About Us

Our Mission

The mission of the Arts Council of Wilmington & New Hanover County 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.

Our 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

The Executive Director

Rhonda Bellamy is the founding executive director of the Arts Council of Wilmington/New Hanover County. Formerly, an award-winning news director, anchor and talk show host of 20+ years, she has recently launched “Around Town with Rhonda Bellamy” on WHQR Public Media.  

A co-founder of the Black Arts Alliance, Inc., Rhonda established the organization’s signature North Carolina Black Film Festival, which has honored her with its Lifetime Achievement Award.  She has also been honored with the City of Wilmington’s Living Legend Award and was recently named to the inaugural Wilmington Biz 100. 

In addition to acting and writing, the mother of two enjoys spending time with her four grandchildren.

The Board of Directors

Tom Priestley, Chair 

A native New Yorker. Tom Priestley has been active in the motion picture industry for over 50 years.  He is a member of the American Society of Cinematographers, the Directors Guild of America, and the Academy of Motion Pictures.  Some of his favorite movies that he worked on include Midnight Cowboy, The Exorcist, Network, Saturday Night Fever, A League of Their Own, The Thomas Crown Affair, and Amadeus (for which he was awarded Camera Operator of the Year (1984). 

Tom and his amazing wife Mary Anne have four children: Susan, Karen, Andrew, and Malia. He looks forward to serving the Wilmington/New Hanover County community.

Todd Atwood, Vice Chair

Todd Atwood is a retired marketing executive with Colgate Palmolive where he served a number of senior roles in Europe, Latin America and New York. He has served on a number of not for profit boards including chairman of The American Overseas School of Rome and Cape Fear Academy.  His wife, Carol, has played local board leadership roles with Good Shepherd, Lakeside, Bnai Israel, and Humanity Now. They have three children including Sylvia who is the artist in the family.

Jim Desmond, Treasurer (Coming Soon)

Liz Carbone, Secretary

Liz Carbone is the Community Coordinator for Good Shepherd Center, a local nonprofit organization addressing the issues of hunger and homelessness in the Cape Fear region. Liz received her Bachelors in International Studies with a concentration in Art and Literature from UNC Wilmington, where she is now pursuing a Masters in Public Administration with a focus in nonprofit management and public policy. In her spare time, Liz volunteers at the Cameron Art Museum and the Cape Fear Literacy Council. She is passionate about equity in arts programming and making the arts more accessible to under served communities. 

At-Large Board Members

Kim Adams

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 Program Specialist/Grants Manager for the City of Wilmington.

Lou Anne Liverman 

A native North Carolinian, Lou Anne Liverman and her family have called Wilmington home for 25 years.  She is a graduate of Meredith College (Raleigh, NC) with a BA, English/Communications; and of Cape Fear Community College (Wilmington, NC) with an AAS, Interior Design. Over the years, Lou Anne has established herself in the creative, artistic and business/retail communities of the Cape Fear region. Currently an independent Interior Designer (ASID), she has also been a contributing writer for Wrightsville Beach Magazine, Wilmington Magazine, Haven (Bald Head Island) and Focus on the Coast. In addition, Lou Anne is passionate about photography and has been awarded numerous honors for her images in various local art shows.

Jennifer Pate

Jennifer Pate grew up in Chicago, lived in Los Angeles for 25 years and now is proud to call Wilmington her home.  She was a professional dancer for over a decade appearing in such shows as Song and Dance, Mrs. Potiphar to Donny Osmond’s Joseph and spent a year on the Queen Elizabeth II just to name a few.  She then went on to being a casting director for Film and TV founding the casting company, “ColloffFishman and Britt” casting shows for creators such as Judd ApatowJoss Whedon and her husband Jonas Pate.  Jennifer then created, produced and hosted the Webby Award winning web series “Jen and Barb, Mom Life”, wrote the self help book, “The Mother of Reinvention”, was a contributor for both Rachel Ray and Katie Couric, starred in the HGTV series “Turnkey Renovation” and is now launching a new show called “Feel Ageless”.  She and her husband Jonas have two children; Cooper and Lilah and one furry baby Maddy.  

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.

Joey Toler

Joey is a retired arts administrator originally from Washington, NC where he served as Executive Director of Arts of the Pamlico, formerly the Beaufort County Arts Council. He has been involved with the arts in some capacity for most of his life. A graduate of Appalachian State University with a degree in Communication and Theatre, he currently also serves on the board of Panache Theatrical Productions. Past professional memberships and committee work include the North Carolina Presenters’ Consortium, Arts North Carolina, panelist for the North Carolina Arts Council’s Community Grassroots Grant, and Steering Committee for the 2007 AE/AIE Charter Conference in Charlotte, NC. He is a devoted advocate for the arts.

Jill Webb

Jill is a graduate of UNC Chapel Hill School of Journalism where she served as President of the Carolina Student Union.  She has worked in the film business where she was a Camera Assistant and Assistant Director. Previous board service includes Carolina Student Union, Cucalorus, CFA Family Partnership, and National Charity League.  She is an artist working mostly in murals and, when allowed, street art. She lives in Wilmington with her husband and two children.