If you live in an apartment in Charleston, SC you can enjoy the North Charleston Arts Festival for nine days, with 43 venues, and all kinds of art. It’s the 33rd North Charleston Arts Festival and it is the biggest one yet.
There is a lot of stuff going on.
The festival is meant to provide numerous free and ticketed events that appeal to a wide array of patrons and that shine a light on local artists.
It’s centered at the North Charleston Performing Arts Center and Exhibit Hall, which hosts the main events. It also stretches throughout the city.
Free visual art installations can be found at City Hall and Riverfront Park; the Jazz Artists of Charleston series will be held at the American La-France Fire Museum and Educational Center; a children’s puppet show will be presented at the Otranto Road Regional Library; The Sparrow, a bar on East Montague Street, will host a stand-up comedy show with Neil Bansil; St. Thomas Episcopal Church will present a flute and guitar concert; and Midtown Productions will stage “Always ... Patsy Cline” at Duvall Catering on Azalea Drive.
And that’s just the tip of a very large iceberg.
Steve Hazard, a North Charleston-based glass and metal artist, will show his work and the work of artists his gallery represents in a show called “An Urban Art Kaleidoscope” at City Hall. It’s one of 19 visual art exhibitions and installations this year.
Others include photographs by Sandy Logan that concentrate on change in North Charleston; the annual outdoor sculpture competition and display in Riverfront Park; cut paper works by Sherill Anne Gross; and the ninth annual African-American Fiber Art Exhibition featuring pieces inspired by the work of Maya Angelou.
Among the several outdoor events is Latin Night on May 2 in Riverfront Park, a cultural celebration that includes dance, drink and food. The centerpiece of Latin Night is a performance by the Charleston Latin Jazz Collective, a seven-piece band led by David Heywood.
Plenty more jazz is on tap for the festival. Jazz Artists of Charleston has organized a three-night series to be presented at the American LaFrance Fire Museum and Educational Center.
On May 6, Steve Berry and the Jazz Factory will perform; the Mark Sterbank Ensemble takes the stage May 7; and the series closes May 8 with vocalist Leah Suarez and pianist Gerald Gregory.
Organizers have made a special effort to appeal to a broad constituency, including families and children. Events geared for young audiences include a fashion show, storytelling, puppet shows, theater presentations, a high school improv tournament, a magic show and a folk and soul concert for youth.
The Art Pot, an Hispanic Theater group organized by Maribel Acosta, will offer a repeat performance of Acosta’s Spanish-language “Shall We Plough Through the Sea?” The show will take place May 8 at Sterett Hall on the old Navy base.
The Taking Flight Comic Book Show at The Sparrow on May 9 includes special guests and comic artists Tim Showers, Leigh Wells and Sandy Jarrell. (Jarrell drew Batman in 1966.)
Mayor Keith Summey said the festival is an integral part of city life.
“I have seen the arts festival grow and evolve over the years,” Summey said. “The festival has always been an inclusive celebration of the creative process and it has been good to see the continued development of programs that draw new participants to seasoned patrons.”
The family-friendly Grand Finale on May 9 in Riverfront Park includes performances by student musicians, a poetry slam, live music and fireworks.