Guest Post

S.C. Arts Awards: Colonial Life

2019 Recipient Feature Series

As the day nears for the 2019 South Carolina Arts Awards, The Hub is taking 15 days to focus on this year's recipients: nine receiving the Elizabeth O'Neill Verner Governor's Awards for the Arts and five receiving the Jean Laney Harris Folk Heritage Award, which are managed jointly by the South Carolina Arts Commission and McKissick Museum at UofSC. In between the two groups, we'll run a special feature on S.C. Arts Awards sponsor Colonial Life.

Colonial Life

Lead Sponsor The S.C. Arts Commission 50th anniversary umbrellas traveling exhibition on display in the Atrium at Colonial Life headquarters.
When you think of an unwavering commitment to enhancing our community, especially through the arts and arts education, Colonial Life is one of the first companies to come to mind. Strong Schools Grant recipient John Rogers at Cyril B. Busbee Creative Arts Academy in Lexington School District 2. For 80 years, Colonial Life has been providing financial protection to customers and their families during difficult times in their lives to help protect the things they value most. This commitment extends to the community where our employees live and work. Colonial Life believes in giving back to the community and providing opportunities for employees to do the same. We do this through corporate giving, a charitable matching-gifts program, and thousands of volunteer hours. Employees and company leaders work together with community organizations that strive to improve the quality of life for citizens through education, health and well-being and the arts. Colonial Life’s commitment to supporting the arts extends to a variety of audiences and celebrates many cultures as diverse as its neighbors. We believe that a truly vibrant community includes engaging outlets and opportunities for cultural education. We understand for a community to reap the benefits of these institutions, we need to provide opportunities for students and educators to use these places to connect classroom curriculum with real-world experience. Here are a few of the ways Colonial Life supports the arts:
  • Educational outreach with the Columbia City Ballet
  • Professional development for educators at the Columbia Museum of Art
  • Sponsorship of the Youth Theatre at Town Theatre
  • Teacher Appreciation Nights with Second Shift Twosdays at the S.C. State Museum
  • Sponsorship of Link Up concerts with the S.C. Philharmonic
  • Strong Schools Grants program for educators that supports arts education initiatives
  • Arts education sponsorship through the Lexington County Arts Association
  • Underwriting of arts events and exhibits
In addition to these outreach efforts, Colonial Life is honored to feature an Art/Work gallery, in our newly renovated Columbia headquarters, showcasing original pieces produced by artists from across South Carolina. These creations enable members of our extended community to share their stories with our employees and guests. Colonial Life is proud to partner with the South Carolina Arts Foundation as the presenting sponsor of the 2019 South Carolina Arts Awards. We congratulate the Palmetto State’s outstanding award recipients and commend them on demonstrating excellence in the arts in South Carolina.
South Carolina Arts Awards Day is Wednesday, May 1, 2019. The festivities begin at 10 a.m. with a reception that leads up to the awards ceremony at the UofSC Alumni Center (900 Senate St., Columbia). The event is free and open to the public. Following the ceremony, the South Carolina Arts Foundation honors the recipients and the arts community at the S.C. Arts Awards Luncheon and Art Sale. Tickets are $50. Please go here for more information and reservations.

Meet the Recipients

Use these links to read the long-form bios of the other 2019 South Carolina Arts Awards recipients.

Two job openings at Redux Contemporary Art Center

Is Charleston calling you?

  Redux Contemporary Art Center Redux Contemporary Art Center Redux Contemporary Art Center submitted the following open positions to The Hub.

S.C. Arts Awards: Cecil Williams

2019 Recipient Feature Series

As the day nears for the 2019 South Carolina Arts Awards, The Hub is taking 15 days to focus on this year's recipients: nine receiving the Elizabeth O'Neill Verner Governor's Awards for the Arts and five receiving the Jean Laney Harris Folk Heritage Award, which are managed jointly by the South Carolina Arts Commission and McKissick Museum at UofSC. In between the two groups, we'll run a special feature on S.C. Arts Awards sponsor Colonial Life.

