The (Not So) Great Divide
The difference between upstate and downstate isn’t what it used to be. Here’s why.
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With Movies at Midway hosting all showings in one place, and fantastic restaurants nearby—Nage in Rehoboth, for instance, and Café Azafran in Lewes—where film goers can talk cinema, the area is perfect for such an event.
“Here we are in Sussex County, and we have the largest film festival in the state,” says Susan Early, executive director of the society. “The community is growing, and there is a diverse population getting involved, serving on boards. We’re getting the talent, interests and enthusiasm, and creating an energy that’s benefiting so many aspects of the community.”
The League now sponsors Art House Theater at Movies at Midway where, on select nights year round, film lovers can see other independent films. The screenings are very popular. Ticket sales have increased 40 percent over last year.
In the Wilmington offices of the Delaware Division of the Arts, Salkin ticks off the names of two dozen cultural groups in Southern Delaware that have either sprung new from the population growth there—the Rehoboth Jazz Festival and Clear Space Productions in Rehoboth, which produces live professional theater and concerts, to name just two—as well as those long-standing organizations that have received a transfusion of energy from the new population. She cites the Rehoboth Art League and the Delaware Music School as examples. Many of these organizations, she says, have become the cultural face of their communities.
“Just look at what El Central Cultural has done to break down barriers and keep the Hispanic tradition alive,” Salkin says. She points to the group’s annual performance of Christmas carols at the Georgetown Circle as an example of community building. “Sussex County has been brought together because of them.”
There is an economic plus to all of this entertainment, too. According to Paul Weagraff, director of the Delaware Division of the Arts, for every dollar invested in the arts in Delaware, there is an $8 return. Moreover, 3,700 jobs are related to the arts, many of them are in Kent and Sussex.
“These people have brought their skills, their interests and the generosity of their time,” says Weagraff. “More and more, we’re finding people coming to Delaware who have wide interests and varied backgrounds, who not only want to attend the arts, but help steer it in new directions.”
The hallway to the DEDO office, in the former Richardson & Robbins Cannery on Innovation Way in Dover, is lined with flags of many nations: Italy, Germany, Israel, Spain, the Bahamas and more. The flags, it turns out, reflect the role some want the state to play in the world.
Page 5: The (Not So) Great Divide, continues...