December Spotlight

Area newsmakers

Golden is next Azalea Fest artist

MARY ELLEN GOLDEN will be the featured artist for the 2016 North Carolina Azalea Festival, organizers announced in November.

Her watercolor of a springtime scene of the downtown Wilmington waterfront also was recently unveiled as the festival painting. It will be featured in limited edition prints sold through the festival.
Golden opened a studio gallery in 1977 in The Cotton Exchange and teaches classes in water technique. A member of the Wilmington Art Association, the Watercolor Society of North Carolina, and an associate of the American Watercolor Society, her works appear in many corporate collections.

“We experience all sorts of beauty in flowers: color, shape, fragrance, the associations and memories which come crowding in,” she says. “This seeing and feeling experience is the most important part of being an artist.”

– Vicky Janowski


Mame takes the stage this month

Local actress JAMIE SCHRAFF (left) plays the title character in Thalian Association’s upcoming production of the musical Mame.

Thalian Association’s staging of the play coincides with big milestones for the comedy. This year marks the sixtieth anniversary of the book Auntie Mame by Patrick Dennis that the musical and movie were later based on. And coming up next year is the fiftieth anniversary of its debut on Broadway.

“While Mame is not a holiday show the way some of the other classics are,” says Thalian Association Artistic Director David Loudermilk, “what better show to do than the one that originated the song ‘We Need a Little Christmas’?”

The show runs Thursdays-Sundays December 10-20 at Thalian Hall. Info:

– Vicky Janowski


Girls start competitive robotics team

A few months ago, robotics team Tordis – a play on Doctor Who’s Tardis – became the first competitive, all-girl robotics team in Wilmington.

It will compete in the FTC, or FIRST Tech Challenge, which is sponsored by FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology). The girls have been working on a robot able to perform the tasks required for the upcoming competition.  

Students in grades seven through twelve who are a part of the FTC combine knowledge in science, technology, engineering, and math to create their robots.

“It’s an area where girls need more encouragement,” says Shelia Casterline, team leader of Tordis. “In middle school, they start to kind of lose that self-awareness and believing in themselves.”

Organizers say the participants also learn to work as a team, and by working alongside adult mentors, the girls gain practical, hands-on experience.

– Dianna Dames


Pickard named officer in state realtor group

SHERRI PICKARD was elected regional vice president of the North Carolina Association of Realtors to represent the Wilmington region.

Pickard, the managing broker of the Wilmington office of Coldwell Banker Sea Coast Advantage, is also the 2015 president of the Wilmington Regional Association of Realtors.

NCAR is a trade association that “works to preserve and promote the right to own, transfer and use real property; maintain a leadership role in the legislative, political and regulatory process; promote and maintain the highest ethical standards; develop and provide the best education, products and services and promote housing affordability,” officials say.

Pickard earned an MBA in finance from New York University and is a graduate of the Realtor Institute. She has been a sales agent with Coldwell Banker Sea Coast Advantage since 2008.

– Jenny Callison