Precious Metal 2018

On Sunday, January 28, the Brooklyn Arts Center was packed wall-to-wall with gorgeous handcrafted jewelry, sculptures, and more from the region’s top creators for the third annual Precious Metal show. More than 400 shoppers came through to support Wilmington’s local community of metalsmiths, a wonderful turnout on a rainy Sunday! With more than 30 vendors in the church, there was truly something special for everyone.

Melissa Manley, who has been a vendor at all three Precious Metal events, offered jewelry, enamel pieces, and metal creations. “It’s an honor to be in this show,” said Manley. “This is not your average show! I talked with many people who were stunned at the level of craftsmanship and quality. I heard lots of people talking about what a phenomenal show it was.” Manley has been an artist for 25 years, and her experience shows. After taking a jewelry-building class, Manley “fell in love with the solitary crafting, manipulating a hard material, bending and shaping it to my will, to manifest a beautiful object that can serve a function.”

Another metalsmith, CJ’s Sea Shop, owned by Cameron Johnson, featured coastal-inspired handcrafted jewelry made with sea glass, copper, brass, sterling silver, and glass enamel. Johnson has been making jewelry her entire life, but turned it into a business just six years ago. “I started out beading, then I took classes to learn how to work with metal and enamel,” said Johnson. “I really love bright colors, so I was very attracted to enamel. I also really love stones, and I love setting them in silver, sometimes pairing them with sea glass.” While Johnson presented plenty of one-of-a-kind pieces at the show, her favorite was a Chrysoprase and sea glass pendant, which she knows went to a good home with one of her customers. “My favorite part about vendor events is getting out and meeting the people that come to the shows,” said Johnson. “Many want to know your process, what the materials are, what the stones are…”

The silent auction, featuring donated pieces by many of the vendors, benefitted Skywatch Bird Rescue and was a super success. Skywatch’s resident rooster, Sparky, enjoyed attention and snacks from show-goers as they placed their bids. The raffle drawings running all day made for some very happy shoppers—many asking for next year’s show date on their way out the door. We promise, you’ll be the first to know when next year’s details are finalized.

The 9th Port City Ping Pong Throw Down

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The Port City Ping Pong Throw Down 9 on Friday, January 26 was a smashing success, breaking the participation records for the previous eight Throw Downs with more than 100 players in the big bracket—and another 150 who came to cheer them on. The Wilmington Table Tennis Club has been hosting these Throw Downs at the BAC since 2013. They’re not getting any smaller! Or less popular!

Players began arriving to register and start warming up around 4:30 on Friday. Once registration closed, Wilmington Table Tennis Club member Phillip Nadeau “ran the 102 person double elimination bracket flawlessly, which is nearly an impossible feat!” according to a post by the WTTC after the event. Club President Laurance Nadeau was amazed by the turnout. “The record number of attendance was 96. This is the biggest Throw Down ever,” said Nadeau. “We’ve had the President of the USATT [USA Table Tennis] say that nationwide, this is a truly unique event, and he’s never been to an event as fun as the ones we hold here.”

While Nadeau says that the WTCC hosts the tournaments just to bring the table tennis community of Wilmington and surrounding areas together to play, it never hurts to sweeten the pot with prize money. This year, first place winner Yi Wong took home $250, second place winner Matt Worrell won $150, and third place winner walked out with $100. If you’re a player and want to get in on the action at next year’s Throw Down, you can start practicing with the WTTC right now. Just check out Wilmington Table Tennis Club on Facebook for scheduling and news updates.

Courtyards and Cobblestones


On January 14, the Brooklyn Arts Center was one of the featured venues in Wilmington’s most fabulous wedding event, Courtyards & Cobblestones. C&C highlights the most popular wedding venues in downtown Wilmington by assigning a unique team of creatives to each location with each team styling each venue differently to allow guests to browse through live portfolios.

Kickstand Events covered design and floral arrangements at the BAC, filling the room with bouquets so fresh you could smell them from the front doors. Brent’s Bistro provided sweet and savory snacks while guests were treated to live music by Uptown Easy. The church’s baker and cake decorator, One Belle Bakery, is a C&C veteran. “I actually launched my business at C&C 2013,” said One Belle’s owner, Anna Echols. “I remember printing business cards and launching my website 24 hours before my very first C&C. The event put me in front of so many brides and helped me get my name out.” 2018’s event was Echols’ sixth go ‘round, and she definitely has the preparation down to a science. “We always bring our most popular cake flavor, an Amaretto cake with Amaretto custard,” says Echols. “Our mini caramel apple pops are a huge hit with dessert bars at weddings, so we brought hundreds of those for people to sample as well.”

Another vendor—who you might remember from a “Say Hello to” in our September newsletter—videographers Luke and Christiana Brown of Light Cannon Films, said their favorite part of Courtyards & Cobblestones is always the people. Light Cannon has participated in five C&Cs, but this year was their first set-up at the BAC. “One thing that gets us really excited is meeting clients who have already booked us for the upcoming season,” said the Browns. “After emailing back and forth, it’s always fun to put a face to the name and interact in person.” Light Cannon Films now offers drone technology. This year, Luke brought the drone to leave on display, which attracted more male visitors than we usually get!”

The BAC’s creative team couldn’t have done a better job. With live music, fresh flowers, incredible cake pops, and excellent food by Brent’s Bistro, nobody in town had a better night than the guests at the Brooklyn Arts Center. One woman say this to her husband: “Is there such a thing as a two-year vow renewal? Let’s get married again at the BAC!”

