The 40th annual North Charleston Arts Fest is just one month away, set to take place May 3-7. The celebration of arts and culture highlights the talents of regional and local artists and performers in the areas of music, dance, theatre, visual arts, and literature. Performances, activities, and exhibits take place in a variety of venues throughout the city of North Charleston with free admission for all. Residents and visitors can enjoy concerts, dance performances, art demos, kid’s programs, a variety of exhibitions, an Arty Block Party, and more. Complete details about the five-day event are available at NorthCharlestonArtsFest.com.
Exhibit Hall C at the Charleston Area Convention Center will host the Arts Fest’s Judged Art & Photography, South Carolina Palmetto Hands Fine Craft, and Tri-County Youth Art & High School Sculpture Competitions & Exhibitions during the entire run of the festival, May 3-7. Viewing hours are Wednesday, May 3, 6-8pm; Thursday-Saturday, May 4-6, 10am-6pm; and Sunday, May 7, noon-5pm. Award winners of the competitions will be acknowledged at 6:30pm during the Arts Fest Opening Celebration on Wednesday, May 3. The event, which takes place from 6-8pm, features food, music, and more, set among the hundreds of pieces of artwork on display. The Exhibition Encore on Sunday, May 7, from 2-5pm, serves as a closing reception, allowing patrons to view the artwork in a festive atmosphere and make final decisions on purchases. In addition to a final look at the exhibits, the event offers musical entertainment, a live painting demo, and complimentary “bites and bubbles.”
Other visual art highlights include a solo exhibit at Park Circle Gallery featuring paintings by the Arts Fest’s poster design competition winner Christopher Dotson and the 17h Annual National Outdoor Sculpture Exhibition installed at North Charleston Riverfront Park. North Charleston City Hall will display the 16th Annual African American Fiber Art Exhibition – Sister Girl Friends (and Brothers, Too), as well as a quilled paper exhibition by Fairoozan Abdullah (ZAD Creations) throughout the festival and beyond, remaining on display until June 18, 2023.
Music, theatre, and dance offerings during this year’s Arts Fest run the gamut. Concerts range from baroque and bluegrass to folk and funk to rock and r&b, and take place in a variety of venues, including restaurants, breweries, libraries, chapels, and parks. The World Dance Showcase at the performance pavilion in Oak Terrace Preserve will be held from 12-4pm on Saturday, May 6. The event showcases traditional, folk, and modern dances of cultures from around the world by local performers in vibrant costumes. This venue will also host a jazz concert by Charleston Jazz Express, featuring members of the Charleston Jazz Orchestra, on Sunday, May 7, at 5:00pm. The Colour of Music Festival will make its North Charleston debut at this year’s Arts Fest, with the group’s quartet and quintet presenting a special concert at the Eternal Father of the Sea Chapel on the former Charleston Naval Base at 7pm on Thursday, May 4. And, of course, the performing and visual arts come together at the Arts Fest Arty Block Party on Saturday, May 6, from 5-8:30pm on East Montague Avenue. The street art market features vendor booths with local artists, makers, and arts-related businesses and organizations, live music by The Get Right Band (5-6;30pm) and The Marcel Portilla Band (7-8:30pm), along with a variety of roving entertainers.
Complete information on all 2023 North Charleston Arts Fest offerings and participation opportunities is available at NorthCharlestonArtsFest.com. Applications are currently being accepted for vendor space at the Arty Block Party. Entry instructions for the Festival’s Judged Fine Art Exhibition, Judged Photography Exhibition, Tri-County Youth Art Exhibition, and Tri-County High School Sculpture Exhibition, as well as volunteer sign-up forms are also available. Forms can be downloaded at NorthCharlestonArtsFest.com/apply.