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AccessAbility Announces ‘Art in the Dark’ – this Thursday

This Thursday will bring the second annual "Art in the Dark" event to North Charleston at the headquarters of AccessAbility. The for-purpose, not-for-profit organization invites aspiring artists and amateurs (of all ages) to bring themselves and their families to its community art exhibition and competition. This year guests will enjoy art that spans across all mediums. The event will feature live music, hands-on art projects, yard games, and refreshments for all ages and abilities. The creative staff at AccessAbility will adopt the world of Willy Wonka as design inspiration. Thematic surprises are in-store and will provide an all-encompassing sensory experience for the whole family. "Art in the Dark" is an inclusive event open to community members with or without disabilities. The idea of promoting fellowship in the growing community of creators and entrepreneurs was thought up by AccessAbility Executive Director Julia Martinelli. The creative spirit and visionary saw an opportunity to accentuate the abilities of individuals with disabilities through the arts, as well as showcase AccessAbility’s many resources which are often unknown to locals. “The idea to create an art competition and exhibition is centered in inclusiveness and serves to highlight disability as part of the human experience. We often incorporate artistic inspiration throughout the programs we deliver and many of our clients, employees, and friends are gifted in various creative outlets,” Martinelli said. "Art in the Dark" is scheduled for Thursday, May 24th from 5-9 p.m. Participants who submit artwork will receive free admission to the event. To purchase tickets, submit artwork, and find additional information visit

AccessAbility is located between Cross County Road and Lincoln Patriot Boulevard on Dorchester Road. AccessAbility is a non-profit organization and center for independent living representing Charleston, Berkeley, Dorchester, Williamsburg, and Orangeburg counties. The organization promotes the full integration of people with disabilities in their communities and operates on a cross-disability basis.
Feature photo by Matthew Henry from Burst

Tuning Up: Eclipsing 50 at SCSM, Speaking Down Barriers in Spartanburg

Good morning!  "Tuning Up" is a morning post series where The Hub delivers quick-hit arts stories of interest to readers. Sometimes there will be one story, sometimes there will be several. Get in tune now, and have a masterpiece of a day. And now, in no particular order...

  • Eclipsing 50. Originally scheduled to come down in June, the State Art Collection will remain on display at the South Carolina State Museum into August, so consider this a periodic reminder to go check it out. With the wet weather this week and summer's heat looming, this is a way to escape both. It's rare to see so much of the collection displayed in one place... unless you visit the S.C. Arts Commission. Free with museum admission.
  • Speaking Down Barriers in Spartanburg. This Saturday, our friends at Chapman Cultural Center and South Carolina Humanities are planning to use music, poetry and art to help bring people together to build a better community in the Upstate. Speaking Down Barriers holds the first "Day of Transformation" from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Unitarian Universalist Church of Spartanburg (210 Henry Place, Spartanburg). $15. Read more about it here and here. (The SCAC provided support for this event.)
  • More Spoleto! On Monday, May 28, Palmetto State Arts Education will host the opening performance of the 2018 Rising Stars Piccolo Spoleto Series, showcasing young actors, dancers, musicians, writers and visual artists in the high profile venue of Spoleto Festival USA through its affiliation with Piccolo Spoleto. A series of six programs, each program will feature 5-7 young artists and/or ensembles in a conversation and performance format. All programs are presented at St. Matthew's Lutheran Church across from Marion Square on King Street in the heart of downtown Charleston at 4 p.m. $8.00.

Artisphere continues arts festival season in S.C.

Artisphere Arts festival season has hit full-stride in South Carolina. This weekend, it's Greenville and Artisphere in the spotlight with the return of the signature Upstate event, which draws artists, art lovers, and tourists from all over the Southeast. The fun began about an hour ago and runs through Sunday:

  • ArtisphereFriday, May 11: 12-8 p.m.*
  • Saturday, May 12: 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.*
  • Sunday, May 13: 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
*ARTISPHERE AFTER HOURS CONCERTS: the WYFF-4 Main Stage features musical performances from 8-9:45 p.m. There are a host of exhibits, performances (dance and music), and vendors (craft, food, etc.) to take in as you wind your way through downtown Greenville. Artisphere is presented by TD Bank, and receives support from the South Carolina Arts Commission.

Here are your weekend plans

South Carolina's arts scene is rarely dormant, but is especially lively this weekend. Two major arts festivals are running concurrently, so let's give a rundown of the highlights.

