2022 PAC Grant Recipients

Ashley SK Davis & Emerald Christopher-Byrd


Pieces of a Dream, Inc. is developing a new choreographic work that focuses on the experience of Black women in America. Specifically, the work lead by choreographer Ashley SK Davis focuses on presenting, through modern dance choreography, the ways in which Black women participate in and are rejected by the ideals of The American Dream. With the research guidance of Dr. Emerald Christopher-Byrd (Women & Gender Studies), this partnership will highlight the experience of Black women as related to matriarchy, girlhood, feminism, women’s suffrage, Black disenfranchisement, and patriotism. The project will culminate with public performance of the original evening-length dance production.

Colin Miller 

Beyond Those Bars (BTB)

Beyond Those Bars (BTB) is a Project and Learner-Based program that uses elements of hip-hop history and culture as its foundation. Hip-hop is one of the most culturally relevant modes of engagement for young people in lower income communities as the voice of the inner-city youth BTB focuses on developing the 3-C’s: Confidence, Communication, and Character while building key skill sets that drive participants to be purposeful, socially-engaged contributors to their communities.

David Teague & Laura Semmelroth

Word: Write Here!

WORD: Write Here! is a collaborative text/image project in downtown Wilmington, Delaware. It will comprise a series of workshops in which community members will create “6-word stories” commemorating an aspect of their life experience they’d like to share. With the assistance of a teaching artist, the participants will render their stories into textually-based images. Finally, all the stories composed during the workshops will be woven into one story in the form of a textual bricolage, which will be rendered into mural-sized installations and exhibited throughout Wilmington.

David Teague & DiAE

Levels & Layers: Arts-Integrated Professional Development for Wilmington Educators

DiAE’s Professional Development will introduce Delaware art educators to a multidisciplinary residency experience for their school. Teachers will have the opportunity to participate in art-making in three different disciplines, each focused on a different aspect of the final experience.

Greg Shelnutt & Joe DelTufo

Listening Through the Lens: Capturing the Artistic Process Across Time

The idea behind this concept is to attempt to capture the creation of paintings by artists of color both over time and in a creative way. In doing this, I hope to shed light on the emotions, inspirations and visual expressions of each completed piece.

Heidi Lucas & Jennifer Stomberg

IN HARMONY: A Partnership between UD Students, UD Graduate

IN HARMONY will facilitate coachings, performances, and informal interactions between MELODY and UD students. These performances will occur on a near monthly basis (7 in total between March ‘22 and December ‘22). Coachings will occur on a weekly basis, and informal interactions (Receptions, etc) will occur after concerts and at set points each month to encourage fellowship between all involved.  A culminating event in which program participants and supporters will be recognized with awards at a reception, will take place in December of ‘22. Throughout the course of this project, the Project Coordinator will document the process and maintain a website and social media related to the project, in order to provide additional access and promote awareness of the project.  UD Music students will be made aware of concerts and coaching sessions throughout the process and invited to observe; in addition, the website and social media for the project will be promoted within the UD Instrumental Methods courses in order to raise awareness of El Sistéma practices and encourage student interest and involvement.

Heidi Lucas & Eastern Standard

What Connects Us: A Creative and Interactive Collaborative

Eastern Standard has partnered with composer Robert Litton and the Brandywine School Communities to create a new work which will invite participation from all constituencies, and create an opportunity for all to contribute to the final product. This project will involve audiences in a way that is unique to chamber music, namely, creating an opportunity for the audiences to be an integral collaborative part of the live performance through their own contributions. Of utmost importance to Litton and Eastern Standard is that every person have the opportunity to participate; that everyone be invited to contribute in whichever way they feel most comfortable and inspired. Collaborators do not have to be limited to one means of participation, and can contribute differently to each performance, and or even within a single performance. Therefore, no two performances will ever be the same. With a duration of about 5 minutes, this work will draw its inspiration from nature, namely bodies of water, such as the Delaware River, with the idea being that water is the ultimate (and unbiased) conduit; hence the theme of the work is “What Connects Us”.

Jon Cox

Delaware History Museum: Honoring Delaware’s Native American Tribes

The proposed project with the Nanticoke Indian Tribe, the Lenape Indian Tribe of Delaware, the Delaware Historical Society, and the University of Delaware will create a physical space for Delaware’s Native Americans to share the narrative of their people in their own words. The project will have several important goals: to build bridges between Native American Communities and non-native people in Delaware; and to educate K-12 students and beyond about the history and contemporary Native Americans living in Delaware.

 Josh Harding & A.T. Moffett

Healing Through the Arts for Teens

The Delaware Art Museum, in partnership with the University of Delaware and the Teen Warehouse, will offer its Healing Through the Arts program for younger members of the community throughout Wilmington, with a focus on those coming from the lower Market Street area. Using expert teaching artists trained in a variety of artistic modes and mediums, the Museum offers young individuals the opportunity to use art in the healing process brought about from various environmental traumas they may have experienced. Through this program, we will expand our reach by working directly with grassroots partner Teen Warehouse and provide arts wellness activities – which are always free of charge – such as art journaling, meditative sound and movement exercises, grief drumming, Zentangles, and more to directly serve these communities. Through this grant, the Museum will also be able to formally evaluate the impact of this program, thereby ensuring its success and longevity for years to come.

