Mims Art Gallery at NCWC to Showcase Durham Artist


ROCKY MOUNT, NORTH CAROLINA — Equines and Abstracts, recent paintings by Laura Berendsen Hughes, will soon be adorning the walls of the Mims Art Gallery on the campus of North Carolina Wesleyan University. Durham artist, Laura Berendsen Hughes, is exhibiting her dramatic and monumental silhouettes of horses and abstract expressionist paintings from March 3, 2022 – March 6, 2022. A reception will be held from 5:00-7:00 p.m. on Thursday, March 3 to celebrate the opening of this stunning exhibit.

An acrylic painter, Laura’s recent work features both equines and abstractions. Categorically, her works of art reveal her painterly “dance” (so to speak) between their designedly structure and freedom. Her classical silhouettes of horses are realized in wild color and improvisational brush strokes. With creative skills from many years working as a graphic artist, Laura’s abstract expressionist works engage us with an exciting, tensional equilibrium between hard-edge form and the freeing dynamic of loose brushwork. In both equines and abstract expressionist works, you will see an uncompromising point of excellence found in her exploration of the aesthetic process. 

Regarding beauty, Laura states, “Beauty isn’t the same as prettiness. For me, beauty is deeper and must contain chaos, decay and imperfection.” About her work she says, “What looks intuitive and spontaneous in my work actually starts with a computer sketch. As an unapologetic copyist, I steal brush stokes, colors, shapes and techniques from my other paintings… every step of the process is open to new inspiration. I’m a materialist at heart, [ultimately] I love to see what the paint wants to do and let it have a say in what finally shows up!” 

Laura has a Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) in Sculpture from UNC-Chapel Hill and has worked as a professional graphic designer for several years now. She uses her graphic design expertise as an integral part of the creative process of painting. As an active exhibiting artist in a variety of venues, she is experiencing both recognition and success. Laura is represented by The Carlton Gallery in Banner Elk, NC and The Centerpiece in Raleigh, NC.

About The Dunn Center
The Dunn Center is a premier venue for concerts, shows and conferences in eastern NC. Located on the campus of NC Wesleyan University, in the heart of Rocky Mount, The Dunn Center is proud to host the Wesleyan Season Series of cultural events and concerts. In addition to these world-class performances, The Dunn Center features a variety of campus and community events, including Wesleyan Players productions, concerts of the Tar River Swing Band and Orchestra and other various performances by nationally known artists. The Mims Gallery, located within The Dunn Center, hosts a variety of exhibits, including paintings, drawings and sculpture. The Gallery is open weekdays from 2:00-4:00 p.m., as well as during performances. To learn more, visit dunncenter.com and follow on Facebook.

Olympic Gold Medalist Lined Up as NCWC Commencement Speaker


ROCKY MOUNT, NORTH CAROLINA – Daniel Erwin “Dan” Jansen is set to address the newest class of North Carolina Wesleyan alumni at the College’s upcoming Spring 2022 Commencement. He is a retired American speed skater and Olympic gold medalist. A multiple world champion in sprint, Jansen won a gold medal in his final race (1,000 meters) in the 1994 Winter Olympics in Lillehammer, Norway.

Daniel Erwin “Dan” Jansen, retired American speed skater and Olympic gold medalist

Jansen became the World Sprint Champion in 1988 and then competed at the 1988 Winter Olympics in the 500- and 1,000-meter races. In the early hours of February 14, the day of the 500-meter event, Jansen was informed that his 27-year-old sister, Mrs. Jane Marie Beres, was dying of leukemia. Hours later, Jansen was notified his sister had passed. He went on to compete in the 500-meter race that afternoon, but fell in the first turn. Four days later in the 1,000-meter event, he began with record-breaking speed but fell again, just past the 800-meter mark. He left the 1988 Olympics with no medals, but became the recipient of the U.S. Olympic Spirit Award for his valiant efforts.

