I've been a marketing consultant for over 25 years. I've been a writer my whole life. I tell stories. I opine. Words have never failed me.
NC State professor Dr. Brian Jackson’s soil research comes to fruition each holiday season in the most vibrant way.
By Ilina Ewen | photography by S.P. Murray
Around the holidays, you can find poinsettias just about anywhere, from grocery stores to big box outlets to nurseries and florists. But in Raleigh, they flourish in the greenhouses at North Carolina State University. And while most folks enjoy poinsettias for their lovely holiday colors, horticulture professor Dr. Brian Jackson grows m...
Blending Beats with DJ Rang
A classically trained musician, this Raleigh DJ infuses dance parties with global influences.
On the surface, there’s a disconnect between Ranganathan Rajaram’s history and his current trajectory. Classically trained as a violinist, he’s better known around here as DJ Rang — a man who gets the party started at weddings and corporate events, spinning everything from pop to Bhangra to reggaeton.
But to Rang, there’s no schism. “If you have musical theory background and experience playing in orc...
About the speaker
Ilina is a writer, advocate, and born rabble-rouser. She served as Chief of Staff to the First Lady of North Carolina for sure over two years. Before that, she had her own brand strategy consulting business for 15 years. Now she finds herself working in the construction industry, serving as director of corporate social responsibility at Samet. Her new role puts her at the perfect intersection of business, advocacy, branding, and social justice. Ilina is known as an “accident...
Missing My (Not So) Little Boy
Fresh air is fuel. I took a walk around the park in my neighborhood the other day to feel the invigorating breeze of early autumn and to clear my head. My son has been away at school 800 miles away for about two months now. Parents’ weekend came and went. We already had plans to visit later in November to go to a Packers football game, so it certainly wasn’t feasible or realistic to go twice in a matter of a few weeks. It sure feels like he has been gone much longer than eight weeks. I miss h...
53 Bits of Wisdom, or Something Like That
Today, I am 53-years old.
Another year in this one life. While I’m still not scaling mountains, publishing books, dressing for success, or running for office, I’m fulfilled and joyful. I do, however, still aspire to have my dream job naming nail polish colors and having a job that requires a microphone.
It’s been one hell of a year for us all, and too many people don’t get to blow out candles on a cake. Aging is a privilege, one I don’t take for granted. And by the way, I refuse to succumb to...
Showing Compassion is a Teen Milestone
I admittedly didn’t think of exhibiting compassion as a milestone during the teen years, but when I saw it in my son, it was a staggering revelation. It was during recent events around our national racial reckoning that I saw true compassion unveiled in my teenage son. We had gone to a protest together as a family, as we have been doing around various issues since the boys were in strollers. The tenor of this was different as America wrestled with its history, its future, and its division.
Sari, Refashioned: Julie Patel Reimagines Traditional Indian Textiles
A local designer uses heritage saris to create one-of-a-kind outfits suited for her style of modern living
Indian fashion is much like Indian food: an utter delight to the senses. To step into the closet of my mother, grandmothers, or any of my aunties is to enter a lush wonderland of silks and batik print saris, some glistening with embroidery of spun gold and silver thread. Vibrant tones of purple, fuschia, emerald green, and cobalt blue hang in tidy rows, punctuated by an occasional, demur...
Bearing Witness: Michelle Lanier’s Unique Perspective on History
The folklorist, writer, and director of the North Carolina Division of State Historic Sites shares what sparked her interest in preserving the past.
From verdant shores along the Carolina coast, nature — equal parts play ground, classroom, and inspiration — has shaped Michelle Lanier into who she is today. What has the land witnessed?
A folklorist, documentarian, writer, and teacher, as well as the director of the North Carolina Division of State Historic Sites, Lanier has asked herself this ...
Check out Nnenna and Phil Freelon’s New Community Performance Venue, North Star Church of the Arts
It’s a place where creativity is sacred and artists are the ones preaching the gospel. The site of North Star Church of the Arts in downtown Durham has served as a house of worship since it was built as a church for the deaf in 1931, and functioned as an all-signing ministry and congregation until the 1970s. In January 2019, it started a new sort of sacred journey: as a venue to celebrate Triangle artists and explore how creativity and art feed spirituality. Here, creators and performers come...
Raleigh’s BackPack Buddies nourishes local schoolchildren
Backpack Buddies program helps feed kids on the weekend.
Meet Paulette Dillard, president of Shaw University
Interview with Shaw University president, Dr. Paulette Dillard
Andrew Ullom’s Union Special Bread
A community bakery on the edge of downtown
It’s the promise of flaky, layers of pastry, glistening with butter, that draws you in. But while the signature croissants may be the lure, it’s tough to choose among the array of sweet and savory options you’ll find inside Union Special Bread. Peach hand pies, snickerdoodles, tomato jam tart, kouign amann… these are just a sampling of the ever-changing selection. The lemon poppyseed coffee cake goes quickly, so snatch it when you see it. The humble ...
Dare Coulter celebrates black history and culture through her art
Dare Coulter is aptly named. She is daring in how she uses her platform, and her art dares us to think about everyday, accepted narratives in new ways.
When you meet Coulter, chances are she will greet you with a giant, earnest grin, arms outstretched, asking, “Can I give you a hug?” An electric energy fills her aura as she follows her guiding principle, “Artists do good.” Coulter credits her mother and two sisters for encouraging and supporting her as an artist, starting when she was a small...
Visual Arts Exchange (VAE) celebrates 40 years with a gala
The VAE celebrates 40 years with an art-centered party
by Ilina Ewen | photography courtesy VAE
You might know VAE as the mother of Raleigh’s largest creativity festival, SPARKcon. VAE is a lot of things, but it might be easier to tell you what it isn’t: It is not a typical gallery, studio, or museum. VAE, the oldest visual arts organization in Raleigh, offers a platform to artists traditionally excluded from participating in the creative space. It’s an arts community with a conscien...