Cecil Williams

Lifetime Achievement Cecil Williams is a professional photographer, videographer, publisher, inventor, and author. Born and raised in Orangeburg, his extraordinary life and career were shaped by the personal, economic, and political boundaries of segregated life during the Jim Crow Era South. He is perhaps best known for using his penetrating lens to document the struggle to achieve freedom, justice, and equality during the civil rights movement. By the age of 9, he had already begun his career in photography and by 15 was working professionally. From a childhood darkroom in Orangeburg to New York hotels with heads of state to the frontlines of protests and mass meetings around South Carolina, Williams has recorded remarkable moments from the past. He worked as a freelancer for JET magazine, the Baltimore Afro-Americana and the Pittsburgh Courier and as a stringer for the Associated Press. As a young journalist, Williams developed close associations with key Civil Rights figures who provided him unique access to events around South Carolina that were closed to outsiders and the mainstream press. The teenaged Williams documented the Clarendon County movement that led to Briggs v. Elliott, an important legal precedent for the 1954 Brown v. Board of Education decision that desegregated public schools. He also captured the bravery of student protesters at South Carolina State College, desegregation at Clemson University and the University of South Carolina, the quiet heroism of teachers at the Elloree Training School who resigned from their jobs rather than renounce their affiliation with the NAACP and then and was there for the Orangeburg Massacre in 1968. When Lennie Glover, a Benedict College student, returned to the protest lines after a near-fatal stabbing, Williams was there, his camera focused on Glover’s determined steps down Columbia’s Main Street as he challenged segregation. An accomplished architect, he designed six residences that served as his home and art studio. He became an author in May 2006, publishing Out of the Box in Dixie, a photo-documentary. That publication’s sequel, Unforgettable, was released February 2018. Williams earned a degree in art from Claflin University and was recently appointed by Claflin as its historic preservationist. Williams is recipient of the Order of the Palmetto, the state’s highest award to an individual, and last fall received the Governor’s Award in the Humanities from SC Humanities. He owns Cecil Williams Photography, LLC in Orangeburg, and his new creation, the Cecil Williams Museum in Orangeburg, is slated to debut May 17, 2019.
South Carolina Arts Awards Day is Wednesday, May 1, 2019. The festivities begin at 10 a.m. with a reception that leads up to the awards ceremony at the UofSC Alumni Center (900 Senate St., Columbia). The event is free and open to the public. Following the ceremony, the South Carolina Arts Foundation honors the recipients and the arts community at the S.C. Arts Awards Luncheon and Art Sale. Tickets are $50. Please go here for more information and reservations.

Meet the Recipients

Use these links to read the long-form bios of the other 2019 South Carolina Arts Awards recipients.

S.C. Arts Awards: Town Theatre

2019 Recipient Feature Series

As the day nears for the 2019 South Carolina Arts Awards, The Hub is taking 15 days to focus on this year's recipients: nine receiving the Elizabeth O'Neill Verner Governor's Awards for the Arts and five receiving the Jean Laney Harris Folk Heritage Award, which are managed jointly by the South Carolina Arts Commission and McKissick Museum at UofSC. In between the two groups, we'll run a special feature on S.C. Arts Awards sponsor Colonial Life.