In 1993, Jansen set a world record in the 500-meter event and was cast as a favorite to win gold at the 1994 Winter Olympics. Between the 1992 and 1994 Olympics, Jansen was the only skater to break 36 seconds in the 500 meters, doing so four times. In 1994, Jansen won his second World Sprint Championship title.

At the 1994 Winter Olympics he finished eighth in the 500-meter event. In preparation for the 1,000-meter event, he was coached by Peter Mueller, who won the same event in the 1976 Winter Olympics. Jansen defied expectations, finishing first to win the only Olympic medal of his career, setting a new world record in the process. He received the 1994 James E. Sullivan Award and was chosen by his fellow Olympians to bear the U.S. flag at the closing ceremony of the 1994 Winter Olympics. He was elected to the Wisconsin Athletic Hall of Fame in 1995.

“As a longtime North Carolina resident, it is an honor to join the North Carolina Wesleyan University Class of 2022 as they mark this special occasion and embark on the next chapter of their lives. I look forward to sharing my story with them and reinforcing the ideals of perseverance and determination, while equipping them with the tools to overcome any challenges thrown their way,” stated Jansen. “My journey of sacrifice is an excellent illustration of never giving up on your dreams; a vital lesson to today’s young aspiring professionals.”

In memory of his sister, Jane, The Dan Jansen Foundation was established in 1995 to help individuals and families affected by leukemia and related cancers, support youth sports programs and assist high school seniors in the pursuit of higher education. Since its inception, the Foundation has contributed more than $900,000 to charitable causes.

“Dan Jansen’s journey demonstrates tenacity, unwavering dedication, a superior work ethic, discipline and a solid understanding that success comes from sacrifice,” stated NCWC President, Dr. Evan D. Duff. “I look forward to Dan’s message to our graduates who are at different points in their life. Many of them will be looking to attain their first job, while others are seasoned practitioners in their career. What they all have in common is that they will inevitably face that “next challenge” in life. I anticipate that Dan will share his wisdom on overcoming any challenge in life.”

The College’s Spring Commencement is planned for Saturday, May 7, 2022 from 10:00 a.m. until noon at the Rocky Mount Event Center. The time and location are subject to change based on current state and federal guidelines.

New Art Exhibit Coming to Mims Art Gallery at NCWC


ROCKY MOUNT, NORTH CAROLINA -– Fotoworkz by Native American photographer, Ivan Richardson, will be adorning the walls of the Mims Art Gallery inside The Dunn Center at North Carolina Wesleyan University from January 20 – February 28, 2022. This exhibition is open to the public with free admission. A reception will be held in the gallery on Thursday, February 17 from 5:00–7:00 p.m. where guests will be able to meet Ivan and several members of his tribe. Ivan’s beautifully captured moments of Native American powwow’s and everyday life will draw you into his world.

Laura Berendsen Hughes art

As a Haliwa-Saponi tribal native, Richardson concentrates much of his photographic work in the Hollister, NC community. His photographs chronicle contemporary history of regional events and the annual tribal powwow where members from a variety of east coast tribes join in fellowship and celebration. A ready-to-serve portrait photographer, he especially values the opportunity to make photographic portraits of tribal elders. In his gallery exhibition, you will see a wide variety of subjects. Portraits of powwows show ceremonial dancers in their colorful, traditional regalia captured in dynamic dance movement.

Ivan’s success and professional reputation have grown since beginning Fotoworkz in 2014. Life itself opens photographic possibilities for him, between family, tribe and twenty-five years as a volunteer fireman. He has regularly exhibited, and received accolades, at the Annual Native American Unity Conference in Raleigh, NC. One of his photographs was featured in the Roanoke Rapids Daily Herald in 2019. He was awarded the front cover of McLane Industries’ MERIT Magazine with one of his colorful powwow photographs. Along with continuing his usual photographic work in portrait and chronicling community events, Ivan is looking forward to expanding his interest into wildlife subjects. This will be his second exhibition at the Mims Art Gallery and many of his photographs will be for sale.

The Mims Art Gallery is open Monday through Friday from 9:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m. and during evening performances at The Dunn Center.    

