Temporary Office Location

Our offices and all operations are currently being housed inside the Edna Boykin Cultural Center, located at 108 Nash Street, Wilson, NC 27893 during the renovation of the Wilson Arts Center.

Performing Arts

A variety of performances are staged at the beautifully renovated Edna Boykin Cultural Center in Historic Downtown Wilson by community groups and professionals alike. It is the home to many wonderful programs such as the ACT! For Youth, the Playhouse of Wilson, our own professional Boykin Series, and many more!

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Visual Arts

Between a variety of arts classes for both children and adults, rotating exhibits in each of our four galleries, and more, we have something for the artist in everyone!

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Classes

We offer an assortment of classes that focus on exploring the arts from every angle. From summer camps, workshops, acting classes, our Paint & Pour classes, and more, there is a place for anyone of all ages to learn, explore, and grow, all in the name of creativity in both the visual and performing arts!

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Battle Karaoke

Saturday, June 9
Doors open at 6 p.m., singing begins at 7 p.m.
The Edna Boykin Cultural Center
Tickets: $10, no extra charge for contestants. Available at Brewmasters and the box office at the Boykin Center

Mark your calendars, warm up your “pipes”, and make plans to join the Arts Council for its third annual Battle Karaoke fundraiser on Saturday, June 9th, generously sponsored by Farris & Farris, Brewmasters and Tig’s Courtyard! Event tickets are $10, and there is no extra charge to become a "contestant". Doors open at 6pm (come early to pick your song!) and the singing starts at 7 p.m.

The competition is on, with an amazing variety of vocal talent battling it out for bragging rights and fun prizes!! Young and old will face off and give it their all in this fun, family-friendly karaoke event. Brewmasters is bringing the “liquid courage”, and Tig’s catering will be on hand to feed the hungry crowd. There will also be non-alcoholic beverages and snacks available. You won’t want to miss this – even if you don’t want to sing, the show is worth the price of admission! There will also be 50/50 raffle tickets on sale, so attendees have the chance to bring home a wad of cash.
If contestants would like to prepare ahead of time, they may e-mail their song choice to the karaoke host, DJ Shannon, at battlekaraoke2018@gmail.com. He has a library of over 40,000 tunes, so everyone is sure to find something that fits their style!

A panel of local celebrity judges (including Adam Twiss, Liz Winstead, Caleb Skinner, Crissy Oravitz and Tam Johnson) will be awarding prizes in 6 categories: Best Overall, Best Pop/Rock, Best Country, Best R&B, Best Rap, and Best Everything Else That Doesn't Fit Into One Of The Other Categories (i.e., show tunes, gospel, jazz, etc.)

So gather your squad, your swagger, and your sense of adventure, and join the Arts Council for another fun night for a great cause! Tickets are available at Brewmasters or at the box office at the Boykin Center (and will be available at the door the night of the event). For more information, contact the Arts Council at (252) 291-4329.


Jazz Revival Project

The North Carolina Arts Council, The Arts Council of Wilson, the Vollis Simpson Whirligig Park, Comfort Inn and Suites, and Historic Downtown Wilson will present a free concert, The Jazz Revival Project, on Thursday, June 7 at the Vollis Simpson Whirligig Park in Wilson. The Jazz Revival Project is a new effort that recognizes and celebrates the jazz heritage of Wilson, which is part of the African American Music Trails.

Legendary jazz drummer, composer, and educator Bill Kaye will perform for the first time in his home town of Wilson. Kaye will also talk with community members about his journey as a musician during a public listening session on Wednesday, June 6 at 217 Brew Works.

Kaye was born Willie King Seaberry in Wilson in 1932. He learned to play drums during his tenure in the U.S. Air Force and has performed with jazz titans like Billie Holiday, Thelonious Monk, Lou Donaldson, and George Benson. A performer, composer, and educator, Kaye was the featured drummer for jazz workshops at the inaugural Newport Jazz Festival and is currently a music educator in the New York City public school systems through the Jazz Foundation of Americas Jazz Foundation in Schools program.

Kaye has never performed in Wilson. “I’m elated about it,” says Kaye when asked how he feels about the upcoming concert. He will be accompanied by jazz organist Clarence Palmer, Eric Dawson, and other seasoned jazz musicians who will be announced soon.
Save the date for these Jazz Revival Project events:

Coming Home: A Conversation with Billy Kaye and Clarence Palmer

Wednesday, June 6, 6–7:30 p.m.
217 Brew Works, 217 South Street, Wilson

North Carolina Central University drum instructor Thomas Taylor will host a listening session and interview with Billy Kaye and Clarence Palmer. This event is free and open to the public.  Sponsored by the Arts Council of Wilson, the Vollis Simpson Whirligig Park, Comfort Suites Hotel, 217 Brew Works, and the N.C. Arts Council.

Billy Kaye Live with the Jazz Revival Project

Thursday, June 7, 6:30–8:30 p.m.
The Vollis Simpson Whirligig Park
301 Goldsboro Street South, Wilson

Mayor Bruce Rose will open the performance, and the public are invited to bring their lawn chairs and enjoy this amazing (and free) outdoor concert featuring Wilson native Billy Kaye along with Clarence Palmer and others North Carolina musicians. Food trucks will be on site for those wishing to purchase a delicious dinner or snack, and there will also be beverages for sale. The rain location will be the Boykin Center downtown.


