WILMINGTON’S SUCCESSFUL WOMAN
At-Home Chic Lounging in style
Inside the House of Harris
DWELLINGS Camper glow ups
New Name. New Look. New Remarkable. New Hanover Regional Medical is now Novant Health. And you can expect a lot more than a new name. New life-saving technologies, new locations for care, new physician specialists, and new ways to make our community healthier. Not just a new name, a new remarkable. Novant Health. Expect Remarkable. Learn more at NovantHealth.org/NHRMC.
32 8 SPOTLIGHT
46 SCENE: STEM social
10 HEALTH: Updog downtown
47 TAKE 5: Center stage
12 TASTE: Spice of life
48 MEN'S ROOM: Home woe-nership
14 STYLE: A palette of pastels
Check out WILMA magazine here:
14 22 F IRED UP: The renovation of Castle Street's firehouse 28 C OMBINING FORCES: The women behind House of Harris 32 R OAD HOUSE: Design on wheels 40 G ETTING PLUGGED IN: Pam Hardy's new role with Duke Energy
Homebody or nomad, this year’s annual Dwellings issue has plenty of inspiration for your abode. As interior designers (and sisters) Liz Harris Carroll and Charlotte Harris Lucas, point out, a lot of people took close looks around their houses these past two years. Updates and projects abounded, including tapping into the distinct style of the House of Harris’ fabric and wallpaper designs. Find out more about their origin story on page 28. Fabulous interiors deserve fabulous around-the-house wear. So, pastels-infused, easygoing looks fill this month’s style section on page 14. Also, home doesn’t always have to mean close to home. Developer Terry Espy taps into the growing thirst for unique short-term rentals with the firehouse fixture on Castle Street, combining modern and historical touches. Check it out on page 22. And home DIY even hits the road for several women who undertook renovations projects for their vans and campers, making everything from a mobile surf shack to a shopping boutique to a home/office teardrop trailer. Read about their projects on 32. Near or far, this month’s stories definitely hit home. W
DARIA AMATO is a native New Yorker and School
of Visual Arts graduate. Throughout her thirty years of experience, she has photographed a range of editorial, advertising, company branding, and corporate clients in addition to music, fashion, portraiture, weddings, and still life. Amato has been recognized by The Society of Publication Designers and Graphic Design USA and received an Optima Design Award for best cover photography. For this issue, Amato photographed House of Harris co-owner Liz Harris Carroll on page 28 and Big Sky Design's camper, Bea, on page 32.
BETH A. KLAHRE retired from a major
Pennsylvania chocolate manufacturer where she held leadership positions in engineering, IT, and global business services. Now relocated to Southport, she spends her time writing and has been published locally and nationally. She is learning to play the harp, loves walking the beach with her dog, and serves on the board of directors of Friends of the Library Southport & Oak Island. Klahre talks with the women behind the renovation and running of the historic firehouse on Castle Street on page 22.
SAMANTHA KUPIAINEN is an Indianapolis
native who relocated to North Carolina in October. She holds a magazine journalism degree from Ball State University and enjoys writing about topics related to health, women, and local communities. When she’s not behind her computer, she’s probably at the beach, testing a new recipe, or road tripping around the state. Kupiainen profiles several local women who breathed second lives into their vans and campers (page 32).
MICHELLE SAXTON is a freelance writer,
runner, and mom to three kids and a dog. She was a journalist for years with various magazines and newspapers and The Associated Press, and she recently helped run a soccer business for children. Her favorite way to spend free time is playing the piano or walking outdoors. Saxton interviews sisters Liz Harris Carroll and Charlotte Harris Lucas on their high-end fabric and wallpaper company (page 28).
DREWE SMITH is an editorial stylist and
creative director who specializes in photo direction and styling. Drewe is a Wilmington native and co-owns Drewe and Kate Branding Co., where she translates her love of design into branding photo shoots, logo design, and website building for a diverse collection of businesses. Smith styled this month’s cover and style spread on page 14.
Publisher Rob Kaiser email@example.com President Robert Preville firstname.lastname@example.org Editor Vicky Janowski email@example.com Vice President of Sales Carolyn Carver firstname.lastname@example.org Senior Marketing Consultants Maggi Apel email@example.com Craig Snow firstname.lastname@example.org Marketing Consultants Courtney Barden email@example.com Marian Welsh firstname.lastname@example.org Sydney Zomer email@example.com Office & Audience Development Manager Sandy Johnson firstname.lastname@example.org Events Director Elizabeth Stelzenmuller email@example.com Events & Digital Assistant Jamie Kleinman firstname.lastname@example.org Design & Media Coordinator Molly Jacques email@example.com Contributing Designer Suzi Drake firstname.lastname@example.org Digital Editor Johanna Cano email@example.com Fashion Stylist Drewe Smith Contributors Tim Bass, Jenny Callison, Nina Bays Cournoyer, Beth A. Klahre, Samantha Kupiainen, Laura Moore, Michelle Saxton, Johanna F. Still, Lynda Van Kuren, Elizabeth White Contributing Photographers Daria Amato, Madeline Gray, Aris Harding, Terah Hoobler, Stephanie Savas Photography, Erin L. Taylor Photography Founder Joy Allen Subscribe For a one-year subscription, please send $26.00 (check or money order) to: WILMA, 219 Station Rd., Ste. 202, Wilmington, NC 28405, or call 343-8600 x201 www.WILMAmag.com
LEADERSHIP INITIATIVE FOUNDING SPONSORS
“L ive Oak Bank is proud to support the valuable work WILMA does to
Debbie Warwick EVP, Women-Owned Business Lending Live Oak Bank
elevate women. Our organizations are aligned in enhancing the lives of women and through Live Oak’s latest effort to serve women-owned businesses, we believe exciting things are on the horizon. Women entrepreneurs are starting companies at twice the rate of the overall growth of small businesses in the United States. Financial inclusion is important for women to access loans as it strengthens the availability of economic resources. As the leading SBA lender in the country, Live Oak is uniquely positioned to provide women in our own community, and across the U.S., with access to capital to unlock their dreams of business ownership.”
W2W UPDATES WILMA’s Women to Watch Leadership Initiative has updates to share as we continue to work on the effort’s core mission of helping develop more women leaders in our area. Here’s what we’ve been up to with various W2W Leadership Initiative programs and what’s coming up next: WILMA NETWORK: Members of the WILMA Network, made up of sponsors of the Women to Watch Leadership Initiative, meet monthly to welcome new members, catch up, and expand their networks. Recent meetups included lunch at Flying Machine at Wrightsville Beach (above) and a marbling workshop with Stardust Workshop at Hi-Wire Brewing. Info: wilmamag.com/women-towatch/the-wilma-network LEADERSHIP INSTITUTE: Our advisory board interviewed candidates and selected members for the 2022 WILMA’s Leadership Institute. Orientation kicks off in April, with monthly leadership training through December. Info and announcement of this year’s class: WILMAmag.com/women-to-watch MENTORING: As part of WILMA’s mentoring program, twenty-five mentees work one-on-one with their mentors – leaders we have recruited from the community – for twelve months. Meeting monthly, they work on professional and leadership development while making new connections in the area. For more info, go to wilmamag.com/women-to-watch/mentoring. IN THE LOOP: Keep up to date with these and other Leadership Initiative programs as well as applications announcements by going to WILMAmag.com or signing up for the WILMA Leadership email at WILMAmag.com/email-newsletter. GETTING SOCIAL: Check out WILMA’s Women to Watch Leadership Initiative social media pages, where you can find the latest info about leadership program announcements, applications, and updates on women who have been involved with W2W. Follow us at facebook.com/WILMAsWomenToWatch and on Instagram @WILMAsWomentoWatch.
