We’re Wilmington Renaissance Corporation: the Big Ideas people
Our mission is to breathe life into Wilmington.
WRC was founded in 1993 as Wilmington 2000, a public-private partnership between The Office of the Mayor and the corporate community. We’re privately funded, nonprofit and nonpartisan. We breathe life into downtown Wilmington, cutting through red tape and loosening logjams to bring Big Ideas to Life.
We direct our energies toward stimulating the city’s economy, attracting new residents and fostering ideas that enrich our culture. We enthusiastically support the city’s diverse attractions and history, as well as its entertainment, lifestyle and development offerings.
Save-the-Date: June Creative Chat: Dream Streets
Wednesday, June 10, 5:30-7:30pm, Chris White Gallery, 701 N. Shipley St.
FREE. Delaware Art Museum Curator of Contemporary Art, Margaret Winslow, will discuss the DAM’s upcoming exhibit: “Dream Streets: Art in Wilmington 1970-1990.” The presentation will be followed by a moderated conversation between Michael Kalmbach, Executive Director, Creative Vision Factory and artist Rick Rothrock.
A Year in Review 2014
2014 saw several exciting new developments for Wilmington Renaissance Corporation (WRC), our partners and the City of Wilmington. We continued to work with our partners to develop and implement big ideas that introduce growth and progress of new businesses, new energy and new collaboration.
Focused as always on our four core areas—education, culture, quality of life and infrastructure—and guided by the organization’s mission and goals as outlined in the strategic plan, the WRC staff and board draws constant inspiration from the dedication, enthusiasm and cooperation of individuals and organizations that collaborate with us to achieve these important goals.
As we continued to work diligently on our top revitalization project, Wilmington’s Creative District, much of our energy was devoted to extensive planning, research and outreach to support the Creative District. We’ve accomplished a great deal, and we are gratified by the enthusiastic response we’ve received from the community.
The revitalization of a city is no small task and we are proud of the part that WRC plays. We value our partner organizations and supportive funders, and the important relationships we have with Wilmington’s city administration, department leaders, city council and other organizational partners.
Together, we’ll continue to bring big ideas to life and help ensure a bright future for our city, full of energy, enthusiasm and vitality.
Glen A. Moore
Chair, Board of Directors
Dr. Carrie W. Gray
Mission and Vision
We are WRC.
Our job is to create, initiate and partner with others to help revitalize Wilmington. We’re visionaries. We’re doers.
We have a plan.
The mission of Wilmington Renaissance Corporation (WRC) is to develop and implement strategies that will increase the economic vitality of Downtown Wilmington, strengthen its role as a center of educational, cultural and social activity, and enhance its reputation as an exciting place to live and visit by marketing Wilmington’s unique history and character.
Creating. Initiating. Establishing.
Our two decades of successes have been made possible by partnering with public and private entities, community and business organizations and other nonprofits.
Vision for the Future
Throughout 2015 and beyond, we will continue to work with our partners to develop and implement big ideas that will help Wilmington reach its greatest potential.
Focused as always on our four core areas Education, Infrastructure, Culture and Quality of Life and infrastructure—and guided by the organization’s mission and goals as outlined in the strategic plan, the WRC staff and board are excited by the prospect of new initiatives for continued progress.
We draw constant inspiration from the dedication, enthusiasm and cooperation of individuals and organizations that collaborate with us to achieve these far-reaching goals. The future holds great promise for the City of Wilmington. We will continue to work together, combining our strengths, talents and resources, to accomplish great things.
We focus on four strategic areas:
Education BIG IDEAs are not duplicative of any K-12 educational initiatives already underway in Delaware (Vision 2015, etc.) and will expand or improve educational offerings and experiences in Wilmington.
Quality of life
Social BIG IDEAs focus on developing and expanding activities and assets around livability and events to increase the number of people who live in Wilmington and support the economic growth of the city.
Culture BIG IDEAS focus on developing and expanding cultural activities and assets to increase the number of people who visit Wilmington and support the economic growth of the
Infrastructure BIG IDEAS focus on developing or expanding ideas that simplify a problem, streamline a process or address housing issues and/or commercial real estate concerns.
Through the effectiveness of its partnerships and strategic planning, WRC has facilitated integral improvements in Downtown Wilmington.
WRC’s many successes have only been possible through strong partnerships and collaborations with public and private entities, community and business organizations and other nonprofits.
Goal: Wilmington’s Creative District is the city’s Creative Center focused on both Creative Production and Consumption, where local creative entrepreneurs (artists, musicians, designers, makers, manufacturers) and residents thrive and locally designed goods and original works are made and sold.