6th Annual L Shape Lot Toys for Tots Drive


Let’s face it: when L Shape puts their mind to it, nobody rocks the house like they do.  And to prove that point, Wilmington’s very own L Shape Lot hosted their sixth annual Toys for Tots fundraiser at the Brooklyn Arts Center and blew the BAC away.  There were 700 people in the church, and they came to party.  They also came with toys.  How many toys?  More than 1,300 brand new toys for children who otherwise weren’t getting gifts this year.  There was a big pile of cash for the kids too.  Do we live in the best town with the best people?  We definitely do.  Do we have the best band?  We definitely do.  Check out these pictures and then mark your calendars for next year—December 15—because L Shape will be back and lots of kids are going to need your kindness.

An Evening with JD McPherson with Charley Crockett


On Thursday, December 7, the Brooklyn Arts Center hosted the retro-inspired rock and roll sounds of JD McPherson supported by honky tonk celebrity Charley Crockett with a show that brought the house down.

Honky tonk celebrity? Yep. Crockett is a direct descendent of Davy Crockett, except Charlie plays way better honky tonk. Crockett opened his set with a selection of songs from his newest record, Lil G.L.’s Honky Tonk Jubilee, and played a few cuts from his earlier albums. “People ask if I just play the blues,” Crockett said on stage. “I mean, I live in the country. I have the blues. And I do play music.” Crockett made the audience laugh out loud and dance like crazy. He finished his set to thunderous applause. 

JD McPherson’s newest album, Undivided Heart & Soul, featuring the single “Lucky Penny,” was released early October 2017. Although JD and the band love making records, they’ve built their fan base by getting out on the road. “We’ve sort of built our reputation on the live show,” said McPherson. “So, we’re really proud of that. It’s a lot of energy and a pretty eclectic mix of songs that have appeared across three records.” McPherson’s previous albums, Signs & Signifiers and Let the Good Times Roll, combine strong rhythm with rockabilly notes to create a listening experience you don’t want to miss—both live and recorded.

McPherson’s set list included songs from the new album and featured highlights from his two previous releases. “The more tours we do, we figure out what flows better together, so we’ve got it pretty well down pat now,” McPherson said. “Lucky Penny” from the new album, Undivided Heart & Soul, has more than 1,000,000 hits on Spotify. Highlights from the previous albums that made it into the set at the BAC included “Let the Good Times Roll” from the album of the same name, “Head Over Heels,” “Firebug,” “A Gentle Awakening,” and an encore featuring “North Side Gal.” 

This combination of artists created a unique audience—the youngest attendee danced with a sippy cup in hand—and while some guests danced out of the BAC as soon as the set was over, others lingered until well after the lights came up.

The Holiday Flea at BAC 2017


More than 50 North Carolina vintage vendors took control of the BAC Church and both floors of The Annex during the first weekend of December for the 2017 Holiday Flea at BAC. For the sixth year in a row, the Flea lived up to its name as the best vintage shopping event of the holiday season. Best holiday shopping anywhere? No doubt about it.

Fan favorites Susan’s Garden and The Coastal Succulent came to please with creatively potted succulents and cacti in containers ranging from tiny ceramic skulls to hand-painted bowls to colorful plastic dinosaurs. “The Flea is our favorite event of the year,” said co-owner Thurston Pope. “Every year we’re so impressed with the hospitality and great selection of other vendors.”

Paty Rivas, creator of beautiful handmade jewelry and other trinkets, has been participating in the Holiday Flea at BAC for years. “People are entering with the holiday spirit and shopping for Christmas gifts,” said Rivas. “It’s ideal.” Rivas has more than 18 years of experience with jewelry techniques such as glass fusing and metalsmithing and finds inspiration for new pieces when she travels.

This year’s coffee shop was created by Spoonfed Kitchen & Bakeshop, a fabulous new outpost near Wrightsville Beach. These kind and happy professional folks served up coffee, scones, giant cinnamon rolls, muffins, and more to vendors and shoppers alike. “We’ll definitely be doing more events at the BAC in the future,” said co-founder of Spoonfed, Matt Lennert. “We loved meeting all the vendors and got a lot of our own Christmas shopping done.” Thanks to Spoonfed, shoppers had the caffeine they needed to take on all three days of the event. And sugar too. They had plenty of sugar.

The raffle, which kept BAC Executive Director Rich Leder running from the prize table to the stage every 15 to 20 minutes the entire weekend, was an overwhelming success. Raffle items were donated by the vendors and included a bowling pin from Smitty’s Vintage, a 1970 Schwin bicycle from Curiosity Collectors, a hand-crafted bird house from Siggy Parker’s General Store, and much more.

As the magic of the holidays winds down, sending us into the colder, quieter months, there’s one thing keeping us going: the promise of BAC’s incredible, 2018 slate of community marketplace events starting in January with Precious Metal: one of a kind handmade jewelry by North Carolina most amazing metalsmiths. Did someone say Valentine’s Day gifts?

Spring Flea 2017


This year, 48 vintage vendors filled the church and The Annex with wonder and magic and treasures galore at The Spring Flea at BAC.  Just about 900 folks came to play with us, there was shopping aplenty, Bloody Mary and mimosa specials, Wilmington’s fabulous food trucks, Redeye Bakery, and the weather held out because, well, because it was The Spring Flea at BAC.  Check out the pics.  We had a blast!

Spring Flea 2016

Spring Flea 2016

Upcycled clockwork jewelry; refurbished, metal garden art; western wear; toy dinosaur plant-holders; stained glass...these were just a few of the fabulous, unique finds at this year’s Spring Flea at the BAC. Starting on Friday, June 3, and going strong through Saturday and Sunday, the BAC’s wildly popular, upscale, vintage flea market hosted 45 top, local vintage vendors, nearly 1,000 guests, food trucks, the BAC cash bar, and a Lativa Coffee Shop and lived up to its reputation of being the “coolest thing happening in town this weekend.”