- Vicky Janowski and Maggi Apel, Co-directors of the Women to Watch Leadership Initiative W2W@WILMAmag.com
The Women to Watch logo: When you see this throughout WILMA’s pages, it means this is a woman on the rise to know, an experienced leader to learn from, or a local program worth checking out. W
IN SEASON: Emily Jefferson’s reasons for launching Avonya’s Blends
FABRIC OF FAMILY: Sisters Liz Harris Carroll and Charlotte Harris Lucas on pairing up
POWER MOVES: Pam Hardy moves into Duke Energy’s district manager role
women’s professional groups Besides WILMA’s Women to Watch Leadership Initiative, there are a number of local groups to help women grow professionally. Here is just a sampling of some of them.
Cape Fear CREW Year Founded: 2010 Description: “Cape Fear CREW is the leading organization for commercial real estate in the Cape Fear region in North Carolina … Members represent every aspect of the commercial real estate industry, including, but not limited to, law, leasing, brokerage, property management, finance, acquisitions, and engineering.” Info: capefearcrew.org or firstname.lastname@example.org
Cape Fear Women in Tech Year Founded: 2014 Description: “Our vision is to make the Cape Fear Region the No. 1 employer of women in technology careers per capita in the country. We do this by championing opportunities for women in technology, empowering women to strive for these competitive positions, and inspiring women to lead in those roles.” Info: cfwit.com or capefearwomenintech@ gmail.com
Coastal Women Attorneys
The Junior League of Wilmington
(N.C. Association of Women Attorneys) Year Founded: 2013 Description: “CWA was formed to serve women attorneys in Southeastern North Carolina in the Fourth, Fifth and 13th judicial districts, which includes New Hanover, Pender, Brunswick, Columbus, Bladen, Duplin, Onslow, Sampson, and Jones counties. CWA is committed to increasing the participation of women attorneys in the legal profession, protecting the rights of women under the law and promoting, and improving the administration of justice.” Info: ncawa.org/cwa or email@example.com
Year Founded: 1952 Description: “The Junior League of Wilmington is a women’s organization designed to empower women and to improve the community through the leadership of women as trained volunteers.” Info: jlwnc.org or firstname.lastname@example.org
The Inspiration Lab Year Founded: 2015 Description: “The Inspiration Lab was built for working women passionate about personal and professional development. We offer teachings and tools to improve your skills, productivity, creativity, emotional intelligence, and well-being. We also provide opportunities for networking and connection. We represent a variety of backgrounds and careers, but we’re all like-minded in being serious about success, maintaining a manageable work-life balance, and supporting one another’s growth.” Info: theinspirationlab.co
Women’s Impact Network of New Hanover County Year Founded: 2011 Description: “WIN is a collective philanthropy nonprofit that makes yearly grants to nonprofits within the county. The focus of these grants rotates annually among four areas: education, health and wellness, the environment, and arts and culture.” Info: winofnhc.org
YWCA Lower Cape Fear Founded: 1914 Description: “The YWCA Lower Cape Fear is dedicated to eliminating racism, empowering women, and promoting peace, justice, freedom, and dignity for all.” Economic advancement programs focus on educational assistance, job training, and short-term and long-term planning skills. Info: ywca-lowercapefear.org
photo c/o CFCC
LOOK UP: GILLESPIE MOBILE ON DISPLAY 8
CFCC added to its collection of pieces from artist DOROTHY GILLESPIE this year. A twenty-eight-piece mobile arrangement of colorful aluminum called “Hanging Starbursts” was installed in the main lobby of the Wilson Center. It joins three other pieces from Gillespie at CFCC: “Entrance to the Enchanted Castle,” which has been in the Wilson Center lobby since the building opened in 2015; “Festival of Sound”; and “Gold Panels with Ribbons”.
HENDERSON JOINS GOOD SHEPHERD
Local nonprofit Good Shepherd Center recently hired LAUREN HENDERSON as its director of finance and administration, a newly created position to help with the group’s expected growth in the coming years. In the role, she works with the group’s executive director and board to oversee Good Shepherd’s financial activities, as well as administrative and human resource duties. Good Shepherd Center serves as a soup kitchen, homeless shelter, and rehousing solution for the Cape Fear community. The organization’s Sgt. Eugene Ashley Center provides bridge housing and case management to homeless veterans and chronically homeless men with disabilities. And its SECU Lakeside Reserve has forty units of affordable housing for chronically homeless adults with disabilities. Before joining the nonprofit’s staff, Henderson served on Good Shepherd’s board and as treasurer. Henderson, who holds an MBA from UNCW, previously spent fifteen years in financial roles with CastleBranch, including as the Wilmington company’s chief financial officer.
CIS CAPE FEAR RECEIVES $1.5M GIFT
Communities In Schools Cape Fear recently received a gift of $1.5 million. Philanthropist MACKENZIE SCOTT donated $133.5 million to forty Communities In Schools affiliates, including the local organization. “We are thrilled about what this will mean for our local students,” says LOUISE HICKS (above), Communities In Schools Cape Fear executive director. “Every day, we see their increasing need for help to overcome the challenges they face. This will help us do even more to provide that support.” Communities In Schools Cape Fear partners with public schools and community agencies in New Hanover, Pender, and Duplin counties to connect students and their families to critical resources, such as food, housing, health care, counseling, and remote learning technology. Nearly thirty student support specialists work directly with students in twenty-one area schools, and the group provides after-school programming and tutoring, young parent support programs, teen court, mediation and restitution programs, and summer enrichment opportunities such as the Children’s Defense Fund’s Freedom Schools.
ant more WILMA? Check out our daily emails, which include even more profiles and stories for Wilmington’s successful women. To sign up for the free emails, go to WILMAmag.com
UNCW NAMES CHIEF DIVERSITY OFFICER
DONYELL ROSEBORO was tapped to serve as UNCW’s chief diversity officer after serving as interim chief diversity officer since July 2020. University of North Carolina Wilmington officials conducted a national search for the position and interviewed several candidates. “Given the comprehensive diversity, equity, and inclusion work currently in progress and the need for stability in the position, the chancellor extended an offer to Dr. Roseboro to continue in the … role,” says a university announcement. “Dr. Roseboro is a proven leader who is dedicated to building, supporting, and cultivating an inclusive campus,” Chancellor JOSE SARTARELLI says. Under Roseboro’s leadership, UNCW launched several initiatives, including a new Bridge Program to give transitional support to college students from underrepresented populations, NextGen Post-Doctoral Fellowships for doctoral candidates who hope to join UNCW faculty, and the Diversity and Inclusion Fellows Program. She also oversaw major renovations of Centro Hispano and the Upperman African American Cultural Center and worked with the Chancellor’s Renewal and Change Accountability Committee that reviews the university’s diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts. Roseboro is a professor in UNCW’s department of instructional technology, foundations, and secondary education in the Watson College of Education.
