Founded in 1979 by a small volunteer group of artists and arts patrons, The Delaware Contemporary made its focus the promotion of growth and understanding of the contemporary arts in Delaware. It started in a former sheet-metal fabricating factory and moved several times, finally finding a permanent home in 2000. This location offered a 35,000-square-foot building and, once remodeled, opened with seven galleries, 26 on-site artist studios, an auditorium, a museum shop, a classroom, and administrative office space. By this time a staff was in place and both community outreach and curatorial programming expanded exponentially.
The community responded favorably to the The Delaware Contemporary’s new location and programming efforts. The Philadelphia Inquirer described the museum as "one of the most innovative and prominent organizations of its kind on the East Coast," and hailed its new building as "a state-of-the-art facility that will allow it to present a broader spectrum of the art experience."
The Delaware Contemporary, a non-collecting museum, currently presents nearly 30 exhibitions annually of regionally, nationally, and internationally recognized artists. In addition to the exhibitions, the museum commits to educational and community outreach through various programs, such as Artist Residencies with underserved community groups and Contemporary Connections, a model program that fuses art with schools’ core curriculums, offering fresh new ways to teach subjects such as math and science. The Delaware Contemporary has partnered in some way with more than 60 community groups and schools.
The Delaware Contemporary is a dynamic gathering place for the exploration of new ideas at the intersection of art, design, and technology. The museum's compelling exhibitions, innovative educational experiences, and access to the artistic process inspire us to infuse creativity into our daily lives.