The arts are alive and well in Newark.
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Driving down Kirkwood Highway, heading into Newark, visitors are met by a host of friendly faces: Newark High School students, moms and children, skateboarders and café customers. The welcome wagon is part of a mural painted on the railroad bridge and abutment that depicts life in the city of Newark.
“The ideas came from the community,” says Terry Foreman, the mural’s artist and executive director of the Newark Arts Alliance. “We included as many things as we could.”
The mural demonstrates the community’s support of arts and culture in Newark. For a small town, the options are remarkably rich and diverse.
Credit for the lively arts scene in part goes to the University of Delaware. “It’s incredible, when you pull out the calendar, how many events UD offers,” says Mayor Vance Funk. “It’s mind-boggling. I think that is the legacy of David Roselle,” the university’s recent past president.
For theater, UD offers the Professional Theatre Training Program, which includes the Resident Ensemble Players. Comprised of nine Equity actors—soon to be 10—and an Equity stage manager, the players are contracted for a four-year residency. They perform in the Thompson Theatre in the Roselle Center for the Arts.
Graduate students, part of the PTTP, perform their own productions in the Hartshorn Theatre for the first two years before joining the REP players for joint productions in both Hartshorn Theatre and the new Thompson Theatre. Extracurricular campus theater groups for undergraduates include E-52 and the Harrington Theatre Arts Company. The new Khulamani Theater Troupe targets African American students.
The art department features regular exhibits by faculty and students. Graduate students also exhibit in the Crane Building in Philadelphia, which brings together student work from regional universities and colleges.
Ensembles and chorale concerts are a regular part of the UD music department’s program. Students need not be part of the music program to play in an ensemble. “They can continue their music even if they are majoring in engineering,” Browning says. “Faculty can come and see their computer science students play the violin or clarinet.” The Master Player series features the artistic direction of Xiang Gao, a faculty violinist from China.
Page 2: Artful Endeavors, continues...