Dreams of Wilmington is celebrating a big anniversary this year: 20 years of youth development through art. Executive Director Matt Carvin stopped by to talk about the Festival of Dreams, planned for September, and the 20th Anniversary fundraiser. The fundraiser is called 20/20: supporters of the program are asked to donate 1 dollar for every year Dreams has provided free programming to underserved youth. That $20 (or more) will be doubled by a donor- up to $100,000. Listen to Matt talk about the program above and see the transcript below.
Gina: I know you have a big fundraiser. Tell me the structure...
Matt: Well, this fall we've got a lot of great things that we're doing, we're bringing back all these Dreams alumni and teaching artists and volunteers and board members, basically anybody who has been a part of the dream's family for the past 20 years, and we're doing a big thing called the Festival of Dreams. It's going to be happening in September with our kids doing performances and things like that. So leading up into that we are doing an online campaign called the 20/20 campaign where folks can donate a dollar for every year that Dreams has been serving our youth in the community. $20 for a 20th anniversary. And it's being matched by a very generous donor dollar for dollar to help us get another 20 years going by helping us start our endowment. So it's very easy you just go to Dreams2020.org and there's a quick little button to push and donate to Dreams and help us get another 20 years going.
We will have a date at some point soon and we'll be doing our thing blasting out. You know the news putting in the paper inviting folks about the specifics.
Gina: And Matt, you've been here, what, three years now. So you know you when you came here, you knew Dreams was a great thing- and now you you've been married to dreams for three years.
Matt: Absolutely. Yeah the honeymoon is over.
Gina: The honeymoon is over. And yet the love is deeper I'm sure.
Matt: Oh it is.
Gina: Tell me about your experience over the past three years and as Dreams hits this mile marker- What are you thinking about, what is your vision for the future for Dreams?
Matt: That's a great question Gina. It's been a whirlwind really, in a wonderful way. We were serving more kids at dreams now than we ever have. We're always looking to expand our mission and to serve more kids, so that's where I see the future going, looking for more opportunities to reach more children whose lives would be bettered by the arts. You know this past couple of years have been amazing, we had a capital campaign that we wrapped up. We've got this wonderful venue to showcase our kids in the community called the Garage at Dreams that's just being rented all the time by community members and we're seeing such neat things happen because of that space, and our kids are getting such exposure to real life artistic experiences by groups like Dram Tree coming in and doing their thing and opening up to the public and inviting folks to the north side.
Gina: People are really impressed when they get there, they come over and they're like, wow what a lovely building.
Matt: Absolutely. Our philosophy at Dreams is nothing but the best for our kids. We want to give them the top-notch experience in the arts and the best teaching artists and the best supplies and now they have one of the best venues in town as well. And people do come up there and go, wow this is a neat thing it's in the north side, and we're like yeah of course it is. This is a great community up here for something like this.
Gina: For people who don't know, can you just give us some details about what's going on at the Dreams Center, what kind of classes, who gets to go there, about the outreach... Just give us a little detailed painting, a little portrait of what Dreams is.
Matt: Sure, Dreams is an after school arts programming for kids, I guess we consider at risk kids that would not normally have experiences in the arts. But what we do is we use the arts in our youth development capacity. Our ultimate goal is to give these kids futures where they can do anything they want. So we inundate them with experiences like musical theater and dance and pottery and painting and guitar and just this big plethora of creative expression at their fingertips. It's free of charge. It's first come first serve for kids to come in and they do an interview process and they're there four hours a week studying some sort of artistic endeavor with some of the best professional artists in town.
Gina: And are you guys still going out to some some places outside of the building?
Matt: Absolutely. Yeah we realize that not all kids can get to Dreams on the north side, so we do outreach programming at several sites with the Wilmington Housing Authority and different schools as well, like D.C. Virgo, to reach the kids that would not be able to come to dreams.
Gina: OK so if I want to give 20 bucks to dreams then it's going to be doubled to 40.
Matt: Yep, twice the impact.
Gina: And if I give a hundred that will be doubled to 200.
Matt: Absolutely. Keep going Gina, I like this train of thought.