Chair of Arts Council Board Receives 2 Awards

Stephen Hill, chair of the North Carolina Arts Council Board, received two awards in recent weeks including the first Esse Quam Videri Award from VISIT NC and the Designlife Award from NC State’s College of Design.

Visit North Carolina honored Stephen Hill of Mother Earth Brewing and Vivian Howard of Chef & the Farmer Monday, April 1 as winners of the inaugural Esse Quam Videri Award for their leadership in developing Kinston as a destination for leisure travel.  

The Designlife Award recognizes the significant contribution that an individual or group has made in design in the Southeast. The award brings awareness to the importance of design in the community – and the practice of good design as a sign of good citizenship. Hill was also selected as the 2019 Designlife Award recipient for an art and design legacy that has transformed his hometown of Kinston.

As an entrepreneur, Hill incorporates his advocacy for the arts, historic preservation, and downtown revitalization in his businesses. By investing his time, talents, and finances into his hometown of Kinston, NC, Hill is helping to spark a community renewal. The board chair of the North Carolina Arts Council is the visionary behind Mother Earth Brewing and Spirits, Mother Earth Motor Lodge, The O’Neil boutique hotel, The Red Room, and Kinston’s Arts & Cultural District. As the founder and board chair for the smART Kinston Foundation, Hill is laying the groundwork for lasting change.

The Esse Quam Videri award, which takes its name from the state motto, celebrates Hill's and Howard's dedication to bettering their community by freely giving their time, energy and resources for a greater good. They embody what it means "to be, rather than to seem."

Hill has built shining examples of what he advocates: the arts, historic preservation and downtown revitalization. A Kinston native who attended Appalachian State University, Hill and son-in-law Trent Mooring opened a craft brewery in 2009 and called it Mother Earth to reflect their commitment to environmental sustainability. The brewery, the first in the nation to earn LEED Gold status, now shares its name with a distillery and reimagined motor lodge.

Hill's contributions to Kinston's appeal also include The O'Neil boutique hotel and the Red Room nightclub along with his work as founder and board chair for the smART Kinston Foundation, the organization behind signature public art installations and a revitalized 12-block area as the city's Arts & Culture District.