Annual Summer Community Musical: South Pacific

July 19, 20, 21 at 7:30 p.m., July 22 at 3 p.m.
Edna Boykin Cultural Center
Tickets: $20 for Adults, $15 for Students, Seniors, and
Military, $10 for Youth

The Arts Council of Wilson and Barton College are thrilled to present the eighth annual summer community musical: Rogers & Hammerstein’s classic South Pacific. This iconic piece of American theater first premiered in 1949 on Broadway and was an immediate hit, running for 1,925 performances. The production won ten Tony Awards, including Best Musical, Best Score, and Best Libretto, and it is the only musical production to win Tony Awards in all four acting categories. Its original cast album was the bestselling record of the 1940s, and several of its songs, including “Bali Ha’i,” “I’m Gonna Wash That Man Right Outa My Hair,” “Some Enchanted Evening,” and “I’m in Love with a Wonderful Guy;” have become popular standards. It was also made into a major motion picture in 1958, which was nominated for three Academy Awards.

Set against the dramatic background of an idyllic South Pacific island during WWII, South Pacific intertwines the themes of romance, duty, and prejudice to create a story that is all at once hilarious, heartbreaking, and thought-provoking. Based on James A. Michener’s 1948 semi-autobiographic novel, Tales of the South Pacific, the musical follows two intercultural love stories: Nellie, a spunky nurse from Arkansas who falls in love with Emile, a French plantation owner on the island who acts as a single father to his two children by his late Polynesian wife; at the same time, U.S. Lieutenant Cable falls in love with a beautiful island native named Liat. Both Americans find themselves struggling to reconcile the internal struggle between their own cultural prejudices and their amorous feelings, all the while under the dark cloud of a war that is coming ever closer to their island paradise. Supporting characters, including a comic petty officer and the Tonkinese girl’s mother, help to tie the stories together.

The production will be produced by Adam Twiss, with choreography by Trish Bradshaw and stage/musical direction by Caleb Skinner.

Auditions

Audition dates will be May 14 and 15 with grades K-5 auditioning from 5:30–6:15 p.m. and all other actors from 6:30–9 p.m. Callbacks will be held on May 17 from 6–9 p.m. Please come with a headshot and be prepared to sing and dance (please dress comfortably!). Music will be taught during the auditions, but familiarization with the score is always encouraged. There are roles available for performers of all ages. The cast of characters with vocal ranges is listed below.

Nellie Forbush (A young U.S. Navy nurse) – Mezzo-Soprano
Emile de Becque (A middle-aged expatriate French planter) – Baritone
Lt. Joseph Cable (A young Marine officer) – Tenor
Liat (A young Tonkinese woman) – Spoken Role
Bloody Mary (Liat’s mother; an island wheeler-dealer) – Mezzo-soprano
Seabee Luther Billis (An entrepreneurial sailor) – Baritone
Ngana (Emile’s young daughter) – Girl Soprano
Jerome (Emile’s young son) – Boy Treble
Capt. George Brackett (Military commander of the island) – Spoken Role
Cmdr. William Harbison (Brackett’s executive officer) – Spoken Role

There is a large chorus consisting of nurses, Marines, and islanders with opportunities for spoken dialogue and solos. If you have any questions, please contact the Arts Council of Wilson at (252) 291-4329.


Arts Council of Wilson welcomes Cathy Brown Hardison as new Executive Director

Hello, everyone! I am truly honored and proud to have been awarded the title of Executive Director at the Arts Council of Wilson. Returning to the community where I was born and raised is both surreal and exciting.

Let me take this opportunity to tell you a little bit about myself. I currently live in Walstonburg with my husband and two dogs - a corgi and a peekapoo. I enjoy a variety of creative mediums but gravitate toward oil painted portraiture. Painting, playing games, eating delicious food, and boxing are among my favorite pastimes.

I was born and raised in Lucama, went to Hunt High School, took martial arts at Dong’s for several years, and worked at Chick-Fil-A. I left to attend East Carolina University where I received my BFA in Painting and Drawing and minored in both Business and English. I have worked for Emerge Gallery & Art Center, home of the Pitt County Arts Council in Greenville, NC, in a variety of positions for over seven years. In addition to my full-time position at Emerge, I have also had the valuable experience of working four years with downtown Greenville’s revitalization organization, Uptown Greenville. My positions with both organizations were very multi-faceted, and included fundraising, grant writing, marketing, program development, financial management, festival and event planning, creating public art with at-risk youth, and providing art experiences to adult and pediatric cancer patients.

I have loved all seven-plus years of my time at Emerge, working with my best friends and putting our hearts and souls into the arts community in Pitt County. As you can imagine, it is heart wrenching to leave that behind - but this new adventure promises an incredible opportunity for collaboration and will allow me to bring my experience back to my beloved hometown and stretch and hone my skills as a mover and a shaker in the arts. The current cultural climate in Wilson is exciting and absolutely teeming with growth potential. Assuming the mantle of Executive Director at an organization older than I am, with fifty years of experience and tradition behind it, will be daunting and challenging -- but well worth the effort. I look forward to getting to know everyone as we run this race together, using the arts to further develop Wilson’s local flavor and increase quality of life and a thriving economy for all.

Sincerely,
Cathy Brown Hardison
Executive Director


Parking Availability

Street parking is available on Tarboro, Nash, and Pine Streets. Parking is also allowed in the Farris & Farris Attorneys and Thomas & Farris Attorneys lots off of Tarboro Street and BB&T front lot off of Nash Street or Pine Street. 126 Nash Street parking lot next to the theater is private and for use by Wilson Times employees. Please do not park in this area.


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