After many years of visiting the Brunswick County coast, Ken relocated permanently two years ago from Charlotte, North Carolina, to Oak Island, where he pursues his lifelong passion as a singer, songwriter and guitarist. Ken built a successful real estate firm in Charlotte, Shell Realty Services, specializing in property management and sales. He also has extensive knowledge of contract negotiations and restaurant brokerage. His musical talent is currently on display at local performance venues, where he also frequently hosts open mic sessions. He is strongly committed to supporting and promoting the arts through Up Your Arts.
Bonnie brings an abiding appreciation for the arts to this endeavor. She is a writer, amateur photographer, and novice potter, with a 25-year career as the chief financial officer for local governments in Maryland and North Carolina. This focus has given her direct experience managing the details of community engagement with public and private resources, many specializing in arts-related outcomes. Bonnie sees Up Your Arts as a vital link between artists and their audiences — and the contributions both make to the quality of life in this area.
Shawn is a founding member of Dave’s Not Home, a local band well known and appreciated by area musicians. It is not unusual at any given performance to see him play guitar, mandolin and keyboards, and then switch to drums, bass and vocals. A self-taught sound engineer, he enjoys over 25 years of experience in event production, aided and abetted by a background as a professional photographer. Originally from New England, Shawn owned and operated a photography business there for 20 years. He now resides in Southport and brings a wide range of talents to Up Your Arts.
John began playing guitar as a boy, picking blue grass tunes in the mountains of North Carolina with friends and family. He later developed a unique style of performance and showmanship as a blues musician. A guitar virtuoso, John toured and recorded professionally for years, appearing on stage with nationally known “A-list” musicians. He currently sells, repairs and consigns quality stringed instruments and related equipment from his guitar shop at Southport Johnnies, where he also paints and teaches a variety of instruments. He performs regularly with Southport Johnny and the Bizness and fills the role of elder musical statesman for Up Your Arts.
Rick adds a hefty dose of digital sophistication and over 30 years of business management experience to the Up Your Arts board of directors. A noted expert in developing tech-savvy marketing strategies for commercial success, Rick founded Southport-based OverGo Studio, Inc., in 2011 after relocating from Long Island. For fun, he moonlights, combining his business acumen with a matching passion for jazz music, building audiences for Luna Sea, a seven-member band in which he plays drums. Up Your Arts is equally fortunate to have caught Rick’s avid interest, time, and talent, too.
John is a local musician, graphic artist, and painter, who retired to Southport after a career as a paramedic in the Washington, DC, area, where he also taught college and organized large- and small-scale public events, including a series of cutting-edge arts festivals. This wide-ranging experience, coupled with an academic career in theological studies, successful occupations as a youth minister and a residential builder in Boston, informs John’s delight with connecting dots. Since moving here in 2009, he has cemented his passion for the creative and performing arts as the quintessential ambassador for Up Your Arts.
Tina is a North Carolina native living in Southport since 2001. She knows more intimate details about the area and its people than most – she manages a booming real estate practice by day and provides bartending service nights at the area’s most popular watering hole. It’s an unbeatable combination if your passion, like hers, is understanding the ties that bind a community together, in order to contribute to it in a meaningful way. Tina’s work with the Southport-Oak Island Interchurch Fellowship and her long-time connection to St. Phillip’s Episcopal Church have faithfully served that desire. Up Your Arts, too, is the happy beneficiary of Tina’s head/heart/home approach and the strength of her commitment to it.
Diana carried her love of dance to Southport three years ago, after decades as a teacher and performer with the Sacred Dance Guild of Fredericksburg, Virginia, and other dance societies in Connecticut and Greensboro, North Carolina. Diana’s professional accomplishments also include years as a cast member with “The Lost Colony,” the nation’s longest running outdoor drama about Roanoke Island, in addition to owning a dance and yoga studio in Nags Head. She now teaches yoga in Southport and practices at Hearts and Sol Wellness on Oak Island. Up Your Arts is well served by Diana’s deep engagement with dance and the healing arts.
Bruce moved to Southport in 2013 from the Atlanta area, after a 37-year career in facilities development with the federal government, where he specialized in site acquisition, construction, and real estate management. The musical skills Bruce acquired in his teens took a back seat until retirement but hit center stage again in 2015, when he joined up with equally talented musicians whose penchant for hard-driving rock and roll made them favorites with Southport’s dance scene. His performance in this and other bands, as well as weekly open-mic venues, has since solidified his status as the go-to bass player for area musicians when expertise, proficiency, and flexibility are required. Bruce supports all efforts to return the love and help build Southport’s reputation of being arts friendly by contributing to the success of Up Your Arts.