Our Mission

The Delaplaine Arts Center provides the Frederick region with educational opportunities and experiences in the visual arts through classes, exhibits, and programs.

Our Vision

A Little About the Arts Center

The Delaplaine welcomes more than 75,000 visitors each year to our 40,000-square-foot flagship of the arts facility featuring:

  • Five main on-site galleries, showcasing works by regional and national artists in more than 50 exhibitions annually
  • Spacious studios, housing more than 250 classes and workshops for all ages each year
  • The Etchison Davis Library, one of the largest, free art references libraries open to the public in Maryland
  • The Community Art Gallery and the Community Outreach Gallery, featuring artworks created by local students and community groups
  • An Art History Timeline, offering glimpses from the prehistoric area to the 1970s, and Our Industrial Past panel exhibit, telling the story of our historic building
  • Beautiful Gardiner Hall, the most popular and reasonable priced event venue in downtown Frederick
  • The Gift Gallery at the Delaplaine, a retail shop supporting local artists in our community
  • The historic Mountain City Mill building itself, an adaptive reuse success story

The Delaplaine also offers family-friendly events, one-day workshops, gallery talks, and more to round out the educational experience. Visit Programs for information about upcoming activities. The Delaplaine also maintains three satellite galleries in partnership with the Frederick County Public Libraries located at the Brunswick Branch Library, Thurmont Regional Library, and Urbana Regional Library.

The Delaplaine Arts Center is proud to be accredited in the Standards for Excellence® program by the Standards for Excellence Institute; awarded Platinum Seal Status by GuidesStar USA; and included in the Catalogue for Philanthropy as one of the best nonprofits in the DC Metro region.

We’re also proud to have been voted Best Art Gallery in the annual Best of the Best by the readers of the Frederick News-Post every year since 2013, and in the annual Best of Frederick by the readers of Frederick Magazine every year since 2010.

Annual Report

Review a digital copy of the Delaplaine’s FY23 Annual Report (July 1, 2022–June 30, 2023).

Our Core Values

The Delaplaine’s Board of Trustees and staff are committed to exemplify and instill these organizational values:

  • Creativity – Art is essential. We are committed to infusing creativity in all that we do, allowing that creativity to inform our activities and operations, and in turn sparking creativity in the many lives that we touch each and every day.
  • Stewardship – We hold the public trust. We are committed to maintaining the highest standards of financial management and material oversight, including reviewing and providing financial information regularly and caring for our historic facility.
  • Inclusiveness – Diversity is our strength. We are committed to providing visual arts opportunities and experiences to all, regardless of age, race, gender, sexual orientation, religion, national origin, political affiliation, physical or mental ability, financial situation, background, or other circumstance.
  • Collaboration – As a vibrant, inclusive, and diverse community, we can do more together. We are committed to partnering with other nonprofit organizations, government agencies, businesses, and others to accomplish our mission and to improve the quality of life for all in the community.
  • Efficiency – Efficiency increases impact. We are committed to increasing the Delaplaine’s efficiency in all areas, including operational and educational, to increase the depth and breadth of our impact on our visitors and the community.
  • Service – Our community stakeholders deserve the best. We are committed to providing an excellent level of service to our visitors, students, program participants, customers, and others, through our everyday encounters with them in any form.
  • Promotion – We are ambassadors. We are committed, as a Board and staff, to sharing the Delaplaine’s activities, opportunities, and successes, as well as the importance of the visual arts generally. We encourage our members and friends to do the same.
  • Assessment – Improvement is a constant process. We are committed to continually self- assess and incorporate outside review processes in order to comprehensively evaluate and expand our activities and programs in order to maximally address the evolving needs of the community.
  • Integrity – Reputation is everything. We are committed to maintain the highest standards of nonprofit ethics, accountability, and transparency in all areas, and to approach our relationships with honesty and fairness.

Our History

Mountain City Mills building

The historic building which houses the Delaplaine’s main galleries and classrooms was an important part of the Frederick County community even before being transformed into a community arts center. The building began as a whiskey rectifying house in the 1850s, and a few years later was converted to a steam flour mill. The mill changed hands a number of times over succeeding years, finally becoming Mountain City Mills in 1906. That same year, the building sustained the second of the two devastating fires that it suffered during its many years as one of the county’s largest mills.

In 1958, the property was acquired by the Great Southern Printing and Manufacturing Company and for several decades served as a storage facility for the Frederick News-Post, then located just across Carroll Creek. The mill property was donated by the Delaplaine and Randall families to the City of Frederick for use as a visual arts center in 1986. It was leased to the Frederick Art Center Foundation (now The Delaplaine Arts Center, Inc.), which moved into the building in 1993 and established The Delaplaine Arts Center.

In this 1987 Frederick News-Post photo, George Delaplaine, Jr. (center), Bettie Delaplaine (right), and Governor William Donald Schaefer (left) unveil the sign announcing the future home of The Delaplaine Arts Center.

Extensive renovations in 1993 to the structure of the historic Mountain City Mill building and renovation of the interior provided two large galleries and offices on the first floor. Subsequent renovations completed in 1999 added gallery spaces, classrooms, art library, and offices on the second floor, and classrooms and studio space on the third floor. The construction of a new addition that includes an event hall, gallery shop, and classrooms also was completed that year. Mechanical remnants of the building’s time as a mill have been preserved and can still be viewed on the third floor. A 1,000-square-foot event deck was added adjacent to Gardiner Hall overlooking Carroll Creek Park in 2020.

Today, the Delaplaine is proud of its part in preserving the community’s rich heritage while adapting this important landmark to serve the community in a new and vital way.

More About the Delaplaine

Board & Staff

Delaplaine Arts Magazine

Employment Opportunities

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