North Carolina Azalea Festival


Signed Official Artwork

Each year, the North Carolina Azalea Festival President chooses an artist to create an artistic representation of the North Carolina Azalea Festival. The artist is honored at the Art Unveiling, and Limited Edition signed prints are available for sale in the Azalea Festival Ticket Office. Please note, not all prints are available for purchase.

Past Festival Prints are available for purchase at the North Carolina Azalea Festival Ticket Office.  The current year's print is $50, the immediate past year's print is $25, and all other prints are $10.  Please call the Festival Ticket Office for past print availability and prices at (910) 794-4650.

2018 Festival Artist
Virginia Wright-Frierson

Virginia Wright-Frierson earned her BFA degree in painting from the University of North Carolina, Greensboro, and furthered her studies in Cortona, Italy, New York and Arizona. She and her husband, Dargan, settled in Wilmington, NC in 1977.

Her record includes over thirty exhibitions in the southeastern US as well as Italy. Her work is included in museum, private and corporate collections.  Here locally, she has painted large murals for the Wilmington Children’s Museum and New Hanover County Library in addition to her work at Airlie Gardens.  Nationally, she has painted a monumental mural for the atrium ceiling at Columbine High School after the tragedgy, as well as being commissioned by Savannah College of Art and Design to create a multi-paneled mural for an exhibition honoring victims and heroes of 9/11.

In addition, she has written and illustrated children's books and has received numerous public art commissions.

Artist’s Statement

I have always drawn, painted and written since I can remember.

My work has taken form in other media as well over the years, including glass and cement sculpture, children's books, collage, linocut, huge murals, tributes, teaching, and parenting. I am writing now about some of my past projects while exploring new ideas.

I will always draw and paint and write as long as I can remember.

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!”


Festival Artists
1987-2000 2001-2017
1987 Jeff Morvil 2001 Deborah Cavenaugh
1988 None 2002 Barbara Jamison
1989 None 2003 Beth Ellis Harry
1990 Martha Grove Williams 2004 Bruce Bowman
1991 Samuel Bissette 2005 Ivey Hayes
1992 Ronald Williams 2006 Harry Lee Davis
1993 Morvil Design 2007 Cathy Poulos
1994 Popular Design 2008 Bruce Bowman
1995 Jeff Morvil 2009 George Pocheptsov
1996 Morvil Design 2010 Sandy Nelson
1997 Cathy Maya 2011 Jenny McKinnon Wright
1998 Jodie Rippy 2013 Elizabeth Singletary
1999 Jodie Rippy 2014 William Mangum
2000 Deborah Cavenaugh 2015 Clyde Edgerton
2016 Mary Ellen Golden
2017 Sean Ruttkay