Front-Row Seat

Ghostlight Series brings performances home

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The performing arts are still alive in Wilmington. Thanks to the Ghostlight Series, local and regional artists are featured on the Wilson Center’s Facebook through live video concerts, YouTube pages, and on WHQR.

Through the series, every evening a different performing artist, including musicians, actors, theater troupes, comedians, and others, present a 25-minute performance.

The Ghostlight Series was created by the Cape Fear Community College Wilson Center and the Arts Council of Wilmington/New Hanover County to support artists impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Because of our area, which is an arts destination, we are seeing a larger impact than others that don’t depend on the arts and tourism,” says RHONDA BELLAMY, the Arts Council’s executive director.

“We’re able to have the greatest impact on the type of artists who lost gigs over night. They are cobbling together a full-time job, multiple gigs, and every one of those gigs closed up. Often, they are trying to make it to the next gig. There is no next gig.”

The Arts Council accepts donations, which can be made online, to help replace the artists’ lost income. The donations accrue each week are distributed among the artists who performed during that time period

In addition to helping artists financially, the series fills another important role—it gives performers a new venue in which to display their work, attract new audiences, and reconnect with fans.

LEME NOLAN, an R&B, country, soul, gospel, and funk singer who regularly performs in Wilmington, Fayetteville, and Havelock, says being selected for the Ghostlight Series will help her in multiple ways.

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A performer who loves to interact with the audience, Nolan normally has a minimum of three gigs a month at local restaurants, upscale lounges, private parties, weddings, and corporate events. In the wake of COVID-19, all of her gigs dried up.

Nolan says the Ghostlight Series gives her an opportunity to touch base with her supporters, who miss hearing her sing. She also hopes her appearance in the series will help her acquire new fans from the Wilson Center’s large, eclectic audience. And, of course, she welcomes the income.

“I’m really excited to be in the Ghostlight Series,” Nolan says. “I needed the extra money, and it gives me additional exposure. More exposure equates to more gigs.”

“This could be a blessing in disguise, and I so appreciate the Wilson Center and the Arts Council doing this.”

Next performances include James Jarvis on Friday, Dubtown Cosmonauts on Saturday and special guest Tony Rivenbark on Sunday. All performances start at 7 p.m.

Previous performances, like that of Leme Nolan, can be found on the Wilson Center Facebook page.

Though the Ghostlight Series has started in a time of distress, Bellamy can see it, or something similar, remain into the future.

“There’s every likelihood that something in this vein will continue across the country,” she says. “Artists are always innovators and creators. So many of the artists already had videos. This is the wave of the future. This is another way to stay connected to our audiences.”

To get a front-row seat at the Ghostlight Series or to donate, go to wilsoncentertickets.com/ghostlight/.


To view more of photographer Terah Wilson’s work, go to terahwilson.com.

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