2017 Organization: DREAMS Center for Arts Education

Organization Criteria: Organization category is open to organizations who contribute to the advancement and/or support of the arts.

“Our programs are based on consistency and commitment.  We teach our students to focus on one thing for a long time and emphasize high quality.” — Executive Director Matt Carvin on expectations from students at DREAMS Center for Arts Education

Photo: Matt Carvin, Director (standing); Amber Watkins, Associate Director (seated left); and Ashley Bethea, Program Director (seated right) at DREAMS of Wilmington

DREAMS of Wilmington is a youth development organization dedicated to serving our area’s most vulnerable children through high-quality, free-of-charge arts programming.  Founded in 1996, the program has served thousands of Wilmington youth.

At DREAMS, students have access to weekly, cumulative, multidisciplinary arts training taught by professional artists.  These teaching artists act as mentors, placing emphasis on both artistic excellence and life skills like goal setting and the value of hard work.  Matt Carvin, Executive Director of DREAMS states, “Our programs are based on consistency and commitment.  We teach our student to focus on one thing for a long time and emphasize high quality.”

In addition to impacting local children, DREAMS has strong buy-in from the families it serves because staff and teaching artists take a holistic approach, caring not only for students, but families and neighborhoods, too.  DREAMS makes an effort to engage families in programming by regularly hosting family arts nights.  Also, teaching artists at DREAMS are paid fair wages in support of their expertise.

DREAMS is located in a repurposed 12,800 square-foot bus maintenance garage on the 900 block of Fanning Street in Wilmington’s North Side.  Built in 1939, the arts center is beautifully renovated and serves as a beacon of hope and opportunity.

DREAMS was recognized in 2007 with the President’s Committee on the Arts and Humanities’ Coming Up Taller Award, and in 2012 with the Razor Walker Award from the Watson School of Education at UNCW for distinguished service to youth.

Find more about DREAMS of Wilmington:


Join us at The Arts In Wilmington Awards on January 28

Purchase your ticket here:  AIWAwards.Eventbrite.com


Our Sponsors:  The Arts In Wilmington Awards are made possible with a generous award from PNC Bank with additional support from Intracoastal Realty and Arts Friendly


Information:  Contact Craig Stinson at 910-524-2679 or Email