Sankofa Cultural Arts Center set to open soon in Dover

DOVER — After months of construction and decades of dreaming, the Inner City Cultural League’s Sankofa Cultural Arts Center is set to open soon, according to the directors.

Reuben Salters hopes to have the building finished by the end of September, with a grand opening to follow soon afterward.

Currently, there is still a ways to go. From the outside, the building, with its red roof and tan siding, appears fully functional, but inside, it’s a different picture. Visitors walking in see a vast white space with little furniture.

Cardboard and plastic cover the floor, while tools and paint buckets sit around the room.

Still, the potential is there.

There’s a stage, a kitchen area and several smaller rooms. The main room has several windows and a high ceiling, making it a fitting location for the many classes that will be taking place, such as dance. It’s easy to picture the setting once everything is complete.

A small group of VIPs, including Mr. Salters, Dover Mayor Robin Christiansen and U.S. Sen. Tom Carper, D-Del., spent time at the site Monday morning. Sen. Carper received a tour of the building, while Mr. Salters expressed his hopes and dreams for the center.

Once open, operations will shift from the current 54 S. Kirkwood St. location to the new building at 39 S. West St. It will contain activities designed to be both educational and fun and will target those from ages 5 to 25.

Mr. Salters’ daughter aspired to open a home for children, and after she died more than a decade ago, he decided to continue her efforts.

The new location will host meetings for community members, but that’s not all. It will have storytelling, dancing and music, among many other activities.

“Not a community center but a cultural arts center, so when you come in here, it’s an educational institution,” Mr. Salters said before Sen. Carper arrived. “It’s not going to be an all ‘run, jump and play.’ It’s for learning and for developing your skills, your academic skills, your classroom skills.”

Construction began in May 2014, and workers have begun moving items to the new building. Fortunately for them, it’s a short walk — just across the Inner City Cultural League’s backyard.

Sen. Carper toured the site, asking several questions and urging the organizers to reach out to his office if they needed assistance.

“This is going to be a great room,” he said.

The new site will be more visible in the community, Mr. Salters said. Carylin Fox Brinkley, the executive director, noted it will allow the Inner City Cultural League to expand its programs, such as the African dancing lessons.

Visitors Monday touted Mr. Salters’ efforts and spoke highly of his dream.

“A lot of people in this community have talked about doing something,” Mayor Christiansen said. “Reuben didn’t talk. He did.”

Staff writer Matt Bittle can be reached at 741-8250 or mbittle@newszap.com. Follow @MatthewCBittle on Twitter.

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