'Tis the season for spring arts festivals. From now until the end of Spoleto Festival USA in June, there are arts festivals to be found almost every weekend somewhere in our area. It's time to appreciate art, and join the dance.
ArtFields comes alive
New this year is ArtFields, a 10-day festival in Lake City that started on Friday. It's being billed as a first-of-its-kind Epic Southern Artfest Competition and Celebration.
The spotlight will be on 400 pieces of two- and three-dimensional artwork selected from artists in 11 Southeastern states. The original works will be exhibited in more than 40 downtown businesses and other venues during the festival. It's a great way to support our local artists, too, since 103 of the entries are from the Lowcountry.
The brainchild of businesswoman Darla Moore, who is from Lake City, the festival brings attention to the rural town with live music, dancing, Southern foods, and cash prizes totaling $100,000 that will be awarded to winning artists.
Winning entries will be determined by votes from ArtFields attendees and a juried panel that includes Mark Sloan, director of the Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art in Charleston.
Lake City is pretty easy to find, and you will enjoy the winding country roads that lead you there as you go through the back roads of our state. It's about an hour and a half north of Charleston.
Jiving at the jail
Coming back for the fifth time is JailBreak, the one-day event at the Old City Jail.
It will take place 4-11 p.m. Saturday.
This is a mix of painters, musicians, dancers, comedians, sculptors and fashion designers performing and showcasing their art. New to the festival this year are the showcases from local fashion designers.
JailBreak will spread throughout the spooky old jailhouse, courtyard and city block.
The venue will be filled with works by new and veteran artists, comedians and dance companies.
Outside in the courtyard, artisans will demonstrate their work in the redefined Artisans' Market surrounded by the dance companies.
There will be food from local food trucks and craft beer available for sale. This is a fun night, and the setting can't be beat.
The Old City Jail is at 21 Magazine St. downtown. Tickets are available at JailBreakCharleston.com or can be purchased the day of the event. Tickets are $15 in advance, $20 the day-of or $15 with a student ID.
Indie film screening
The Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art at the College of Charleston School of the Arts, in partnership with the college's First-Year Experience program and South Arts, is screening the independent film “Heart of Stone.”
The movie chronicles the transformational journey of Newark, N.J.'s Weequahic High School.
In the 1960s, it was the academically distinguished, mostly Jewish enclave immortalized in the novels of Philip Roth. By the time Ron Stone became principal in 2001, Weequahic was one of the most violent schools in the country and overrun with gangs.
Determined to restore the school to its former glory, Stone enlisted the help of African-American and Jewish alumni to raise much-needed money for essential materials.
He persuaded the local leader of the Bloods gang to help keep kids in school until graduation. Resolved to work with gang members, Stone created a nonviolence zone where grievances were solved through conflict resolution sessions.
This is the seventh film in the 2012-13 Southern Circuit Tour of Independent Filmmakers. The screening will be 7 p.m. Thursday in the Recital Hall of the Simons Center for the Arts at 54 St. Philip St.
Following the screening, the audience can talk with the filmmaker, Beth Toni Kruvant.
The film screening and reception are free.
'Hansel & Gretel'
The Summerville Civic Ballet will perform “Hansel & Gretel” at 7 p.m. April 27 at Summerville High School.
The newly created organization is a nonprofit ballet company dedicated to giving ballet students performance opportunities and bringing the art of ballet out into the community.
This is a wonderful family event as children under the age of 5 are admitted free. Tickets for the show are $5 in advance and $7 at the door.
The project was funded in part by the city of Charleston Office of Cultural Affairs and the North Charleston Cultural Arts Program through their joint administration of the Lowcountry Quarterly Arts Grant Program and the South Carolina Arts Commission. The goal is to bring the arts to audiences that might not otherwise see them.
Douglas Smoak is artistic director of the Summerville Civic Ballet. He trained and performed with the Robert Ivey Ballet in Charleston, attended the University of North Carolina School of the Arts and danced professionally with Ballet Eddy Toussaint, Sarasota Ballet, and Nevada Dance Theatre.
The company also will perform at a number of other upcoming events, including the North Charleston Arts Festival at noon May 4.
Visit the ballet's website at www.summervillecivic ballet.com.
Reach Stephanie Harvin at firstname.lastname@example.org or 937-5557.