Feature Articles

May 2013

The 31st North Charleston Arts Festival Takes Place Throughout North Charleston, SC - May 3 - 11

The North Charleston Arts Festival (May 3 - 11) is an annual nine-day event highlighting national, regional, and local artists and performers in the areas of Dance, Music, Theater, Visual Arts, Crafts, Photography, Media Arts, and Literature. For 30 years the festival has made quality arts programming affordable and accessible to the widest spectrum of the public, attracting over 30,000 residents and visitors from throughout the Southeast and beyond to experience over 100 free and modestly priced performances, workshops, exhibitions, and activities in a variety of venues, including libraries, community centers, schools, civic auditoriums, and parks. Named a Top 20 Event by the Southeast Tourism Society, the event has matured into one of the most comprehensive arts festivals in the state of South Carolina.

The Arts Festival’s Main Event will be held on Saturday, May 4, 10am-4pm, and Sunday, May 5, 2-5pm, at the North Charleston Performing Arts Center and Charleston Area Convention Center, offering free admission and free parking, with over forty performances on four themed stages: General Audience, Cultural Heritage, Youth Entertainment, and Bands. Other features include judged fine art and photography exhibits; the 12th annual South Carolina Palmetto Hands Fine Craft Exhibit; youth art from Charleston, Berkeley and Dorchester county students; the Lowcountry Gem & Mineral Society show and sale; the Village Antiques & Collectibles show; children’s activities at Box City and Creation Stations; art & craft vendors, a food court, and much more.

The Arts Festival continues on May 6, with over sixty events and exhibitions throughout the week at various locations. An array of free and ticketed offerings include street dances, concerts, theater presentations, film screenings, an art walk, children’s programs, workshops and demonstrations, a National Outdoor Sculpture Competition & Exhibition, and much more. This year’s Grand Finale on May 11 features a Tri-County school showcase, music and dance performances, a slam poetry show, children’s activities, food trucks, and an evening concert by Rivers & Company. The event concludes with a fantastic fireworks display over the Cooper River.

The North Charleston Arts Festival began at Park Circle in 1982 as a one day community celebration with the goal of enhancing the quality of life of residents through showcasing the arts. As the annual event matured, the festival’s reach expanded to include visitors, prompting the addition of tourism development as a goal. In 1995, the Arts Festival moved from Park Circle to the North Charleston Coliseum and expanded to two days. By 2000, the opening of the Charleston Area Convention Center, the North Charleston Performing Arts Center, and additional new venues, provided the springboard for the festival to expand to nine full days of performances and activities for residents and visitors throughout the City. In 2008, the Arts Festival was recognized by Southeast Tourism Society as a Top 20 Event. Today, the festival maintains the spirit of a public celebration of the arts with the mission of presenting a comprehensive, multidiscipline event schedule that provides an array of performing, visual, media, and literary arts events for people of all ages and backgrounds.

The North Charleston Cultural Arts Department works with the North Charleston Arts Advisory Committee (NCAAC), a volunteer group comprised of a cross section of the community, to develop year round programming for the city, including the Arts Festival. In addition to this core committee, numerous key volunteers work to develop individual components of the festival. Research is conducted on a continual basis and strategic plans and implementation are done ten months out of the year. Annual Festival evaluations by participants, staff, and volunteers are used as a planning tool for the following year.

The target audience for the festival reflects The Cultural Arts Department’s mission of increasing awareness of the arts and making arts experiences available to the widest spectrum of the public. The assortment of free and ticketed performances and activities scheduled throughout the festival ensure that there is something for everyone, ranging from seniors to youth and families to individuals. The best example of the festival’s broad appeal is the Main Event, where performances and activities attract audiences from every demographic category: male and female; all ages; all cultures; and all economic backgrounds.

An overview of the visual art offering during the Festival include:

May 2013 - March 2014 - National Outdoor Sculpture Competition & Exhibition, located at the North Charleston Riverfront Park, located at 1001 Everglades Avenue, on the old Navy Shipyard. View thought provoking, outdoor sculptures by established and emerging artists from across the nation in this 8th annual juried competition and exhibition. Juror: Janet Kagan, a Founding Principal of the Public Art Collaborative, an interdisciplinary consulting group who initiates and refines cultural arts policies, projects, and programs.

