Sometimes you just can’t beat the summer heat outside. Instead of cranking up your A/C and sitting at home, why not head to one of Charleston’s cultural institutions to cool off and get your art fix? Here are our top choices for summer ’18.

Gibbes Museum of Art
135 Meeting St.

Did you know that the Gibbes underwent major renovations a few years ago, adding an entirely free first floor, and amping up the beauty (and accessiblity) of their upstairs galleries? And just earlier this year the museum’s iteration of The Daily opened its doors to a cute, yummy cafe. Snag a piece of avocado toast, head out to the beautiful courtyard, and bask in summer’s glory. But we’re getting ahead of ourselves — you’ve gotta check out the art first! This summer the Gibbes offers a BOGO kids admission deal; now through August visitors can receive one free kid’s ticket with the purchase of adult admission to the museum. No kids? No problem. Bank of America cardholders can also score free admission to the Gibbes on the first Saturday and Sunday of every month. And, if you’re active-duty military, you and your family can enjoy free admission to the Gibbes now through Labor Day. If that’s not an incentive to peruse 18th and 19th century American sculptures and paintings, 20th century American Regionalism and the Charleston Renaissance, miniature portraits, a permanently installed twig sculpture, and whatever current exhibits the museum’s additional galleries have going on — then we don’t know what is.

Redux Contemporary Art Center
1056 King St.

The local nonprofit arts organization moved into a much larger space a couple years ago, adding room for studio artists and additional exhibits. Since its relocation, Redux has hosted tons of events, from comedy showcases to live musical performances to lectures to workshops. You can always walk around Redux free of charge (although donations help the local arts community thrive), looking at exhibits from local and regional artists and popping into studios to meet artists. Did we mention the countless number of classes the studio offers? From youth classes to encaustic painting techniques to an introduction to photography, there’s not much you can’t learn at Redux. And if you find art and art classes intimidating, well, then Redux has just the ticket: Un-Wined with Watercolor, held on the first Wednesday of every month. In case you can’t tell — wine is most definitely involved.

Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art
161 Calhoun St.

It’s free as heck to head into the Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art — and we recommend you do just that this summer. The Halsey’s current exhibit, The Carrion Cheer: A Faunistic Tragedy, is a great example of what the arts organization has to offer for adults and kids alike. The transdimensional crossover camps that were created specifically for the exhibit by visiting artists Bohler & Orendt, are interactive enough for kids and interesting enough for adults. Each tent features an apparition of an extinct animal which is fascinating and sad — just the kind of lesson you may want to impart to the kiddos this year. In addition to their world class exhibits, the Halsey hosts events like curator-led tours and, coming this July 28, the Charleston Zine Fest. Featuring vendors and workshops this Zine Fest is an exciting opportunity for emerging artists and arts enthusiasts alike.

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