About The Dunn Center
The Dunn Center is a premier venue for concerts, shows and conferences in eastern NC. Located on the campus of NC Wesleyan University, in the heart of Rocky Mount, The Dunn Center is proud to host the Wesleyan Season Series of cultural events and concerts. In addition to these world-class performances, The Dunn Center features a variety of campus and community events, including Wesleyan Players productions, concerts of the Tar River Swing Band and Orchestra and other various performances by nationally known artists. The Mims Gallery, located within The Dunn Center, hosts a variety of exhibits, including paintings, drawings, and sculpture. The Gallery is open weekdays from 2:00-4:00 p.m., as well as during performances. To learn more, visit dunncenter.com and follow on Facebook.

The Dunn Center to Host Methodist Bishop


Due to expected inclement weather, this event will be held virtually. To view, CLICK HERE.

ROCKY MOUNT, NORTH CAROLINA –The Dunn Center will host Reverend Leonard Fairley, Resident Bishop of the North Carolina Conference of the United Methodist Church (NCCUMC) on Sunday, January 23, 2022 at 3:00 p.m. Bishop Fairley will be the guest preacher for an area wide worship service, a joint celebration held by North Carolina Wesleyan University and the United Methodist churches in and around Rocky Mount.

Reverend Leonard Fairley, Resident Bishop of the North Carolina Conference of the United Methodist Church (NCCUMC)

He became Resident Bishop of NCCUMC in September 2021, after serving the North Carolina Conference since 1984. Prior to becoming Resident Bishop, his last appointment in North Carolina was for the Capital District, NCCUMC’s largest district, as the District Superintendent. He was then elected by the delegates of the Southeastern Jurisdiction of The United Methodist Church and appointed as Bishop of the Kentucky Conference in 2016.

“The Wesleyan community is honored to host Bishop Fairley and our area UMC pastors for this special service on our campus. We exist today because of our founders and the NC Methodist Conference. I could not be more excited to have this event in The Dunn Center,” stated NC Wesleyan President, Dr. Evan D. Duff.

Bishop Fairley graduated from Pfeiffer College and Duke University’s School of Divinity. He served at St. Peters in Hamlet and Soapstone in Raleigh before becoming the Rockingham District Superintendent. After serving as a District Superintendent for seven years, he returned to the local church in 2012 as Lead Pastor at Saint Francis in Cary, NC.

During the service, Bishop Fairley will welcome Dr. Jung Choi, Senior Director of Wesleyan Formation Initiatives at Duke Divinity School, and acknowledge the partnership that NC Wesleyan has with the school. NC Wesleyan announced in late 2021 that they had signed an agreement with Duke Divinity School to offer NCWC students an accelerated pathway to pastoral leadership. This agreement allows NC Wesleyan students to dual enroll at both institutions during their junior and senior years and work toward the completion of requirements for a Hybrid Master of Divinity (MDiv-H) or Master of Arts in Christian Practice (MACP) degree.

Bishop Fairley, a pastor, poet and man of deep, quiet faith, often shares his story of being born into poverty and from “the wrong side of town.” “There were times when I didn’t have food,” he remembers. “There were tables that I knew I was not invited to. But there was always room at God’s table… I always knew that at this table there was always enough, that I was always welcome.”

He and his wife, Dawn, currently split their time between Kentucky and North Carolina.

The service is open to the public and everyone is invited to attend. Immediately following the service, there will be a time of fellowship and light refreshments.

To view the virtual event, CLICK HERE.

New Art Exhibit Coming to Mims Art Gallery at NCWC


ROCKY MOUNT, NORTH CAROLINA — Recent art works, Fantasy Fantastique by artist Patricia Horne, will soon be transforming Mims Art Gallery at North Carolina Wesleyan University. Her exhibition of colorful paintings, digital prints and sculptures will begin to blanket the gallery walls on October 28, 2021. Open to the public and free admission, come meet Patricia and enjoy refreshments at a reception on Thursday, October 28 from 5:00-7:00 p.m. in The Dunn Center’s Mims Art Gallery. The exhibit will also continue to be showcased Monday – Friday 9:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m. and during evening events until January 3, 2022.