Town Theatre

Organization Category | Special Award Celebrating its 100th season in 2018/2019, Town Theatre’s mission is to provide quality, live, family-oriented community theatre to the Midlands and beyond as well as to offer the foundation for those who wish to participate on stage or backstage. Town Theatre is pleased to be a theatre OF the community, BY the community and FOR the community. The founders of the Town Theatre were not professional producers, directors or actors. They were people who dreamed of a new concept for Columbia: a theatre where families could not only watch plays, but also participate in them and learn from the experience. The commitment to presenting plays and musicals of wide general appeal has earned Town Theatre the largest regular audience of any cultural performing organization in the Midlands of South Carolina. In excess of 30,000 individuals come through Town’s doors annually as performers, patrons, students and volunteers. The theatre produces five main stage productions from September to May. Summer months bring large extravaganza productions which are geared towards young people. Town Theatre is home to a well-developed youth theatre program which has grown 900% in 18 years and includes weekday classes, a musical theatre troupe for teens, multiple full-scale productions and a healthy offering of summer classes. Town Theatre provides an exceptional opportunity to entry level actors by giving them the chance to work on stage with experienced veterans, many of whom are working professionals volunteering their time. The first home for the theatre was the Sloan House at 1012 Sumter St. The current Town Theatre building was constructed in 1924. It is the oldest community theatre building in continuous use in the United States and is listed in the National Register of Historic Places. On the Town stage Carl Sandburg recited poetry; Academy Award winners Delbert Mann directed,and Stanley Donen acted; Martha Graham danced; DuBose Heyward lectured; and famed artist Jasper Johns painted sets. While Town Theatre’s primary goal is to produce quality shows with local talent as the players and technicians, the theatre prides itself in its commitment to the community. In the last 25 years, the theatre has combined its heartbeat – presenting shows – with unique ways in which other nonprofits could raise money and awareness of their own causes. By virtue of its 100-year legacy to the arts, Town Theatre has contributed significantly to the cultural life of the city of Columbia and state of South Carolina. For more, visit TownTheatre.com.
South Carolina Arts Awards Day is Wednesday, May 1, 2019. The festivities begin at 10 a.m. with a reception that leads up to the awards ceremony at the UofSC Alumni Center (900 Senate St., Columbia). The event is free and open to the public. Following the ceremony, the South Carolina Arts Foundation honors the recipients and the arts community at the S.C. Arts Awards Luncheon and Art Sale. Tickets are $50. Please go here for more information and reservations.

S.C. Arts Awards: S.C. African American Heritage Commission

2019 Recipient Feature Series

As the day nears for the 2019 South Carolina Arts Awards, The Hub is taking 15 days to focus on this year's recipients: nine receiving the Elizabeth O'Neill Verner Governor's Awards for the Arts and five receiving the Jean Laney Harris Folk Heritage Award, which are managed jointly by the South Carolina Arts Commission and McKissick Museum at UofSC. In between the two groups, we'll run a special feature on S.C. Arts Awards sponsor Colonial Life.

South Carolina African American Heritage Commission

Arts in Education Category | Organization The S.C. African American Heritage Commission (SCAAHC) identifies and promotes the preservation of historic sites, structures, buildings, and culture of the African American experience in South Carolina, and assists and enhances the efforts of the S.C. Department of Archives and History. A joint resolution of the General Assembly in 1993 established the South Carolina African American Heritage Council, re-established as a commission in 2001. The 15-member commission includes representatives from all regions of the state. The commission’s goals are to: increase the social, political, and economic value of African American heritage; encourage and demonstrate respect for all heritage; encourage the documentation of African American heritage; institutionalize African American heritage as an ongoing goal of preservation; and explore every area of South Carolina for African American contributions. The SCAAHC is known across the state for publishing A Teacher’s Guide to African American Historic Places in South Carolina. The guide was originally published in 2008, revised in 2012, then updated in 2015. But in 2016, they published the first arts-integrated supplement. The work was the product of a team of dedicated teachers and college students from across South Carolina representing grades K-12. That supplement was updated in 2018 to incorporate 2017 South Carolina College-and Career-Ready Standards for Visual and Performing Arts Proficiency. The current version added 18 lesson plans to the 22-plan 2016 supplement, giving teachers 30 potential lessons that merge arts learning with learning about African American history and achievements. Other notable arts-related accomplishments include publishing The Business of Rural Heritage, Culture and Art: An Introductory Resource Guide for Entrepreneurs; presenting FREED, African American female Civil War reenactors in 2018; featuring award-winning speaker, storyteller and artist Natalie Daise in her production “Becoming Harriet Tubman” in 2012; and presenting Opera Noire in Columbia and Hartsville in 2010. In 2017, the SCAAHC received acclaim for launching “Green Book of South Carolina,” an online travel guide to S.C.  African American historic and cultural sites. For more, visit their website.
South Carolina Arts Awards Day is Wednesday, May 1, 2019. The festivities begin at 10 a.m. with a reception that leads up to the awards ceremony at the UofSC Alumni Center (900 Senate St., Columbia). The event is free and open to the public. Following the ceremony, the South Carolina Arts Foundation honors the recipients and the arts community at the S.C. Arts Awards Luncheon and Art Sale. Tickets are $50. Please go here for more information and reservations.