Have a suggestion for a local woman or group to spotlight? Email us: wilma@WILMAmag.com WILMAmag.com
or some, yoga is a great workout. For KATELYN MAGINNES, owner of Port City Power Yoga, it’s that and more. Yoga is the means by which she transformed her life.
FROM TEXTILE DESIGN TO YOGA LEADER
by LYNDA VAN KUREN | photo by ARIS HARDING
“I didn’t have a voice until I started my yoga practice,” Maginnes says. “Showing up, knowing who I am and what I want to be for the world and others comes from my practice of yoga.” As a former dancer, movement has always been important to Maginnes. However, she left that part of her life behind when she started her professional career in textile design. Maginnes took up running, but her need to express herself through movement wasn’t filled until she stumbled into a yoga studio at the urging of a coworker. Maginnes was hooked at the first class and immediately started training to teach yoga. She became a certified yoga teacher in 2016, and a certified Baptiste yoga leader in 2018. Baptiste yoga is a type of hot yoga that is done in rooms heated to 85 or 90 degrees. It encompasses the physical, flowing from one pose to another; meditation, through which practitioners learn to be present; and inquiry, through which practitioners learn about themselves. Maginnes stresses that though Baptiste yoga classes are intense – you work hard – they are for everyone. And students of all levels take class together. Most importantly, Maginnes says that through the classes, students uncover their power, and she loves seeing the transformations her students experience. “The practice will take you to your edge,” Maginnes says. “It’s physically challenging, but there is support and inspiration inside the room. As people become more experienced, they see where they started and how much they’ve progressed. People carry what they learn about themselves into their everyday lives.” Such was the case for Maginnes. It was through her Baptiste yoga practice that Maginnes realized that she wasn’t happy in her career, that she had no enthusiasm for her work. Maginnes’ move to Wilmington in 2020 gave her the opportunity to change her life. As she had a new baby and wasn’t working, Maginnes decided it was the perfect time to teach yoga. That way she could do something
she loved, and it would provide a way for her to meet people and make friends. Maginnes started giving classes outside at Wallace Park for free and soon had a following. It wasn’t long before Maginnes’ husband suggested that she open her own yoga studio. Though Maginnes had some initial doubts, things fell into place. Maginnes quickly discovered the perfect space for a studio at 12 South 16th Street, just two blocks from her home, and her potential new landlord was more than welcoming. It got to a point where she couldn’t say no, Maginnes says. As the idea of owning her own studio grew, so did Maginnes’ excitement. “I was thrilled to bring positive energy to the space,” she says. “We were creating something beautiful in a place that wasn’t always positive.” Then, things slowed down. Building the studio took time, and that tried Maginnes’ patience. To keep her impatience in check, Maginnes turned to yoga, explaining that she hasn’t yet mastered the ideal of the calm, controlled yogi. “I’m a Type A perfectionist,” Maginnes says. “I practice yoga to calm down and bring ease into my life and to see the positive of whatever situation I’m in. You get better, but it’s still a practice.” Since Maginnes opened her studio in November, she’s seen steady growth in the number of students. People come to try a class, then bring their friends, she says. The studio has also fulfilled another of Maginnes’ dreams. It has become a community. Currently, Maginnes holds one to three yoga classes a day in her studio, but she hopes to double or even triple that schedule. When the weather warms, she also plans to resume teaching classes outside so her students can enjoy the scenery. Maginnes says she couldn’t be happier with the direction her life has taken, and she has no doubt that she has discovered her passion and purpose. “I love teaching yoga,” she says. “I enjoy seeing the transformation in people, seeing their journey and the pride they have in the work they’ve done. I love when people come back to the studio because I know I’ve made a difference in their lives.”W WILMAmag.com
IN E SEASON AVONYA’S BLENDS STAYS LOCAL by LAURA MOORE
photo by Danielle Wills; c/o Avonya's Blends
MILY JEFFERSON didn’t expect to find herself running her own spice company, but these days, the title of chief executive officer suits her. Born and raised in Wilmington, Jefferson is the owner and founder of Avonya’s Blends. “From the beginning, as far back as I can remember, I loved cooking,” she says. “From a very young age, I remember ex-
perimenting in the kitchen throwing things together to see how it would come out.” Seasonings were not a specialty of Jefferson’s until a food allergy put her on the hunt for the culprit, and it turned out to be one of the ingredients not listed in common spice blends. “Rosemary is a commonly used herb in spice blends and commonly used herb in seasonings, but I did not know what I was reacting to because it didn’t have it listed in the ingredients list,” Jefferson says. “It wasn’t until I was personally cooking with rosemary, and when it gave me a reaction, the lightbulb went off.” After then feeling limited by the seasonings she could use, Jefferson began making her own spice blends to flavor the foods she loved without the possibility of an allergic reaction. But starting a business was not on her mind. “I was just making them my own, something just for fun for me to use at that point,” Jefferson says. “When I thought that maybe I could sell it, I tested it at my church’s chicken and rice fundraiser. I got all positive feedback, and people kept coming back for seconds.” It was then that Avonya’s Blends was born. (Avonya is Jefferson’s middle name.) Avonya’s Blends’ bottles list all the ingredients. Annie’s Season-All is dedicated to Jefferson’s grandmother, Annie Mae, and the vegan, gluten-free, low-sodium blend includes granulated garlic, granulated onion, cumin, ground mustard, lemon peel, paprika, black pepper, sea salt, oregano, basil, and parsley. Jefferson recommends Season-All for Italian dishes such as Tuscan chicken or for traditional Southern dishes such as baked macaroni and cheese. “It’s not your typical blend. In comparison to other seasonings on the market that one could say, ‘I don’t know what’s in that,’ I list mine. I really take a lot of pride that it doesn’t taste like others on the market,” Jefferson says. Sentry’s Seafood Seasoning was created in honor of Jefferson’s father, James “Sentry” Dixon, to whom she credits for her love of cooking and seafood. Jefferson recommends this blend for all seafood dishes. “It’s delicious for crab boils and seafood boils and to pour over corn and potatoes.
