Each spring, thousands visit the city of Charleston to partake in the Spoleto Festival USA, one of America’s biggest performing arts festivals. For 17 days and nights, this festival delights the Holy City with the best artistic performances with more than 150 performers from around the world.
Opera, theater, dance, jazz—the Spoleto Festival USA has it all, and the lineup is more diverse than ever in its 41st year. From highly-anticipated fan favorites to up-and-coming productions, this year promises to be even better than the last, which is incredible, considering that last year’s sales were record-breaking.
If you plan to attend this year’s festivities, then understanding the full vision of the event is essential. Spoleto’s rich history and dedication to the arts are inspiring and allow you to fully appreciate the talented performances that come to town every year.
In this insider’s guide, we will give you the scoop on the history of the Spoleto Festival USA and highlight some of the must-see premieres this year. Whether you are a Charleston local or an out-of-town attendee, consider this your go-to guide for festival this year.
The History of Spoleto Festival USA
Since 1977, the Spoleto Festival USA has been captivating audiences in Charleston and enriching an already vibrant community. First founded by Pulitzer-winning composer Gian Carlo Menotti, the three-week event was originally intended to be an American counterpart to the Festival of Two Worlds in the small town of Spoleto, Italy.
The founders wanted a city that would mimic the small-town charm of Spoleto, Italy, while also providing enough theaters and accommodations to host the festival. They found their ideal location in Charleston, a city that is known for its picturesque neighborhoods and historic charm.
The Holy City’s abundance of churches, theaters, and early dedication to the performing arts made it the perfect setting for the festival. In addition, the city’s vibrant community and small-town atmosphere were similar to the small Italian town, which further cemented the founder’s decision to make Charleston the home of the festival.
The Mission of the Spoleto Festival
Since its beginning in 1977, the Spoleto Festival has been committed to showcasing only the best artistic performances and supporting young artists, helping them foster their passion for the arts in all forms. It also brings a significant impact on Charleston’s economy and regularly invests in both local businesses and the community.
Dedication to Young Artists
Spoleto has supported young artists since its inception and encourages them to pair up with more experienced performers so that they can learn new skills. The festival offers many exciting opportunities for blossoming artists to advance their careers, including auditioning for the seat in the Spoleto Festival Orchestra or the Westminster Choir.
Giving Back to the Local Community
Spoleto’s mission also gives back to the city that it has called home for over 40 years. Though the event brings international fame and economic success, the festival also directly invests in the local community.
Spoleto has not only played a key role in preserving historical landmarks, such as the Dock Street Theatre and the Middleton-Pinckney House, but it also continues to educate the local community through programs that help inspire a deeper appreciation for the performing arts. Most notably, their Open Stage Door program distributes complimentary tickets to community-based organizations so that they may be part of the Spoleto experience.
Historical Charleston Theatres, Churches, and Event Spaces
Charleston boasts many elegant theatres and churches that serve as the venues for the 17-day festival. These prominent event spaces not only provide the lowcountry with a place to view world-class performances but, also offer a glimpse into the history of Charleston.
Here is a list of beloved Spoleto venues and some notable performances taking place around town.
Charleston Gaillard Center
The recently renovated Charleston Gaillard Center will once again host Spoleto’s featured opera this year, an extravagant production of Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin. Dates for the performance are May 26 and June 1, 4, 8.
The Gaillard Center will also present the Westminster Choir, Charleston Symphony Orchestra Chorus, and the Spoleto Festival USA Orchestra’s performance of Mozart’s Great Mass.
Last, don’t miss a special, one-night-only performance by American roots musician Rhiannon Giddens on June 9th at Gaillard Center!
Cathedral Church of St. Luke and St. Paul
Conducted by Joe Miller, the Westminster Choir performs at the Cathedral Church of St. Luke and St. Paul. This fan favorite is considered one of the most-loved traditions of the festival.
College of Charleston Cistern Yard
Performances at the College of Charleston Cistern Yard this year include Terrance Blanchard, featuring the E-Collective, on June 3rd for a one-night only performance. Multi-Grammy winner Terry Blanchard and the E-Collective create a perfect ensemble that combines jazz, funk, rock, R&B, and blues music.
College of Charleston Sottile Theatre
Israeli dance company L-E-V, is set to perform OCD Love at the College of Charleston Sottile Theatre on June 2, 3, and 4. Led by choreographers Sharon Eyal and Gai Behar, the production explores love through the lens of obsessive compulsive disorders.
Monchichi, the duet that blends hip-hop with contemporary dance, will also be performing at Sottile Theatre on May 26-28.