Submitted material

Alumna Sue Samuels named Furman bands director

Sue Samuels, a 1987 Furman University graduate, has been named director of bands for the Furman Department of Music. Samuels, who fills the post of retiring music faculty member Leslie W. Hicken, will assume the role in fall semester 2019. Samuels is director of visual and performing arts at Randolph School in Huntsville, Ala. Prior to Randolph School, she served 14 years as director of bands at the University of Alabama at Birmingham where she led the Marching Blazers, the Wind Symphony, the Symphony Band, and the Blazer Band, as well as taught courses in conducting and music education. Samuels’ teaching experience includes 12 years at Lassiter High School in Marietta Ga., one year as assistant director of bands at the University of Georgia, and two years as director of bands at WT Woodson High School in Fairfax, Va. Under her direction, the high school bands received straight superior ratings at festivals throughout her 14-year career as band director and have garnered recognition on the national stage.


Growing up in a military family, Samuels lived in five states as a youngster before her family settled in Columbia. Later, Samuels attended Furman and earned a bachelor’s in music education. Samuels also studied at Georgia State University in Atlanta, where she received a master’s in instrumental conducting. She also studied at the Eastman School of Music, and at Auburn University where she earned a Ph.D. in music education in 2009. Current Director of Bands Leslie W. Hicken joined the Furman music faculty 26 years ago. He will pass his academic baton to Samuels when he retires this spring. Just weeks after leading the Symphonic Winds in a performance at New York’s Carnegie Hall, Hicken will conduct his last concert with the ensemble Friday, April 12, at 8 p.m. in McAlister Auditorium on campus. Known for his contributions to the community, Hicken will again lead the 2019 Furman Summer Concert Series, Music by the Lake, a Greenville tradition for more than 50 years, and continue as artistic director and conductor of the Carolina Youth Symphony, which will also perform at Carnegie Hall in late April.

Barnwell next host of ‘Communal Pen’ writing workshop series

The S.C. Arts Commission and S.C. Humanities are excited to take Communal Pen, a creative writing workshop, to Barnwell on Saturday, May 11 to help you write to celebrate and explore connections to place and community. They have two questions:

  1. What are the memories, stories and traditions that make our community home?
  2. What landmarks, customs, sights and sounds connect us with family, friends and neighbors, while highlighting our unique experience and identity?
Sometimes, you’ve just got to write it down! Co-facilitators EBONI RAMM and MICHELLE ROSS will lead the workshop as you write to celebrate and explore connections to place and community. Often, it is in our written words that memory lives. The writing process can itself help us to awaken and preserve thoughts and traditions, offering insight, understanding and respect to present and future generations. This three-hour writing workshop runs from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Barnwell County Public Library (40 Burr St., Barnwell). It draws inspiration from the Smithsonian exhibit Crossroads: Change in Rural America as a springboard for igniting our own stories, giving voice to our shared and individual experience of place. Space is limited; registration is on a first-come, first-served basis. Walk-in registration is welcome as long as space permits. Share it with your friends on Facebook! NOTE: marking yourself as "Going" on Facebook DOES NOT register you for Communal Pen. No previous experience necessary! We invite participants to view the exhibit before the workshop, and to pay special attention to those images and ideas that are most relatable you. On the day of the workshop, please bring a photo and/or object that has special meaning for you. This item will be used during a writing exercise.
The Communal Pen writing workshop is offered in conjunction with the traveling Smithsonian exhibition, Crossroads: Change in Rural America. Crossroads is presented through the Museum on Main Street (MoMS) program as part of the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service. MoMS provides access to the Smithsonian for small-town America through museum exhibitions, research, educational resources, and programming. Communal Pen is developed through the S.C. Arts Commission’s place-based initiative, Art of Community: Rural SC, a new framework for engagement, learning, and action in rural communities. The writing workshops are coordinated through the SCAC’s Folklife & Traditional Arts and Community Arts Development programs, with generous support from the S.C. Humanities Council. Enjoy Crossroads at Barnwell County Library in Barnwell from March 30 through May 12, 2019. The image at the top of this page is Old Sheldon by Varnville, S.C. artist Ment Nelson, who's no stranger to The Hub. Nelson celebrates his family, culture, and home community through his artwork. He is a Young Voice of the Art of Community-Rural SC initiative, and coordinator of the Creative Connectors, for the Create Rural SC project. On being an artist he says, “You never know who might be intrigued by your story.”
Deeply rooted in South Carolina, Communal Pen co-facilitator Eboni Ramm fell in love with the arts at a young age and was encouraged throughout her youth to express herself. Today, she is a gifted vocalist known for her special blend of timeless jazz classics with a pinch of poetry. Ramm resides in Columbia, where she conducts jazz poetry workshops in schools, libraries, and various learning centers. She serves her community as Richland Library's literary resident and as a teaching artist with ARTS ACCESS South Carolina and Youth Corps. She is a featured musician on SCETV’s education web portal, knowitall.org. Her publication Within His Star: The Story of Levi Pearson celebrates the ancestor who added strength to the unprecedented Brown vs. The Board of Education case. Learn more at www.EboniRamm.com. Communal Pen co-facilitator Michelle Ross is a folklorist and adjunct faculty in anthropology at the University of South Carolina Sumter. She holds a master's from the Folk Studies and Anthropology Department at Western Kentucky University. Ross embraces stories of all kinds. She helped establish the S.C. Center for Oral Narrative, through which she has co-created several writing workshops. Ross also works with the Mothers of Angels in telling and writing about grief from the death of a child, and has worked with veterans in telling and writing their stories. Her work has been published in The North Carolina Folklore Journal and an anthology of mother-in-law essays titled His Mother!; her poetry has appeared in Sandhill and The Petigru Review. For the past five years, she has been working on telling her Pontian Greek family’s refugee story, her most important project to date. Communal Pen coordinator Laura Marcus Green is Folklife & Traditional Arts Program Director at the South Carolina Arts Commission, where she manages several grant and award programs, and at the University of South Carolina’s McKissick Museum, where she develops programming in conjunction with folklife exhibitions. She holds a Ph.D. in Folklore from Indiana University and an M.A. in Folklore/Anthropology from the University of Texas at Austin. Selected prior positions include Community Engagement Coordinator for the Museum of International Folk Art’s Gallery of Conscience, and work as a folklife fieldworker and researcher, writer, curator and consultant for the Louisiana Division of the Arts Folklife Program, the South Carolina Arts Commission, the Iowa Arts Council, New Mexico Arts, and the Idaho Commission on the Arts, among others.

