Urban Artists Exchange

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

What is the Urban Artists Exchange?

The Urban Artists Exchange (UAE) is Wilmington’s first major “Creative Placemaking” project. The term Creative Placemaking has been defined as “the use of arts and culture by diverse partners to strategically shape the physical and social character of a place in order to spur economic development, promote enduring social change, and improve the physical environment.”


Phase I of the project involves 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 I is scheduled for completion in December 2019. 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.

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


Site Condition before Renovation

The former Wilmington Police Department horse stables, located at 1500 Walnut Street, have been vacant for decades.

Deconstruction by Challenge Program

The Challenge Program provides vocational training for Delaware's at-risk youth. Program participants are helping to re-build the stables into the Urban Artists Exchange.

Stables After Deconstruction


Stables After Deconstruction


Rendering of Artist's Studio


Rendering of Group Studio


Rendering of Studios & Arts Education Spaces


Aerial Site Rendering


About Cityfest, Inc.

Cityfest, Inc. is a City of Wilmington-related 501(c)(3) non-profit whose governing body is comprised of City officers or employees appointed by and serving at the pleasure of the Mayor. By leveraging private/public partnerships, Cityfest maintains fiscal viability while providing no- or low-cost access to arts and cultural programs. Cityfest produces or co-produces activities designed to promote economic development and community revitalization while improving quality of life through arts programming, special events, and tourism. The activities are designed to: foster 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 coordinates community-based projects including The Wilmington Children’s Chorus, Art Loop, Wilmington's July 4th Celebration, and two music festivals: The Clifford Brown Jazz Festival and The Riverfront Blues Festival. Cityfest projects most directly serve city residents, however many residents of the Greater Wilmington area come to the City to enjoy Cityfest programming.