It’s much better than Old Bay,” Jefferson claims. “It is not overpowering, and it is low sodium.” During the beginning of her business, in early 2021, as Jefferson spent hours each day hand bottling individual bottles of seasoning in her kitchen, she approached leaders at Genesis Block to help her business grow, but they encouraged her to streamline before branching out into stores. Once Jefferson acquired the help of a manufacturer, she returned to Genesis Block, which then helped her secure a contract to put Avonya’s Blends in all Lowes Foods grocery stores in the Wilmington area. “Sales in the store are going very well. At one point within the first few days in one store, they were down to their last bottles, but they have been restocking,” Jefferson says. In the future, Jefferson wants to expand to stores such as Target and Whole Foods while continuing to build out her e-commerce site (avonyasblends.com). The local entrepreneur is also a newlywed, marrying her Marine husband in December and relocating to Hawaii. “I may not be physically hands-on in terms of distribution, but it is a local business to Wilmington, and it will always be local to me even though I, personally, am not local,” Jefferson emphasizes. Jefferson has been traveling back and forth every few months to check in on production, and she manages the business from Hawaii as a full-time job. While in Hawaii, she has been inspired by the fresh flavors but does not think it will influence many of her spice blends in the future. “I have unintentionally been learning from the culture here. The Hawaiian food is delicious, but I don’t think I’d release a Hawaiian Avonya’s Blends out of respect for their culture,” Jefferson explains. “I stay in my lane.” That lane is one of growing a business that brings her joy. “Avonya’s Blends is still a new business to be expanding and growing,” Jefferson says, “and I really take pride in it because people really love my product, and that keeps me going.” W WILMAmag.com
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photos by Erin L. Taylor Photography styling by Drewe Smith intro by Nina Bays Cournoyer
e braved the holiday season. Slogged through the coldest of months and the dreariest of weather. Now it’s time to take a well-deserved, cleansing breath. In yoga, it’s called pranayama – literally “vital life force” (prana) and “gain control” (yama) – the act of connecting body, mind, and spirit to promote your well-being. But don’t let the positive vibes stop there. This spring’s pastel colors are meant to uplift, inspire, and turn your everyday grumbles into rays of optimism. Sky blues, powdery pinks, and canary yellows can lighten the darkest mood. Even the sage of color, Pantone, confirms this season’s trend in naming Very Peri – a bluish-purple – color of the year. You can sit back and breathe easy in these soothing chroma basics or, if an energy boost is what you’re after, combine these soft colors with visual power elements like geometric shapes, graphic florals, or offbeat patterns for some extra glow. Now go spread those happy hues. Namaste! W
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10/15/21 4:25 PM
Terry Espy and Donna Wallin
B eth A. K lahre |
M adeline G ray
The historical building’s story continues to be updated through renovations and starring roles
ERRY ESPY, commercial real estate broker and president of MoMentum Companies in Wilmington is a passionate hands-on advocate for the revitalization of Wilmington’s downtown districts.
“Early in my life I learned the importance of taking historic properties and evolving them into something functional and beautiful,” she says. “My father was an
extreme preservationist. For him, restoration was almost an addiction.” Espy’s father was the president of the Horry County Historical Society in South Carolina for years. He often took Espy on archaeological digs and adventures to historic buildings, ingraining the notion that properties deserve to be brought back to life and opened to the public so everyone can enjoy them. “My mother was the ultimate designer,” Espy says. “She was avant-garde for her time, a Renaissance woman with a master’s degree in home economics who married
at the age of thirty after enjoying a career. She was a good example of how to set your sights and go after what you want.” In 2015, Espy and her husband, JOHN SHARKEY, took a soul-searching trip out west to make decisions about their future after enduring a downturned economy that impacted their businesses. They stopped in Santa Fe, New Mexico, to visit friends scenic artist RICK MOBBS and his wife, NAOMI SWINTON. The couple, owners of the historical firehouse on Fifth Avenue and Castle Street in Wilmington, had decided to stay in Santa Fe and needed someone to take over rental management of the building.
The firehouse, Engine Company 2, was originally home to six men, two horses, and a two-horse hose wagon when it began operations in April 1915. In 1918, the horses were retired, and in 1956 the crew relocated to the fire department’s headquarters station on Dock Street. Espy and Sharkey made the commitment to their friends to renovate the firehouse into a short-term rental. Espy is a graduate of the University of South Carolina with degrees in biology and music. Taking a job with Delta Air Lines moved her around the country, eventually to Raleigh, where she raised her three sons for seventeen years. Renovating houses on the side
led to starting a design firm that grew to 2,000 homes a year. “I learned that bigger is not always better. I was not happy just running a business without doing the creative,” she says. She downsized, focusing on project management, fee development, and commercial real estate. In 1998, Espy started MoMentum Companies, offering a boutique approach to commercial real estate. “The name clearly says MoM. I made a career out of being a mother, taking care of details,” she says. “Being successful in development and commercial brokerage requires guiding clients through the minutiae.” The firehouse was in fragile condition from long-term renters’ lack of care and roof leaks when Espy took it over. The renovations became a family affair. Four months of hard work by
herself, her husband, and sons resulted in the one-of-a-kind, 1,709-square-foot suite on the upper floor of the firehouse. “We all got down and dirty. It was hard work, but restoration work can be romantic,” Espy says. A peek inside the second-floor suite reveals a charming airy vibe. Espy describes it as industrial and light. “The height of the ceilings and the huge windows give it dramatic presence,” she says. The open floor plan is spacious, and the kitchen is modern. Understated historic details abound throughout. The master bedroom, formerly the firemens’ locker room, incorporates three of the original wooden lockers built by the firemen as a platform bed. Three locker doors are the headboard. The lower floor is an events space appropriately named Station No. 2
available for weddings and corporate parties managed by Espy’s sister, DONNA WALLIN. The property has received television airplay. It most recently had a recurring role in the Fox TV drama series Our Kind of People as the home of the lead character. Espy frequently gets calls from producers, directors, and actors interested in leasing the space for their own stay when filming in Wilmington. “The old girl is quite a celebrity herself,” she says about the building. The historical firehouse is currently under consideration for recognition as a state landmark. “We’re almost there,” Espy says. “Our goal has been to make the property available for the public to enjoy, whether for an intimate wedding or a family stay in the suite. We are committed to ensuring this beautiful old girl will be around for another century for all to enjoy.” W
FABRIC FAM OF
M ichelle S axton | photo
D aria A mato
Home and travel inspire sister designers’ textile and wallpaper company
“The textile piece of it is so tactile, and it brings a lot of beauty into a space,” says interior designer LIZ HARRIS CARROLL. “It can be bold and bright, or it can be subtle and natural.” Carroll co-founded House of Harris (houseofharris.com) in 2017 with her sister, interior designer CHARLOTTE HARRIS LUCAS. They run the company out of Carroll’s Wilmington business, Liz Carroll Interiors. Carroll (left) and Lucas – who runs Charlotte Lucas Interior Design in Charlotte – work with U.S. fabric and wallpaper companies to manufacture their design products. The sisters have spent years attending design markets and exploring furniture, textiles, and wall coverings, Lucas says. “Liz and I are very complementary of each other in regard to how we work,” Lucas says. “I went to design school, and she went to business school.” Carroll is the big sister, and Lucas is the middle sister. (Their youngest sister, TEENY HARRIS MORRISON, is an interior designer and photographer in Charleston.) The Harrises grew up in several cities throughout North Carolina while their father, Andy, worked for Coca-Cola. Their mother, Sherry, is a designer. “Our mom was so skilled at quickly getting in a house and making it feel like a home,” Carroll says. “She wanted us to feel acclimated. I think she did a really good job of instilling that in us and setting an example.” WILMAmag.com
photo c/o House of Harris
olors both vibrant and delicate pop from every direction in House of Harris, with design samples lining walls and idea boards at the high-end fabric and wallpaper company.