Karen Kegelman & Suzanne Burton

Building an Early Childhood Music Education Program at the Choir School of Delaware in Collaboration with UD’s School of Music’s Community Music School

The Choir School will offer early childhood music classes to caregivers of infants and toddlers with UD’s School of Music’s Community Music School. We are particularly interested in partnering with the School’s Music for Young Minds program designed specifically for infants to children 6 years of age. Offering an early-childhood music program in the City of WIlmington would provide low-income working families the opportunity to introduce their children to music education, an opportunity often available only to affluent families. The Choir School invites UD students seeking certification in Early Childhood Level 1 through the Gordon Institute of Music Learning to assist us with the planning of an Early Childhood Music Program and to implement the plan with a pilot program.

Ken Wesler & Jen Merrill

Reed’s Refuge “Dream” Project

The students at Reed’s Refuge Center will create a music video to accompany the original song, Dream. In addition to direct impact on the students involved, the video will be used in partnership with the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute to facilitate a dialogue between the OLLI participants and the Reed’s Refuge students in the fall of 2022

Kenneth Cohen & Colette Gaiter

Collections AID 2022

Building digital archives for records at the Metropolitan Wilmington Urban League and the Christina Cultural Arts Center

McKay Jenkins

Turning the Wheel: A Narrative Biography of Delaware Lenape Chief Dennis Coker and His Work to Re-Establish Indigenous Wisdom on the Land

An oral history of Lenape history and environmental stewardship, as related by Dennis Coker, Lenape chief for 25 years.

Michael Dika & Abigail Donovan

The Medium Is The Message- The African Diaspora Story

The Medium is the Message-The African Diaspora Story is a group exhibition curated by UD MFA candidate Michael Dika that opened in November 2021 on the Newark campus and will now travel to Delaware State University in Dover, DE. The exhibition aims to provide insight into the diaspora by having artists share their personal stories of migration, assimilation, or exclusion while expanding the discourse on cultural identity through the lens of contemporary art. Artists in the exhibition: Eugene Ofori Agyei, Japheth Taah Asiedu-Kwarteng, Beatrice Opokua Atencah, Rita Mawuena Benissan, Duffie Kuffor, Emmanuel Manu Opoku and Yaw Owusu. An exhibition catalog will be published featuring essays by writer Jenson Leonard, and programming at DSU will include workshops and artist talks.

Nina David

Bridging” the city: reconnecting neighborhoods around the I-95 in Wilmington DE

In 1957 the Wilmington City Council voted to approve the Adams-Jackson corridor as the route for the I-95 alignment in Wilmington, DE. The I-95, like many other highways projects in cities around the country, is a physical barrier, a mental barrier, a socio-economic barrier, and a cultural barrier in Wilmington DE and consequently, there has been recent interest from community members; and federal, state, and local policymakers to find ways to mediate the impacts of the I-95. In fact, the federally designated transportation entity for the Wilmington area (Wilmington Area Planning Council – WILMAPCO) is currently undertaking a feasibility study to assess whether parts of the I-95 that are below ground can be capped on top to allow for better east-west connections across the freeway. This project has two components. The first component is the facilitation of a public process to create murals on one of the street bridges across the I-95. Scholarly work and archival material on the history of the built environment that was lost during the construction of the 95 will help inform the content of the mural. The second component will be a 1-day event in October 2022, on the street bridge with the newly created mural. The primary goal of the event will be to bring together communities from the eastern and western side of the I-95 to better understand the impacts of the I-95 and re-envision what a more connected Wilmington could look like. By closing the street bridge to traffic, the event will allow the public to envision public space on top of the I-95 through an immersive experience.

Rysheema Dixon

Wilmington Play Streets

Wilmington Play Streets offers a low-cost way for neighborhoods and schools to create more space for active recreation. It gives kids of all ages more space to be active. In addition to promoting physical activity, Play Streets can build community cohesion, make neighborhoods feel safer and support local businesses. We have been operating since 2018.

Trish Hermance

Museums for a More Inclusive Curriculum

Delaware Teachers Institute (DTI) and the University of Delaware’s Museum Studies program are committed to ensuring that the State of Delaware’s newly required Black History curriculum and other ongoing efforts to develop more inclusive representation of diverse communities across academic disciplines connect children to relevant local evidence. Studies have shown these experiences more powerfully heighten cross-cultural understanding and help students from underrepresented communities feel seen, through engagement with art and material culture from those communities which can be found in museums across the state. Over the course of twelve seminar sessions, DTI Fellows (who are K-12 teachers working in low-income schools), will visit local museums, hear from material culture, art, and history experts, and collaborate with one another to expand their own cultural competence, content, and pedagogical knowledge. As the Fellows progress through the seminars, they will also have a unique opportunity to develop collaborative relationships with their cross-district/cross-grade level colleagues, museum experts, and University of Delaware faculty that will last far beyond the seminar cycle. We expect these relationships to enable deeper connections between all participating partners and the communities they serve. As a result of this project, Fellows will write and publish curriculum units tailored to the needs of the children in their classrooms and schools and incorporating key elements of Delaware’s Black, Indigenous, Latinx, and Asian history, arts, and culture.