ArtFields | Lake City | Today-April 28

ArtFields is one of the state's three main arts festivals, but has the unique distinction of being, well, off the beaten trail compared to its big-deal brethren Artisphere and Spoleto Festival USA. But starting today, tiny Lake City in southern Florence County becomes a hotbed of activity for more than a week with this signature event, now in its sixth year. You'll find that art is, almost literally, everywhere. (No, seriously.) There is a serious children's component with the ArtFields, Jr. competition, and a wide array of events from music to horticulture to a 5K Color Run (not our speed) and Walk (there you go). Many events are free, and the weather should be nice through the weekend. All images courtesy of

Artista Vista | Columbia | Saturday

Columbia's Vista is an officially designated South Carolina Cultural District. Its notoriety springs from its galleries, which jump into the spotlight every spring with Artista Vista. They'll hang new, unique shows and some will offer complimentary beverages and hors d’oeuvres with live entertainment. Additionally, enjoy music and other entertainment throughout the Vista. The festivities began last night, but that doesn't fit our theme, so yeah. On hiatus tonight, official events start afresh with Art Day on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Good weather is forecast for Columbia as well.

Honor the S.C. Arts Awards recipients at luncheon + art sale

Join the South Carolina Arts Commission, South Carolina Arts Foundation, and McKissick Museum at the University of South Carolina to honor the seven individuals and three groups receiving the South Carolina Arts Awards. The art sale at the 2017 S.C. Arts Awards Luncheon 2018 South Carolina Arts Awards Luncheon

  • Wednesday, May 2
  • Art Sale & Champagne Reception begins 11 a.m.
  • Luncheon program begins approx. 12:15 p.m.
  • USC "MyCarolina" Alumni Center, 900 Senate St., Columbia
  • Tickets are $50
  • Sponsored by Colonial Life
The luncheon begins at 11 a.m. with Champagne reception and art sale featuring works by Sigmund Albeles, Brian Rutenberg, and 2018 Verner Award recipient Tom Stanley among a host of artists synonymous with the South Carolina art scene. After noon, the ballroom doors open and you’ll be admitted to a three-course meal by Southern Way Catering. Make sure to take note of your table’s centerpiece: each one celebrates South Carolina’s rich and diverse cultural heritage with locally sourced products and crafts from counties throughout South Carolina – a nod to the fact that the S.C. Arts Commission provides services and grants to all 46 counties in our state. You can purchase an opportunity to own one of these county baskets for $100. The luncheon program features special entertainment by The Blackville Community Choir – a 2018 Folk Heritage Award recipient, readings by South Carolina literary fellows past and present, and recognition of the diverse group of South Carolina Arts Awards recipients. Reserve your place now for just $50.

Art Sale Preview

Catalog Information Jeri Burdick Short with Love Handles 2016 White earthenware 9"  x 9"  x 5" $325 Brian Rutenberg Lake Marion 7 (Study for Gentle Wind) 1997 Pastel on paper 9” x 7” $1,200 Tom Stanley Houses 2017 Acrylic on paper 22" x 15" Courtesy of if ART Gallery $1,200 Sigmund Abeles Evening 1971 Etching 11 3/4” x 11 3/4” $1,800 Benjamin Gilliam Serving Set 2014 Sterling silver 8” long each piece $600 Mike Vatalaro Cedar Lidded Vessel 2017 white stoneware 12” x 6” x 6” $275  

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Annual North Charleston Arts Fest Set for May 2-6

The annual North Charleston Arts Fest is just one month away, set to take place May 2-6. 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, media 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 intended to be 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 36th year. The City of North Charleston Cultural Arts Department, which organizes and presents the event, is continuing revisions set into motion in 2017 and adding some exciting new programming. “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, media, 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, film screenings, workshops and demonstrations, lectures, exhibitions, receptions, public art installations, and more.