Gallery visitors will be lured in and transported into Patricia Horne’s dreamy world of fairy tales and fantasy, where everyday realities lie somewhere else. The artist shares her own improvisational surprises with the viewer as her cast of people, creatures, plants and planets, each have their unique personas and exist in narrative harmony with one another. Outside of sculpture and traditional painting, the computer has more and more become the perfect medium and paintbrush for Patricia. The immediacy of pictorial form, phosphene color, shape-shifting change, and layering of environment and space keep her flights of fantasy and narratives fresh and alive.  

Patricia, a life-long North Carolina native, has raised her family in Fuquay-Varina where she lives with her husband. Since childhood, making art has been one of her favorite things to do. In her teens, she competed at a national contest in NYC where she received the Gold Key Award and honorable mention for a pen and ink entitled “Lady In Command.”  After high school, she attended Chowan University between 1982 and 83 and then Hardbager Jr, College from 1983 to 84. Married with the responsibilities of raising a family, she put making art on hold. With children grown and on their own, it was a 2015 Zentangle class in art that recharged her artistic pursuits and ongoing non-stop career. Largely self-taught like so many other greats, she exhibits regionally, accepts commission art projects and is a resident artist in the 311 Gallery.

Don’t miss this opportunity to view Patricia Horne’s work. Her prints and paintings are for sale and will make a favorite addition in a home or special collection.

About The Dunn Center
The Dunn Center is a premier venue for concerts, shows and conferences in eastern NC. Located on the campus of NC Wesleyan University, in the heart of Rocky Mount, The Dunn Center is proud to host the Wesleyan Season Series of cultural events and concerts. In addition to these world-class performances, The Dunn Center features a variety of campus and community events, including Wesleyan Players productions, concerts of the Tar River Swing Band and Orchestra and other various performances by nationally known artists. The Mims Gallery, located within The Dunn Center, hosts a variety of exhibits, including paintings, drawings, and sculpture. The Gallery is open weekdays from 2:00-4:00 p.m., as well as during performances. To learn more, visit dunncenter.com and follow on Facebook.

NC Wesleyan To Induct 6 into Athletics Hall of Fame Class of `20 and `21


N.C. Wesleyan University is preparing to induct six members to its Athletics Hall of Fame.

The Bishops will honor the 2020 and 2021 classes during an invite-only ceremony on Oct. 9. The new members include the late and former athlete and administrator Cliff Sullivan, as well as former players Brittany Insley-Pecora, Chris Bryant and LeeRon Boykin in the 2020 class.

The 2021 class includes athletes Trey Drake and Caitlin Sanderson. READ ENTIRE ARTICLE >

NCWC Homecoming Returns


ROCKY MOUNT, NORTH CAROLINA – North Carolina Wesleyan University will kick off its Homecoming week festivities on Monday, October 4 leading up to the Bishops’ football game against Greensboro College on Saturday, October 9. For the second time, the Battling Bishops will play their Homecoming game on-campus at the Vernon T. Bradley, Jr. Football Field, after first doing so in 2019.

Throughout the week, many activities will take place both on-campus and throughout the community for students, alumni, faculty, staff and the public. There will also be opportunities to cheer on men’s and women’s soccer, as well as baseball. An alumni football game is scheduled for Friday, October 8 at 8:00 p.m. on the field adjacent to the Gateway Technology Center (GTC), located at the front of campus.

Saturday, tailgating will begin at 9:00 a.m. At 10:00 a.m., the College will be dedicating a plaque recognizing and honoring alumni who served in harm’s way during the Vietnam War. This will be an addition to the existing Vietnam Memorial Courts at the Slick Family Foundation Tennis Center. Also at 10:00 a.m., the Alumni & Kid Zone opens at the football field or catch the alumni softball game at Edge Field. A chili cook-off will be held at 11:00 a.m., followed by the Homecoming golf cart parade starting at 11:30 a.m. Kickoff against Greensboro College is at noon and alumni plan to round out the day at The Rocky Mount Mills from 6:00 p.m. until 10:00 p.m.

