2018 Recipient of Muriel E. Gilman Award

Photo 2018

2018 - Eunice LaFate

The 21st Century Fund for Delaware’s Children is proud to present the 2018 Muriel E. Gilman Award to Eunice LaFate She taught at St. Peter’s School in Wilmington in 1984, where her classroom experience inspired many of her paintings. Transitioning into the banking industry she also utilized her artistic talents by organizing art competition for the children of her employees.

An educator, artist, former banker, human services administrator, writer, storyteller, and public speaker, she has impacted the lives of many people, particularly children and youth. Eunice earned her Bachelor’s Degree before immigrating to the U.S. from her native Jamaica and later earned an M.S. in Human Services Administration.

Eunice’s contributions to the arts and community, began with volunteer work with children of the Walnut Street YMCA in Wilmington in 1992. Her 1993, Out & About magazine cover design, portraying children playing at the Y, was the catalyst to educating the Delaware community on the appreciation of the Folk Art Form.

For 25 years, Eunice has dedicated volunteer time to working with children in Wilmington, using the arts as a tool to foster creative and positive development. Through the nineties, she worked with Eastside Wilmington youth in the summer, engaging them in the arts. Her basement became a “safe haven,” equipped with materials for the visual art, creative writing, music, and spoken word. As a result, these children succeeded in school, later graduated from college, and are now leading productive lives.

Starting in 2001 she collaborated with the Summer Safe City Fest through Stop the Violence Coalition, Inc. providing folk art experience for hundreds of city youth.

In 2004, Eunice utilized funds from her Delaware Division of the Arts Fellowship to conduct art workshops at local Boys & Girls Clubs and community centers. While serving as Career Preparation Specialist at the Wilmington Job Corps Center (2005-2011), she established an Arts Club as extra- curricular actives for youth. She encouraged them to use the arts to develop entrepreneurial skills. The results were phenomenal. Eunice LaFate taught the students of Job Corps “The Art of Business...How to Transform a Hobby into a Business.” The overall emphasis was to instill in the youth that they could use their skills to make “CLEAN MONEY.”

The inspiration for Eunice’s 2013 Documentary, “ARTS AS PREVENTION,” came from the success of using the arts in Wilmington, in particular Wilmington’s east side, to keep children and youth focused on creative and constructive activities.

The highlight of the impact of Eunice LaFate’s folk art on the community and state, was her 20-Year Folk Art Retrospective Exhibition complemented with the release of her documentary, “ARTS AS PREVENTION" in 2013. During the three-month exhibition, she conducted five 90-minute gallery talk sessions, with youth and parents in which she showed her documentary, gave an expose of the exhibits, and actively engaged the audience in creating their own “folk art masterpiece” to take home.

In 2014, Eunice received the Governor’s Award for the Arts as a ‘Folk Art Advocate” She opened LaFate Gallery in lower Market Street, Wilmington, in 2015. Her Gallery has been described as a “Vision Center,” where children and youth and adults go to participate in various art activities. One of her workshops for parents and children is titled “Bonding Through Creativity.”

A social visionary, Ms. LaFate uses her canvas to address issues that affect the community, state, and world at large. Her future initiative will be to work with city politicians to establish a “Creating Parenting Forum,” in the communities, to address the need for creative parenting skills.

Click here to register on-line for the Award presentation.

The cost of attendance is $85.00 per person
Make checks out to The 21st Century Fund for Delaware’s Children
Mail to:
  21st Century Fund for Delaware’s Children, Inc.
  P.O. Box 368
  Hockessin, DE 19707