Arts calendar is heavy on the holiday events

Art Mecca of Charleston will host a reception on Friday night as part of the Upper King Street Holiday Shop and Stroll event.

What a wonderful time of year!

With a lot of holiday shows going on right now and even more to come, the arts world is overflowing with fun.

Here are some great holiday arts events happening this weekend that you won't want to miss.

On Friday, enjoy some local shopping at the Holiday Shop and Stroll event from 5-8 p.m., an event that highlights all the great businesses in the Upper King Street area.

And while the event encompasses numerous shops, one place you'll want to stop in is Art Mecca of Charleston, as they will be hosting a group show featuring works by contemporary artists Miyako Fujiwara, Holly Benton, Natalie Rushing and Beth Thorp.

Gallery director Sarah Harris gives a little background on these artists: "Born in Hokkaido, Japan, Miyako Fujiwara was interested in ceramics throughout her youth but did not start her relationship with clay until studying tea ceremony after graduating from college in Tokyo."

Benton was raised in Charleston. She received her bachelor's degree in art history and studio art with a concentration in ceramics from Tulane University in New Orleans. Benton also studied sculpture and ceramics at the local Gibbes Museum of Art, the Brookline Arts Center in Boston and the Callanwolde Fine Arts Center in Atlanta.

Painter, metal worker and jeweler Rushing explains her own vision: "I see in blocks. I see trends and patterns. Relationships." After studying at the Fine Arts Center in Greenville, she then went to Winthrop University for the metal and jewelry work, then later to Clemson University for painting.

Charlestonian Beth Thorp "portrays local wildlife upon the unconventional mediums of salvaged and repurposed materials," says Harris. Thorp studied at the College of Charleston, then at Winthrop University.

For more, call 577-0607 or go to

The Actors' Theatre of South Carolina and Chamber Music Charleston are doing some interesting collaborations for their Christmas shows this year.

And both of the shows are Saturday.

Chamber Music Charleston's annual holiday Classical Kids Concert this year will be "The Night Before Christmas," taking place at the College of Charleston's Sottile Theatre, 44 George St.

"Musicians of Chamber Music Charleston will play a variety of holiday music as actors from the Actors' Theatre of South Carolina retell classic Christmas tales," says Sandra Nikolajevs of Chamber Music Charleston.

"The Night Before Christmas" will be performed at 1 p.m. Saturday. The concert will be 45 minutes in length. Tickets are $10 for adults, $5 for children ages 4-16 and free for those under age 3.

Tickets can be purchased by calling 763-4941 or online at

Later Saturday night, Actors' Theatre of South Carolina and Chamber Music Charleston are once more joining forces to present a new holiday show geared more towards adults called "Charleston Victory Christmas 1945."

Chris Weatherhead of the Actors' Theatre gives us a brief synopsis: "Audience members are guests in a Charleston radio studio celebrating the first Christmas after the end of World War II. It's a wild time of celebration as troops are joyously returning home, including the host, Harold Lee 'Harry' DeWolf, a radio personality who's been a flyboy breaking speed records as a test pilot in the Pacific. Two USO ladies have also returned along with musicians to entertain with favorite holiday melodies, comedy and some heartwarming tales."

Expect to see stage stars Michael Easler, Mary Fishburne, Myra Jones and Clarence Felder, with music by flutist John Samuel Roper, violinist Frances Hsieh, violist Ben Weiss and cellist Timothy O'Malley.

"Charleston Victory Christmas 1945" will take place also at the Sottile Theater, but at 7 p.m. The performance will last one hour. Advance tickets are $15-$18 for general admission and $20 at door.

To purchase tickets, call 763-4941 or go to