The annual North Charleston Arts Fest is just one month away, set to begin on May 3 and conclude on May 7. The celebration of arts and culture highlights the talents of national, regional, and local artists and performers in the areas of dance, music, theatre, visual arts, and literature. Performances, activities, and exhibits are scheduled to take place in a variety of venues throughout the city of North Charleston, including libraries, community centers, businesses, and parks. Many of the offerings are free, and those that are ticketed are moderately priced.
Now in its 35th year, the North Charleston Arts Fest is considered to be one of the most comprehensive arts festivals in the state. The City of North Charleston Cultural Arts Department, which organizes and presents the event, is excited to introduce revisions to this year’s festival schedule, focusing on quality of programming and the patron experience. “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,” says North Charleston Mayor, Keith Summey. “The Cultural Arts staff and their partners have worked hard to produce a festival that uses performing, visual, and literary arts to expose, engage, and inspire residents and visitors from all walks of life.”
Arts Fest offerings include concerts ranging from classical to contemporary, theatre presentations, children’s programs, workshops and demonstrations, lectures, exhibitions, receptions, public art installations, and more. The revamped North Charleston Famers Market kicks off its 2017 season at the Felix Davis Community Center in Park Circle as part of this year’s festival. Just around the corner in the Olde Village area on East Montague Avenue the Arts Fest will host the inaugural Arty Block Party, an outdoor street celebration that combines events previously known as the Art Walk and the Street Dance. Visual art highlights during the festival include the 12th annual National Outdoor Sculpture Exhibition; the 11th Annual African American Fiber Art Exhibition: Move On Up and Reach the Higher Ground; and solo exhibitions by Philadelphia, PA, based artist Jasmine Alleger, local painter and sculptor Fletcher Williams III, and the City’s current artist-in-residence Caroline Self.
This year, the Arts Fest Expo at the Charleston Area Convention Center is presented as the culmination of the week’s festivities on Saturday and Sunday, May 6 & 7, from 11:00am-5:00pm each day. The Expo is considered the festival’s flagship event and features free admission and parking to more than 40 performances on four stages, judged fine art and photography shows, the 16th Annual South Carolina Palmetto Hands Juried Fine Craft Exhibit, a gem & mineral show, children’s activities, art/craft/antique vendors, and a food courtyard.
Applications are now being accepted from vendors for the Arts Fest Expo and Arty Block Party. Entry instructions for the Festival’s Judged Fine Art Exhibition, Judged Photography Exhibition, and Tri-County Youth Art Exhibition, as well as volunteer sign-up forms are also available. Forms can be downloaded at NorthCharlestonArtsFest.com/apply.
For more 2017 North Charleston Arts Fest 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.