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CFCC's Performing Arts Center Projected to Keep More Entertainment Dollars in Local Economy

Cape Fear Community College
Artist's Illustration of Cape Fear Community College's Humanities and Fine Arts Center. The building is slated to open in 2015.

Construction of southeastern North Carolina’s newest performing arts venue is well underway in downtown Wilmington.

Once it opens in 2015, the Humanities and Fine Arts Center at Cape Fear Community College will become the area’s largest facility for performing arts. 

The 1500-plus-seat theater will be able to host productions that otherwise wouldn’t come to Wilmington.  But local theaters won’t have to compete for a shrinking pool of ticket buyers, says Shane Fernando, Director of the new Center.  The number of people who live in the Cape Fear region and travel to the Durham Performing Arts Center for a show is already sufficient to pack local venues. 

"Imagine keeping those dollars home and investing them here in downtown Wilmington.  We’re in talks now to route a lot of DPAC-caliber performances to the new performing arts center…  We’re not having to expand the pie.  We’ll just be keeping the dollars here and actually keeping things local."

Tony Rivenbark, Executive Director of nearby Thalian Hall, says the Center will increase the demand for ancillary businesses – such as restaurants.  But even without the new hall, he says, audiences are already expanding. 

"And then you look at Brunswick County, and Pender County and Onslow County.  We are already drawing from as far south as Myrtle Beach and as far north as Atlantic Beach on a regular basis for events at Thalian Hall.  If you have name artists that really capture people’s imagination at the new hall, then you’re going to have people coming from those areas, too.  So the pie gets bigger."

Tony Rivenbark and Shane Fernando appeared on the July 30th edition of CoastLine.  To listen, follow this link: 

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.