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The next big ‘C’s’ for Delaware: Culture of creativity

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KenGrantBy Ken Grant
Guest Columnist

Anyone who has spent time around Delaware business or political leaders can tell you about the various C’s on which our economy has been based for the past century or so:

Chemicals

Chickens

Cars

Credit cards

Our auto manufacturing plants are no longer (although it’s impressive that plants so far from Detroit stayed in operation as long as they did), but the other three C’s are still the source of good jobs in the area.

And now with robust activity in Delaware’s cultural and creative scenes, a new day may be dawning here. Yes, Delaware could soon be seen as the place to come for films, music, and fashion.

Thanks to people like Mark Rogers at WSTW, Gayle Dillman and Jeremy Hebbel with Gable Music Ventures, and venues like the Nomad, World Café Live at the Queen, the Grand Opera House, the Smyrna Opera House, Schwartz Center for the Arts and more – we’re seeing local musicians growing in talent and fans while key people in the music industry are starting to take notice of Delaware.

Then we have people like Natasha Otero, Herman Van den Brandt, and Juhi Jagiasi – who are working to build and attract a vibrant fashion industry here. They have been working with designers for years and want to see young, creative people in Delaware given the opportunity to design, make, model, photograph and market their own creations.

Raise your hand if you remember the filming of “Dead Poets Society” in 1989.

The man responsible for bringing that film project to Delaware, T.J. Healy II, is now co-chairing the new Delaware Motion Picture and Television Development Commission, which will act as a conduit between Delaware and the film industry. Having friends who have benefitted from working in the film industry in places like North Carolina and New Mexico, I can say that bringing even a handful of productions here could lead to great opportunities for people in several fields – from catering to carpentry to computer programming.

We have some truly creative video production companies here in Delaware already, The Kitchen, Planet Ten, Mobius, Blufilms, LimoGuy, Squatch, Film Brothers, and more that I will probably remember after this column runs (apologies in advance). I am confident the talented individuals involved with these companies will see great opportunities coming from these efforts.

What can we do to help grow these creative industries in Delaware?

First, show a little support. The next time you hear about local musicians playing in the area, go. The next time you hear about a fashion event, go. The next time you’re invited to screen a video, short film or movie made in the area, go.

Next, if you or your company is looking for people with the skills to create something for you – from a video to eye-catching clothing to a unique experience with music – please check out the local talent first. I’m willing to bet you’ll find some truly great people to work with you right here.

Finally, spread the word – Delaware is still a great place for our financial industry, life sciences, and agriculture – but we’re also busy growing music, film and fashion industries here. n

Ken Grant has been working in media, politics and marketing in Delaware for more than 25 years. He is the marketing director for iChromatography/Analtech Inc. and a consultant with Epic Marketing. He can be reached at ken.grant7@gmail.com

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