Art & Community Visual Arts Residency Program

Since 1985, The Delaware Contemporary Art & Community Visual Arts Residency Program has forged relationships between nationally recognized artists and the Wilmington community – providing innovative artists with the opportunity to develop professionally and to collaborate with under-served community groups to create unique works of art that are relevant to the participants’ lives. Artists in Residence are selected through a competitive, juried review process. Each artist submits work samples, an extensive biography, critical reviews, and a proposal for art they will create with a Wilmington community group. Proposals are judged by the strength and innovation of artists’ work, the artists’ experience with community interaction, and the impact the project will have on the Wilmington community.

Call for Artists in Residence: Apply for our current The Delaware Contemporary Art & Community Visual Arts Residency Program. Download Application Instructions.

Deadline to receive applications: June 5, 2015

Learn more about past The Delaware Contemporary Art & Community Visual Arts Residency Programs by viewing our 2010–2011 PDF Catalogue.

For more information contact Jennifer Polillo, Curator of Education by email or at 302-656-6466 ext. 7101.


Alma Sheppard-Matsuo with the Kingswood Community Center – Fall 2016

Monsters, Heroes and Fairytales: Power and Beauty in Print

This 4-month printmaking residency will engage youth at the Kingswood Community Center in an exploration of fairy tale figures like the hero, the princess, and the monster, as well as folktales from diverse cultures. Participants will push the boundaries of modern standards of "beauty" and "power" in order to create their own empowering folktales.


Matt Jensen – Fall 2013

Wilmington Center for the Study of Local Landscape

Lead sponsorship of AIR Fall 2013 provided by Chase and the National Endowment for the Arts.

Matthew Jensen (Brooklyn, NY) engaged in a 12-week residency during the fall of 2013. A conceptual landscape artist, Jensen began his The Delaware Contemporary Art & Community Visual Arts Residency program by spending a week walking the length of Delaware on foot from Wilmington to Rehoboth, exploring parks and overlooked spaces along the way. The artist's photographs and the artifacts discovered along his walks were displayed in The Delaware Contemporary galleries in an ad hoc parks commission entitled The Wilmington Center for the Study of Local Landscapes (WCSLL).

As a core component of his residency, and as a focal point of the WCSLL exhibition, Jensen collaborated with a diverse group of 12 local photographers (both novice and experienced) to generate a series of intimate explorations of surrounding parks. During weekly workshops, Jensen created exploratory assignments that challenged participants to look at new ways of observing and experiencing the natural environment. The assignments were intended to be transformative and empowering to participants and inspiring to viewers, as they experienced the beauty that thrives in landscapes that are often undervalued and overlooked. The work of the 12 participants was displayed in mixed-media archival boxes during the WCSLL exhibition at The Delaware Contemporary.

Eric Leshinsky – Spring 2013

Peoples Park
Special thank you to Preservation Initiatives contributing the park space.

Eric Leshinsky (Houston, TX) conceived the community-generated Peoples Park with members of the Wilmington community, as well as visitors to The Delaware Contemporary, to address the issue of a lack of quality public space in downtown Wilmington, specifically the area of lower Market Street. During regular Peoples Park Design Studio workshops held within The Delaware Contemporary exhibition imPerfect City, participants worked with Leshinsky on various strategies to envision their ideal urban public space and lay the foundation for Peoples Park.

In April 2013, Leshinsky installed Peoples Park near the intersection of Market and West 4th Streets. The temporary park, open to the public until the parcel of land is developed, resulted from the ideas of more than 200 community participants of all ages. Peoples Park includes seating and a staging area for performances, as well as a text-based mural incorporating participant reflections on park activities and observations of Wilmington and Market Street. For full details of the Leshinsky Project visit the artist’s Peoples Park website.

Colette Fu – Fall 2011

Pop-Up Homelife

Colette Fu (Philadelphia, PA) collaborated with a group of women from the Home Life Management Center of the YWCA of Delaware to create autobiographical pop-up books exploring the themes of self and body image. Based on her instruction in basic photography, paper engineering, and book binding techniques, the women explored themes including body image, race, and ancestry. The project strove to break through the barriers created by the media's portrayal of idealized women and give a voice to women exploring their own identity. Fu used imagery in place of text for the pop-ups to allow more freedom for the group to explore personal stories and vulnerabilities. The final exhibition included the group's finished pop-up books, photography, and, where applicable, written personal narratives.

Hoyun Son & Jung-A Woo – Summer 2011

Movable Feast
Lead sponsorship for Movable Feast provided by AstraZeneca.

Artists Hoyun Son (Chicago, IL) & Jung-A Woo (Kansas City, MO) collaborated with the young people enrolled in the Evening Enrichment program at the Latin American Community Center and the Delaware Center for Horticulture to create and enact Movable Feast, a public art project that maps a diverse cultural landscape through food. In Movable Feast the artists, youth group, and horticulture society researched and gathered local edible weeds; collected, mapped, and illustrated recipes from family, friends, and neighbors; and planned and designed a Feast Event to share food with the public in and around a mobile kitchen built by the community. During the process, Movable Feast activities were documented by the participants on a collaborative website. In addition to the Feast Event, the project concluded with an exhibition displaying documentation of the project in a variety of media: collective “visualized” maps of recipes, videos, and drawings. Movable Feast engaged the community in exploring the impact of globalization on our dinner tables, and examined recipes as sources of identity, culture, and history.