The sisters’ shared passion for design led to House of Harris, which the Greater Wilmington Business Journal recognized with a 2021 MADE award in the arts category. “We said this would be a really fun way and a creative outlet for us to express a story and something that we love and a narrative,” Carroll says. Carroll and Lucas created their first House of Harris line after a market trip to Paris. “We were inspired by a lot of the beauty,” Lucas recalls. “In Paris, we would attend the flea markets there, where there’s beautiful vintage and antique textile markets.” “On the plane when everyone was sleeping, she and I got coffee and Diet Coke and drew the whole line,” Carroll says. House of Harris’ first two collections are Avenue and Destination, and design names come from streets they lived on or streets with cherished memories. MARCH 2022
SPRING & SUMMER CAMP ENROLLMENT IS OPEN!! Morning and afternoon sessions available each week. For full day option, parents should book a morning and afternoon session that week. 12 SPOTS PER SESSION. 17 STEM CAMPS TO CHOOSE FROM. DO NOT WAIT TO ENROLL!
problem, they say, and it helps provide a broader appeal. “Liz and I work so well together,” Lucas says. “We have such a great respect for each other.” While the pandemic has made supply chain issues more challenging, demand for business has grown, Carroll says. “People have been home, in their houses, and so they realize that they really want to make an investment in the space that they’re in,” Carroll says. “They want to love where they live.” Carroll looks forward to seeing their designs continue to grow in depth, and she says wallpaper is having a moment as people are ready for color and pattern. Lucas says House of Harris plans to release more mural wallpaper designs after the success of their Hillside hand-painted trees pattern. Working together and seeing their designs in projects are among the rewards for Carroll and Lucas. “It’s really been so much fun to work with my sister and really exciting to be able to actually produce something in a creative way,” Carroll says. “You get designers all over the country using our products in different ways,” Lucas says. “It’s amazing to see how their visions come to life.” W
photos c/o House of Harris
1982 Eastwood Road 910.899.3986 codeninjas.com/nc-wilmington
Designs are personal – some include sketches and influences from Carroll’s artist father-in-law, BOB CARROLL, who passed away in 2020. “Vanderbilt” has his pen-drawn watercolor floral design, and “Essex” is partly inspired by his interest in pinstriping cars. Inspiration also came from the nostalgia of growing up in North Carolina, Lucas says. “With some of the florals and some of the geometric patterns, there were pictures of things that we saw back home or florals that are native to North Carolina,” Lucas says, adding they reinvented them in a more modern manner for the collection. Personal design styles are different, the sisters agree. “We use a lot of color and lot of pattern and mixture of textures and materials and wall coverings,” Lucas says of her Charlotte business, adding that for Carroll, “She’s much more coastal casual and uses more muted colors and blues and greens and sandy colors.” “Charlotte uses a lot of vintage pieces, antique pieces; she definitely has a more bold and colorful aesthetic,” Carroll says. “I tend to lean toward more neutrals, lighter colors, a little bit calmer maybe.” Merging styles has never been a
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The many ways to take a home on the road
by SAMANTHA KUPIAINEN
There is a multitude of reasons why someone would buy a camper or van, then renovate it into a livable
space. Take for instance CISSIE BROOKS, BIG SKY DESIGN’s team, and SUZI DRAKE, all of whom recently renovated campers and vans. It might be someone’s dream retirement pastime or their escape route when hurricanes arise. It could also serve as a temporary solution for a booming business running out of office space.
CISSIE BROOKS is a retired educator who’s longed for a Sprinter van since she was sixteen years old. About five years ago, she finally made her teenage dream come true and bought one. Brooks gave in after forty-seven years because with retirement looming, she knew she wanted to travel and visit her children in San Diego. “I wanted to be able to stay there for extended periods of time and not have to stay on their sofa,” she says. “Also, I retired last July. So, just looking ahead at what I wanted to do in retirement, I knew I wanted to be able to do a little traveling.” It took Brooks awhile to find the perfect van largely because she could never find the right one at the right price at the right time. When one finally popped up that fit her specifications, she immediately bought it. As for renovations, she had a few nonnegotiables, such as a place to put her surfboard and a refrigerator. She knew she wanted a fan and USB plugs so she could stay in there for extended periods of time when the sun was shining. Her van also boasts water and a portable shower. For interior construction, she enlisted the help of a local home construction expert. “Basically, I told him what I wanted,” she says. “During COVID, he spent about eight weeks and just did a beautiful job with the interior construction. We never really put pen to paper, it was just sort of a discussion every day of ‘This is what I like, this is what I want, this will work.’” So far, Brooks has taken her little beach cottage to San Diego, Florida, and Maine. She’s also done some local trips here and there. “It’s really a combination of a lifelong dream that I’ve had to just be able to travel and camp,” she says. “In retirement, I wanted to be able to have that freedom, to take off and go where I wanted. This sort of exceeded my dreams actually.”
photos by MICHAEL CLINE SPENCER
photos by DARIA AMATO
Snuggled inside a ’69 Shasta Loflyte camper is Wilmington’s first and only mobile design boutique, otherwise known as Bea. The 7x14-foot camper is operated by Big Sky Design, which is owned by JENNIFER KRANER, and gives its clients a unique interior design experience. The idea for a mobile design boutique came out of necessity back in 2016. Big Sky Design was growing and needed more space to showcase products and merchandise. Once the logistics were hashed out, the team started looking for the perfect camper to house their boutique, which they found through a Craigslist ad. To kick off the renovations, the team gutted the camper and got rid of the toilet and shower compartment to make more counter space. They dressed the walls with glass tile and wood paneling but opted to leave the original upper cabinets and stove. Since being introduced to the
community, Bea has been utilized for private design consultations, popup parties, Realtor open houses, and community events. She’s even available for girls’ nights, parties, and open houses. In the fall of 2020, Big Sky Design ended up packing up their office on Masonboro Loop Road and relocated to their current building on Oleander Drive. With the big move, it also meant Bea’s role would change.
“We have more square footage on the floor for furniture and merchandise, so Bea’s no longer used as a mobile boutique as she once was,” Kraner says. “But she is used as a real attention-getter in front of our space when we do have events. So, she is just sort of a well-loved part of Big Sky.” As for how Bea got her name, she’s named after Kraner’s grandmother, Beatrix. And much like a bee, Bea buzzes around town.
When Hurricane Florence tore through Southeastern North Carolina in September 2018, SUZI DRAKE, WILMA’s contributing designer, was fortunate to have family inland where she could evacuate to. However, her family has since relocated to the coast, which makes it harder for her to find people to stay with, mostly because she’s a dog mom to three rescue pups. “You can only put that kind of burden on family,” Drake says. So, she decided to take matters into her own hands and bought a camper in July through Facebook Marketplace – a Forest River R-Pod – that she can ride out the hurricane from a safe distance. “Facebook has groups for all kinds of campers,” she says. “You can find a group for the specific brand and model you’re looking for. There are even groups just for buying and selling them.”