May 4 - 11 - South Carolina Palmetto Hands Fine Craft Competition & Exhibition, located in Exhibit Hall A at the Charleston Area Convention Center, located at 5001 Coliseum Drive. Fine craft artists from across the state will display inspiring objects in the media of clay, fiber, glass, metal, wood, and three-dimensional mixed media in this 12th annual juried competition and exhibition. Juror: Karen Derksen, Director of Winthrop University Galleries and lecturer for the Department of Fine Arts and the Department of Design at Winthrop. Hours: May 4 & 5, 10am-5pm; May 6-10, 9am-5pm; and May 11, 9am-noon.

May 4 - 11 - Judged Fine Art & Photography Exhibitions, located in the hallways of the Charleston Area Convention Center, 5001 Coliseum Drive. View entries in Fine Art and Professional & Amateur Photography. Fine Art Juror: Sara C. Arnold, Curator of Collections at the Gibbes Museum of Art. Photography entries judged using Photographic Society of America Print Guidelines. Hours: May 4, 10am-5pm; May 5, 2-5pm; May 6-10, 9am-5pm; and May 11, 9am-noon.

May 6 - 11 - Wearable Art Exhibit and Pop Up Shop, located in Exhibit Hall A, Charleston Area Convention Center, 5001 Coliseum Drive. Juried by award-winning and nationally exhibiting textile artist, Torreah “Cookie” Washington, this unique exhibition showcases inspiring designs in the form of wearable art garments, ensembles, and accessories of all styles by emerging and established designers and wearable art artists from across the nation. Wearable art pieces in a variety of styles will be on display and available for sale during the week-long pop up shop. Hours: May 6-10, 10am-5pm and May 11, 9am-noon.

May 3 - 11 - Design Winner Exhibition - Works by Linda Elksnin, North Charleston City Gallery, located in the hallways of the Charleston Area Convention Center, 5001 Coliseum Drive. Linda Elksnin, winner of the 2013 North Charleston Arts Festival Design Competition, will display works on canvas and paper, including her winning design, ‘A’ Train. Elksnin uses a variety of media, including watercolor, gouache, acrylic, colored pencil, graphite, and fabric. She is known for her use of bright color and graphically pleasing design. Elksnin’s inspiration comes from such eclectic sources as mola cut fabric art and Australian aboriginal painting, as well as self-taught and outsider artists from around the world. The public is invited to meet the artist at the gallery on Saturday, May 4, from 10am-4pm, and Sunday, May 5, from 2-5pm, during the festival’s Main Event. Hours: May 3-11, 9am - 5pm.

May 4 & 5 - Tri-County Youth Art Exhibition, located in the hallways at the Charleston Area Convention Center, 5001 Coliseum Drive. Schools and individual students in Charleston, Dorchester, and Berkeley counties will display works in a variety of subjects and mediums. Juror: Kristy Bishop, City of North Charleston Artist-in-Residence 2012/13. Hours: May 4, 10am-4pm and May 5, 2-5pm.

Through June 20 - Once Upon a Quilt: Welcome to My Quilted Story Book – 7th Annual African American Fiber Art Exhibition, located at the North Charleston City Hall, 1st& 2nd floors, 2500 City Hall Lane. Curated by award-winning and nationally exhibiting textile artist, Torreah “Cookie” Washington, this annual exhibit showcases African American fiber artists from across the nation creating works through a variety of traditional and non-traditional fiber techniques. The 7th installment features pieces inspired by the artists’ favorite story; written or oral, fiction or non-fiction. Through this exhibition, these quilts are able to tell their own stories with messages that encourage, inspire, comfort, and enchant. Hours: daily 8am - 8pm.

Through June 20 - Contemporary Artists of Pinar Del Rio, Cuba – International Group Exhibition, located at the North Charleston City Hall, 3rd floor, 2500 City Hall Lane. Pinar Del Rio, Cuba, is an area steeped in rich culture and history that has been the birthplace and home of many of the country’s most outstanding writers, musicians, and visual artists. In this group exhibition, nine professional contemporary artists from this westernmost province of Cuba will present a collection of post Cuban Revolution art in a variety of mediums and styles that capture their unique culture and heritage as is relates to the land, life, and the essence of community. These artists are not tied to the historical 1940’s early modern traditions of pre-revolution artistic expressions, or the 1960’s revolution presentations of ideological social realism, or the politically sanctioned and government supervised expressions of art of the 1970’s and 80’s. Rather, these artists are products of the 1990’s, creating work based on the ideas of freedom of expression and experimentation in both mediums and styles. Featured works include representational landscapes, figurative expressions, magic surrealism, and abstract expressionism styles of contemporary art in Cuba today that are a clear testament to the artists’ creativity and imagination, advanced education, rich cultural bonding, sense of humor, and vitality. Participating artists: Javier Ampudia, Lores (Nelo) Arquimides, Juan Suarez Blanco, Livan Ricardo Hernandez, Reynier Llanes (curator), Yaciel Martinez, Juan Carlos Morales Lemus, Danys Milo Ozuna, and Juan Miguel Suarez. Hours: daily 8am - 8pm.

