Cultural Programs

In addition to our parks, trails, and indoor/outdoor recreation facilities, the City of Wilmington's Parks and Recreation Department offers a myriad of cultural programs that highlight what makes Wilmington such a vibrant city. Parks, by the beginning of the 20th century, began to be utilized for dance, theatre, and even film. Today, there is an astounding influx of artistic and cultural activity in parks. From large-scale festivals to long-term residencies with arts organizations and partners, our cultural programs strive to revitalize the role parks play in our lives. Check out our program opportunities below and join us!     

Cultural Footprints

There is a bounty of hidden gems to discover in Wilmington’s urban environment. Topics may include history, architecture, ecology, or culture, just to name a few. Join us for some fresh air and broaden your understanding of Wilmington with programs led by various local experts. Programs are free and are typically 1-2 miles long. Registration required (here). These programs are open to all ages unless otherwise specified.

Starting In the Bottom, Now We’re Here

Join us for an urban hike that will start at Williston Middle School, part of a Wilmington area called the Bottom, and end at St. Luke’s AME. Along the way we will look at where we are now and examine crucial, and often violent, events that shaped this neighborhood and the world beyond. How is the past still talking to us, and what lessons should we learn?

When: Saturday, Nov. 16 from 10 a.m. to noon
Cost: Free
LocationWilliston Middle School (401 S 10th St, Wilmington, NC 28401)

The Origins of Urban Landscaping

Explore Downtown Wilmington through a fresh lens. We'll talk about how cities come to be while answering questions like, "Why and how do American cities differ from European cities? Why does it seem like downtown trees are all the same species?" And even, "Why is there so much pollen in Wilmington?" Meet at Veterans Park near the Riverwalk in Downtown Wilmington.

When: Saturday, Sept.. 14 from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.
Cost: Free
LocationVeteran's Memorial (Near Riverwalk, Downtown ILM)

History of Baseball in Wilmington's Southside

Join us for a walk through the South Side and discover Wilmington’s forgotten baseball fields. Learn about the Wilmington Clippers, the Castle Street Bears, and other Negro League Semi Pro teams that called the South Side home. Meet at Robert Strange Park by the MLK Center

When: Saturday, Oct. 12 from 10 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. (noon)
Cost: Free
LocationRobert Strange Park (Adjacent to MLK Center - located at 401 S. 8th St)


Lunchtime Lessons

These free, one-hour programs cover a variety of subjects ranging from local to global in scale. Typically around noon, these bite-sized lessons led by experts in a broad range of fields are perfect for those who like history and storytelling. Registration required (here). These programs are open to all ages unless otherwise specified.

Lunchtime Lessons are held throughout the year. For more information, email Andrea Talley

Upcoming Events

Cameron Art Museum Exhibit: The Work of Their Hands

The Work of Their Hands explores the continuing legacy of quilt-making and the evolution of textile art, starting with traditional quilts made for bedcoverings to contemporary fabric artworks that are sure to surprise and inspire you. Join us for a guided tour of this exhibit and explore the rest of the museum on your own.

When: Wednesday, Sept. 18 from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m.
Cost: Free
Location: Cameron Art Museum (3201 South 17th Street Wilmington, NC 28412)

David Walker’s Appeal: The Pamphlet the Shook the World

Join us to learn about one of Wilmington’s hometown heroes, David Walker. His abolitionist writings and Jacob Cowan’s attempt to disseminate those words resulted in the passing of two laws on this date, November 15, 1830, which forbade teaching enslaved people to read and forbade the dissemination of anti-slavery literature. Walker’s Appeal has been described as, "for a brief and terrifying moment…the most notorious document in America."

When: Friday, Nov. 15 from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m.
Cost: Free
Location: Davis Center at Maides Park (1101 Manly Ave)

Burgwin-Wright House Tour with a Focus on African American History

Join us for a unique tour of the Burgwin-Wright House, the only structure in Wilmington from the colonial era open to the public. Learn about how the lives of the houses residents and staff were intertwined, what is known--and not known--about the enslaved and freed African Americans who lived and worked there, and why some pieces of history might be difficult to uncover.

When: Wednesday, Oct. 16 from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m.
Cost: Free
Location: Burgwin-Wright House (224 Market St, Wilmington, NC 28401)