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Leland Cultural Arts Center in design phase; set to open next year

A new cultural arts center is slated to open next year in Leland.

It’ll be Brunswick County’s only arts facility designed specifically for residents in the northern portion of the county.   As WHQR’s Rachel Lewis Hilburn reports, the renovation of the building will take place in phases – to eventually host activities ranging from pottery classes to line-dancing to theatre.

“I think it’s fantastic.  The space is incredible.  It’s much larger than I imagined driving by...I think it’s going to be a wonderful asset to the community.” 

That’s Leland resident Julia Featherstone.  She toured the partially- gutted building during a weekend Open House to get a preview and offer input on the kinds of activities she’d like to see there. 

Two years ago, the Town of Leland purchased the foreclosed property in Magnolia Greens for about one-third of its tax value.  Now Leland owns the building and the land outright.  And planners – in tandem with Wilmington Architects John Sawyer and Doug Sherwood -- are seeking public comment so that the new building design effectively serves the arts community. 

The biggest challenge, according to Town Council Member John Tait: 

“Money.  We want to do this in a staged way so that we don’t have to raise taxes to get the building completed.  We’re going to have to do a lot of fundraising and we’re going to have to get a lot of help from outside the town in order to get this building built and finished the way we want it.”

The budget isn’t yet final – but officials say they’ll also seek grants so that the project doesn’t become a burden for taxpayers. 

At Saturday’s Open House, the most-requested artistic pursuits were theater, dance, music and pottery.  

Rachel hosts and produces CoastLine, an award-winning hourlong conversation featuring artists, humanitarians, scholars, and innovators in North Carolina. The show airs Wednesdays at noon and Sundays at 2 pm on 91.3 FM WHQR Public Media. It's also available as a podcast; just search CoastLine WHQR. You can reach her at rachellh@whqr.org.