Over the last three years, WRC has been working with our partners (City of Wilmington, Interfaith Community Housing of Delaware, Christina Cultural Arts Center, Wilmington Housing Partnership, Quaker Hill Neighborhood Association, United Way of Delaware and others) to develop a Creative District in the Downtown/Quaker Hill/West Center City neighborhood.
This creative district will support downtown revitalization by leveraging the high concentration of arts organizations and millions of dollars of investment along Market Street to provide an enhanced sense of place in the area immediately adjacent to downtown. The vision is a community of artist-owned properties with living spaces above galleries, studios and performance spaces. It will include beautification and artistic projects to engage the current residents and community members.
Modeled after Paducah, KY’s renowned artist relocation program, Wilmington’s Creative District will have a major impact on the whole city. Building on vacant lots and land, the Creative District will create homeownership opportunities for artists in an area with greater than 80% rental rates, thereby helping to stabilize a highly transient neighborhood. Creative District will also complement artist initiatives described in neighborhood-based strategic plans, which call for artist housing, artist-related business development and arts-related programming. Lastly, the program will target artists (and their families) who qualify as low- or moderate-income, providing ownership and entrepreneurial opportunities that might otherwise not exist for them.
WRC engaged urban planning firm Interface Studio to work with a steering committee of volunteers to develop a vision plan for the creative district, which is bounded by 4th, 9th, Market and Washington streets. The artist live/work component will complement the live/work rental program for artists nearby at Shipley Lofts.
The Creative District’s Steering Committee has brought in additional community partners to create an implementation plan that will include outcomes in each of the following areas: Organization, Community Engagement, Programming, Real Estate and Marketing. To learn more about the Creative District Steering Committee, or to get involved please contact us.
Big Ideas Strategy
Results: In March 2012, our board of directors reaffirmed WRC’s most important role—to create and implement Big Ideas for Wilmington.
The board started a process to bring together thought partners throughout the city, which resulted in four meetings in February 2013 centered on WRC’s four core focus areas: Education, Infrastructure, Culture and Quality of Life.
In each meeting, groups shared Big Ideas with one another and voted on the top five ideas. WRC staff then researched these ideas and presented them to the WRC Board Executive Committee in early April. At the Annual Meeting in April, we held a Big Ideas brainstorming session with all attendees
The next month, we held follow-up sessions with the Big Ideas groups to consider these additional ideas, plus the staff research. We determined which proposals we would pass onto the entire WRC board for consideration at the June 7 board retreat. These proposals also included ideas that people submitted online via our new website.
It was then determined that the final ideas that WRC would focus on would be:
1) Education Think Tank: expand or improve educational offerings and experiences in Wilmington that are not duplicative of any K-12 educational initiatives already underway in Delaware.
2) Experience Wilmington: focus on livability and expanding activities and assets that increase the number of people who live in Wilmington and support the economic growth of the city.
3) Economic Plan for the Arts: focus on developing and expanding cultural activities and assets to increase the number of people who visit Wilmington and support the economic growth of the city.
Staff & Board
Wilmington Renaissance Corporation
Community Service Building
100 W. 10th Street, Suite 206
Wilmington, DE 19801
Managing Director & Secretary
Members at Large
Focus: Partnering with city departments and other organizations focused on the success of the City of Wilmington
City of Wilmington
Visit the official City of Wilmington website for information about city departments, press releases, business information, City Council and more.
Greater Wilmington Convention & Visitors Bureau
Wilmington and the surrounding area is home to Winterthur Museum & Country Estate, Hagley Museum, Longwood Gardens, Brandywine River Museum, Delaware Art Museum, Nemours Mansion and Gardens and other world-class attractions.
Delaware Arts Alliance
Delaware Arts Alliance (DAA) serves as a dynamic advocate for arts and culture throughout the state, asserting the importance of the arts in the development of the livable communities, vibrant economies, and creative citizens.
Riverfront Development Corporation
The Riverfront Development Corporation (RDC) is focused on creating economic vitality along the Brandywine and Christiana rivers, while enhancing the environment, encouraging historic preservation, and promoting public access.
Downtown Visions is the clean and safe management company for the Wilmington Downtown Business Improvement District (WDBID).
Check out the “in” site for all the details on arts and cultural happenings, dining, and parking in Wilmington.
United Way of Delaware
United Way of Delaware’s mission is to maximize the community’s resources to improve the quality of life for all Delawareans.
Interfaith Community Housing
Interfaith Community Housing of Delaware builds, rehabilitates, and owns or manages 380 housing units plus land and is the largest statewide nonprofit community housing organization in Delaware.
Christina Cultural Arts Center
CCAC is a premier community school of the arts with a mission to make affordable arts education and multicultural programs accessible to children, teens and adults in a family environment.