach says the CVF model is based on a concept formed during a wave of mental health system revolutions in the 1970s, however simplistic it may be: if you want to connect, don’t build societal walls.

“We want to serve and work with people as they are, rather than perpetuating an art therapy model with a capital ‘T’ which automatically insinuates ‘I’m well, you’re sick,’” Kalmbach explains. “We’re dropping the capital ‘T.’”

The country’s oldest center for artists with disabilities, the Creative Growth Art Center, in Oakland, Calif., was formed 30 years ago. Some of its members have been featured in the Museum of Modern Art in New York City, gallery spaces in Paris, and international art fairs—potentially paving the way for aspiring artists like CVF members.

CVF memeber Eric Carpenter adds pieces to the RVRC mosaic wall. (Photo courtesy of the Creative Vision Factory)
CVF memeber Eric Carpenter adds pieces to the RVRC mosaic wall. (Photo courtesy of the Creative Vision Factory)

Creativity as a Recovery Tool

“There’s a ton of talent that is already here, but there just wasn’t a program or system here to recognize that,” says Kalmbach.

Now, through the CVF, numerous members who may have never had the opportunity to pursue art have sold works to UD, shown in galleries across the state and in Philadelphia, and are featured in art magazines.

“Having something you can do in which you control the pace can be a powerfully adaptive way to combat other hardships,” Kalmbach says. “People come into this place with really strange and wonderful creative practices, faced with enormous economic and health challenges, but despite all of that are making amazing art. They have developed this because they have to; it’s part of their survival mechanisms.”

Take the Baylor patchwork quilt, for example. The only instruction given to the women was to paint something light on one side of each individual’s square and dark on the other, Kalmbach says, and each woman created vastly different art. Now, not only is there a finished work, but because of the connection, some of the women who have been released from prison are involved with CVF. The quilt itself will be displayed at the Brandywine Festival of the Arts Sept. 10-11, in addition to other venues, followed by a permanent installation at Baylor this winter.

Meanwhile, work on the mosaic project for Rick VanStory Center, a psychiatric recovery-oriented peer center, will continue through this month. The mosaic will be displayed at the center, at the intersection of Martin Luther King Boulevard and Justison Street. The Christina Cultural Arts Center mosaic—on the backside of the building facing Shipley Street—will be completed in September, in time for the CCAC’s 70th anniversary.

Open Monday-Friday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m., the CVF’s open-door policy allows leaders to observe functionality.

Not everybody who comes to the CVF has a behavioral issue, and some people aren’t in active recovery, Kalmbach explains—some may still be in active addiction.

“If people come here just to get out of the heat or cold and grab a cup of coffee, so be it. In AA we joke around, ‘If you keep going to a barber shop, you’re going to eventually get a haircut.’ And here, if you keep showing up, you’re eventually going to make something. We dangle the carrot, saying, ‘If you want to do this, go for it, and maybe earn some money on a job.’ This can start as a consistent space to count on being safe and start to rebuild some stuff.”

On a practical note, Kalmbach says that if someone has more time to do one thing, it’s less of one other thing he or she is doing. More art equals less maladaptive behavior, less petty crime, less loitering, he says.

Opening Doors to Social Mobility

Kalmbach says he could be breaking up a fight on Shipley Street on a weekday morning, and by the afternoon be at an art lecture with CVF members at Winterthur. The art community encompasses “this amazing social mobility,” Kalmbach says.

CVF residential neighbor, visual artist and volunteer consultant Nancy Josephson agrees.
“Here, we let art be the bridge, and it’s happening right there in real life and real time,”
Josephson says. “It’s a remarkable way to bring together two sides of the art community.”

Josephson moved to North Market Street in 2002 with her husband and local musician David Bromberg. The couple opened a shop at 601 N. Market, David Bromberg Fine Violins, LLC, and live in the apartment upstairs.

Josephson wandered over to the CVF after it was founded in 2011 and ended up getting involved with the program, leading workshops, and training members to lead workshops, which “has been phenomenal,” she says.

Through these creative works, CVF members have an opportunity to make a little money—and build relationships, skills and also network.

“My connection became much more involved after the Newsweek ‘Murdertown’ article came out,” says Josephson. “As an artist, I felt isolated and didn’t know what I could do. Then the idea of creating a product might be a way in which a couple of people could make money as well as a statement.”

That’s how a current project—bullet casing earrings, now sold at the CVF—was born, and Josephson and peer leader and staff member Chantal Matthews ran with the concept.

While membership—which really just means “showing up”—is open to anyone, in order to be a peer leader a member must show signs of active recovery or improvement. One of the CVF’s current public project foremen, Brook Miller, started out last year just looking for a place to have his mail forwarded. Now, he’s leading group workshops at venues like the Delaware Art Museum.

Connecting with neighbors and the local community is currently an important factor, Kalmbach says. He wants to help educate the public on what the CVF is doing, and to encourage people to advocate within local government for more spaces like the CVF. People can also show support by attending exhibitions and commissioning CVF members to do projects.

The Creative Vision Factory impact, it seems, is mutual. For Josephson, the program has given to her as much as she’s poured into it.

“I’ve forged deep relationships that are also educational—I have a broader perspective,” she says. “And at the core, this program gives a voice to people who are frequently silenced.”