Arts of the Pamlico launches arTshirt series

Published 4:42 pm Friday, April 24, 2020

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Arts of the Pamlico revealed a new design this week, one that evokes past and present through art and design.

The T-shirt design by Washington High School student Kayla Lilley features throwback imagery used in postcards of the 1950s, when blocky lettering and bold color were the design of times. The idea for the T-shirt stemmed from a trip farther south.

“I saw a mural in St. Pete, Florida, when we were down there late last year, and I’ve always loved that kind of nostalgic, blocky look,” said Arts of the Pamlico Executive Director Debra Torrence. “It conveys the complex story of a place in a really neat, creative way.”

Lilley was given a stipend from AOP to design the shirt, the first in a series of T-shirts, called arTshirts, illustrating a sense of place. East Carolina University visual arts major Carleigh Flynn will continue the series with designs featuring historical and current features of Bath and Belhaven. Flynn, who was introduced to AOP through an internship last year, now works as a part-time visual arts teacher at AOP’s Turnage Theatre.

“We are excited to support young artists create and see their work take shape and fly. Continuing to grow our collaborations with local artistic talent and local businesses to create and share art — fun, functional, colorful public art — is a goal we plan to expand further through outdoor murals and more,” Torrence wrote in a press release.

Torrence said she has applied for a grant to transform the arTshirt T-shirt designs into murals.

“From an overall arts perspective, it would really capture some of the highlights and elements of the arts in Washington,” Torrence said. “It would be a really cool way to convey a lot about a place.”

AOP arTshirts are $17 each or $15 each, if paid for in cash. The shirts are available in a limited supply. To purchase the first in the series, Greetings from Washington, contact Torrence at or visit