Women to Watch: Arts Finalists

Meet the Women to Watch award finalists in the Arts category

Niki Hildebrand

Glass Artist | Island Arts Gallery and Studio

Glass artist Niki Hildebrand’s work can be seen in churches and pieces around Wilmington as well as around the country.

Hildebrand casts glass, blows commissioned glass, and repairs church windows.

This year, she has artwork going into the National Liberty Museum in Philadelphia and the Museum of Northwest Art in North Bend, Washington.

Hildebrand has been awarded several scholarships and funding to expand her processes.

She also volunteers for nonprofits and for-profits, including the Harbor Island Arts shows that she started in 2010 to showcase work of local artists.

She teaches lifelong learning classes at UNCW, has held nonprofit classes at the library, and collaborates with other artists on glass designs in Wilmington.


Jen Iapalucci

Director | Brunswick Little Theatre

Jennifer Iapalucci is a director of many of Brunswick Little Theatre’s musical productions. The productions consist of casts of about forty people, and she encourages families to audition and be a part of the show.

As a volunteer, she also has pitched in to perform, stage manage, make costumes and props, and any number of other behind-the-scenes jobs. She also has directed a small-cast comedy.

Iapalucci founded the Let’s PLAY! children’s theater workshop in 2013 for children through Brunswick Little Theatre. Originally a weekly program, it expanded to include a summer camp version and continues to operate during the school year.

When not working with the theater, she performs with her sister and brother-in-law in the band Motherboy.


Natalie Lentz

Programming Coordinator | Cucalorus Film Festival

Natalie Lentz first interacted with Cucalorus organizers during a Main Brain meeting, a weekly gathering of film festival staff, volunteers, and stakeholders. She quickly became a key volunteer for the festival and later ticket box manager.

With a master’s degree in interior architecture, Lentz volunteered to decorate the organization’s annual Evening on the Red Carpet event.

Lentz was named the festival’s programming coordinator earlier this year, and in the role she is in constant communication with artists and filmmakers from around the world to prepare for this year’s film festival in November.


Elizabeth Singletary

Collage Artist | Elizabeth Singletary Art

Elizabeth Singletary describes her work as painting with paper. A collage artist, she makes collages with pieces of torn magazine pages.

Her audience broadened in 2013 when she was named the official North Carolina Azalea Festival artist. Her work was the festival’s signature piece and appeared on that year’s event print. After her time as festival artist ended, she remained on as a committee member and volunteered this year as a celebrity escort.

Since then, she has completed works for a number of area nonprofits, donating pieces for auction and raffle items.

Singletary can even count Martha Stewart as a fan. She has one of Singletary’s pieces – made up of torn bits of Martha Stewart Living magazine – in her private collection.


Sara Westermark

Singer/Jewelry Artist | Westermark Voice Studio/Sara Westermark Jewelry

Sara Westermark is known not only for her skilled jewelry designs, but also as a lyric soprano/soloist in a number of community productions and concerts.

A classically trained singer with a master’s degree in voice performance from the University of Missouri-Columbia, Westermark has taught voice lessons for more than fifteen years.

She frequently appears as a soloist with the Wilmington Symphony Orchestra, American Guild of Organists, and Southeastern Oratorio Society. She also regularly sings at St. Paul's Episcopal Church. Westermark is a member of the National Association of Teachers’ of Singing.

On the jewelry end, her handmade metalsmithed jewelry is sold at local art galleries and regional trade shows.