Darlington Arts Center was founded and incorporated as a 501(c)(3) in 1978 by Diana Sophocles Hemmenway based on a unique vision: to include all four arts disciplines – music, visual arts, dance, and drama – in one facility with an emphasis on multi-disciplinary programming. In fact, Darlington was the first community arts center in the state of Pennsylvania to offer the four arts under one roof. For over 40 years, the programming possibilities and opportunities have been extensive and innovative. Twenty years ago, Darlington pioneered the concept of a preschool arts program for 3-5 year-olds which includes classes in all four arts taught by four teaching arts specialists. The summer arts camp soon followed the same model for children ages 5 – 12 offered 5 days a week throughout the summer.
Darlington began in an historic farmhouse which sits on a William Penn land grant on old Baltimore Pike in Wawa, PA. With the vision and mission firmly set, Diana started small with 5 music teachers and 35 students.
In 1996, with a student enrollment of 500, Diana and the Board of Directors decided it was time to move. A year later, Gilman Development Company generously donated five beautiful acres in Concord Township, and with approval from the Township Council, construction began! In June of 2002, Darlington opened its doors in its new state-of-the-art facility, including 10 soundproof music studios; a large dance/performance space with stage lighting and a sound system; two art studios filled with natural light (a ceramics studio and painting studio); and gallery space throughout the building.
In 2009, after 30 years, Diana Sophocles Hemmenway retired. Since then, Darlington has benefitted from the leadership of Angela Scully, Susan Nicodemus Quinn, and Eric Thompson, who became our Executive Director in 2017.
Now in our 5th decade of existence, the staff and board at Darlington Arts Center are focused on ensuring we are indeed providing Every Art for Everyone. We have a vision of providing arts instruction to all who need it, and strive to fulfill that vision with scholarship and outreach programs, creative aging programs for our Senior residents, more partnerships with our community, and continuing to offer diverse programming both on and offsite.