Wake Forest residents make cultural arts center their own

sbarr@newsobserver.comJuly 16, 2014 

  • Want to go?

    What: Writer’s Night featuring Flora J. Solomon, author of “A Pledge of Silence”

    Where: Renaissance Centre, 405 S. Brooks St.

    When: Thursday, 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.

    Cost: Free

— A new literary series debuts Thursday at the Renaissance Centre, part of a growing level of community interest in how to use the new cultural arts space.

The center opened in the fall and began hosting events earlier this year. Residents are increasingly aware of its offerings and its potential uses, said Pamela Stevens, the center’s manager.

“It’s amazing the people that are hearing about it and coming to us with their ideas,” she said.

The literary series, a monthly “Writer’s Night,” will offer a twist on the traditional book club model by inviting the entire community to join in a conversation with the author of each selection.

Suzanne Lucey, a Wake Forest resident who helped organize the series, said she hopes the events will be a gathering place for readers and authors alike to share ideas and encourage each others’ creative pursuits.

“I want it to be about a writer’s community,” she said.

Lucey and the series co-creator, Terry Trummer, initially approached the staff at the center about an occasional literary festival but were quickly encouraged to think about more frequent programming, too.

For Lucey, that was no problem at all.

“Authors are my rock stars,” she said.

The initial Writer’s Night will feature Flora J. Solomon, author of “A Pledge of Silence,” a novel based on the lives of American military nurses who served in the Philippines during World War II.

Aaron Coalson, another Wake Forest resident, approached the center about a monthly film discussion series. The series will begin with a screening of “Silver Linings Playbook” on Sept. 11. The viewing will be bookended by short discussions about its themes.

“Film is a great medium for conveying ideas about life, faith and perspectives on culture,” he said.

Stevens said town officials expect to begin a master planning process for the center soon that looks at how the population will grow and the demographics of the area, to help anticipate programming needs.

The Board of Commissioners also will vote this week on the formation of an advisory board for the center. Members of the board will make programming and policy recommendations as well as promote the center in the community.

Barr: 919-836-4952; Twitter: @barrmsarah

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