She looked for one that could be pulled by a Suburban and stay parked in her driveway when not being used. She also knew she wanted it to be fun-looking, which worked out perfectly because she found a teardrop camper. Going into the renovation, Drake considered herself knowledgeable about cars. However, she quickly learned that she overlooked checking her camper for one important thing – water damage. “I didn’t ask the right questions, and I didn’t know the right things to look for,” she says. “I got home, and there was some serious damage that I had no idea about.” She ended up having to water seal the entire camper because of water leaks and damage. Drake repaired and replaced portions of the subfloor, trashed the existing window treatments, and handmade wooden window boxes. She took out one of the bunk beds and turned the space into a cozy nook with a sofa that
photos by MADELINE GRAY
she can work from and built a wallmounted stowaway table. To finish it off, she removed the dinette that previously converted to a bed and replaced it with a permanent queen bed. She then painted the whole thing and sewed cushions, pillows, and curtains. There are still details to work on, but the bulk of the redo and getting it road-ready took about three months. Drake’s been fortunate and hasn’t had to use her camper to evacuate, so for now, she’s plotting a fun trip for her camper’s maiden voyage. “I’m looking forward to getting out there,” she says, “and being a part of it.”
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POWER P MOVES
AM HARDY has wanted this role for twenty years. It’s not often district manager positions open within Duke Energy; the people who take those roles tend to stick around for decades.
photo and story by Johanna F. Still
So, for the bulk of her career, Hardy took on positions and projects that would build her experience to prepare her for today. “One of the things I’m a firm believer on is pre-
paring for opportunities,” she says. “And when I decided that I wanted to do this, and I knew an opportunity wouldn’t be opening up anytime soon, I tried to take roles that would get me prepared for it.” As the Wilmington region’s government and community relations manager, Hardy oversees Bladen, Brunswick, Columbus, New Hanover, Pender, and Sampson counties. She joined the Wilmington team in October as a new face after spending thirty years in Raleigh. Along with her husband and two daughters, Hardy made the move to Wilmington in the fall and is settling into the new gig, making new connections along the way. She had visited Wilmington for annual family reunions for the past ten or so years and is still getting to know all the area has to offer. Originally from Chicago, Hardy arrived in North Carolina in 1991 to attend Shaw University, where she studied mass communications. “I thrive when I’m interacting with people, and I naturally connect with them,” Hardy says. “My first goal is to figure out what I have in common with someone … What makes that person tick and how are we going to support each other?” Her first role in 1996 was as a customer service specialist – working the phones on the front end of handling complaints. During her time working in consumer affairs, she managed nearly 20,000 complaints, collaborating with networks of internal team leads to find solutions. “That role has been very foundational to all the other roles,” she says. “It’s taught me how to interface with people. It taught me how to communicate with external customers, how to problem-solve, embrace continuous learning and growth. So, I always shout out our customer service specialists because they just hold a special part of my heart. That’s where I learned all the skills that have gotten me to where I am today.” Most recently, Hardy worked in corporate communications supporting Duke Energy’s customer services organization. She’s still familiarizing WILMAmag.com
herself with the local political landscape, but eventually, she plans to know all top-ranking officials as part of her government relations duties. “If you hear names over and over, pick up on that,” she says. “It’s really just kind of been like campaigning.” In January, the state faced three winter storms, causing tens of thousands of homes to lose power. For the most part, the Wilmington region was spared, though Duke Energy had manpower staged and ready to respond to widescale outages. “We focus on preparation the entire year,” Hardy says. “So, I think these three storms were just preparation for what could possibly come.” Hardy prioritizes getting the right information to public and emergency management partners to make sure their respective communities are best prepared for what’s ahead. “I really focus on the end game and that’s making sure that we’re prepared, that we’re ready to go, that we’re monitoring the storm systems or the weather systems and we’re ready to serve the customers so we’re prepared,” she says. “We’re not going to stop until every single customer is back on.” As the state’s leading electric utility company, Duke Energy is in the midst of modernizing its grid and redirecting itself to meet new clean energy goals. Last year, Gov. Roy Cooper directed the North Carolina Utilities Commission to act to reduce carbon emissions by 70% from 2005 levels by 2030. The shift involves major cooperation and coordination to divest from coal power plants and explore new clean energy alternatives, including wind. The company is
interested in the Wilmington East Wind Area, set to be auctioned by the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management in May. Duke Energy has multiple rounds of formal stakeholder meetings that began January 25 to consider alternative energy pathways ahead. “The input our stakeholders provide will help guide decisions about future generation investments – including the potential for wind,” Hardy says. “We are considering all resources.” Affordability and reliability of service will be prioritized on Duke Energy’s mission to reduce carbon emissions, she says. Besides government officials, Hardy is also getting to know philanthropic and business leaders in the area as part of the Duke Energy Foundation’s grantmaking efforts. The grants are designed to support “building vibrant economies; client resiliency; and justice, equity, and inclusion,” she says. Hardy has always been drawn to community relations and serves as co-chair on her sorority Sigma Gamma Rho’s community service committee. Crediting both internal and external mentors who helped guide her along the way, Hardy also provides guidance to women looking to advance their careers. “It’s just something I do. I love doing it,” she says. “I get an immense satisfaction out of helping other people, guiding other people, leading other people mentoring, especially girls and women on how to conquer your goals.” W Pam Hardy’s profile originally appeared in a recent issue of Greater Wilmington Business Journal, WILMA’s sister publication.
keep it local WILMA’S
LOVE AT FIRST BITE
You’ll be everyone’s favorite when you bring Crumbl Cookies to the party. Crumbl Cookies offers fast, fresh and warm gourmet cookies for takeout, curbside pickup or delivery. With new flavors on the menu every week, located at 311 S. College Road in Wilmington and pick up a pink box full of over-sized delicious cookies. Download the Crumbl app or visit www.crumblcookies.com to schedule delivery or curbside pickup! LOVE AT FIRST BITE
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CLEAN BEAUTY & WELLNESS
Find curated, organic beauty products that are ocean friendly and sustainable at Wilmington’s newest Eco-luxe boutique, Lala & Elm. A proudly mother and daughter owned boutique, come see what clean beauty is all about! Visit Lala & Elm at 1437 Military Cutoff Road, Suite 105, Wilmington, NC or visit their website at LalaandElm.com.
MARCH2022 2022 MARCH
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ORNATE FURNITURE FINDS
Give personality to your home with statement furniture and more from Madie’s Finds. This curiosity shop is bound to have items for every savvy and fashionable shopper. True quality antiques, art and more can be found at Madie’s Finds, located at 2825 Castle Hayne Road, Unit 6 in Wilmington or visit their Facebook @ MadiesFinds for more info.
