Enter the 2023 North Charleston Arts Fest fine art, photography judged competitions

SUBMISSION DEADLINE: Wednesday, May 3, 2023 at 7 p.m. ET

The 2023 North Charleston Arts Fest is just weeks away, taking place May 3-7.

The event offers some excellent exhibition opportunities for fine artists and photographers ages 16 and up, including the annual Judged Fine Art and Judged Photography Competitions & Exhibitions. Entries for these judged competitions are eligible for ribbons and cash prizes and will be on display throughout the festival at the Charleston Area Convention Center Complex (5001 Coliseum Dr., North Charleston).

Fine art and photography entries will be accepted at the Charleston Area Convention Center on Tuesday and Wednesday, May 2 and 3, from noon to 7 p.m. Entries should be delivered to the Exhibit Hall loading dock at the rear of the Convention Center, which can be accessed from Amsterdam Street via West Montague Avenue. Artists may enter any combination of categories with a maximum of four entries total. A non-refundable fee of $10 per fine art entry and $5 per photography entry is due at drop-off.

Complete details and entry instructions for all exhibition opportunities are available for download at NorthCharlestonArtsFest.com/apply. There is no pre-jury process or application to complete.

Judged Fine Art Competition & Exhibition

Fine artists aged 18 and up are invited to enter original work into the annual North Charleston Arts Fest Judged Fine Art Competition & Exhibition and compete for cash prizes totaling up to $6,550. There are eight accepted media categories: acrylic, oil, drawing, pastel, watercolor, printmaking, printed new media, and 2-D mixed media.

Awards will be at the sole discretion of the judge, independent curator and multidisciplinary artist Michaela Pilar Brown. Brown studied sculpture and art history at Howard University, though she has always been a maker of things. Her work can be found in private and public museum collections across the U.S. Brown is the 2018 grand prize winner of the Artfields juried art competition and has been selected for numerous artist residencies from Vermont to New Zealand. She serves as a facilitator with Artists U, a grass roots professional development non-profit using open-source materials to share professional development tools and strategic planning with artists, as well as on the board of directors for One Columbia and the Barabara Deming Memorial Fund, the oldest ongoing feminist granting agency. Formerly the executive director of 701 Center for Contemporary Art (2020-2022), she is now the owner/director of Mike Brown Contemporary Art Gallery (formerly known as If ART) in Columbia.

Judged Photography Competition & Exhibition

Professional and amateur photographers aged 16 and up are invited to enter original prints into the annual North Charleston Arts Fest Judged Photography Competition & Exhibition and compete for cash prizes totaling up to $1,450. Submissions will be accepted in the Professional/Advanced division or Amateur division under the categories of Color and Monochrome.

This year, awards will be at the sole discretion of the judge, Elizabeth Bick, assistant professor of Photography at the College of Charleston. Bick is a photographer influenced by her training in classical and modern dance. She has exhibited at the Norton Museum of Art, the Ogden Museum of Art, Fraenkel Gallery, Houston Center for Photography, and the University of Texas Visual Arts Center. Grants and awards include Pollock-Krasner Foundation, Houston Center for Photography Fellowship, Joan Mitchell Foundation, and The Rudin Prize. She has participated in the summer residency at American Academy in Rome, Ingmar Bergman Estate Artist Residency, La Napoule Foundation residency, Lower Manhattan Cultural Council workspace, and Santa Fe Art Institute residency. Her work has been critically reviewed in the New York Times, The New Yorker, Photograph Magazine, Hyperallergic, and TIME, and she has been commissioned by Public Art Fund, The Atlantic, Harper’s, and NY Times Magazine. She holds a Master of Fine Arts in photography from Yale University.

The Judged Fine Art and Photography Exhibitions are free and open to the public throughout the entirety of the North Charleston Arts Fest.

Viewing times are:

  • Wednesday, May 3, 6-8 p.m.,
  • Thursday through Saturday, May 4-6, 10 a.m.-6 p.m.,
  • Sunday, May 7, Noon-5 p.m.

Award winners will be acknowledged at Arts Fest Opening Celebration in the Exhibit Hall on Wednesday, May 3, 6-8 p.m. The free public celebration features food, music, a free raffle, live painting demonstration, and more, set among the hundreds of pieces of artwork on display. The Exhibition Encore will be held on Sunday, May 7, from 2-5 p.m. This free event serves as a closing reception for these exhibitions, 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, a live painting demonstration, and complimentary “bubbles and bites.”

The 2023 North Charleston Arts Fest, set for May 3-7, will mark the event’s 40th year. The festival schedule offers something for all to enjoy, including concerts, dance performances, exhibitions, children’s programs, and more. All festival events and activities are FREE. For more information about the Arts Fest, to download the prospectus for the Judged Fine Art and Judged Photography Competitions & Exhibitions, or for details on vending opportunities, visit NorthCharlestonArtsFest.com. For more information about other exhibition opportunities offered by the City of North Charleston Cultural Arts Department, visit the Arts & Culture section of the city’s website, northcharleston.org, or call 843.740.5854.