Through June 20 - Wash Over You – Works by Kristy Bishop, located at the North Charleston City Hall, 2nd floor, 2500 City Hall Lane. In this exhibition of abstract fiber works, Bishop presents intricate pieces composed of hand-dyed silk that is cut, gathered, and sewn. Thousands of tiny pieces of fabric are manipulated to create color transitions and gradients that translate human emotions. Bishop currently offers residencies to North Charleston schools and community groups as the City’s Artist-in-Residence. Her work has been featured in the pages of Charleston Magazine and presented in a number of group exhibitions, both locally and nationally. Hours: daily, April 30-June 20, 8am - 8pm.

Through June 20 - Material Matters – Contemporary Group Exhibition, located at 10 Storehouse Row, 2120 Noisette Boulevard, on the old Navy Shipyard. This group exhibition, curated by local fiber artist, Kristy Bishop, highlights five contemporary artists whose work is significantly informed or inspired by the materials used to create it. Lauren Frances Moore of Silver Spring, MD, Conrad Guevara of San Francisco, CA, Katya Usvitsky of Brooklyn, NY, and local artists Sarah Boyts Yoder and Camela Guevara will collectively display 20 pieces in both 2 and 3-D. From the typical (watercolor, acrylic) to the atypical (nylon stockings, pig intestines, vintage coloring books, baskets, and rope), the various media featured explores and creates abstract forms, reflecting divergent artistic viewpoints. Hours: Mon.-Fri., 8am - 6pm.

May 3 - 11 - The PODS Project, located in the Greenspace next to DIG in the Park, 1055 East Montague Avenue. Throughout the month of April, three local contemporary artists transformed the insides of portable storage containers, donated by PODS Moving & Storage, into thought-provoking and participatory art installations. The completed installations will be on view throughout the festival, with the artists appearing with their work during the Arts Festival Art Walk on Wednesday, May 8. The Cartographic Instrumentarium by Hirona Matsuda and Trever Webster were influenced by the books and sculptures of Chris Ware, among others, Hirona, a found-object artist, and Trever, a mapmaker, will transform their PODS container into a control room full of instruments and diagrams. Surrounded by contraptions that seem familiar, but are not of this time and place, viewers will be transported to an imaginary place – into the heart of a machine that maps a non-existent terrain. Convex/Concave by Kristy Bishop – The walls and ceiling of Bishop’s PODS container will be covered with numerous naturally dyed fabric pieces sewn together to create deep sinking holes and bulging protrusions, causing the viewer to feel as though she/he is entering some sort of life form or organic space. The Machines by Phillip Hyman - Inspired by the science fiction movies I, Robot and A.I. Artificial Intelligence, Hyman offers viewers a glimpse of a future where our “throw away” mentality banishes old robots and machines to container cities where they are locked up, never to be used again. Hours: May 3-11, 9am - 8pm.

Through June 1 - Art & Fine Craft Co-Op Gallery & Sale, located at The Meeting Place, 1077 East Montague Avenue. This temporary cooperative gallery is dedicated to presenting many local artists of varied backgrounds working in a diverse array of media and representing a full range of styles. A variety of pieces including paintings, prints, sculpture, fine crafts, jewelry, fiber art and more will be available for sale. The public is invited to a free reception hosted by the artists on Wednesday, May 8, from 5-8pm during the North Charleston Arts Festival Art Walk. Hours: Fri. & Sat., 11am - 7pm.

Through June 20 - Our Next Generation – Jr. Fiber Art Exhibition, located at the Unity Church of Charleston, 2535 Leeds Avenue. This special exhibition offers youth fiber artists, including students from R.B. Stall High School and Charleston Montessori School, an opportunity to display their unique quilt creations based on the same inspiration as the 7th Annual African American Fiber Art Exhibition, Once Upon a Quilt: Welcome to My Quilted Story Book. Hours: daily, 8am-6pm.

