Leland, North Carolina, a Brunswick-County town of approximately 16,000, its population increase 120% over the last 15 years. According the town website “the Leland community has heritage that nurtures hometown feelings, values natural beauty, celebrates diversity, encourages opportunity and invites every generation to embrace the future and to share its prosperity.”
In 1897 residents of a settlement at the crossroads of the Village Road and the Wilmington, Columbia and Augusta Railroad petitioned the U.S. Post Office Department for a local Post Office. The Department obliged and Joseph W. Gay, who was among the petitioners, was named Postmaster. They gave three name options to the Department, from which Leland, Gray’s nephew’s name, was chosen for the town. Leland was later incorporated in 1989.
Mere minutes from 45 sandy miles of Brunswick County beaches, Leland is also brimming with natural beauty all its own. The town’s Parks and Recreation Department offers a number of outdoor activities in their various parks including Movies in the Park, a summer concert series, Founder’s Day Festival, and kayak adventures to name just a few!
The town has a variety of parks to suit a number of resident and visitor needs. Leland Municipal Park features a community garden. Area residents can rent a plot of their own, or contribute to the community plot, from which all food grown is donated to the local food pantry.
Westgate Nature park features a paved trail for hiking and biking. It also has an elevated boardwalk through the wetlands environment, a state-of-the-art, nature-inspired playground, a picnic area and an event lawn.
Encompassing 27 acres of donated wetlands, Sturgeon Creek Park boasts a launch ramp for canoes, kayak and other small watercraft, a floating dock, fixed-deck overlook, and handicapped accessible fishing area, as well as an outdoor classroom.
The Leland Cultural Arts Center is a truly unique and wonderful project which features classes, workshops, camps, artist receptions, live music, and other performances. “It is unlike any other facility in the region, with courses/programs in a multitude of art forms including pottery, theater, painting, jewelry making, literary arts, healing arts, and more.”
The Center has multiple classrooms and studios with desks, easels and projectors, a pottery studio (complete with 3 kilns, 8 wheels, a slab roller, an extruder and a spray booth), a dance studio (complete with Marley sprung floor, full-length wall mirrors and a ballet barre), and a fabulous, ultra-modern multi-purpose room with a stage and tech-loft capable of everything from beginners acting classes to full-on theatrical productions.
The gallery space features “emerging and established artists primarily from, or inspired by, southeastern North Carolina,” though they also host special exhibits as well as group art shows, their annual youth showcase, and annual instructor and student show.
The Cultural Arts Center is paid for by The Friends of Leland Cultural Arts Inc. (FLCAC), a 501c3 non-profit organization. FLCAC volunteers raise funds via a number of projects, including the annual Spring golf tournament, Fall fashion show, and Winter holiday market.