Come artsy come all: OPEN Arts Expo this Sunday

Has anyone ever asked you if you were “artsy?” The general response to this question, even for people with artistic talents, goes something like this: a hand to the back of the neck in embarrassment, leaning the head to one side or the other, or a quiet, “I mean, I draw…” You may know very well that you can draw. You may even have a painting on canvas you’re secretly proud of in your closet back home, or a favorite type of landscape to draw.

But today, being “artsy” has a certain stigma attached to it, similar to the ever-present “hipster” phenomenon. Artsy people wear paint-splattered denim, carry Moleskine sketchbooks in their side bags and listen to folk music, right? In some circles, especially in college, this idea of what it means to love art has become very “this or that,” even one dimensional – you either love it or you don’t.

But in a city that thrives on art, culture and local color, this dichotomy doesn’t translate. From Charleston’s gallery-lined lower King District, to the Gibbes Museum on Meeting and even the sweetgrass basket makers at the market, it is  apparent that being “artsy” comes in many colors, and many dimensions.

The Charleston Regional Alliance for the Arts is one of the several organizations in Charleston dedicated to showcasing this color. As Maggie Hendricks, the executive director of the Alliance, states, “Our goal is building and engaging new audiences and breaking down barriers in the participation of the arts.” This Sunday, the Alliance is partnering with our own College of Charleston School of the Arts to present the fourth annual OPEN Arts Expo, a free arts exposition held right on campus, in the Cistern Yard.


(Photo courtesy of Maggie Hendricks)

This year, OPEN will showcase over 50 local art organizations in the tri-county, including the Charleston Academy of Music, PURE Theatre and The Children’s Museum of the Lowcountry to name only a few. Attendees may enjoy live entertainment including Caxton Beaty, the Call Momma Band, the Palmetto Eastern Dance Group, the Backporch Storytellers and several other performers listed on the Alliance’s website. Art demonstrations and hands-on activities will be available, as well as the chance to participate in an art walk led by the Gris Galerie, a local art gallery on Coming Street. Attendees will also receive discounted tickets to many of the art organizations upcoming events.

This Sunday, join the diverse art community of Charleston for the OPEN Arts Expo to kick off Fall’s art season and complicate what it means to be “artsy.” Noon to 4 p.m. in the Cistern Yard, FREE admission.

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Christina D'Antoni is the Features Editor at Cistern Yard News, and an intern at the food culture magazine The Local Palate. She is a CofC senior, a writer, and above all, a foodie looking for any and every excuse to hit up Xiao Bao Biscuit.

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