Now in its third year, the Charleston Arts Festival (CAF), with co-founders Andrew Walker and Terry Fox at its helm, returns to Charleston for a series of arts events starting Sept. 5 and running through Nov. 15. Not to be confused with any other arts festival in town, the CAF is both an extension and reincarnation of Charleston’s 10-season Jail Break event, which Walker retired in 2015.

CAF’s website describes its mission: 

Charleston Arts Festival seeks to bridge the gap between artist intention and audience expectation by leveraging creative collaboration across artistic disciplines. Eye-opening, accessible and intentional art will set the scene for a dose of perspective in every genre.

With 9 reasonably priced arts events spaced out over the period of two and a half months, CAF is certainly accessible. CAF operates not as a singular festival taking place over a defined period of time (although there is a start and end date to the duration of the ‘fest’), but rather as an ongoing collaboration among various artists and arts organizations. Here’s the rundown:

On Sept. 5 head to Charleston Music Hall for Pecha Kucha 31, featuring speakers that range from Holy Cow Yoga’s Trace Bonner to former City Paper staff photographer, Jonathan Boncek.

[content-1] Opening at Beresford Studios on Sept. 6, Sara Pittman’s solo show, The Road Between, features abstract expressionist works.

A fundraising event, The Art of the Vintage Motorcycle: The Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride, brings together owners and riders of vintage motorcycles as part of an international initiative to raise money for prostate cancer research and treatment for mental health issues affecting men. Held on Sept. 20, the 10 mile ride circuit includes stops at a number of Charleston bars and culminates at the Royal American.

Poe | A Play in the Dark
heads to Footlight Players Theatre for a two-night run, Oct. 5 and 6. The performance is “an original music and movement exploration of the haunting recesses of Edgar Allan Poe’s mind upon the conception of his masterwork, The Raven.” Trippy right? A Play in the Dark features movement choreographed by Dance Lab’s Jenny Broe and a score composed and performed by CAF’s Andrew Walker.

Myth Of An Atom, a visual and musical performance, returns to Charleston after debuting their project at CAF’s finale in 2016. The brainchild of New York-based duo visual designer Christian Hannon (NON Visuals) and musician/producer Fallen Atom, Myth Of An Atom eclectically fuses elements of hip-hop, R&B, future base, and electronic soundscapes.


Concoction, an homage to Jail Break, hits Royal American on Oct. 20 with musical performances and a dance extravaganza.

With a date TBD, Paul Cristina debuts new work at Beresford Studios this October.


CAF premieres two films this year, Beyond Transport and Alexx Finding Home, both documentaries from California-based filmmaker, Ched Lohr. You can catch the flicks Nov. 3 at the American Theater.

CAF rounds things out just as it began, with Pecha Kucha (32) — this time the 10th anniversary edition. Over the past decade Pecha Kucha has featured more than 250 creatives talking about what inspires them to do what they do. The original nine creatives return to the stage, including local artist Tim Hussey; founder of YALLFest, Jonathan Sanchez; Founder of HOOK and member of the Dubplates, Brady Waggoner; chef and restaurant owner Nico Romo; poet laureate of Charleston, Marcus Amaker; and co-founder of The Southern, Justin Nathanson.

Buy tickets and learn more about all things Charleston Arts Festival online

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