WILMINGTON — Kristen Brogdon and Chancellor Dr. Jose Sartarelli couldn’t ignore the fact that the University of North Carolina at Wilmington’s normally animated campus became very quiet during the summer months. This was the one detail that sparked the idea within the school’s artistic community to host an event that celebrated elements of Wilmington’s music, opera, poetry, dance, theater and film affiliations — the “Lumina Festival of the Arts.”
Brogdon, UNCW’s director of the Office of the Arts, said plans for this festival started over a year ago and are finally coming to a head this Friday, July 14 with the kickoff showcase.
The showcase will be a display of students’ progress after a jazz workshop summer camp that started earlier this week. After spending some time contributing to the workshop, Saxophonist, Jeff Coffin, from The Dave Matthew’s Band, will be playing alongside the students.
A few days later, the festival will introduce another musical presentation, “Mozart Jubilee,” brought by Opera Wilmington’s Orchestra and Chorus.
Another earlier production in this nearly half-month celebration includes a poetry jam by Wilmington’s Black Arts Alliance. Though these jams often happen at Cameron Art Museum, Brogdon wanted to extend an invitation to hold the event at the college’s Kenan Auditorium, which also adds a creative writing component to the festival.
“It’s not so much an open mic, but should be really fun and still participatory, because the poets will invite a lot of audience response,” Brogdon said about the slam-style performance.
For thespians, The Lumina Festival of the Arts offers its rendition of Shakespeare’s comedy, “Much Ado About Nothing.” According to Brogdon, her and the other UNCW departments were especially involved with this play, serving as adjuncts to its planning from start to finish.
But, Brogdon clarified the hard work has been rewarding as she watches everything come together.
“There’s something that’s really creatively fulfilling about being involved in the whole process,” Brogdon said about assisting with the play’s casting, daily rehearsals, and housing of some of the actors.
Conveniently enough, UNCW Assistant Professor of Theater Chris Marino noticed the similarity in set design for “Much Ado About Nothing” and Georges Bizet’s Opera, “Carmen.” Thus, during the second week of this artistic celebration, Opera Wilmington will take the stage again to deliver its version of the famous French story.
Opera Wilmington was of the earliest organizations that agreed to the idea of UNCW featuring artistic talent in the area. Earlier this year, the group became a resident company of UNCW, providing students, faculty and staff the opportunity to learn and help with shows, and in return, utilizing UNCW’s stage space for performances.
The festival will include several opportunities to appreciate the art of dance with two separate showcases — one put on by the International Ballet Academy, and the other by The Dance Cooperative. There will also be a Salsa Party hosted by Wilmington Latin Dance.
Thought the tickets for most of the events are $20 and under, the most economical of the activities will be the two free Cucalorus outdoor film screenings, and a Seahawk Family Arts Matinee performance of “Broccoli Brothers Circus,” at $5 per ticket.
There will be an activity going on almost every day for the rest of this month, so if you find yourself looking for something to do or wanting to escape the heat, hit some of the theaters on the UNCW campus. An entire schedule can be found online.