S.C. Arts Awards: Tyrone Geter

2019 Recipient Feature Series

As the day nears for the 2019 South Carolina Arts Awards, The Hub is taking 15 days to focus on this year's recipients: nine receiving the Elizabeth O'Neill Verner Governor's Awards for the Arts and five receiving the Jean Laney Harris Folk Heritage Award, which are managed jointly by the South Carolina Arts Commission and McKissick Museum at UofSC. In between the two groups, we'll run a special feature on S.C. Arts Awards sponsor Colonial Life.

Tyrone Geter

Artist Category Photo by Drew Baron In a career that spreads across two continents, Tyrone Geter has built an international reputation as a world-class artist, painter, sculptor, illustrator, and teacher. Recently retired associate professor of art at Benedict College in Columbia, Geter grew up in Anniston, Ala., during a time defined by strict segregation laws and social injustice. Anniston was a site of numerous acts of racial violence during the Civil Rights Era. The immediacy of these events and an inherited legacy of spiritual strength and fortitude against all the odds inform and shape Geter’s work. He received his Master of Fine Arts from Ohio University in 1978 with an emphasis on painting and drawing. An exceptional draftsman, his portraits are sensitive, timeless, and masterfully executed. Their power, displayed through their expression, gesture and adornments, seem often suspended in an otherworldly environment. Equal to the history his figures embody, they also speak of a spiritual world overflowing with compassions and empathy. In this regard his work is uniquely distinctive. In 1979, Geter relocated to Zaria, Nigeria.  For seven years he lived, drew and painted among the Fulani and other local peoples of Northern Nigeria. During this period, he created numerous paintings that captured the richness and depth of the cultures of the region. He describes the experience as an experience that taught him “to understand the nature of life in a society where life was nature and sometimes both hard and cruel.” Further, he experienced “a lesson in the creative process that no art school would ever teach me.” Those years in Nigeria proved to be a turning point in his development and the most important influence in his life and art. In 1987 he returned to the U.S. and a teaching position at the University of Akron, where he transformed his experience in Nigeria into the most powerful work of his career. His work has been exhibited at the Columbia Museum of Art, Florence County Museum, and WaterFront Gallery (Charleston) in South Carolina, and Center for Afro-American Artists (Boston), Butler Institute for American Art (Youngstown, Ohio), Hampton Institute College Museum (Hampton, Va.), and Museum of Fine Art (Boston) to name a few. His honors include placing first at Moja Arts Festival and in the Robert Duncanson Award from Taft Museum (Cincinnati), and he received an artist fellowship grant from Foundation for the Arts and Humanities (Boston) and a grant from Columbus (Ohio) Arts Council. For more, visit TyroneGeter.com.
South Carolina Arts Awards Day is Wednesday, May 1, 2019. The festivities begin at 10 a.m. with a reception that leads up to the awards ceremony at the UofSC Alumni Center (900 Senate St., Columbia). The event is free and open to the public. Following the ceremony, the South Carolina Arts Foundation honors the recipients and the arts community at the S.C. Arts Awards Luncheon and Art Sale. Tickets are $50. Please go here for more information and reservations.

