Celebrating its 38th year of bringing art to the city streets, Raleigh’s annual arts festival, Artsplosure, is here once again. Since its inception in 1980, the cultural event has steadily grown, now encompassing Fayetteville Street from the Capitol Building to City Plaza.
Its number of days has grown as well, now with three days of events on the schedule. While many visitors will come just to view the art sales along the bustling downtown Raleigh streets, the Student Art Exhibition – featuring the works of Triangle area middle and high school students – and Kidsplosure areas remain ever popular with families.
With all of this, plus free live music scheduled throughout the weekend, it would be easy to miss something vital. To help you out, we put together a few reliable tips for your Artsplosure weekend.
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The centerpiece of the festival, the arts marketplace brings 180 visual artists and crafters from across the country to Raleigh, running the gamut from ceramics and photography to bonsai plants and steampunk-inspired pieces.
Of note are such local artists as Raleigh oil painter Stuart Madey and Cary’s Ginnie Parrish of Blue Frog Designs, whose work with polymer clay has made her booths a hit with local art fans for years.
Although there will be three days full of live musical entertainment, few attendees will have the luxury of spending all of their time camped out in front of stages. So which acts to truly witness and which acts to use as background music to a few hours of browsing art?
Local musician Phil Cook – along with the band the Guitarheels – can be counted on to bring a capacity crowd to the main stage area on Friday at 7:30 p.m., with a showcase of material from his latest album “Southland Mission.”
Saturday’s lineup is packed with multiple musical genres, ranging from flamenco to blues, but our best bet is the Enloe Jazz Big Band. Featuring jazz students from Enloe High School, they will set up at 11 a.m. to showcase skills that musicians twice their age will envy.
How often do families get a chance to let their children explore vast worlds of art on Raleigh’s city streets? Across Saturday and Sunday, your child is offered the opportunity to have hands-on experiences with multiple types of crafts while interacting with music and dance.
Of special note is the Spring Community Weaving project, an interactive installation that allows children to contribute their weaving skills to a piece of work that will feature thousands of kids’ input by the end of the weekend.
Also, don’t miss Michelle’s Magical Poodle show, performing both days. After the trick-training demonstration, your child will be attempting to teach your family dog how to fetch and jump through hoops from now until next year’s event.
When: 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m.-8:30 p.m. Saturday, 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Sunday (art markets close 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 6 p.m. Sunday)
Where: Along Fayetteville Street, downtown Raleigh