National recognition, cooking it forward and creative learning

BY WBM Staff

Sea Spray
Sea Spray, 20 x 20 inches, oil on canvas.

National Recognition

Wrightsville Beach Painting Featured in Online Exhibition   

By Giovan Michael

The impressionist paintings of Nicole White Kennedy live somewhere between realms of photorealism and warm memories of summer days. Her work captures the everyday goings-on of Wrightsville Beach, and her subjects are real people.

A little girl with a bright yellow cap excitedly pulls her wagon on the sand, ready for the first day of summer. Two young boys wade in tidal pools, seemingly at peace with the world. A woman in an orange skirt that catches the sunset looks out toward the viewer as if recognizing an old friend. The playful way Kennedy poses her subjects evokes Norman Rockwell, but her mastery of color and her ability to balance light make the sunsets and washes of the ocean seem like the work of Monet. 

On May 20, 2020 Kennedy’s “Sea Spray” was recognized by the National Oil & Acrylic Painters Society. The painting is one of only 150 out of 1,500 entries accepted into NOAPS’ spring 2020 online exhibition. In the piece, Kennedy perfectly captures a sight familiar to any regular beachgoer at Wrightsville: a young woman with a surfboard, just coming in from a midday surf. From the shallow shore break to the golden color of the sand, “Sea Spray” immortalizes one of the best beaches in the world.

Cook it Forward

Local Restaurants Band Together in Response to Economic CrisIs

By Fritts Causby

To provide an avenue to show support for restaurant workers left unemployed by the mandated shutdown amid the COVID-19 pandemic, a number of North Carolina chefs have created the Cook It Forward NC movement in May.

Michael Overman of South Beach Grill acknowledges Brad Royal of Seaview Crab Company for his spicy dishes. Pictured is Royal’s soft-shell crudo with crunchy slaw and spicy coconut vinegar. Brad Royal.

With the use of the #cookitforwardnc hashtag to make it searchable on social media, local chefs and restaurateurs generate needed marketing exposure for their peers and at the same time raise awareness about the problems industry workers are facing.

The participating chefs and owners choose a favorite dish from a North Carolina restaurant other than their own and share it on social media. They nominate that dish’s chef or another to cook it forward and repeat the process. Chef James Doss and co-owner Sarah Doss of Wilmington’s Rx named Chef Craig Love’s clam chowder at Surf House in Carolina Beach.

“My husband and I love to spend time at Carolina Beach State Park,” Sarah Doss says. “Dinner or drinks at Surf House afterward has become a part of that tradition. Craig Love, Anna Lee Johnston and the rest of the Surf House team understand great hospitality, and that clam chowder dish was fabulous and made a lasting impression. We’re just really missing the things we love.”

Independent restaurant owners across the state have a deep appreciation for each other, and the #cookitforwardnc movement encourages community support of the industry through the NC Worker’s Relief Fund.

“The restaurant industry is in this together, and this is tough on every single one of us,” she says. “We’ve spoken with many other restaurant owners throughout this process, and have [also] banded together nationally to form the Independent Restaurant Coalition.”

Independent restaurants employ over 11 million people nationwide.

“Our industry has been crippled by this pandemic,” Doss says. “The IRC advocates for the specific type of relief that independent restaurants across our country need to reopen and rehire. The #cookitforwardnc movement, however, is specific to our state as is the N.C. Worker’s Relief Fund. If you follow the hashtag you’ll see restaurants all across our state supporting each other.”

Creative Learning

Kids Love Kits

By WBM Staff

For families continuing to observe stay-at-home protocols, Wrightsville Beach Museum has created activity boxes called Kids Club Kits. Museum staff are filling sturdy cardboard boxes with an assortment of themed items and instructions for an afternoon of fun for children ages 4 to 10.

Kids Club
Alex Sheats, Spencer Sheats and Lilian House play with Kids Club Kits activity boxes at Wrightsville Beach Museum. Allison Potter.

“They were developed as something the museum can offer when we are open or when we are closed, and a way to raise funds since we have been closed for so long,” says Madeline Flagler, Wrightsville Beach Museum of History executive director.

The boxes encourage discovery and learning. Each has instructions and at least five activities. Some may have dress-up activities. Others will engage users through the five senses, through storytelling, and/or through art and discovery.

“Even though we can’t host programs in person, Madeline really challenged us to think developmentally about the activities,” says museum assistant Lori Wilson. “We’ve created characters in the box instructions — Pirate Pete, Mermaid Princess Azalea, and Marine Biologist Mary — to guide the kids, as if we’re there with them.”

Boxes cost $25 each and are for sale at the Wrightsville Beach Museum of History with curbside pickup.

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