Grants Roundup: Deadlines for the Week of April 15

Though far from the only thing, grants are among the main things we do here. And because of their importance in our work, and what they mean to so many of you, The Hub wants to help keep Arts Commission grants top-of-mind and reduce the number of times people say, "If only we'd known about X grant!"

We can't reach everybody, but we can try. On Mondays with deadlines on the horizon, "Grants Roundup" highlights first what grants are due that week and then includes what's coming later in increments.


This week

These are to serve mainly as final reminders to finish in-progress applications. Most grant applications simply cannot be undertaken well in this short a time frame. Consult your county or discipline coordinator with questions.

Next week

  • n/a

Next 30(ish)

  • n/a

Rolling Deadlines

Important Notes

  • You are encouraged to also consult the SCAC grants page for up-to-date information on all grant deadlines (subject to change) and deadlines for non-grant programs.
  • For next steps, grant guidance, and more information, consult your county coordinator if you are an artist or represent local organizations, a business, or an educational institution.

Submitted material

2019 North Charleston Arts Fest coming May 1-5

Performances, activities, and exhibits will take place throughout city


The annual North Charleston Arts Fest is now just weeks away, set to take place May 1-5.

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.

Recognized by the Southeast Tourism Society as a Top 20 Event in both 2008 and 2018, the North Charleston Arts Fest is now entering its 37th year. Arts Fest offerings include:

  • concerts ranging from classical to contemporary,
  • theatre presentations,
  • dance performances,
  • children’s programs,
  • workshops,
  • demonstrations,
  • lectures,
  • exhibitions,
  • receptions,
  • public art installations,
  • and more.

The City of North Charleston Cultural Arts Department, which organizes and presents the event, is introducing some major changes to this year’s festival programming.

Most notable is the discontinuation of the two-day Arts Fest Expo at the Charleston Area Convention Center, and introduction of the one-day World Arts Expo at North Charleston Riverfront Park. The new event will be held on Saturday, May 4, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., with free admission and parking.

“A number of factors have encouraged us to switch our focus in 2019 to a new event that highlights some of the most popular components of the Arts Expo we’ve previously produced at the Convention Center,” explains Cultural Arts Director Kyle Lahm. “The World Arts Expo is our new flagship event celebrating visual and performing arts from cultures around the world. Patrons can enjoy the spring weather while experiencing a diverse line-up of music and dance performances, live art demonstrations, multi-cultural food offerings, art & craft vendors, hands-on activities, roving entertainment, and a kid’s zone.”

Despite this change, Exhibit Hall A at the Charleston Area Convention Center will continue to host the Arts Fest’s Judged Art & Photography, South Carolina Palmetto Hands Fine Craft, and Tri-County Youth Art Exhibitions during the entire run of the Arts Fest, May 1-5. Viewing hours are Wednesday, May 1, 6-8 p.m. (opening reception); Thursday-Saturday, May 2-4, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; and Sunday, May 5, 12-6 p.m.

