Local artists explore ENC diversity with unique creations

From a screenwriter responsible for one of the most popular horror franchises in history to a poet digging into her childhood roots in a small town in eastern North Carolina, creative minds from New Bern, Kinston and surrounding communities have brought their images, words and more larger than life creations to the world.

From world fame to future, here are five local artists who have used their talent and drive to turn dreams into adventurous careers.

Kevin Williamson, screenwriter, New Bern

New Bern native Kevin Williamson lent his talents to the TV show

Ever since New Bern native Kevin Williamson brought his hit series “Dawson’s Creek” to North Carolina to film for six seasons, Hollywood has followed his lead in the Tar Heel State.

Williamson left New Bern before starting high school, but returned to the area to attend East Carolina University where he earned a bachelor’s degree in theater arts.

In addition to “Dawson’s Creek,” Williamson also wrote the scripts for three episodes of the hit movie series “Scream,” as well as “The Vampire Diaries,” which premiered on The CW network in 2009 and is quickly become one of the network’s most streamed series. popular shows. Williamson also wrote the screenplays for the films “I Know What You Did Last Summer” (1997), “The Faculty” (1998) and “Cursed” (2005).

For more on Kevin Williamson’s film projects, visit https://www.imdb.com/name/nm0932078/

Helena Price, Photographer, New Bern

Though she’s worked with a US president, Silicon Valley CEOs and professional athletes, Helena Price’s journey into photography began in her hometown of New Bern with a disposable camera bought at Walmart.

In 2009, Price moved to San Francisco after graduating from NC State University to pursue public relations work in the tech industry. Her life took a turn in 2013 when she quit a job at a tech startup to pursue photography full time.

Since then, Price has built a career as an editorial, commercial and portrait photographer. To date, her work has been featured in magazines such as Time, Glamour, and Elle. She has also worked for Designer Fund, Dropbox, Nike and Uber, among other companies.

Learn more about Helena Price’s photographs at http://www.helenaprice.com/

Dick Knight, musician, Kingston

Kinston musician Dick Knight has played with some of the biggest names in soul, R&B and funk throughout his career.

The list of multi-instrumentalist musicians Dick Knight has backed reads like a who’s-who of late 20th-century musical legends, from funk pioneer James Brown to 1960s soul great Otis Redding and R&B queens. Dionne Warwick and Gladys Knight. But Knight’s most significant gig may well be as a bandleader and music teacher at Kinston, where he taught and influenced countless students.

A native of Georgia, Knight became the band principal at Savannah High School in Kinston after graduating from college at age 19. His first Kinston acquaintance was Nat Jones, James Brown’s musical manager, who quickly recruited him to the band.

After retiring from teaching in 2007, Knight once again dedicated himself to the stage. A recipient of the 2018 North Carolina Heritage Award, he is one of many musicians featured in the African American Music Trails of Eastern North Carolina and Kinston’s African American Music Park.

For more on Dick Knight’s musical career, visit https://www.ncarts.org/dickknight

Jonathan Bowling, sculptor, Greenville

Working with junkyard scrap, Greenville’s Jonathan Bowling creates works that are both surreal and gritty. Originally from Kentucky, Bowling came to Greenville in 1996 to pursue a master’s degree in sculpture at East Carolina University and has been working out of his Greenville studio ever since. Welded together from repurposed steel, Bowling’s rust-colored creations have become staples in the community and have been displayed statewide and nationally. His “Wind Up Toy” sculpture, a metal horse on wheels, adorns the front of the Pitt-Greenville airport, while other pieces have appeared in local magazines and promotional videos.

To learn more about Jonathan Bowling’s unique sculptures, visit https://jonathanbowling.com/home.html

Shirlette Ammons, musician/poet, Beautancus

Although currently known as a Durham-based artist, Shirlette Ammons credits her early years at Beautancus for helping to shape her work as a musician, poet and producer.

Her debut solo album, “Twilight for Gladys Bentley,” a “re-imaging” of 1920s blues singer Gladys Bentley, was released in 2013. Its follow-up, “Language Barrier,” was released in 2016 and features guest appearances. invited by The Indigo Girls and Meshell Ndegeocello, among others.

Ammons is a Cave Canem Fellow and a 2013 recipient of the North Carolina Arts Council Artist Fellowship. In a recent interview with the Arts Council, Ammons, who grew up singing in church, said of her formative years: “We didn’t have a lot of money, but we had a lot of space. , and we were really imaginative. I was always inclined to be creative and was always encouraged to be outdoors. So I grew up in a wonderful setting to be a creative person.

To learn more about the music and poetry of Shirlette Ammons, visit http://shirletteammons.com/

Journalist Todd Wetherington can be reached by email at [email protected] Please consider supporting local journalism by signing up for a digital subscription.

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