Look Back on the 'Dream Streets' of Wilmington

Celebrate 20 years of creativity at the Delaware Art Museum’s latest exhibition.

The Delaware Art Museum will present “Dream Streets: Art in Wilmington 1970-1990,” June 27-Sept. 27 to celebrate two decades of flourishing artistic activity in the city—the 1970s and 1980s—and the artists who emerged as key participants in the Wilmington art community.

Beginning in the early 1970s, several commercial galleries, city-supported arts initiatives and dedicated federal funding for outreach programs were established in Wilmington and surrounding communities. Within this encouraging climate, artists collaborated to create organizations such as the Delaware Center for the Contemporary Arts and the Delaware Theatre Company, many of which continue to support contemporary art in Wilmington. The creative energy extended further in the 1980s as Art on the Town, the citywide art loop launched in September 1988 and sponsored by the Wilmington Arts Commission, created a network to connect performing and visual arts organizations.

By the early 1990s, economic crises and the scrutiny of government funding of the arts led to a decrease in creative energy. In the wake were two of the most artistically vibrant decades of the 20th century. This landmark exhibition plots the development of artistic trends within the Wilmington community and their relation to national creative tendencies, showcasing craft and design, drawing, painting, performance art, photography and sculpture. More than 50 artists, including Mitch Lyons, Tom Watkins, Mary Page Evans and Flash Rosenberg are included in the exhibition. A catalogue featuring artist recollections and scholarly essays, a revival of the popular Dreamstreets arts and literary magazine, and a rich schedule of live arts programs and events will accompany the show.

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“With the recent resurgence of development in the downtown Wilmington area, spurred by groups like Wilmington Renaissance Corporation, we are very excited to showcase the historical precursors from the 1970s and 1980s of Wilmington’s lively art community,” says Margaret Winslow, associate curator for contemporary art at the museum. “There are many exciting connections between these decades and artists working in the city today.” For more, see www.delart.org.

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