Another new event called the Arts Fest Exhibition Encore will be introduced in 2019 as a means to spotlight these exhibits. The Exhibition Encore on Sunday, May 5, from 12-6 p.m., serves as a closing reception and celebration, allowing patrons to view the artwork in a festive atmosphere and make final decisions on purchases. In addition to the vast array of artwork on display, the event offers musical entertainment, live art demonstrations, hands-on activities, and more.


Theatre and Dance

Theatre and dance offerings during this year’s Arts Fest include everything from showcases and improv comedy sketches, to one-woman shows and full stage productions.

  • Award-winning sister act Gracie & Lacy make a dazzling return to the Arts Fest in a dinner theatre performance of Gloriously Gatsby on Wednesday, May 1, at the North Charleston Marriott. Their Jazz Era throwback production showcases the glitz and glam of the 1920s & '30s through song and dance.
  • Theatre 99 will be doing a little song and dance of their own by taking on-the-spot audience suggestions during their popular Improv Riot! comedy show, which is popping up at The Sparrow in Park Circle on the same evening.
  • Lady in White Productions will offer a one-night-only performance of Big Mama on Friday, May 3. The original musical, written by Ade Ofunniyin and directed by Samelia Adams, centers on performers’ experiences as members of the Theatre Owners Booking Association, the vaudeville circuit for African American musicians, comedians, and actors in the 1920s.
  • Arts Fest patrons can also catch a musical at Midtown Productions. Their reprise of Andrew Lloyd Webber and Don Black’s West End and Broadway hit musical Tell Me On a Sunday has a 10-show run taking place between May 2 and 18. The production stars Allison Sharpley and is directed by Sheri Grace Wenger, who received the 2013 Theatre Charleston Award for “Outstanding Director of a Musical” for her work on this production.
  • Dancefx Charleston will present its second annual storybook show, Wonderland, on Saturday, May 4, at the Fort Dorchester High School Auditorium. The production features a series of dance performances woven together with narrated scenes from the beloved tale of Alice in Wonderland.
  • Fort Dorchester will also host a Youth Dance Showcase featuring performances by Dance Moves Youth Company and Summerville Dance Academy on Sunday, May 5.

Music

This year’s musical offerings vary widely, with numerous afternoon and evening concerts scheduled throughout the five days of the festival. In addition to performances of contemporary jazz, blues, soul, and variety tunes at the usual Arts Fest venues like North Charleston’s public libraries and senior centers, this year’s festival also includes musical offerings at new venues such as The Eternal Father of the Sea Chapel on the former Charleston Naval Base and Midtown Theatre. Another addition to the 2019 Arts Fest music line-up is the Park Circle Pickin’ Crawl, taking place in four locations along East Montague Avenue in the Olde Village area of North Charleston on Sunday, May 5. The day-long series of bluegrass & Americana concerts are all within walking distance from one another with no cover charge at any of the venues.


Visual Arts

Visual art offerings unique to this year’s festival include Honoring the Heroines of the Civil Rights Movement, an exhibition of quilted swing coats by Patricia A. Montgomery of Oakland, Calif.; Balancing Act, a collection of new paintings by the Arts Fest’s poster design competition winner Joseph Kameen; and The Culture: Part 2, a display of new work by the City of North Charleston’s current artist-in-residence Quintin Chaplin.

Other visual art exhibitions include the aforementioned Judged Fine Art and Photography Exhibitions, Tri-County Youth Art Exhibition, and the inaugural Tri-County High School Sculpture Exhibition, and the 18th Annual South Carolina Palmetto Hands Juried Fine Craft Exhibition on view in Exhibit Hall A at the Charleston Area Convention Center; the 14th Annual National Outdoor Sculpture Exhibition installed at North Charleston Riverfront Park; and the 13th Annual African American Fiber Art Exhibition: BLACK GOLD on display at North Charleston City Hall. In addition, the North Charleston Cultural Arts Department is continuing its partnership with the College of Charleston School of the Arts Sculpture Department to present public art installations in green spaces throughout the City. These installations, as well as a number of the exhibitions presented as components of the festival, will remain on view well after the festival concludes on May 5.


  • Complete information on all 2019 North Charleston Arts Fest offerings, including event and exhibition details, site maps, and social media contest rules, are available at NorthCharlestonArtsFest.com.
  • Applications are currently being accepted for booth space at the World Arts Expo at Riverfront Park and 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.