Five winners — including the Joshua M. Freeman Foundation — from among a nominee list of events, attractions, organizations, and individuals have been chosen by an impartial panel to receive the 2022 Southern Delaware Tourism Awards. The awards were presented on Dec. 14 at the Annual Southern Delaware Tourism Awards Luncheon held at The Lighthouse Cove Event Center in Dewey Beach, DE.
Tourism is a $2.3-plus billion (and growing!) industry in Sussex County. In fact, more than 16% of all jobs in the county — almost 20,000 of them — are tourism related. And tourism revenue saves each Delaware household over $1,600 in taxes each year. This is definitely due, in large part, to our fortunate geographical location and our beautiful 5 Star beaches — but it’s also the result of a lot of initiative, creativity, planning and hard work by the many people and organizations who strive to keep up with changing travel trends and to create and provide the types of attractions, events, activities, and services that drive visitors to Sussex County.
Winners were named in each of five categories in 2022 including Best New Event, Best Event, Best Attraction, Philanthropic Award, and Tourism Partner of the Year.
Philanthropic Award Category: Winner: The Joshua M. Freeman Foundation. Freeman Arts Pavilion and the Foundation’s Arts Access Initiative seek to reach over 120,000 people annually through the arts. the Foundation remains proud and humble of the impact it makes on local school children and their access to free arts programming, whether in their schools, community organizations, or at the performing arts venue.
Sadly, most children lack access to even the most basic art supplies and arts performances; when facing budget shortfalls, the arts tend to be the first set of programs that are reduced or eliminated. Even during the COVID-19 pandemic when children were confined to at-home learning, the Foundation forged pathways to keep the arts alive for over 28,000 school children through its innovative Creative Nourishment Art Kits program. The Foundation’s Arts Access Initiative includes Arts Education, Community Access, and the Freeman Arts Pavilion. By the end of 2022, more than 23,000 students will have enjoyed an Arts Education experience. During the 2022 season, 16 Community Access Groups attended performances and 455 individuals from various community groups attended performances at no charge.
The Freeman Arts Pavilion presented 16 free evening performances, 11 Young Audience Series Performances, and more than 3,700 attended Young Audience Series Saturday morning shows. In fact, more than 30% of the 2022 season performances were free to the public. Also in 2022, Sonia De Los Santos, Hip Hop Fundamentals and the Uncle Devin Show collectively performed to over 9,000 local school students across Sussex County, DE, and Worcester and Wicomico Counties, MD.
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