NASAA Notes: March 2022

March 1, 2022

Delaware: Arts Equity and Innovation Incubator

 Delaware Division of the Arts logo and tagline, "bringing the arts to life," superimposed over a performing youth dance group from First State Ballet Theatre

First State Ballet Theatre; photo courtesy Delaware Division of the Arts and First State Ballet Theatre

As states continue to support revitalization efforts for the arts sector and strive toward more equitable programming, the Delaware Division of the Arts (DDA) is offering a new opportunity that works toward both of these objectives: the Arts Equity and Innovation Incubator Project. This pilot program, using $1.25 million in new funding, combines technical and professional development with an equity lens to assist organizations in establishing innovative, resilient and equitable practices.

The Arts Equity and Innovation Incubator Project, started in collaboration with the Delaware Department of State, accepted its first cohort in fall 2021. As part of the program, each organization develops a leadership team across staff and board to work with the incubator’s consulting team, convene with incubator peers and meet with experts. The process begins with an evaluation of current financial, governance and programmatic practices and then the consultants work with participating organizations to adopt best practices based on inclusion, diversity, equity and access principles over eight months. The final phase of the incubator incorporates grant funding from DDA to support the implementation of the organizations’ newly developed practices. At its core, the incubator gives arts organizations a greater capacity to navigate risk and become leaders in pursuing innovative and equitable practices.

The original cohort was selected with an eye toward diversity in geographic location and artistic discipline. The program also seeks to assist organizations that are on different parts of their equity journey, from those engaging in their first steps to those pursuing larger pushes for equity. DDA expects the next cohort of incubator organizations to begin in fall 2022. For more information, contact Delaware Division of the Arts Executive Director Jessica Ball.

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