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DELAWARE STATE ARTS COUNCIL
An Executive Order, issued on March 31, 1969, established a Delaware State Arts Council. The Executive Department felt that the general welfare of Delaware citizens would be promoted by giving further recognition to the arts as a vital part of our cultural heritage, and a valued means of improving our educational programs. It was felt that exposure to excellence in the arts improves the quality of life and inspires our children and our schools to reach for excellence in all fields of personal endeavor. the Council consists of at least fifteen members broadly representative of all fields of the performing and fine arts, appointed by the Governor for a term of three years, excepting the chairman who serves at the pleasure of the Governor. The duties of the Council are to promote and encourage public interest in the cultural heritage of our state; to expand the state’s cultural resources and to promote public education in all fields of artistic expression; to encourage, promote and provide technical and professional assistance to arts programs of individuals, organizations and institutions; to make recommendations to public and private artistic and cultural institutions concerning appropriate methods to encourage participation in and appreciation of the arts to meet the needs and aspirations of persons in all parts of the state and to assist such institutions in adopting a view of mutual promotion of the arts; and to study and make recommendations for legislation to the Governor regarding the permanence of the Council. The Council is authorized to accept private and public gifts, contributions and bequests to further the objectives of their programs. In addition, it may request and receive assistance in carrying out its functions from any State agency. The Council is the official state agency to administer all funds received from the National Endowment for the Arts.1
In 1978, in order to incorporate the arts program more directly into the structure of government, a later more recent executive order transferred the administrative responsibilities of the Arts Council to the Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs. The Council advises the Division on programs and concerns of the arts and approves or disapproves all grants of public or private funds received by the Division relating to the arts. The Division’s responsibilities include providing technical and professional assistance to arts programs of individuals, organizations, and institutions of the state; and receiving gifts, contributions, and bequests from the private or public sectors and appropriations and grants from the National Endowment for the Arts or other government agencies for the purpose of promoting and encouraging the arts. In addition, the Division took over the administrative and budgetary responsibilities of the Council. The arts program and the staff of the Arts Council became known as the Office of the Arts of the Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs.2
The State Arts Council experienced major reorganization in 1989. In that year the Division of the Arts was created within the Department of State as an advisory, coordinating, and implementing agency for the promotion of the arts in Delaware. The 1989 legislation also requires the division director to establish a special fund to encourage governmental entities and private organizations in the development of the arts. The Division continues to exercise the same functions as the office of the arts had done, while the State Arts Council was given a more clearly defined advisory role. The council now provides guidance to the division director on matters of arts policy and considers matters referred to it by the Governor, Secretary of State and the division director. The council continues to be composed of fifteen members appointed by the Governor for three-year terms. HB 331, 135th General Assembly.
DELAWARE STATE ARTS COUNCIL
1 57 D.L., ch. 797.
2 duPont Executive Order # 50.
jmm/April 26, 1988; June 13, 1988; December 30, 1988; June 1, 1989; August 7, 1989