May 3 - 11 - Youth Photography Exhibition, located at the North Charleston & American LaFrance Fire Museum and Educational Center Lobby, 4975 Centre Pointe Drive. FREE (does not include Museum admission). Seventh grade students from Jerry Zucker Middle School of Science will display photographic posters inspired by a fieldtrip to the Dorchester #5 Fire Station and created through the Yo Art! Project. Yo Art, Inc. is both an in-school and after-school mentoring program with an academic focus that works to build self-esteem, job skills, and a sense of community through computer art workshops, exhibitions, and public art projects. Hours: Mon.-Sat., 10am-5pm and Sun., 1-5pm.

Sculpture Installations include:

May 3 - 11 - Big Beetle by Edward Byrd, located at the North Charleston & American LaFrance Fire Museum and Educational Center Grounds, 4975 Centre Pointe Drive. This giant steel creation is modeled after a species of rhinoceros beetle from the jungles of Indonesia. While its horns and armored exoskeleton appear threatening, it is actually a harmless herbivore, using its horns to dig for food and engage in non-lethal combat for mates. By enlarging the creature’s scale, the viewer can more easily appreciate the fantastic forms that evolution develops in enabling species to successfully compete. In turn, it is a reminder that life for all species involves competition, and that man’s great challenge is to use this competitive drive to flourish, without destroying the species. Hours: daylight hours.

May 3 - 11 - Gummy Bear by Kaysia Grow, located in the Green space at intersection of East Montague Ave. and Spruill Ave. While its title alludes to the classic sweet and chewy candy, this bear is quite the opposite - prickly and fierce. Thousands of gumballs, the small, spiked fruit produced by sweetgum trees, cover the sculpture’s surface to create the illusion of fur. Other natural materials, like palm fronds, are used to replicate the beast’s teeth and claws. Hours: daylight hours.

May 3 - 11 - Level by Allison Koch, located at the Traffic Circle at Wescott Blvd. and Oak Forest Blvd. Inspired by order and rhythm and the general belief that people should “look up” more often, this geometric piece hopes to impose the perspective seen when looking upwards at a tall building. Polished steel rods are used to create line and direction with inserts of fabric imitating colorful windows. Both sides of the structure are approachable to create a curious and playful space with plenty of odd views and angles. Hours: daylight hours.

May 3 - 11 - Plane Garden by Malcolm Knight, located at the Median at Lackawanna Boulevard. Airplanes are a common site in the North Charleston skies, as the city is home to the Charleston International Airport and Joint Base Charleston. With the recent expansion of Boeing’s operations in the area, they are also a common topic when discussing the City’s growth and prosperity. It is this connection between airplanes and growth that inspired this installation. Using styrofoam and steel, the artist creates the illusion of airplanes emerging from the earth, much like flowers blooming in a garden. Hours: daylight hours.

May 3 - 11 - Polyphemus by Kevin Mclean, located at Palmetto Gardens Park, East Montague Avenue. Referencing Homer’s Odyssey and the Classical culture associated with it, this installation seeks to link Charleston to the birthplace of western civilization. A large one-eyed giant approximately ten feet tall and seemingly made of stone will loom over observers with his gigantic stature and intimidating glare. Hours: daylight hours.

May 3 - 11 - Walking Cage Birdfeeder by Victoria Honick, located at Northwoods Park Community Center, 8348 Greenridge Road. This playful steel design depicting a birdcage sitting upon two feminine, human-like legs plays on both the relationship between people and nature and the concept of freedom. The artist hopes to create a literal interaction between nature and the piece by filling the open cage with birdseed. The sight of wild birds flying in and out of the cage to feed is meant to illustrate the idea of openness and also encourages viewers to reflect on the nature within and around them. Hours: daylight hours.

May 3 - 11 - Student Sculptures, located at the North Charleston City Hall Lobby, 2500 City Hall Lane. Cultural Arts Department student interns, Caroline Guerotto and Allison Koch, will create and display contemporary sculpture pieces on pedestals. Drawn to the beauty of the simple replication of a single form, Guerotto’s piece incorporates over 50 horse-shoe shaped pieces of wood geometrically placed to create an organic, spherical structure. Through the manipulation of thin steel rods and glass, Koch’s whimsical piece imitates intertwined kites moving in the wind. Guerotto and Koch are both pursuing a degree in Studio Art at the College of Charleston. Hours: daily 8am-8pm.

For further information check our SC Institutional Gallery listings, call the North Charleston Cultural Arts Department office at 843/740-5854 or visit (www.NorthCharlestonArtsFest.com).

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