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Reviving The Arts Council of Wilmington

Brightmore University for February presented “Learn about Wilmington’s Active Art Scene” with Rhonda Bellamy, Executive Director of The Arts Council of Wilmington. In 2002, the Arts Council of Wilmington closed its doors. In the years to follow, Rhonda Bellamy with her extensive expertise in the arts as being a founder to the Black Film Festival, DREAMS Academy and Cucolorous was asked to look into reopening our city’s art scene.

In 2008, Rhonda’s team and the NC Arts Council spent 3 years exploring the process to reestablish the arts in Wilmington, and they did. The Arts Council of Wilmington is responsible for many different things. First and foremost, grant making, not only to our existing art programs, but to individual local artists trying to take their art to the next level. Secondly, they founded and funded “Broadway for a Better World”, which pays for tickets for underprovided Wilmington citizens to attend productions at the Wilson Center. This program just celebrated its 1-year anniversary and gave out 500 free tickets in the first year.

The Arts Council also supports two spaces in Wilmington for local artists. The first one being ACES (Art Community Exhibition Space) in downtown Wilmington and the Arts Council Gallery at ILM Airport. The Arts supports programs such as The 4th Friday Gallery Nights, where local artists have a chance to display their work and sale it, and Pedestrian Art Sculpture, where they invite 12 artists per year to display their sculptures throughout the city in public spaces.

The Arts Council also focuses much of their attention on Arts & Education in our school system, especially elementary school, by bringing in residency programs for educators to teach areas that are not focused on, such as dance. Even though we at Brightmore get to experience and enjoy the symphonies, museums, and colleges and universities that support the arts, we had no idea what hard work went behind the Arts Council of Wilmington, but the work they do for our city is amazing and we feel very fortunate!