As the season changes on Delmarva, we want to reflect on another impactful season at Freeman Arts Pavilion on the heels of a successful year of growth for the Arts Access Initiative.
2023 marked the 16th season of presenting the arts for the outdoor performing arts venue, a program of the Joshua M. Freeman Foundation, in Selbyville. This season brought fresh beginnings to the nonprofit as it debuted the new Box Office and Main Entrance. These are the first of two permanent structures in the venue and the first part of the multi-phased plan for the expanded venue. These new structures have transformed the entry experience for patrons.
The covered wooden structure of the Main Entrance is not only a focal point upon entering Freeman Arts Pavilion, but the landscaping featured as patrons walk toward and through the entrance has created a warm and vibrant greeting. The new Box Office includes 3 external windows for guests to have an on-site ticket purchase option, as well as an internal location for visitors to purchase merchandise, inquire about future shows, and serves as an information hub for guests.
These new amenities have expedited guest entry into the venue and expanded safety for visitors, while enhancing the overall experience from entry to exit. We are thrilled to have successfully achieved this first phase of the Freeman Arts Pavilion through the continued support of community members and local businesses who have contributed to our Capital Campaign and we look forward to connecting with more individuals as we set our sights on “The Next Stage” in seeking community funding.
2023 has proven to be another milestone year for the Joshua M. Freeman Foundation, having provided arts experiences to nearly 130,000 students, residents and visitors, thus far, including more than 105,000 attendees at the Freeman Arts Pavilion. Fans of artists such as Darius Rucker, Lady A, Jason Mraz, Dionne Warwick and Brandi Carlile joined us this season — many for the first time. The genre-diverse lineup also featured immensely talented performers representing a wide variety of artists, from tribute bands and dance companies to children’s theatre and a cappella groups — there was something for everyone at Freeman Arts Pavilion this summer, including over 25 free performances for all to enjoy.
We are excited to share the music doesn’t stop with the conclusion of the summer season. In a driven effort to expand our mission, we continue to partner with schools in Worcester, Wicomico and Sussex counties to present Arts Education programming for students in pre-K to 12th grade. During the 2022-23 school year, more than 13,500 students experienced the arts through this initiative at no cost to schools, students or the community. This year, we look forward to expanding arts access opportunities by partnering with community groups, such as local libraries and after-school programs, to provide free live arts performances for the community at-large. The first public performance for the off-season was held on Tuesday, Sept. 26, at the Selbyville Public Library, featuring the Delaware Poets Laureate.
The work of our organization is not possible without the support and dedication of our volunteers, sponsors, donors and patrons. More than 270 individuals contributed volunteer hours and support this year, totaling more than 18,000 hours served. We are eternally grateful for those who allow our mission to continue — they see the mission in action, and lead with our vision in mind to create a vibrant arts community. We thank everyone who has contributed to creating opportunities that elevate the human spirit and continue to support providing arts access to all.
Joshua M. Freeman Foundation