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Virginia Wright-Frierson is the official artist of the 2018 NC Azalea Festival WILMINGTON, NC (Press Release) – Virginia Wright-Frierson, designer of the beloved Minnie Evans tribute sculpture garden and Bottle Chapel at Airlie Gardens, has unveiled the official artwork of the 2018 North Carolina Azalea Festival.Virginia states, “I am delighted that every year, the North Carolina Azalea Festival commissions an original art work for its Spring celebration. We are a community so rich in Coastal beauty and creativity. Each year we come together in April to celebrate the return of the Spring season with this unique festival, always evolving with the times while still celebrating traditions that reflect our local beauty and talents. A parade, tours of homes and gardens, art exhibits, concerts, and our breath-taking trees and flowers. Nothing is more typical of Wilmington than our azaleas, thriving and abundant despite our changing climate. The ones I have painted for this year’s poster, with oils on paper, are from one single twig which featured peach, coral, the palest pink, white and striped buds and flowers. The diversity of these amazing flowers can be enjoyed all over parks and neighborhoods in Wilmington at this time of year, and truly deserve a festival in their honor!”- Advertisement – Virginia’s artwork was unveiled as part of the Arts Council of Wilmington & NHC’s monthly Fourth Friday Gallery Walk. These self-guided tours of multiple galleries is a coordinated marketing effort which has made downtown Wilmington a popular destination for art lovers. The Festival unveiling was held at Expo 216, a specialty museum whose mission is to encourage conscious living through the heightened awareness of social and environmental issues.Festival President Justin Wolfe chose Virginia as the official artist because of her connection to our community. “When I started researching and asking people in the arts world who should be our artist, Virginia’s name kept coming up. She has done amazing works of art for our community, so it seemed a natural fit to ask her to create something for the Azalea Festival as well,” said Justin.“I am also very excited about our partnership with the Arts Council and Expo 216. Through this partnership we were able to bring the Azalea Festival to the arts community. We are honored our artwork was displayed during the Fourth Friday Gallery Walk, and hope this opens the door to many more collaborations,” said President Wolfe.Related Article: Azalea Festival named among top 20 events in April in the southeastSigned, limited edition prints of the official 2018 North Carolina Azalea Festival artwork are available at the Festival Ticket Office for $50.00, while supplies last.The Official Art Unveiling is one way the North Carolina Azalea Festival achieves its mission in celebrating our community’s rich array of artwork, gardens, history, and culture. The Festival is also proud in celebrating our community’s youth who demonstrate a love for the arts. The Azalea Festival’s Youth Art Contests are already underway – each year over 300 public, private, and home-schooled elementary and middle school students, grades K-8, submit their artwork to the contest, illustrating the traditions of the North Carolina Azalea Festival that mean the most to them.New for the 2018 Festival there is an added a high school division; thereby giving all youth the opportunity to show their artist talents.The winning artists in the elementary, middle, and high school categories receive various notable prizes, and select schools are treated to a visit from the Azalea Festival Official Artist, Virginia Wright-Frierson. The deadline for Youth Art Contest submissions is January 13, 2018. Winners will be notified in February. For more information on the contest, please visit our website at ncazaleafestival.org and look under “Events” and “Races, Tours, and Contests.”For more ways for youth to get involved in the Festival, check out the High School Writing Contest, the Azalea Festival Youth Committee (AFYC), and the Scholarship Pageant.