Grant supports Outer Banks Forum and students – OBX Today

Grant supports Outer Banks Forum and students - OBX Today
Dominion Energy External Affairs Manager, Winnie Wade (center) presents The Outer Banks Forum for the Lively Arts (OBFLA) a check for their scholarship program. Picture here from L to R: David Connaughton (OBFLA former OBFLA President), Winnie Wade (Dominion Energy), and Carl V. Curnutte (Current OBFLA President).

Since their inception, the Outer Banks Forum for the Lively Arts (OBFLA) has enjoyed a strong connection to Dare County Schools; In recent years they have worked alongside students interns and supported arts education through scholarship. Thanks to a generous grant from Dominion Energy, this tradition continues. 

Each year OBFLA gives scholarships to students who plan to study the performing arts in a college or advanced program. The awards are competitive with winners selected on their academic achievement, participation in the arts and the strength of their personal recommendations. Dominion Energy’s grant supports the education mission of the Forum: to promote local arts education with scholarship award for college-level study in the arts.

“We acknowledge Dominion, our education sponsor 2022-2025, for being a valuable community partner and helping us in our mission to bring high quality entertainment to the Outer Banks and support a vibrant future for the arts through scholarship,” said Carl V. Curnutte, President of the Outer Banks Forum.   

“We were very pleased to encourage and reward young talent in our community,” he remarked. “Student interns are trained by the Forum to run lights and manage the seven-show music series held annually at David E. Oaksmith Auditorium in First Flight High School in Kill Devil Hills. This spring we were pleased to award scholarships to three exceptional students: Heath Miller, Ava Nultemeier, and Riya Braunstein.” 

Heath Miller’s heartfelt passion is music of which he has been most successful having performed in jazz bands, concert and marching bands, and string orchestra groups locally at First Flight High School and regionally with Eastern Regional Orchestra and East Regional Jazz Band. He was accepted to study music at Berklee College of Music in Boston where he intends to study this fall.


Ava Nultemeier, was accepted at Appalachian State, UNC Greensboro, UNC Charlotte, and NC State. While pursuing her passion for dance, Nultemeier intends to study Music Production and earn an Engineering Bachelor’s Degree. While a student at First Flight, she attended NC Governor’s School of the Arts for dance. dance classes since two year’s of age and has participated in several arts organizations. 

 Riya Braunstein is heading to the New School in New York this fall, majoring in Film and double-minoring in screenwriting and drama. Over the years she has been active locally on and off the stage with The Lost Colony, Theatre of Dare, and Manteo High School’s Stage Left. Riya recently served as president of MHS Stage Left productions. 

 “On behalf of Dominion Energy North Carolina, we are proud to show our support for the Outer Banks Forum for the Lively Arts and their continued efforts to enhance and support the performing arts through scholarship,” said Winnie Wade, External Affairs Manager of Dominion Energy North Carolina.  

The Dominion Energy Charitable Foundation supports various cultural activities throughout their service locations through their focus on community vitality. This gift fulfills their mission to foster “an appreciation of diversity, revitalizing neighborhoods, and ensuring a vibrant community life through support of cultural endeavors.” 

2024 Scholarship recipients (L to R): Heath Miller (First Flight), Ava Nultemeier (First Flight) and Riya Braunstein with David Connaughton 2023-2024 OBFLA Board President.

About the Dominion Energy Charitable Foundation  

More than 4.5 million customers in 13 states energize their homes and businesses with electricity or natural gas from Dominion Energy (NYSE: D). Through its Dominion Energy Charitable Foundation, as well as EnergyShare and other programs, Dominion Energy contributed $46.7 million in 2023 to community causes. The Foundation supports nonprofit causes that meet basic human needs, protect the environment, promote education, and encourage community vitality. Please visit to learn more.  

About the Outer Banks Forum

A pioneering group of inquisitive residents met in 1983 at the Southern Shores Fire Station to start a “Forum” to bring speakers on current events to the Outer Banks. The effort was successful and in 1991 the Forum’s orientation was shifted to musical and theatrical entertainments held in the school auditorium at Kitty Hawk Elementary. The Forum has since grown into a self-sustaining nonprofit that performs a series of seven concerts annually in the David E. Oaksmith Auditorium at First Flight High School in Kill Devil Hills. Performances are available to purchase as a season subscription or as individual events. An all-volunteer board oversees the organization. For more information or to volunteer with the organization, email or call (252) 564-8781.