The annual North Charleston Arts Fest is just one month away, set to kick off on April 29 and conclude on May 7. Now entering its 34th year, the nine day event has matured into one of the most comprehensive arts festivals 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. More than 100 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 Fest 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 Fest 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, allowing residents and visitors from throughout the Southeast to be exposed, engaged, and inspired by the arts.”
The Arts Fest Premiere Weekend, held on Saturday, April 30, and Sunday, May 1, at the Charleston Area Convention Center Complex, offers free admission and parking to a variety of performances on four stages. Other features include judged fine art and photography exhibits; the 15th 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.
Stand-alone events take place throughout the nine days of the festival at various locations. An exciting array of free and ticketed offerings include concerts; a street dance; 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. Visual art exhibitions on view during the festival include the 11th annual National Outdoor Sculpture Exhibition; the 10th Annual African American Fiber Art Exhibition, A Piece of Peace; paintings by Boca Raton, FL, based artist Andrew Brown; an installation of mixed media works by Statesboro, GA, artist Kimberly Riner; and more. This year’s Grand Finale on May 7 features the 3rd annual Tri-County School Steel Drum Festival, a slam poetry show, children’s activities, a food truck rodeo, and an evening concert by The Secrets 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 vendors. 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 2016 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.