Photo by Rana Jordahl

Piccolo Spoleto 2022 is back, stronger than ever. This year’s annual event will offer scores of fun, innovative programs and art experiences, according to Scott Watson, director of the City of Charleston Office of Cultural Affairs. It produces the festival that draws thousands to the city every year as a people’s companion to the internationally-recognized Spoleto Festival USA.

“Come out and enjoy all of the offerings that will be available for 17 glorious days this spring,” said Watson. “It might not look exactly like it looked five years ago, but neither does your cell phone! There’s going to be a whole lot of fun going on.”

This year’s festival will again feature several last-minute neighborhood “pop-up events,” as highlighted in a story in this special section. But here are five things you can count on to make memories that will last for years:

43th Annual Piccolo Spoleto Outdoor Art Exhibition
Free. Marion Square is transformed into a beautiful open-air market as more than 50 of the finest and most creative local artists exhibit and sell their work. You can view original oils, pastels, watercolors, acrylics, encaustics, photography and more. 

May 27–June 11. 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday-Thursday; 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Friday-Sunday. Location: Marion Square, King and Calhoun streets

Piccolo Spoleto Juried Art Exhibition
Free. This annual juried art exhibition presented by the City of Charleston Office of Cultural Affairs is on view at the City Gallery throughout Piccolo Spoleto, from May 27 to June 12. This year’s show, judged by French-born photographer Marie Carladous, highlights the recent work of artists across South Carolina featuring painting, sculpture, drawing, printmaking and photography. 

Noon to 5 p.m. daily from May 27 to June 12. Location: City Gallery, 34 Prioleau St.

Art Forms and Theatre Concepts returns from a pandemic hiatus to present Dot, a heartfelt holiday comedy-drama by Colman Domingo. Dot is a dramatic comedy that deals with aging parents and midlife crises in West Philadelphia.  Premiering in 2015, Dot has been called “a fearless mix of bone-dry humor and warp-speed emotional shifts” by Entertainment Weekly. In the show, Dottie’s memory is slipping as her unique children clash over how to best care for her.  Eight performances over 11 days.  

8 p.m. on June 2, 3, 9, 10 and 11; 2 p.m., June 4; 3 p.m., 6 p.m., June 5; 3 p.m., June 12. Location: Queen Street Playhouse, 20 Queen St.

Ocho Festival 2022
Free. Learn about Princess Inikpi, the Gullah Wars, Seminole Wars and more.  You’ll hear the pounding rhythms of the Deninufay African Drum and Dance Group and see a visual art exhibit by Abba Nizar. The celebration, an ancient African Igala Kingdom hunting and pre-harvest festival dating back to 800 BC, was celebrated for the first time in America in Charleston in 2021. 

10 a.m., May 28 and May 29.  Location: African Redemptive Struggle Museum, 249 St. Philip St. Charleston.

Piccolo Spoleto Craft Show

Free. The annual craft show will take place over two weekends. Baskets, centerpieces, jewelry, clothing and more will be on display and for sale from some of the most innovative and creative craft artists in and around Charleston. You’ll find the perfect treat for yourself or a special gift for a friend or loved one in this diverse, exciting craft display.

10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on May 27 and May 28; 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on May 29. On the second weekend, the show will have similar times. Location: Wragg Square, 342 Meeting St.

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