Double Headline News!

Yesterday was an exciting day to wake up to not one, but two front page stories in my now local and childhood local newspapers, respectively!

A couple of weeks ago, Greensboro News & Record's Taft Wireback joined Dr. Shivakumar, Wade and I for an interview in Shivakumar's office.


As we shared the history of our collaboration, it began to feel like one of our actual meetings. Beginning in early 2016, I have met with Shivakumar and Wade to share ideas and updates about our work every six to eight weeks. We generally meet for roughly an hour and fifteen minutes to talk. The last fifteen minutes always feel like the most productive. By the end of our interview, I shared my next steps and the first molds that I plan to create and discussed how they will build on one another. 

I found this time frame to be true for all collaboration through my coal ash work. You have to be willing to talk to others on the phone for quite a while. Something always seems to arise in the end. 

I was particularly moved by our meeting, because it was Taft's original article about Shivakumar's EcoCore in August 2014 that moved me to contact him in February 2016. I remember reading the article on my phone as part of my daily headline updates. We were well into our organizing at that point. I kept thinking over the next eighteen months that surely something was happening with their research. Finally I sent an email to find out after being prompted by a meditation in my Call Class at Holy Trinity's Servant Leadership program, as described in Lisa Sorg's post

And the rest is front page news! Above the fold, my dad exclaimed!


We spent the day in Winston getting haircuts and running errands. The article's placement was perfect timing! We ran into old friends so excited to see the news and share it with others. This picture was taken at the local Mt. Tabor Barber Shop


"A North Carolina artist wants to create lilies in a field of coal ash", by Taft WirebackGreensboro News & Record, December 26th, 2017.

Also Reprinted in: 
Winston-Salem Journal 
The Roanoke Times
Omaha World-Herald

N.C. A&T RESEARCHERS FIND USE FOR COAL ASH, by Taft WirebackGreensboro News & Record, JUNE 14, 2014



Talking with Keri Brown at WFDD

Thank you to Keri Brown for taking time to meet with me on Tuesday morning. It is always great to meet with Keri and to share her passion about environmental causes. She has won two Edward R. Murrow Award related to her stories on coal ash - one for the Dan River Spill and a second profiling Belews Creek

Turning Coal Ash Into Public Art

Caroline Armijo looks at composite building material made out of coal ash. She is partnering with North Carolina A&T State University and other organizations to create public art with coal ash in Stokes County. Keri Brown/WFDD

A local artist is using her talents to create a new public art display in Stokes County.

Caroline Armijo recently won a $350 thousand grant from ArtPlace America’s National Creative Placemaking Fund to install her designs in Walnut Cove, near Duke Energy’s Belews Creek coal ash pond. Armijo has partnered with scientists at North Carolina A&T State University to recycle the waste and now she’s making art out of it. It’s called The Lilies Project.

“The sculpture itself will be the centerpiece,” says Armijo. “It could be a gateway with the lilies above or it may be a freestanding sculpture, so the actual design has not been determined, but I’m hoping it can be a warm and inviting place where people can share stories and come with their kids.”

Armijo says the project also includes collecting oral histories of residents who have been affected by coal ash. The information will be used to create a walking tour and original performance.

The artwork will have to be installed by the end of June 2020, according to the grant. Several community workshops will be held in the coming months to discuss where in Walnut Cove the artwork will be located.

Armijo says the project will also be a tribute to the arts heritage in Stokes County.

“The name of the project was inspired from the movie Lilies of the Field,” says Armijo. Jester Hairston, born in Belews Creek, wrote the music "Amen" for that film, which is the first movie for which an African-American won an Academy Award. "Hairston is a world-known composer and actor, and I wanted to somehow honor him.”

There are around 20 million tons of coal ash at the Belews Creek Steam Station. Armijo says she isn’t sure how much of the ash will be used in her art project, but she hopes it will draw more attention to other recycling possibilities and cleaning up the site.

*Follow WFDD’s Keri Brown on Twitter @kerib_news

Listen here

Pocket Parks' Potential

I was excited to walk into this FOX8 interview last week talking about the potential for pocket parks in Downtown Greensboro, highlighting the Historic Hamburger Square. After our interview, I shared that I actually know a lot about art in parks! Many people believe that I am involved with this project. I am not currently, but would love to be. Perhaps a great site for some art made out of coal ash!

On The State of Things

Host Frank Stasio also talks with Greensboro-based artist Caroline Armijo. She is developing a public art project called “Lilies of the Field” in Walnut Cove, North Carolina that will repurpose coal ash to create large lily flower petals. She is a finalist for the ArtsPlace America’s National Creative Placemaking Fund.

Listen to Caroline's interview at 6:25.