Raye Jones Avery

From the blog

Christina Cultural Arts Center celebrates 70 years in the community

In 70 years, the Christina Cultural Arts Center in Wilmington has grown tremendously.

It serves as place for community engagement. There’s a five star preschool academy there, after-school learning, theater classes as well as music and dance classes.

The center also is host to a specialized youth violence prevention program.

In 1998, the Christina Cultural Arts center founded Kuumba Academy, a charter school to demonstrate that children in economically distressed neighborhoods can have high achievements.

For seventy years the Christina Cultural Arts Center has been helping young people even adults creatively express themselves and develop their talents. It’s a milestone some non-profit organizations don’t get to see.

“Everyone should have a piece of art with them to help them just to make the world a better place,” Dara Stevens-Meredith said.

Meredith is truly a firm believer in the arts. She’s so dedicated that she teaches ballet at all levels at the center.

“I believe that the arts contributes to that hope for the future. It gives people an outlet so that the youth can express themselves,” Meredith said.

Darnell Miller is one who was always able to express himself at this place. He now teaches guitar, sharing his musical talents with others. He’s been active there since he was a teenager.

“It is home, it’s definitely home,” Miller said. “There’s hope here. Also, I think one of the things that brings me back is a sense a purpose. You know we go through life thinking we know what we want to do and we have a plan but sometimes there’s more to that.”

Thanks to the Christina Cultural Arts Center, Miller said he was able to grow into a better artist and a better man.

“I would be lost- like a ship without a sail- I would probably be less aware,” Miller added.

Miller’s story is just one of many that started out at the center according to Raye Avery who runs the community gem which has a background rich in history.

“The history of the Christina Cultural Arts Center started with Swedish and Polish immigrants so people had the opportunity to preserve and celebrate their cultural traditions. That is still at the core of the mission today and we are a center for everyone,” Avery said.

Avery has also found balance at the center where she takes an African dance class. She isn’t alone though. Others get to express themselves in private piano lessons or in drum classes.

“Having a forum for self-expression is vital for human development so we are not just tasked with developing our intellectual capacity. We’re tasked with developing our spiritual selves, our emotional selves as well as our cognitive functioning,” Avery said.

Whatever the Christina Cultural Arts Center is tasked with, it has proven to be successful for seven decades and the goal is to continue that success.

“We’re just really thrilled to be able to last for 70 years so that’s a testimony in a nonprofit to changing nonprofit world it’s a struggle. We need everybody’s support,” Avery said.

Original Source: http://www.newsworks.org/index.php/delaware/item/98684-christina-cultural-arts-center-celebrates-70-years-in-the-community-video

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