For a city the size of North Charleston, there is a substantial amount of cultural engagement. The apex of this is the North Charleston Arts Festival, now in its 34th year. Occurring over nine days, the festival presents a number of events ranging from art exhibitions and theater, to music and film—and most of the offerings have a local connection.

That local connection is what makes the festival particularly exciting. While fans of visual and performing arts may be familiar with nationally- and internationally-known artists and productions, this local perspective is vital to any arts scene. The North Charleston Arts Festival is a good place to become acquainted with many local and regional artists.

The sheer number of events and exhibitions can be overwhelming, so we’ve selected certain happenings that will be worth paying attention to.

9th Annual African American Fiber Art Exhibition: Maya Angelou
April 30–June 19
Reception: Thurs. May 7, 6-8 p.m.
North Charleston City Hall, 1st & 2nd floors
2500 City Hall Lane

Fiber and textile art has always been an overlooked art form, despite witnessing its own small renaissance within the mainstream art world over the past few years. For the ninth year at the North Charleston Arts Festival, an exhibition exploring the practice of fiber art created by African American artists will be on view. Curated by Torreah “Cookie” Washington, this year’s exhibition is entitled Maya Angelou, and works submitted by thirty-eight artists from around the country will remember the poet who died in May of 2014, examining her influence in American culture. This exhibition will offer a unique vantage point into the current state of fiber arts, a vibrant form that often receives little attention — undeservingly so.

Photographs by Sandy Logan — Local Motion: North Charleston
April 30–June 19
Reception: Thurs. May 7, 6-8 p.m.
North Charleston City Hall, 3rd floor
2500 City Hall Lane

As a photographer, Sandy Logan often focuses on details in the world around us, ones that often go unnoticed. For instance, a recent body of his work addressing ruin and decay features close-up views of houses and other structures in utter disrepair, forgotten by a dynamically shifting society. In this exhibition, you can see him try, through his work, to offer insights into the city itself.

Cut Paper Works by Sherill Anne Gross – Birdwatching
April 30 – June 19
Reception: Thurs. May 7, 6-8 p.m.
North Charleston City Hall, 3rd floor
2500 City Hall Lane

Witty and cartoon-like, works of cut paper by Sherill Anne Gross will also enthrall viewers at the North Charleston Arts Festival. Her tedious, surely time-consuming, process involves cutting sometimes hundreds of pieces of paper and collaging them together to create fascinating images. Her works often demonstrate multiple different textures, a quality that makes these works enjoyable to see in person.

Works by KTC (Festival Design Winner) — Hard Whisper to Soft Ear
May 1-31
Meet the artist: Sat., May 2, from 10 a.m.-4 p.m., and Sun., May 3, from 2-5 p.m., during the festival’s Main Event
North Charleston City Gallery (inside the Charleston Area Convention Center)
5001 Coliseum Drive

If you’ve seen the website or brochure for the North Charleston Arts Festival, then you’ve seen a work by the artist KTC (or Karole Turner Campbell). Jubilee, a raw, textural abstract with its field of gilded yellow paint broken by deep blues and reds, was selected by the Festival as the winner of the 2015 Design Competition. Along with this work, more of KTC’s mixed media abstractions will be on view.

JAC Jazz Series: North Charleston Edition
May 6-8, 8 p.m. (doors at 7 p.m.)
North Charleston & American LaFrance Fire Museum and Educational Center, 4975 Centre Pointe Drive

For the musically-inclined, the Jazz Artists of Charleston (JAC) will be hosting a night of live jazz in a cabaret setting in the American LaFrance Fire Museum. As a group that offers a platform for local jazz artists, JAC will present Steve Berry and the Jazz Factory, the Mark Sterbank Ensemble, and Suarez + Gregory. Escape the crowds of the Festival for a night of jazz in an intimate setting with these performances.

Presentación Teatral (Theatre Presentation)
Espacio Hispano (Hispanic Place)
Friday, May 8, 7 p.m.
Sterett Hall Auditorium at the Navy Yard, 1530 7th St.

As North Charleston’s only Hispanic theater company, Art Pot plays a vital role in the region’s artistic landscape. For the Festival, the theater company directed by Maribel Acosta Glez will present ¿Aramos en el Mar? (Shall we plough through the sea?), a production based on individual stories from the city’s Hispanic community.

Funk/Jazz Tunes and Craft Brews
Friday, May 8, 5-8 p.m.
Holy City Brewing, 4155 Dorchester Road

If a goal of art is to help viewers transcend life, it would follow that Holy City Brewery in North Charleston are artists in their own right. One of several breweries that marks the city’s and region’s burgeoning craft beer scene, Holy City will offer several of their inventive brews while The Dirk Quinn Band plays its signature funk and jazz fusion tunes.

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