The annual North Charleston Arts Festival is just one month away, set to kick off on May 1 and conclude on May 9. Now entering its 33rd year, the nine day event has matured into one of the most comprehensive arts festival in the state, drawing thousands of residents and visitors to experience the talents of national, regional, and local artists and performers in the areas of Dance, Music, Theatre, Visual Arts, Crafts, Photography, Media Arts, and Literature. Nearly 200 festival offerings are scheduled to take place in a variety of venues throughout North Charleston and the surrounding area, including libraries, community centers, schools, civic auditoriums, and parks.
Recognized by the Southeast Tourism Society as a Top 20 Event, the North Charleston Arts Festival offers something for everyone. The City of North Charleston Cultural Arts Department organizes and presents the event each year, striving to maintain the spirit of a public celebration with the mission of presenting a broad, multidiscipline event schedule that provides a wide range of performances, exhibitions, and activities for people of all ages and backgrounds. Many of the offerings are free, and those that are ticketed are moderately priced.
“The variety of Arts Festival offerings and the inclusiveness of the event have really become a point of pride for the City of North Charleston,” says North Charleston Mayor, Keith Summey. “From humble beginnings as a one-day community celebration at Park Circle, the festival has developed into one of our most anticipated annual City events where we are joined by thousands from throughout the Southeast to celebrate the importance of art within our world.”
The Arts Festival Main Event, held on Saturday, May 2, and Sunday, May 3, at the North Charleston Performing Arts Center and Charleston Area Convention Center, offers free admission and parking to more than 40 performances on four themed stages: General Audience, Cultural Heritage, Bands, and Youth Entertainment. Other features include judged fine art and photography exhibits; the 14th annual South Carolina Palmetto Hands Fine Craft Exhibit; youth art and photography from Charleston, Berkeley, and Dorchester county students; the Lowcountry Gem & Mineral Society show and sale; Village Antiques & Collectibles show; children's activities at Box City and Creation Stations; art & craft vendors, a food court, and much more.
Individual events take place throughout the nine days of the festival at various locations. An exciting array of free and ticketed offerings include concerts; street dances; theatre presentations; film screenings; art lectures, workshops, and demonstrations; an art walk; children’s programs; and the Grand Finale at the beautiful North Charleston Riverfront Park. Examples of visual art exhibitions on view during the festival include a collection of photographs by Sandy Logan; contemporary metal and glass pieces by Steve Hazard; cut paper works by Sherill Anne Gross; the 10th annual National Outdoor Sculpture Exhibition; and the 9th Annual African American Fiber Art Exhibition featuring pieces inspired by Maya Angelou. This year’s Grand Finale on May 9 features a Tri-County School Steel Drum Festival, performances, a slam poetry show, children’s activities, food trucks, and an evening concert by The Dante Lewis Band. The event concludes with a fantastic fireworks display over the Cooper River.
Applications are now being accepted for participation in the Festival’s Art Walk, as well as for art & craft and food vendors. Entry instructions for the Festival’s Judged Fine Art Exhibition, Judged Photography Exhibition, and Tri-County Youth Art & Photography Exhibition, as well as Volunteer sign-up forms are also available. Forms can be downloaded at NorthCharlestonArtsFest.com/apply.
For more 2015 North Charleston Arts Festival information, including event details, site maps, and social media contest rules, visit NorthCharlestonArtsFest.com or contact the North Charleston Cultural Arts Department office at (843) 740-5854.