For a full list of activities, times and locations, visit ncwc.edu/homecoming or the NCWC Homecoming 2021 event on Facebook. Individual tickets can be purchased at the gate. Tickets are $5 for adults (18+), $3 for ages 12-18 and FREE for all under age 12. Alumni Homecoming Packets can be purchased online for $35 and include a game ticket, t-shirt, parking pass, bookstore discount and a list of Community Partner discounts.

NC Wesleyan Kicks Off Annual Fall Fundraising Campaign


Pictured (L to R): Jane Gravely(NC Wesleyan Alumna and Board of Visitors member); Mark Hinson (NC Wesleyan Director of External Affairs & Annual Giving); Greg Purcell (Art Curator for The Dunn Center); Arnold Gordon-Bray (Campaign Co-Chair); Janet Watson (Campaign Co-Chair); Dr. Evan D. Duff (NC Wesleyan President); Eddie Coats (NC Wesleyan Vice President of Advancement)

ROCKY MOUNT, NORTH CAROLINA – North Carolina Wesleyan University launched their annual fall fundraiser, The Wesleyan Promise Campaign, on Monday, September 27 at a kickoff breakfast in The Dunn Center. This campaign seeks vitally important support for various purposes including student scholarships, the latest in cutting-edge technology, lab enhancements, recruitment of students and faculty, additional library resources and more.

Pictured (L to R): Lank Dunton (First Carolina Bank’s Market Executive for the Rocky Mount Area); Arnold Gordon-Bray (Campaign Co-Chair); Janet Watson (Campaign Co-Chair); Dr. Evan D. Duff (NC Wesleyan President); Eddie Coats (NC Wesleyan Vice President of Advancement)

To help usher in the campaign, two highlights of the event included check presentations by First Carolina Bank and NC Wesleyan alumna, Jane Gravely. Lank Dunton, First Carolina Bank’s Market Executive for the Rocky Mount Area, presented the College with $25,000 to support the Sports Stadium Project. First Carolina Bank has been a banking partner with NC Wesleyan and is a strong supporter of the Sports Stadium Project and other ongoing efforts at the College. Jane Gravely ’74 donated $24,000 to establish the Gravely Arts Gallery in The Dunn Center and start an endowment supporting the visual arts programs at NC Wesleyan. She is a current NC Wesleyan Board of Visitors member and fan of the arts.

“We are so grateful for the support this community shows the College. For 65 years we’ve been serving not only our students, but the community as well. That partnership, from its beginning to today, has been mutually beneficial,” stated Eddie Coats, Vice President of Advancement. “As NC Wesleyan continues to grow and thrive, so will the opportunities we offer back to the area through the arts, academic excellence, quality athletics, entertainment and volunteer support.  Regardless of the size, we are grateful for all gifts of support during this campaign.”

The College has set a goal of raising $280,000 by October 25. Those who are interested in supporting this campaign can give securely online at ncwc.edu/donate or by calling 252.985.5581.

Local Artist, Ashley Fabrizio, Coming to The Mims Gallery at NC Wesleyan


ROCKY MOUNT, NORTH CAROLINA – The Mims Gallery at The Dunn Center will kick off their 2021-22 season with an opening reception featuring local artist, Ashley Fabrizio. This free, public event will take place on Thursday, September 9 from 5:00 – 7:00 p.m. Gallery receptions provide a unique opportunity to enjoy new art, socialize and meet the artist.

Ashley Fabrizio
Ashley Fabrizio, local artist

Already famous in local community, Fabrizio is the artist behind the 125-foot by 30-foot CSX mural on the side of Station Square in downtown Rocky Mount. Fabrizio will discuss her experiences as a muralist, commission painter and paint party hostess, as well as a creative force in regional expressionist painting. A “fearless” artist, there is no subject she will shy away from, including portraits of friends, celebrities and dogs in vivid color and bold brushwork. You can feel the energy and excitement in her paintings, as well as envision her ideas and thoughts about her subject matter.

