The Arts Fest lineup includes performers like family-friendly Professor Whizzpop | Photos provided

The North Charleston Arts Fest returns this week, May 4-8, for another year of exciting performing and visual arts. Featuring the works of some of Charleston’s most talented artists and fun guests from across South Carolina, this year’s Arts Fest is shaping up to be a wonderful — and free — weekend.

North Charleston Arts Fest is produced every year by the North Charleston Cultural Arts Department. The five-day event has, over the past 38 years, featured some of the best local and regional artists and performers. The festival began in 1982 as a one-day Park Circle event for local residents. It has since grown into one of Charleston’s premiere annual events.

As in previous years, this year’s events are free. The schedule offers something for everyone, across an incredible spectrum of artistic disciplines.

Visual arts fans will have plenty to take in. There’s this year’s winning poster design: “Memories 222” by Deborah Kind. “Memories 222” is a mixed media piece created with paint and pens, incorporating collage, stenciling and stamping techniques. Kind is a recently retired school teacher and full-time artist who lives on Kiawah Island. She’s no stranger to the Arts Fest, having won several awards in the Judged Fine Art Competition in prior years. The piece will be part of the City of North Charleston’s Public Art Collection. 

The annual Fine Art and Photography Competitions will again take place. Fine Art will feature eight different exhibition categories: acrylic, oil, drawing, pastel, watercolor, printmaking, printed new media and 2-D mixed media. The professional and amateur photography competition will feature color and monochrome categories. 

And that’s not all. Local muralist and toy maker Patch Whiskey is hosting an open studio from 6-10 p.m., May 7, that will feature his works, merch and libations. The National Outdoor Sculpture Exhibition, South Carolina Palmetto Hands Fine Craft Competition, African American Fiber Art Exhibition and Youth Art Competitions will also take place. Exhibitions can be found at the North Charleston Riverfront Park (Outdoor Sculpture), Charleston Area Convention Center (Palmetto Hands and Youth) and North Charleston City Hall (Af-Am Fiber Art). 

Arts Fest will also include visual artists like Linda Asbury and her fiber works (above)

The Youth Art Competition, which will feature artwork from public and private schools and individual students from Charleston, Dorchester and Berkeley counties, isn’t the only place for the young ones to get involved during Arts Fest. Bright Star Touring Theatre will present an adaptation of the beloved The Wizard of Oz at 10:30 a.m., May 4. Their version is an interactive retelling of the L. Frank Baum classic as told by two actors. 

Another family fun event is the Professor Whizzpop magic show at 3:30 p.m., May 6, at Oak Terrace Preserve Pavilion. The show is geared towards younger audiences and promises laughs, amazing magic and loads of audience participation. 

“It’s going to be great to get back to live shows in Charleston with the North Charleston Arts Festival!” said Tom Hughes, who plays Professor Whizzpop. “Kids aged 4-10 will have a blast!”

For more fun and laughs geared toward adults, head to Dashi on, May 5 for the Wham, Bam, Cam Bertrand … and Friends comedy show. Bill Davis is your host, along with Cam Bertrand, Dedrick Flynn and North Charleston’s own Jeremy McLellan. McLellan has been touring the world with his standup show, and now, that exciting act will return to Charleston. 

Spoken word and poetry have a place at this year’s Arts Fest, and that place is Garco Green in the Park Circle neighborhood (4910 O’Hear Ave.). Carlos Johnson, aka Los tha Host, will host a show that features students from Berkeley Center for the Arts and the Speak Freely Foundation. Joey Tucker and Georgia Nubia will also be on-hand to read. DJ G-Money will score the show on May 7.

Gospel music lovers can catch Project L.O.V.E., featuring The Tony Washington Singers, at 5 p.m., May 7, at Fox Music House. At 7 p.m., YeeHaw Junction brings bluegrass to Nippitaty Distillery with Jeff Meierer on mandolin, Kristen Meierer on upright bass, David Grant on guitar, Tadd Huff on banjo and Lisa Deakins on the fiddle. And at noon, May 8, Small Opera will present a pop-up concert of opera, musical theater and standard hits at the MOMO Riverfront Park.

For a full list of events for Arts Fest, including the Clock Party and Art Exhibition receptions, head to

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