Meet Eunice LaFate: Folk Artist
Eunice LaFate has lived on Wilmington’s East Side for 37 years, and opened her own art gallery, LaFate Gallery, 5 years ago on Market Street. Her passion for serving her community and promoting the arts has earned her accolades such as the 2014 Governor’s Award for the Arts, 2007 Christi Award for Outstanding Community Services/Volunteerism in the Arts, and the 2004 Fellowship Award in Folk Arts & Crafts (established artist category) Delaware Division of the Arts.
“I grew up in the countryside in the Parish of St. Ann, Jamaica, (but) LOVE brought me to Wilmington. As a teacher in Jamaica, I had 6 weeks summer vacation and I would travel to NY for a 3-week vacation. After 10 years traveling to NY, I reconnected with a schoolmate. That year, 1982, I spent a week in Wilmington. My schoolmate had a going away dinner for me and one of the guests at that dinner, later became my husband. We were married in 1983, and I immigrated to Wilmington.
My first job in Wilmington, was a teaching position at St, Peter’s Cathedral School. I later transitioned into banking where I worked for 12 years. I completed a MS Degree in Human Services Administration and worked in that field until retirement in 2011. My last job prior to retirement was Career Preparation Specialist at the Wilmington Job Corps Center.
My love for the city of Wilmington, the numerous awards & citations, and my commitment to help children succeed, has kept me here. In 2015, when I lost my dear husband of 31 years, my siblings in NY encouraged me to put my art in storage and move to NY, where they said “Your art would fly off the walls.” I lamented the decision to relocate, prayed about it and had a vision to open what is now LaFate Gallery “Vision Center”.
COVID sharpened my vision for my art and serving my community. I created a series of paintings, titled, “The ART OF COPING WITH COVID-19.” I sought and gained sponsorship from the Buccini/Pollin Group & the Kenny Family Foundation, to host ART of COPING classes for 40 children. The experience was life changing for the children who participated. I used social media extensively to do videos encouraging my audience to find creative ways of coping with the pandemic. I even developed a pandemic slogan, “Don’t Mope…Find Creative ways to Cope,”
As a 37-year resident of Wilmington’s East Side, I would advise people to come together to solve issues of economic disparities which promote crime and violence. One of my paintings is titled, “A Peaceful City…Begins With ME.” Everyone needs to take responsibility for promoting peace and safety in our city.”
For more samples of Eunice’s work view her Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and website. Know of another Wilmingtonian that needs to be featured for our weekly #PeopleOfWilm? Tag them with #ItsTimeWilmDE or in the comments.