On May 31, Whitney and fellow artivist Eliza Jarvis had just watched local protests sparked by George Floyd’s killing in Minneapolis and they (along with photographer Joe del Tufo) decided to commission artists to paint over the plywood boards installed to cover damaged windows on downtown buildings. They connected funders to the artists, who have created three works – at Spaceboy Clothing on North Market Street, two at Blitzen on West Ninth and a fourth scheduled for late October at The Nomad Bar on North Orange Street.
The mural success led Whitney — who received a $6,000 Established Art Fellowship from the Delaware Division of the Arts in June 2020 — and Jarvis to form Flux Creative Consulting on Sept. 1, where they’re creating events for corporations, nonprofits, and government agencies to engage communities through the arts, with a focus on amplification of the great things that are already going on in Delaware.
“We don’t have the silos here that you often see; there are just so many ways for people to engage with the arts in Delaware.”
“We want to continue to empower our broader community to have conversations about diversity, equity, and inclusion. We’ve seen more conversations in the past six months than we did in the previous six, even in a pandemic.
“What I love about Delaware is that leaders in the nonprofit and for-profit worlds are willing to mentor people that they see are engaged,” he says. “Delaware is all about partnering and leveraging resources because we’re small. We don’t have the silos here that you often see; there are just so many ways for people to engage with the arts in Delaware.”
Whitney says he finds creative inspiration throughout the state, starting with Rehoboth Beach (“It’s great to walk along the beach and know that Wilmington is only 90 minutes away”) but also lists the Mt. Cuba Center in Hockessin, the Gibraltar Gardens on Greenhill Avenue, the sculpture garden at the Delaware Art Museum (where he previously worked as manager of performance programs and community engagement). He also mentioned the monthly First Friday Art Loop “where you can walk between the Delaware Contemporary art space and the Chris White Gallery at the Shipley Lofts and stop for inspiration from the student work at the Delaware College of Art and Design.”
In terms of performing, Whitney lists the new Mid-South Audio recording studio in Milton and says that he can’t wait for Nomad to reopen for live performances.
Whitney closed the interview by answering a few quick questions:
What’s the question you wish more people would ask themselves?
How can I love more?
What’s the pebble in your shoe (that thing that tends to derail you)?
I’m always trying to figure out how to reach more people, always worrying about wasting the gifts I was given. I’m a workaholic and sometimes I can’t make myself satisfied with the work I’m doing and that takes me out of my rhythm.”
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
“It’s not about forcing people to do what you want. It’s about finding a way for them to move in the direction you want on their own” from Chet Tietsworth, another legendary drummer from New Jersey.
What do you love about teaching?
Watching those light bulb moments all day long, when students say “Oh, I get it” or “Oh, I can do that.”
What gets you out of bed in the morning?
Two little girls and the arts. When I open my eyes in the morning, I’m already thinking about what today brings and what I’m going to do to make the world a better place for them.