State of Delaware National Arts Program Participation Soars Despite Pandemic

National Arts Program Awards Winners Exhibition at DSU Arts Center/Gallery

Kristin Pleasanton, Deputy Director of the Delaware Division of the Arts, has made the State of Delaware National Arts Program a success year after year. This year marked the 10th anniversary of the Delaware State Employee Art Exhibition and due to Covid related restrictions they decided to present it virtually. They have always had phenomenal turnout for their exhibit and the pandemic didn’t hold anyone back from sharing their talents. A record 301 artists submitted images of their work and represented over 18 departments of Delaware state government!

Kristin went above and beyond creating engaging content for their National Arts Program show. First, they created a new video entitled Artwork Submission Guidelines for Virtual Exhibition which was made available on the Division’s website to provide information and tips on photographing artwork. Then, in recognition of their anniversary exhibit, the Delaware Division of the Arts also produced two videos that showcased two of their longstanding, and award-winning, participating artists. The videos were created to give a behind-the-scenes look at the artists, their work, and the importance of the annual exhibition to their artistic growth. A virtual showcase including all 301 entries was then presented in full on the Division of the Arts Flickr page. Once the judging was completed, the Division also created and shared a beautifully made video presentation highlighting the award-winning artworks.

The culminating activity this year was the opportunity to create a physical showing of the work of any award winner interested in participating. Special arrangements were made with their partner venue, the Delaware State University Arts Center/Gallery, to hang a Winners Exhibition during the time slot that would have featured the entire show. Artwork was collected and installed, and the Gallery website featured images and details so that everyone could experience it virtually!

Kristin told us that their National Arts Program exhibit has, “always been an anticipated and valued event for state employees that encourages artistic expression and meaningful engagement in the arts.” Wrote one parent of a youth participant, “Thank you so much for giving my son, and all the other artists, an opportunity to share and celebrate their talents. It’s been an outlet during the pandemic, and it’s so appreciated.”

Links to all their NAP virtual exhibit content:

Exhibition information page & Artist Videos on Division of the Arts website: https://arts.delaware.gov/national-arts-program/

View the Exhibition on Flickr here: https://bit.ly/3b8llSr

Presenting the award winners: https://youtu.be/doEqnSp6y9Y

Award Winners Exhibition at DSU Arts Center/Gallery: Award Winners Exhibition