Edwards at AoA

Laurie Edwards, executive director of Arts of the Albemarle, shown here in a file photograph, said AoA is expecting a big, fun year full of events and activities. Next month, AoA will host a Prohibition Ball at The Center on Feb. 29. AoA will also celebrate the Harlem Renaissance and the birth of jazz with several events in February.

Arts of The Albemarle plans to continue its signature events in 2020 while adding some new shows, contests and other activities.

Laurie Edwards, executive director of AoA, said she expects a big, fun year.

“I think there are a lot of great, fun things planned for people of all ages,” she said.

In commemoration of the 100th anniversary of Prohibition, AoA will host a Prohibition Ball at The Center on Main Street Feb. 29. Attendees are asked to dress in 1920s attire.

“Hopefully a paddy wagon won’t show up and shut it down,” Edwards quipped.

Also in February, AoA will celebrate the Harlem Renaissance and the birth of jazz. The public will vote on favorite artwork in the exhibition, which will include paintings, jewelry and multi-media. A $250 prize will be awarded.

Tunde Afolayan will be the special artist for Black History Month in February. The third Thursday in February will mark the beginning of free Third Thursday Jazz concerts. The concerts will continue through June.

The Center Players will present “The Little Mermaid” the first two weekends in May. Rehearsals will start soon.

Dance nights started last year and have been a big hit, with disco night being the most popular but all genres attracting a following.

“You see different faces every time,” Edwards said. “It’s great.”

Building on the popularity of the dance nights, AoA will hold a Dancing With the Elizabeth City Stars competition in the fall. More information on the contest will be announced this spring.

The plan is to have a panel of judges for the dance contest and also let the public vote, Edwards said.

Elizabeth City has a lot of dance talent, a lot of interest in dance, and great diversity, and that will make for a fun dance competition, according to Edwards.

Information about AoA’s summer theater day camp will be available soon.

AoA is also looking at taking on an expanded role in film based on the success it’s had hosting the Manhattan Short film festival. Plans are to continue the festival as an annual event while adding other film festivals and screening classic movies such as “Casablanca.”

Edwards said she is interested in hearing from the public about events and activities that would engage the Elizabeth City community.

One other event coming up in late spring is Taste of The Albemarle, which provides a sampling of dishes from area restaurants and eateries.