City of Wilmington, Delaware

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Mayor Purzycki and Cultural Affairs Director Betz Invite You to Urban Artist Exchange Open House on Saturday, July 23, from 3 – 6 p.m.

July 21, 2022

The Mayor’s Office of Cultural Affairs and Cityfest, Inc. will open the doors of the newly constructed Urban Artist Exchange, located at 1500 Walnut Street in Wilmington’s East Side Historic District, on Saturday, July 23 from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. The Open House coincides with the nearby Wilmington Open Streets event. The public is invited to visit the new artist stables and view works created by teens who participated in Cityfest’s Arts Work program, an initiative that employs City youths as artist apprentices each summer.

Immediately following Open Streets, at 6 p.m., nationally recognized local storyteller TAHIRA, and internationally renowned storyteller Charlotte Blake Alston, will take to the stage adjacent to the Clifford Brown Listening Garden at 16th Street and Clifford Brown Walk. Their family-friendly performance will consist of original stories rooted in the craft of Black Storytelling and the oral tradition and will be accompanied by African drumming. It will also feature a dance performance by Pieces of a Dream, Inc.  Attendees are encouraged to bring a blanket or folding chair.

This performance and Open House are part of the community programming that will inaugurate the Urban Artist Exchange, part of a unique partnership between Cityfest, Inc. and the Urban Bike Project of Wilmington to reinvent the former Wilmington Police Department Mounted Patrol Stables first launched in 2017.

“When we entered into the agreement five years ago that created the Urban Artist Exchange,” said Mayor Purzycki, “Tina and I envisioned a distinctive destination known for welcoming creative people and using the arts to transform the East Side physically, socially, and culturally. This beautiful space has already exceeded all expectations, and we are just getting started. I encourage everyone to take a minute to visit this incredible space to see what we can accomplish when we work together towards a common goal.”


Nationally recognized local storyteller TAHIRA

TAHIRA is a storyteller, musician, vocalist, and songwriter with a Bachelor of Arts from Temple University’s School of Communication and Theatre. She is a Delaware Division of the Arts Established Professional Fellow in Folk Art: Oral Literature and had the prestigious honor of performing at the internationally acclaimed festival, PANAFEST, in Ghana, West Africa. TAHIRA is a Lifetime Member of the National Association of Black Storytellers, Inc. and a recipient of its highest service award, the Linda Jenkin Brown Nia Award.

Charlotte Blake Alston


For over 30 years, Charlotte Blake Alston has graced stages in venues throughout North America and abroad, including the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, the Smithsonian Institution, the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts, Symphony Orchestra Narrations, and regional, national, and international Storytelling Festivals. She is a frequent guest artist in universities, grade schools, museums, and cultural arts institutions around the country, but this former elementary school teacher also presents in daycare centers and for special needs populations as well as in prisons and youth detention centers. Charlotte breathes life into traditional and contemporary stories from African and African American oral and cultural traditions. Cityfest, Inc. produces or co-produces activities designed to promote economic development and community revitalization while improving the quality of life through arts programming, special events, and tourism. Its activities are designed to foster an appreciation for Wilmington’s diverse culture, history, and heritage; eliminate prejudice and discrimination through education of the public; combat community deterioration; promote the beautification and revitalization of Wilmington, and lessen neighborhood tension. Cityfest’s most ambitious undertaking is the Urban Artist Exchange Neighborhood Revitalization Project – Wilmington’s first major creative placemaking project. This program is presented by Cityfest, Inc. and the City of Wilmington Mayor’s Office of Cultural Affairs. This engagement of Charlotte Blake Alston is funded through the Mid Atlantic Tours program of Mid Atlantic Arts with support from the National Endowment for the Arts. This program is supported, in part, by a grant from the Delaware Division of the Arts, a state agency, in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts. The Division promotes Delaware arts events on