April Spotlight

On the Moroccan Express
Photo by Jeff Janowski
Designer Sherry Black at her home in the Brooklyn Arts district.


Wilmington designer Sherry Black is working on the interior design of new downtown Wilmington restaurant, Marrakesh. With 18 years experience in décor, Black was contacted to help realize restaurateur Sam Raman’s vision for an authentic Moroccan atmosphere. She will adorn the 3,000-square-foot space with rich colors, various types of seating and 40 different fabrics.

Previously, Black has worked locally and internationally, having traveled to Amsterdam several times with Elle Magazine for designer show houses. She also worked for Gucci and her work has been featured in “Elements of Living” as well as “Details Magazine.”

“I would love for my work to be known, not necessarily me,” Black said. “I love to create a space that people love coming home to.”

– Samantha Freda


Dawn Ellis launches Share the TableFood and friendship for those in need

With over 30 percent of children living in poverty in Pender County, residents launched Share the Table, a new program serving free meals to families and individuals once a week. Meals are served every Sunday from 6 to 7 p.m. at Faith Harbor United Methodist Church in Surf City. The program is for anyone who needs food or friendly conversation.

“We want to build a community atmosphere where people feel comfortable and not judged, where they can come for a hot meal and friendly fellowship with no questions asked,” said Dawn Ellis, program leader. 

She leads the program with fellow residents Harriet Rice and Kathy Cantrell, volunteers from Faith Harbor’s congregation and in partnership with the Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina. Faith Harbor UMC is located at 14201 N.C. Highway 50 in Surf City.

– Samantha Freda




Ava TraskSpotlight: Ava Trask

Before moving to Wilmington in 1994, Ava Trask won several Junior Nationals soccer state titles for Georgia and Florida. With no world women’s team for the Olympics at the time of Trask’s college career, Trask competed for UNC Chapel Hill alongside Mia Hamm.

“I met so many great people through my experiences and went to so many different places,” Trask said. Due to a torn ligament, Trask stepped down from professional soccer leagues, yet remained active with traveling club teams and a growing family. “Athletics are so important,” she said. “We learn group dynamics and how to be a cohesive unit at an early age, both of which we need throughout life.”

– Maxann Keller





UNCW Provost Cathy Barlow retiresUNCW provost retires

Cathy Barlow will retire in June from her position as UNCW provost. She has worked at the university since 2000, originally as the dean of the Watson School of Education until 2009 when former Chancellor Rosemary DePaolo appointed Barlow as interim provost, a position that was made permanent one year later. She helped establish the College of Health and Human Services and the first-ever academic strategic plan at UNCW.

“Any successes I have experienced at this university have been the result of the great faculty, staff and students at UNCW with whom I have had the privilege to work so closely for the past 12 years,” Barlow said.

– Samantha Freda




When All the World is Old by John Rybicki

On the Lookout

Lookout Books launches its newest book on April 10. “When All the World is Old” by John Rybicki is a book of poetry with a narrative arc that takes the reader through his wife’s 16-year battle with cancer. Rybicki’s writes with visceral emotion and a raw honesty that illuminates a powerful bond between him and his wife, fellow poet Julie Moulds. Rybicki brings grace and light to his experience, honoring the love rather than the despair. Rybicki will visit Wilmington for a reading on April 15. (See Calendar pg. 35)

– Samantha Freda