Urban Artist Exchange

A Creative Placemaking Project Powered by Cityfest, Inc.
and the City of Wilmington Mayor's Office of Cultural Affairs

The former Wilmington Police Department mounted patrol horse stables and the Urban Environmental Center have transformed into the Urban Artists Exchange (UAE) -- an arts-based community development center that engages and employs young urban artists by offering hands-on education initiatives.

Rendering of Artist Studio

Rendering of Group Studio

Rendering of the Amphitheater

Arts Education Spaces

Phase 1 of this project was the conversion of the decades-long abandoned Wilmington Police Department horse stables into eight art creation and teaching studios, and a group exhibition/gathering area. Phase 1 was completed in Summer of 2019 with the inaugural Arts Work program commencing days after. Future phases of the UAE are envisioned to include an open-seat amphitheater with an integrated wastewater management system, an outdoor public art exhibition, and environmentally sustainable landscaping.


The UAE is located at 1500 Walnut Street in Wilmington’s East Side Historic District, which is one of the city’s traditional African-American communities. Urban Artists Exchange will establish the historic former Old City Stables as a distinctive destination, contiguous to historic sites such as the Clifford Brown Gardens and outdoor listening room, Howard Vo-Tech (formerly Howard High School), and the new Clifford Brown Loft Apartments.

Site Condition before
Renovation Construction
Deconstruction by
challenge program
Timber roof Truss
under construction

Project Funding

Funding for this project is derived from the City’s Five Percent for Art Program, which allocates five percent of capital funding for the purpose of providing ornamentation, such as sculpture and artwork, on certain eligible capital projects involving public buildings or structures.

Total estimated cost of project: $1.3 million
Expected completion date: December 2019

Art Works Apprenticeship Program

Art Works Summer Apprenticeship  Program (Ages 14-19)

Began its inaugural year in June 2020, Arts Work is a paid apprenticeship opportunity that teaches youth apprentices ages 14-19 artistic, personal, and entrepreneurial skills in the context of creating salable artwork.
Arts Work targets youth at risk of delinquency and other problem behaviors, and economically disadvantaged youth.
Studies have shown that when other interventions fail, the arts frequently succeed by opening minds to new possibilities.
During this year round multi-discipline arts program, apprentices are encouraged to openly express themselves through their art-making while immersed in an affirming and nurturing environment. In addition to an on-site schedule, off-site excursions to museums, live performances and other arts adventures will be held.
For many Arts Work apprentices, the experiences will be a first, educational and enjoyable.
For more information please email UAE@wilmingtonde.gov

Invest In the Vision: Founders Booklet

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