Theatre offerings during this year’s Arts Fest vary from short play showcases to Broadway musicals. South of Broadway Theatre will once again present their annual "PlayFest" as part of the Arts Fest schedule. The two-night event, set for May 4 & 5, features a variety of new short plays by local playwrights. Lady in White Productions will offer a one-night-only performance of "When I First Remember," on Saturday, May 5. The interactive, storytelling journey portrays the passage of African slaves to the Lowcountry and provides unique and authentic insight into the Gullah Geechee and African American culture. Arts Fest patrons can also catch Midtown Productions’ take on Neil Simon’s "Broadway Bound," with 9 presentations taking place between April 27 and May 12.
New to the Arts Fest event line-up this year is the Arts Fest Marsh Jam taking place at The Bend on Thursday, May 3. The free, outdoor event is headlined by Big Mean Sound Machine (Ithaca, N.Y.) and also features roving performers, kid’s activities, live art demonstrations, food trucks, and a local beer garden. On the following evening, Friday, May 4, is the second annual Arty Block Party, a free, family-friendly celebration that combines an art market and street dance in the Olde Village area of North Charleston on East Montague Avenue. This year’s Arty Block Party features live music by The Zandrina Dunning Experience (Charleston, S.C.) and Swift Technique (Philadelphia, Penn.), along with a variety of art-based vendors, a kid’s zone with hands-on activities and inflatables, and more. Another highlight in the 2018 schedule is the Art Fest’s first ever stand-alone hip-hop event, "Live in Color," taking place at the Purple Buffalo on Saturday, May 5. Produced in partnership with Charleston Sticks Together, "Live in Color" features DJs, live hip-hop performances, and an adult coloring contest.
The Arts Fest Expo at the Charleston Area Convention Center is considered the festival’s flagship event, presented as the culmination of the week’s festivities on Saturday and Sunday, May 5 & 6, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day. The Arts Fest Expo features free admission and parking to a diverse array of performances on four stages; exhibitions of fine art, fine craft, photography, and youth art; live art demonstrations; hands-on children’s activities; art & craft vendors; roving entertainers; and more. Visual art offerings unique to this year’s festival include "Honduras: Nuestro Arte, Nuestra Vida," an international group exhibition featuring painters from Honduras; "False Dichotomy," an immersive art installation by local artists Sage Graham and Heather Thornton; and "CREST," a solo display of new work by the City of North Charleston’s current artist-in-residence Camela Guevara. Other visual art exhibitions include the 17th Annual South Carolina Palmetto Hand Juried Fine Craft Exhibition featured in Exhibit Hall A of the Charleston Area Convention Center as a component of the Arts Fest Expo, the 13th Annual National Outdoor Sculpture Exhibition installed at North Charleston Riverfront Park, and the 12th Annual African American Fiber Art Exhibition: "I’m NOT Every Woman, I’m a PHENOMENAL Woman!" 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 6.
Complete information on all 2018 North Charleston Arts Fest offerings, including event and exhibition details, site maps, and social media contest rules, are available at Applications are currently 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

Alonzo Williams visits ‘Well Suited’ exhibit at McKissick Museum

McKissick Museum is excited to host costume designer Alonzo V. Wilson (right) for two open gallery talks today and tomorrow as part of its "WELL SUITED: The Costumes of Alonzo V. Wilson for HBO's® Treme" exhibit:

  • Monday, March 26th: 2-5 p.m.
  • Tuesday, March 27th: 4:30-6 p.m.
Don’t miss this opportunity to learn more about the making of Treme, its costumes and Mardi Gras Indian culture from the man behind the magic. The drop-in gallery talk is free, informal and open to the public. "WELL SUITED" features nine exquisitely crafted Mardi Gras Indian suits specially designed by Alonzo V. Wilson and his team for the award-winning TV show. Treme takes its name from one of the oldest neighborhoods in New Orleans that continues to be an important center of the city's African-American and Créole culture. The series begins four months after Hurricane Katrina as the residents of New Orleans, including musicians, chefs, and Mardi Gras Indians, try to rebuild their lives, their homes and their unique culture in the aftermath of the 2005 hurricane. Support for Alonzo V. Wilson’s visit to Columbia has been generously provided by HBO’s Corporate Social Responsibility Program. "WELL SUITED" was organized by the Cameron Art Museum, Wilmington, North Carolina, and originated at the Ogden Museum of Southern Art, New Orleans, Louisiana.

Re-enactors to tell story of African-American women in Civil War

Coming this Friday is a show-stopping event that deserves your attention. The South Carolina African-American Heritage Foundation is presenting an event that uniquely bridges Black and Women’s history months: a reenactment of African American women during the Civil War era. On Friday morning at 10:30, Female Reenactors of Distinction (FREED) will bring to life untold stories of struggle, strength, and success of African American Women who contributed to our American history. The reenactment will be performed at the South Carolina Archives and History Center (8301 Parklane Rd., Columbia). It’s free, but you must register to attend first. The South Carolina Arts Commission is sponsoring this event.

