Proposed Fine Arts School Seeks Funding

Scott Angelucci gives Governor Markell a tour of The Studios Upstairs in 2012.
Scott Angelucci (on right) gives Governor Markell a tour of The Studios Upstairs in 2012.

Professional woodworker and artist Scott Angelucci has spent the past several years researching and developing a dream of his that he hopes will come to fruition by the fall of 2013 in the Milford community. It is the creation of a facility in downtown Milford that will teach fine arts craft and prepare artists for an entrepreneurial future that has Scott still excited about his plans, after three years in the making.

Initially opening the doors to Angelucci Fine Woodworking & Stained Glass Studio & Artist Gallery in 2007, Scott has taken the development of cultural activity in the downtown area seriously. Just three years later, in 2011, he and his wife Gail opened a second studio next door, Angelucci Studios & Artists’ Gallery, that hosts ten artists that vary in their medium of choice. As Conservator of the Delaware State Museums from 1988 to 1994 and President of Downtown Milford Inc. from 2009 to 2011, his experiences have helped guide him to the desire to open a world-class fine arts center in downtown Milford.

The River Arts Center for Traditional & Modern Craft will aim to create community development through nurturing the growth of fine arts. The center will begin by offering courses to individuals looking to pursue the art of woodworking, pottery, guitar making furniture design and glass. In addition to learning a fine art trade, artists will also be taught business skills to turn their expertise into a profession or career as they develop and mature.

“Community development is my main goal for this school,” commented Angelucci. “It will do more than teach craft, it will build a community that shares ideas and creates opportunities for economic development.”

Selling fine woodworking pieces himself for over 20 years, Scott believes that the changing of the culture surrounding fine arts can be used as an advantage for artists to make a career from their work. Scott points out that as many goods in our economy have become not only inexpensive but cheap, many manufactured items are not made for quality or to last for a long duration of time. Due to this, there is a section of the population that desires quality, original fine art in material goods. Through education of fine art and the ability to produce these goods, artists can make a living off these trades.

“The arts that we will be offering were at one time considered trades,” commented Scott.” Now, because they are so unique, they are being supported as fine art.”

Scott brought this idea in front of the City of Milford and Downtown Milford Inc. in 2009 to seek their support as he wishes to open the school in the old Milford Fire Hall on South West Front Street. Sharing the idea with the Delaware Economic Development Office this year, Scott is now pursuing funding through the National Endowment of the Arts and several other non-profit organizations including the Longwood Foundation. According to Mr. Angelucci, the grants he is seeking will be decided this spring and distribution of funds will occur in the fall of 2013. Scott states that if these grants are allocated to create The River Arts Center for Traditional & Modern Craft, he will be ready to begin classes that will eventually support 100 to 150 students by next year.

“This place would be a breading ground for the entrepreneurial spirit through fine craft,” commented Angelucci. “Their will be a focus on excellence in training at the highest skill level to create expertise in this area. In five to ten years I want people to know Milford, Delaware as a place where they can get fine art.”