Educated in local schools and a student of painting and art education at Barton College, Fabrizio has found her artistic voice as an expressionist where emotion and bursts of excitement drive her vision and painting style. She is an active member of both the Wilson and Rocky Mount art communities, as well as other regional venues.

A mother of two young children, Fabrizio balances her creative life with parenting. Her determination to make a living as a career artist is to be admired. You can find Ashley at the Bel Air Art Center in downtown Rocky Mount where her lively, free-spirited mural is already a Bel Air landmark. 

Don’t miss this opportunity to view Fabrizio’s work. Her studio paintings will be on display and for sale in The Mims Gallery through October 22, making a great addition for your home or office collection.

About The Dunn Center

The Dunn Center is a premier venue for concerts, shows and conferences in eastern NC. Located on the campus of NC Wesleyan University, in the heart of Rocky Mount, The Dunn Center is proud to host the Wesleyan Season Series of cultural events and concerts. In addition to these world-class performances, The Dunn Center features a variety of campus and community events, including Wesleyan Players productions, concerts of the Tar River Swing Band and Orchestra and other various performances by nationally known artists. The Mims Gallery, located within The Dunn Center, hosts a variety of exhibits, including paintings, drawings, and sculpture. The Gallery is open weekdays from 2:00-4:00 p.m., as well as during performances. To learn more, visit dunncenter.com and follow on Facebook.

Calling All Entrepreneurs: Bring Your Best Pitch to NCWC


ROCKY MOUNT, NORTH CAROLINA – North Carolina Wesleyan University will host their first Nancy A. Shaw Entrepreneurship Competition on Tuesday, October 19 from 6:00 – 9:00 p.m. in the Garner Lobby at The Dunn Center. This competition is open to residents of Nash and Edgecombe counties, as well as faculty, staff and students at NC Wesleyan.

Participating entrepreneurs will have the opportunity to showcase a product, service or idea that they have created for domestic cats and/or dogs. The competition is judged in two parts. All participants will have their initial application and video reviewed by a panel of judges. These will then be narrowed down to the five best entrepreneurs, who will then present their pitch on October 19. Prizes will range from $1,500 for third place to $4,000 for the grand prize. There is no entry fee and the deadline for applying is September 23. The community is invited to come hear the presentations and enjoy light refreshments.

Dr. Nancy Shaw

“Dr. Nancy Shaw was a pioneer in health care and a life-long animal advocate. With the help of her endowment, NC Wesleyan will be able to establish its first endowed Professorship for its Pre-Vet major. Along with that, we now have the opportunity to host our new ‘Make Your Pitch’ Competition. What better way to honor an animal lover than to highlight pets and the importance they play in our lives,” stated Dr. Gena Messer-Knode, Dean of Career Services and Business Innovation.

The College announced in October 2020 that it had received $2,500,000 from the Dr. Nancy Shaw Trust. In addition to establishing its first endowed Professorship, the funds will create a highly-selective endowed scholarship, develop additional living and learning space and upgrade equipment in the College’s Biology, Biomedical, Environmental Science and Chemistry programs. The primary focus of Dr. Shaw’s trust is to benefit the health and care of felines, which was a passion of hers.

Dr. Shaw attended Brown University where she graduated magna cum laude and entered Brown University Medical School graduating in 1983. She completed her Internship at Framingham Union Hospital, Framingham, Massachusetts in 1985. Her Residency in Internal Medicine was completed at the Hospital of St. Raphael, New Haven, Connecticut in 1988. She became Board Certified in Internal Medicine in 1989. Dr. Shaw resided in North Carolina from 1992 -2012. During that time, she established the Hospitalist Programs for both Cabarrus Memorial Hospital, Concord, and Boice-Willis Clinic in Rocky Mount. She and her mother resided in Rocky Mount during these years.

Those who are interested in applying can visit bit.ly/ncwcpitch. For further information, please contact Dr. Gena Messer-Knode at gknode@ncwc.edu.