With an abundance of art galleries in downtown Wilmington alone, and countless exhibits throughout the year, there’s no denying ILM’s art community has become part of the fabric our local culture. The Port City is known for offering a variety of opportunities for visitors and residents alike to immerse themselves in nearly every form of art. Communal love and appreciation continues to grow, but it’s not always an option for the average citizen to purchase the art that captured their hearts. The Brooklyn Arts Center in downtown Wilmington is offering a solution to this dilemma with their annual Art for All show. This year’s event is held on Saturday, Feb. 18 and Sunday, Feb. 19. Artists and crafters from all over the region as they sell original fine art for $250 or less.
In her first year with the Brooklyn Arts Center, event coordinator Rebecca Harrelson has worked to bring everything together for BAC’s seventh sale. “We will have an array of work at varying prices,” Harrelson states. “We included many painters of all mediums and styles, many gorgeous potters, great sculptors, and glass artisans.”
Fifty artists will align the venue. A few participating regional vendors include Southern folk-art painter Candy Pegram, photographer Megan Deitz, painter Barton Hatcher, and potter Liz Kelly. “The goal of every show is to be diverse in its common theme,” Harrelson continues.
Art for All has become exceedingly popular among ILM citizens, with last year’s event garnering over 1,200 attendees throughout the course of two days. The concept of the show came when BAC’s executive director, Rich Leder, was inspired after the departure of another beloved art sale.
“When I first moved to Wilmington, the hippest downtown art show was called ‘Art for the Masses,’” he says. “Every year, it was located in a different venue. Around the time we opened the BAC, Art for the Masses disappeared.”
Originally started by Matthew Dols—a local photographer who has since moved out of the country to work worldwide—Art for the Masses went on hiatus. So Leder created his own version to take its place.
“I added food trucks, a BAC cash bar and a multiprize raffle, and we played cool tunes throughout the event,” Leder states of his tweaks. Art for All grew into a perennially popular event. Then one day Art for the Masses reconstituted itself as a UNCW event, held every November.
“Now there are two big, awesome art shows for our town—one is downtown’s cutting edge art show and the other is hosted by the university,” Leder adds. “What an excellent town we are!”
As seen in Leder’s vision for Art for All, the event will feature Catch the Food Truck, an open cash bar, and Lativa’s coffee stand on both Saturday and Sunday. Admission is $5, which will provide entry to both days; kids under 12 are admitted for free. An upgrade to the event for 2017 is the additional building to BAC, The Annex. It opened a few months ago and has been hosting local concerts, smaller weddings and gatherings. “Now that we have The Annex open, each show is bigger than in the past,” Harrelson notes.
For the chance to purchase original, hand-crafted pieces of fine art for $250 or less, the Brooklyn Arts Center will be open for their seventh Art for All event on Saturday from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. and Sunday from 12 – 5 p.m.
“Here in Wilmington, I absolutely couldn’t imagine a better place to be to help the arts community and to bring happiness to people’s lives,” Harrelson says. “Sharing in art and music, building friendships and connections truly does wonders for a city.”