MARCH MARCH2022 2022
JAMES E. MOORE INSURANCE AGENCY
HOW INDEPENDENT AGENTS DELIVER A BETTER INSURANCE
ohn F. Kennedy said, “There are risks and costs to a program of action, but they are far less than the long-range risks and costs of comfortable inaction.” In my role as CEO of my family’s insurance business, James E. Moore Insurance Agency Inc., I implement a program of action because doing so allows our agency to exceed the expectations of our customers and make a positive difference in their lives. Understanding that insurance is a complex industry, my team and I simplify the jargon and coverage options while identifying competitive premiums for our clients. Most people do not want to think about their insurance until something awful happens or a disaster strikes. Likewise, shopping for insurance, comparing coverage levels
and premiums is something most people would prefer to avoid. As a third-generation leader of a business that has been around since 1954, I am fortunate our clients trust us with their insurance needs. The result is a stronger relationship with our clients and a more positive experience for everyone involved. Reputation matters and the chance to be a valuable, trusted resource for my clients and friends is a responsibility I take extremely seriously. This has motivated me to constantly advance my knowledge of the industry, to work on making it more understandable by writing articles such as this one, and to check in with my clients periodically to ensure their policy still aligns with their needs.
Anyone can shop online for a policy but there is a steep learning curve, and the choices can be complex. Working with an independent insurance agent—someone who does this on a daily basis— helps to illuminate the coverage options and nuances, thereby ensuring the home or business is adequately protected. My team and I research every available option and work to eliminate the uncertainty for our clients, so they can rest easy in the knowledge they have the best possible coverage in place. To connect with someone who will work to understand your insurance needs, please give us a call! Adrienne Moore is CEO of James E Moore Insurance Agency, Inc. She joined the com-
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pany as a producer in 2009 after working in marketing for United Healthcare and in personal lines underwriting for Kemper. Raised in Wilmington, Adrienne loves supporting the community by serving numerous committees and nonprofit boards. Currently, Adrienne is a board member for the NC Aquarium Society and Keep New Hanover Beautiful. When she isn’t busy advocating for her clients and friends, helping them with all their insurance needs, including residential, auto, commercial, and employee benefits, she enjoys traveling, sports, gardening, and relaxing at home with her dog Bailey. In addition to her extensive insurance credentials, Adrienne holds a B.S. from the Cameron School of Business at UNC Wilmington, where she co-captained the women's volleyball team. Adrienne and her team can be reached at 910256-5333.
SCARLESS VEIN CARE 5 SIGNS IT MAY BE TIME TO SCHEDULE A FREE* VEIN HEALTH SCREENING 1.You are experiencing painful, achy legs It's easy to associate aches and pains with working out or simply part of "getting older", but they can sometimes signal vein issues. If you notice increased leg pain in the absence of major changes to your daily routine, inadequate circulation could be to blame and should be checked by a vein specialist. 2.Your legs feel tired or heavy at the end of the day Those long days at work may not be to blame, after all. For most people, standing for an extended period of time should not cause your legs to feel heavy, weak, or tired. If you notice this happening regularly, contact a specialist to determine if you have poor blood-pumping action in your leg veins. 3.Your feet and ankles are swelling Chronic venous insufficiency (CVI) can lead to blood pooling, causing the feet and ankles to swell. The swelling gets progressively worse as the day goes on, leading to "sock lines," and in some cases, may trigger individuals to start shopping for a larger shoe size! While swelling can happen in connection with heart disease, younger patients without a history of other causative factors should schedule a vascular evaluation.
4. Restless legs keep you up at night The sensations range from creeping and crawling to tingling and burning, leading to a constant urge to move the legs. Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS) is often treated with medication from a neurological standpoint, but the cause may be connected to venous insufficiency. A vein health screening can assist in pinpointing the cause, potentially helping you avoid unnecessary medication.
with severe cramps or Charley horses. Check with a vein doctor to rule out CVI.
5.You experience frequent Charley horses or leg cramping If venous insufficiency is to blame, eating a banana or upping your potassium levels won't do the trick. Similar to RLS at night, many patients experiencing the symptoms of vein disease jump out of bed in the middle of the night
of developing vein disease. Dr. Kamran can help determine the cause of your symptoms during a comprehensive exam and evaluation utilizing state-ofthe-art diagnostic equipment. Fortunately, vein disease is a treatable condition. Treatment Options Relief from your symptoms is within reach. Dr. Kamran is
How can Dr. Kamran Help? If you have any of the symptoms mentioned above, it's time to give Dr. Kamran a call and schedule a *free vein health screening. This is especially true if you have a family history of vein disease or you also experienced symptoms along with noticeable vascular changes during pregnancy, since both factors are associated with an increased likelihood
trained to recognize symptoms of vein disease and offers effective, non-invasive treatment plans that are customized to meet the unique needs of each patient. The most effective treatment will depend on your specific concerns and condition. Compression stockings are often an effective solution for minor discomfort and swelling associated with vein conditions of the legs. About Dr. Kamran: Dr. Kamran is an internationally recognized pioneer in the field of phlebology and vascular surgery. He was one of the first physicians and centers in the state of North Carolina to offer his patients intravascular laser ablation for the treatment of varicose veins. Dr. Kamran has been providing general, thoracic, vascular, laparoscopic, and both upper and lower endoscopic surgeries for more than 40 years. Listen to Dr. Kamran’s podcast to learn more about vein disease risk factors, symptoms of vein disease, and vein disease treatment. About Scarless Vein Care: With Dr. Kamran, the journey from tired, achy, painful legs and unsightly varicose or spider veins to beautiful, healthy legs can be an easy one. Now offering free vein health screenings, Scarless Vein Care by Dr. Kamran is one of the nation’s preeminent locations for the treatment of venous insufficiency and varicose and spider veins. *Note: The 'Free Vein Health Screening' offer is not valid for Medicaid beneficiaries, or other recipients of federal or state health care benefit programs, or when prohibited by an insurance coverage provider. New patients only. One free screening per person. Not redeemable for cash.
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MARCH MARCH 2022 2022
The inaugural Experience STEM-ILM event in 2019
photo c/o Cape Fear Museum
SMARTS A NIGHT AT THE MUSEUM WITH STEM
by ELIZABETH WHITE
eeling like you want to channel your inner STEM? Or get a look into the local business community’s newest technology, science innovations, and engineering advancements? There is a chance to do both at the Cape Fear Museum’s upcoming Experience STEM-ILM 2.0 event. Taking place March 24, the event (for those who are eighteen and older) offers participants the chance to explore what the future might look like, see innovation in action, and network with tech executives. It’s also very much a social outing. There’s live music planned along with food, drinks, and a silent auction.
The event showcases interactive stations set up by representatives from the local tech community. This year, eight booths are planned to allow attendees to be a scientist for a night or get insight into future technology. For example, nCino will demonstrate how AI has permeated the fintech industry, and UNCW will have computer science students demonstrating blockchain and cryptocurrency technology. Other tech community members such as PS Solutions will showcase kids coding programs, and Lapetus will explain the latest trends in robotic solutions. “We are excited to offer a new experience this year,” says BARBI BAKER, marketing specialist at the museum. Local artist NUGGET will be on hand to create three STEM-inspired art pieces with spray paint. Each piece will stand alone, but all three will be auctioned off together. “I am truly honored and excited to be featured at the fundraising event,” says Nugget, an arts category finalist in last year’s WILMA’s Women to Watch Awards. “Showcasing art and creating opportunities for science and art to come together is something I am truly humbled by.”
Event proceeds will go back to the museum. “Sponsorship dollars raised are a continued investment in STEM education,” Baker says. “We use these dollars to offer STEM programming and workshops to kids of all ages and backgrounds in topics such as space science, robotics, math madness, and more.” Last year’s event was canceled because of the pandemic. This year, adaptations are being made with the event being held outside in the museum’s adjacent park. “We will have several tents, a stage for the band, and space for attendees to spread out,” Baker says. “We feel this will provide a comfortability level for our guests to be able to enjoy food and drink while in an outdoor, well-ventilated setting.” W
Experience STEM-ILM 2.0 MARCH 24, 5:30-8 P.M. CAPE FEAR MUSEUM, 814 MARKET STREET Tickets (adults): $20 for museum members $25 for nonmembers in advance Info: capefearmuseum.com
by JENNY CALLISON photo by TERAH HOOBLER
Writer and photographer ALICIA INSHIRADU is the founder and CEO of Playingod Films. She’s in the process of transforming a screenplay she wrote as a graduate student in 1998 (and later produced as a short film) into a stage play. A North Carolina Arts Council grant has enabled her to hire STEVE VERNON, of Big Dawg Productions, as stage play script consultant. She hopes to have What the River Knows produced for the silver screen and says there’s a local film producer who is interested. What the River Knows, Inshiradu says, is her gift to the community. TALK ABOUT YOUR CURRENT, VERY CONSUMING PROJECT. “Set against the backdrop of Wilmington’s White Supremacist Massacre of 1898, What the River Knows is an intergenerational tale of family, romance, murder, racial strife, and redemption. I developed the story as a screenplay at UNCW’s grad school in 1998 and in ’99 defended it at ECU where I’d previously completed two years of coursework. In 2017, I excerpted from the longer work a short teaser film script, produced, and directed the film and premiered it at the Cucalorus Film Festival. After an actors workshop, I plan to begin production for an early November 2022 live premiere performance.” YOU HAVE LARGELY WORKED IN FILM, SO WHY A STAGE PLAY? “Well, both formats have overlapped since I first began writing in the ’70s. I’ll be producing and directing an original short film, which will be utilized throughout this current stage play project.” WHERE DO YOU HOPE WHAT THE RIVER KNOWS WILL TAKE YOU? “One of my motivations for writing this piece was to create a character who actually witnesses, becomes an informant of what presently still stands as an undocumented legend surrounding the day of the massacre, November 10: that black men were murdered and thrown into the Cape Fear River. The storyline of this piece has been crafted to ignite a catharsis for an extremely traumatized community that has yet to be redeemed. It is an opportunity to not only understand what happened in 1898 but to understand how it still has adversely affected Wilmingtonians past and present.” WHAT ARTISTIC WORKS HAVE HAD THE GREATEST INFLUENCE ON YOU? “After experiencing in 1997 John Singleton’s movie, Rosewood, a fictional retelling of the 1923 massacre in the black town of Rosewood, Florida, I had to find out what happened in my newly adopted home city of Wilmington. I also love filmmaker John Sayles’ style of handling the past in his 1996 movie, Lonestar. Seeing Spike Lee’s first film, She’s Gotta Have It in the ’80s put the filmmaking bug under my skin. The ’80s Broadway musical Timbuktu!, starring Eartha Kitt, blew me away – the acting, the music, the drama, the costumes, the sets, everything.” IS YOUR CHILDHOOD IN KINSTON OR YOUNG ADULTHOOD IN NEW JERSEY REFLECTED IN YOUR WORK? “… living in the segregated South of the ’50s as a young child, I was sheltered from the realization of American racism and did not get to raise my African heritage and race consciousness until the ’70s. That metamorphosis was a huge influence on who I am today – a researcher, designer, stylist, photographer, collagist, playwright, and screenwriter.”W ALICIA INSHIRADU’s full profile will appear in an upcoming WILMA Roundup email. To sign up for daily WILMA emails, go to WILMAmag.com.
HOUSE by TIM BASS illustration by MARK WEBER
Tim Bass is coordinator of UNCW’s bachelor of fine arts program in creative writing.
At this moment, a ladder stands in my living room, blocking the back door until I climb up and hang a picture of an owl that has been perched in my way for a week. The owl will have to wait, though, because first I need the ladder to replace a bad window that was a replacement for the original one. I’d get that done pronto, except for the loose air vent keeping a constant rattle right above my head. It’s like psychological torture. I’m tempted to drag the ladder in here and multitask: snatch out the air vent, throw it through the faulty window, and cover the ceiling hole with the owl picture. Instead, I’ll just add these chores to the long list of Things I Need to Get Done Around This House. A friend told me that a smart real estate investment is to own the worst house in a great neighborhood. I have managed that. My front door has a gap wide enough for a robin to fly in. The foyer light fixture has been outdated since the house was built in 1994. A medicine cabinet needs a dose of tightening to the wall. Flush a toilet here, and the region’s water table drops six inches. This place suffers from hasty construction, building materials charitably called “contractor grade,” and a previous owner who let one of his friends do repairs. The friend clearly was a jackleg of all trades. He didn’t let building codes and common sense hinder his creativity with wires, boards, pipes, and anything else that could go wrong and destroy the house. I keep having to pay licensed professionals to unfix his handiwork.
“What happened here?” an electrician asked. “The last owner hired a friend to do the work,” I said. “Should be in prison,” the electrician said. “The owner or the friend?” “Both.” In home-repair terms, that means, “I’m going to rescue you from this reckless wiring job, and the real shock will come from the bill.” After nearly two decades of living in this house, I’ve come to understand that it’s a lot like me: not so feeble that it should be bulldozed, but still creaky and needing dedicated attention. The house is twenty-eight years old. Maybe that’s the age for house things to go kaput, but I don’t see any excuse for it. When I was twenty-eight, I had a fun job, a gas-saving car, and freedom from the hassles of the internet, which hadn’t been invented. My house should still have all its hair, a trim waistline, normal cholesterol, and no need for reading glasses, compression socks, colonoscopies, or help getting out of a comfy recliner. Then again, Jimi Hendrix never made it to twenty-eight, and neither did Janis Joplin or Robert Johnson. Maybe the cornercutting builder who threw my house together made a deal with the devil, and now the debt is mine to pay. It’s not supposed to work like that, but here I live, down at the crossroad of bad design, a long to-do list, and the ghost of the fixer friend who did more harm than good. As the song says: Baby, I’m sinkin’ down. And as I say: Baby, I’m climbin’ up that ladder. This house is giving me the blues.
MAY 10 , 2022 WILMINGTON CONVENTION CENTER
4 pm - 9 pm
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THE WILMA DASH
Wilmington’s only all-female 5K will wind through the streets of downtown and is great for first-time runners, walkers, and for seasoned runners looking for a personal best.
WILMA HEALTH FEST
Enjoy the ultimate Girls Night Out at the WILMA Health Fest, which includes interactive health booths from local exhibitors, food, drinks, awards and more!