N. Charleston fest, art walk part of full weekend

This year’s poster by Elena Barna is called “My Muse.”

If you can, you should take a nap before this weekend because it’s a super busy one!

Not only is there a big art walk on Friday, but the massive annual North Charleston Arts Festival kicks off Friday as well.

Thirty years ago, the city of North Charleston Cultural Arts Department started its own small arts festival.

Today, the event has grown to be nine days and “is one of the most comprehensive arts festivals in the state, highlighting national, regional, and local artists and performers in the areas of dance, music, theatre, visual arts, crafts, photography, media arts and literature,” said Ann Simmons, city of North Charleston arts coordinator.

It seems many artists have been flocking to North Charleston for the past couple of years, and with good reason. Artists seem to be among the first to see the potential in a place.

And events such as the North Charleston Arts Festival, which runs Friday-May 12, certainly have had a role in assisting with the progression by bringing a multitude of art forms to the public and making them affordable.

“I think the festival is special in that it truly offers something for everyone: all ages, all tastes and all levels of art appreciators,” Simmons said. “From its humble beginnings as a small, half-day community event at Park Circle to the now nine full days of events, programs and activities throughout the city and beyond, the event has stayed true to the idea of offering quality arts programming to the widest spectrum of the public. And each year, the quality continues to improve, as does the number and diversity of festival patrons.

“We’re particularly excited to be hosting an international exhibit by French artist Mariannic Parra this year. There are also a number of nationally acclaimed, award-winning artists and performers participating in addition to a variety of local talent,” she added.

The main events will take place Saturday and Sunday at the North Charleston Convention Center, 5001 Coliseum Drive. There will be music and food of all kinds, visual arts and crafts, youth art, a gem and mineral show and sale, antiques, children’s activities and more.

The festival will continue at various venues with free and ticketed events.

Expect to see concerts, street dances, theater presentations, film screenings, art workshops and demonstrations, the seventh annual National Outdoor Sculpture Exhibition and a grand finale at North Charleston Riverfront Park, Simmons said.

This year’s finale on May 12 will have dance performances, a poetry slam, fun stuff for the kids, music by the Shem Creek Boogie Band and fireworks over the Cooper River.

For details and pricing, call 740-5854 or go to www.northcharlestonartsfest.com.

There’s nothing quite like an art walk in beautiful spring weather.

Here’s a snapshot of what will be on view Friday. Unless otherwise noted, all opening receptions are free and open to the public and will take place 5-8 p.m.

Ellis-Nicholson Gallery: “Reflections and Ruins” by James Christopher Hill is a fantastical look at the ancient ruins of the Deep South. 1½ Broad St.

Martin Gallery: Enjoy Cirque Du Soleil-inspired works by French Canadian painter Joan Dumouchel. 18 Broad St.

Coco Vivo Fine Art: New pastorals, seascapes and plein air works by Ron Pary. 25 Broad St.

Bernie Horton Gallery: Bernie Horton will feature a new collection of landscapes. 43 Broad St.

Ella Walton Richardson Fine Art: Local favorite Mickey Williams has a new body of work focused on the surrounding barrier islands and the Charleston area wetlands. 58 Broad St.

Mary Martin Gallery: With a duo show called “Eternal Grace” showing paintings by Doug Free and sculptures by Robert Kelly, this is bound to be a good one. 103 Broad St.

Charleston Artist Guild: Check out the changing patterns and colors of our beautiful surroundings with Mary Johnson-Voss’ “Lowcountry Kaleidoscope.” 160 E. Bay St.

Robert Lange Studios: Thirty-one artists will create the same subject multiple times for the “Everything Changes” show. It’s going to be a packed house and pieces are already selling. 2 Queen St.

Corrigan Gallery: Experience “Landscape Reconfigured,” Linda Fantuzzo’s newest collection of soft, mysterious, elegant paintings. 62 Queen St.

Ann Long Fine Art: Since each of the six artists represented by this gallery have studied extensively in Italy, this show consists of work all inspired by Venice. 54 Broad St.

If you missed the opening reception for David Boatwright’s show, make sure to be at the closing one.

“Look Away, Look Here: Works by David Boatwright” has been a great show. Attend a lecture by the artist at 4 p.m. Saturday and stay for the party immediately afterward with Boatwright’s own band, Minimum Wage, as the entertainment.

Festive foods will be provided by Butcher and Bee, and cold Mexican beers will be served.

The first Sunday of every month, there will be the Maker’s Market at Mixson in the historic Park Circle district of North Charleston.

“After the success of the Maker’s Market at Mixson last year, we are excited to host the local creative community at Mixson again,” said Michael Phillips, chief operating officer of Jamestown Realty. “We look forward to a continued relationship with these talented creators and to supporting the many innovative artists in Charleston.”

Expect to see food trucks, local brews, live music and wares produced by local artisans 10 a.m.-4 p.m. the first Sunday of each month. Go to www.mixson.com.