Six students readying for ‘Poetry Out Loud’ state finals Saturday

Six South Carolina high school students will compete in the state finals for Poetry Out Loud – an annual, nationwide recitation contest – this Saturday, March 10, 3 p.m. at the Richland Library Main Branch (1431 Assembly St., Columbia). Janae ClaxtonThe S.C. Arts Commission (SCAC) coordinates Poetry Out Loud in South Carolina, partnering with the National Endowment for the Arts to bring the competition to state high schools for 12 years running. In 2017, around 7,500 students from 35 schools in 14 counties participated. School competition winners competed against students in their district to move on and compete in January’s regional finals. The following six state regional winners, three from each of two regions, compete Saturday for the opportunity to be the South Carolina representative in the national finals April 23-25, 2018 in Washington, D.C.:

  • Grant Butler (Aiken High School in Aiken)
  • Janae Claxton (pictured - First Baptist Church High School in Charleston)
  • Sha’Kaila Stewart (Whale Branch Early College High School in Seabrook)
  • Alyssa Stone (Wando High School in Mount Pleasant)
  • Alexia Story (Buford High School in Lancaster)
  • Taylor Elisse Wade (Andrew Jackson High School in Lancaster)
State winners receive $200 and an all-expenses-paid trip to compete in the national finals, and the state winner's school will receive $500 for the purchase of poetry materials. Each state’s first runner-up, and that student’s school, receives a cash prize as well. The national winner receives a $20,000 cash prize. Contestant Janae Claxton is the 2017 S.C. Poetry Out Loud winner. Update, 12:25 p.m. March 8: First alternate Alyssa Stone will replace Keegan Dustin, who is unable to perform, on the program.

About Poetry Out Loud

Poetry Out Loud helps students master public speaking skills, build self-confidence, and learn about literary history and contemporary life. Created by the National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation in 2005, Poetry Out Loud is administered in partnership with the State arts agencies of all 50 states, the District of Columbia, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico. Poetry Out Loud offers more than $100,000 is prizes and school stipends each year. It provides free teacher resources and a comprehensive website with a large anthology of classic and contemporary poems, audio and video clips, as well as complete contest information. Since its establishment, Poetry Out Loud has grown to reach nearly 3.5 million students and 50,000 teachers from 10,000 schools across the country. For more information, visit

U.S. poet laureate, Air Force ‘Rhythm in Blue’ Band in Sumter this weekend

This weekend in Sumter, the Sumter County Cultural Commission and Arthenia Millican Literary Foundation partner to present a new two-day multicultural arts event featuring performances, speakers, an art exhibit, and vendors. "Love. Respect. Unity. Festival" (LRU) is seeking to unite diverse people groups through the arts at Sumter's Patriot Hall March 10-11. Event host Cynthia Hardy from "On Point with Cynthia Hardy" will welcome U.S. Poet Laureate Marjory Wentworth and Hate Won't Win founder Alanna Simmons as speakers. The headlining performer is the U.S. Air Force Rhythm in Blue Band – a nod to Shaw Air Force Base, which calls Sumter home. “We often get into a routine of existing day to day in silos, without meaningfully engaging with people who are different. We have the rare opportunity to unite people around the Sumter area’s rich culture and the diversity of the arts," Sumter County Cultural Center Executive Director Melanie Colclough said. Other performers are scheduled to appear include a combined ‘unity’ choir consisting of choirs from Morris College, First Baptist Church, and Lakewood High and the Sumter County Civic Chorale; a performance by Charleston’s first poet laureate Marcus Amaker; an art exhibit; and performances by a host of Sumter-area and S.C. talent. The AJBM Foundation was established in 2008 to preserve the legacy and literary works of Dr. Arthenia Jackson Bates Millican and to give back. Dr. Millican (1920-2012) was an internationally known poet, educator, novelist and humanist of rural beginnings who called Sumter home. A focal point of the foundation’s contributions is to promote literary and cultural arts locally, nationally and globally. “Many of the performances are inspired by the works of civil rights icon C. T. Vivian and feature themes of togetherness, cooperation, and unity," Millican Foundation Executive Director Richard (Rick) Jones said. “What I’m most excited and passionate about is the impact the festival and ongoing LRU programming will have bringing our diverse and multicultural community together through the arts." Festival admission is free. Hours are as follows:

  • Saturday: vendors from 1:30-3:30 p.m.; program from 3:30-5:30 p.m.
  • Sunday: program from 3:30-5:30 p.m.
More information is available here: