The Executive Director
Rhonda Bellamy has served as interim executive director from December 2011 when the arts council was launched until being appointed to the permanent post in July 2012. A founding Steering Committee member and former co-chair of Wilmington City Council’s Task Force on Arts and Cultural Affairs, Bellamy has served on a variety of arts-related boards, including the Black Arts Alliance, Inc. and the North Carolina Black Film Festival, both of which she co-founded. She also served two non-consecutive terms on the board of directors of Cameron Art Museum. In addition to her work in the arts, she has more than 20 years of experience in broadcast news. She previously served as news director for Cumulus Media’s five station radio cluster in Wilmington, as well as hosting a daily talk show. Bellamy has also authored and edited three books.
A graduate of North Carolina Central University, she has been honored as Women of the Year-New Hanover Human Relations Commission, YWCA Woman of Achievement in the Arts, and was named one of the 50 Most Influential Arts Leaders (Stars News).
The Board of Directors
- Ed West, Chair
Ed West is an attorney with Brooks Pierce. He has been recognized by his peers for inclusion in Business North Carolina’s 2015, 2016 and 2017 “Legal Elite” in the area of criminal law and in the 2017 edition of The Best Lawyers in America© in the area of Litigation and Controversy – Tax. He is also a member of the Board of Advisors of the Wilson Center for Leadership in the Public Interest, Hampden-Sydney College and a member of the Southeastern Economic Development Commission.
- Kim Adams, Secretary
A 1984 Journalism and Communications graduate of Point Park University, Kim started her career as a general assignment reporter for the Pittsburgh Courier before she became part of an award-winning public relations and marketing team at the Pittsburgh Zoo and PPG Aquarium. She became the assistant director of Community Services, Outreach and Education for the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust where her original programs ‘Cultural Crawl; Kids’ Night on Broadway; and Arts Pass for College Students” are still implemented. Kim accepted the position as communications manager for Sustainable Pittsburgh, a small “think tank” whose role was to impact regional decision-making through commissioning studies and rolling out reports in partnership with such organizations as The Brookings Institute; PolicyLink and Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity. It was Sustainable Pittsburgh who first commissioned Richard Florida. Kim currently serves as the downtown services specialist for the City of Wilmington.
- Fern Bugg
Currently self-employed, Fern’s business experience includes managerial marketing and advertising positions with Fortune 500 companies including Gulf + Western, J. C. Penney, and United Insurance Companies prior to running Studio 6 Advertising Agency. Academically, Fern holds a BS in Business from UNC-Chapel Hill, MBA from UT-Austin, MA in English from University of North Texas (UNT), and an “ABD” PhD from UNT. She volunteered in Denton, Texas with The Benefit League, The Animal Shelter Foundation, and served as a Board Member of AIDs Services of N. Texas. Fern acts as an unofficial social director in Wilmington, and keeps on top of the cultural and social happenings to an amazing extent.
- Richard Crow
Richard Crow is general counsel for Castle Branch, a consumer reporter and compliance management firm. He holds degrees from North Carolina Central University and Florida State. He resides in Wilmington with his wife and two boys.
- Tom Priestley
- Deloris Rhodes
Deloris is Outreach Liaison for the Watson College of Education, UNCW. She is a former teacher, guidance counselor, principal, and assistant superintendent in schools districts in Virginia, North Carolina, Massachusetts, California, Illinois and Department of Defense Schools . She earned degrees and certifications from Livingstone College, California State university, Auburn University, and University of Virginia Administrative Certification program. Additionally, she studied at Exeter College, Oxford England. She is married to former New Hanover County School Board member Nick Rhodes. They have two children and five grandchildren who live in Charlotte, North Carolina and Fairfax Virginia.
- Loulie Scharf
Loulie Scharf is a full-time artist and art instructor living in Wilmington, North Carolina. She is a Georgia native, and her two lifelong passions are art and animals. Loulie owned a large-scale art school and now teaches mixed media at the Cameron Art Museum while painting commissioned portraits and developing a body of work. She uses her art as a way to raise funds and awareness for animals. She is involved in a variety of roles at Cape Fear Academy, and also currently serves on the Board of the local chapter of the National Charity League, an organization of moms and daughters who volunteer together. Loulie’s family includes a happy and supportive husband, two energetic teenagers and seven rescued animals.
- Jeffrey Schrager
Jeffrey Schrager is the owner of Schrager Capital Management of Omaha, Nebraska. He is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business. He and his wife, Dr. Anne York, have recently located to Wrightsville Beach.
In 2008, representatives of several local arts organizations invited the N.C. Arts Council to facilitate a process to create an arts council in Wilmington. The Arts Council of the Lower Cape Fear had closed its doors in 2002.
Guided by N.C. Arts Council staff, the local steering committee led a three-year effort to build a sustainable foundation. An intensive research phase resulted in a comprehensive report and recommendations that position arts and cultural traditions as economic drivers for the region.
More than 70 in-depth interviews with artists, arts leaders, and civic and business leaders, as well as a feedback from 180 citizens who participated in an online public survey, indicated overwhelming support for an arts council to develop and promote the area’s arts and cultural assets.
The creation of an arts council in Wilmington — dedicated to supporting artists, arts organizations and boosting the local economy through the arts — means that all of the top 10 most populous counties in North Carolina now have local arts councils that are catalysts for economic development.
The mission of the Arts Council of Wilmington & NHC is to support artists and arts organizations through innovative public/private partnerships that support jobs, stimulate commerce, and showcase the region as an arts destination.
The Arts Council of Wilmington’s core functions:
- to establish the region as an arts destination
- to promote arts-driven economic development,
- to significantly contribute to quality of life in the region,
- to provide a stream of funding to support the sustainability of artists and arts organizations
- to facilitate communication and collaboration within the arts community, and
- to advocate for the arts at the local, state and national levels
Steering Committee Members
- Kim Adams
- Rhonda Bellamy
- Mary Bradley
- Anne Brennan
- Dan Brawley
- Philip Gerard
- Laura Padgett
- Owen Wexler
- Tracy Wilkes