Dock Street Theatre
The historic Dock Street Theatre will host the Druid production of Waiting for Godot, which begins on May 25. It will also host the American premiere of Antonio Vivaldi’s opera Farnace, which begins May 27.
Notable Premieres and Fan Favorites
From the very beginning, Spoleto has encouraged artists from all backgrounds and ages to participate and explore their creativity to its fullest. As a result, each year brings a remarkably diverse lineup that relies on both traditional and contemporary performances to delight audiences.
Those who attend Spoleto regularly will recognize a few reoccurring performances, but there is always excitement surrounding new premieres. If you are attending the event this year, here are the anticipated performances premiering at Spoleto:
New York tapper Ayodele Casel’s world premiere, While I Have the Floor, explores identity, language, communication, and artistic legacy. Casel will also be participating in the popular “Conversations With” program, an intimate conversation with participating artists who open up about their creative processes and the experience at Spoleto.
Cinema and Sound
Fans will welcome back acclaimed pianist Stephen Prutsman, who performs the original scores for the world premiere of Cinema and Sound. The program blends silent film and a live soundtrack for a particularly innovative performance at the Woolfe Street Playhouse.
The U.S. premiere of Antonio Vivaldi’s most popular 18th-century opera, Farnace, is a highly-anticipated performance this year. Produced by Garry Hynes, the mythical Roman war drama will star Anthony Roth Costanzo, a legendary countertenor.
An opera full of dark comedy and seduction, the U.S. premiere of Royal Opera House’s Quartett will be sure to captivate audiences. Composed by Luca Francesconi, conducted by John Kennedy, and directed by John Fulljames, you won’t want to miss this performance at the Memminger Auditorium.
Over the years, many regular attendees of Spoleto have their favorites events that they look forward to attending every year. Last year’s Porgy and Bess was an enormous hit in Charleston and was a signature performance of the 40th anniversary of Spoleto.
Performances aside, there are also activities and events that Spoleto fans love to attend. Here are other favorites that will please all ages and backgrounds:
The “Conversation With” program gives audiences a chance to hear from the visiting artists and get an inside glimpse into their creative thought processes. The artists will be interviewed by CBS correspondent Martha Teichner, and each presentation lasts for approximately an hour. Fans will get to hear from their favorite artists, including director Garry Hynes and pianist Stephen Prutsman.
The sessions are free as long as attendees register in advance.
Fans of Spoleto not only get to watch artistic performances, but they can join in themselves. With the “Master Classes” program, the performing artists teach both experienced and beginners dancers the art of their craft.
This year’s classes are being led by Company Wang Ramirez, L-E-V, Company Class with Gallim Dance, and Hillel Kogan. Get tickets while you can!
Held in the Simons Center Recital Hall at College of Charleston, Jazz Talks gives audiences the chance to listen to an intimate conversation between notable jazz musicians. This year’s discussions will include the following:
Fud at 100: A Centennial Celebration: Charleston mayor John Tecklenburg discusses the legacy of his great-uncle Joseph “Fud” Livingston alongside historian Karen Chandler and music critic Larry Blumenfeld on May 28.
Trumpeting Truth – A Conversation with Terence Blanchard: Larry Blumenfeld will return to discuss arts, advocacy, and social justice issues with Grammy-winning trumpeter and composer Terence Blanchard.
These events are free if you register in advance.
Spoleto Finale at Middleton Place
Of course, no one should miss Spoleto’s grand finale across the Ashley River at the historic Middleton Place. Attendants will get access to the full lineup of local and regional bands, headlined by breakout band The Revivalists. Additionally, ticket holders will also get to explore the beautiful gardens and refined lodgings of one of Charleston’s treasured National Historic Landmarks.
The Piccolo Spoleto Festival
Charleston’s existing dedication to the performing arts is one of the reasons why Spoleto Festival USA founders chose the city to host this yearly event. It isn’t surprising, then, that the Piccolo Spoleto was created to offer even more cultural opportunities.
What Is Piccolo Spoleto?
In 1979, Mayor Joseph P. Riley, Jr. launched the Piccolo Spoleto Festival to highlight Charleston’s local performing artists. While the main venues feature artists on a national and international level, this series gives attention to regional, less known artists. Plus, most of the events are free and family-friendly!
The festival runs concurrently with its parent event, which means that everyone can easily fit some of these popular Piccolo events into their schedule.
Are you in the mood for some improv? This comedy extravaganza is held each year at Theatre 99 on Meeting Street and features top comedic artists with original performances. Although most Piccolo events are family-friendly, this one is more suited toward adults.
Piccolo Fiction Spotlight
Are you a fan of the written word? The Piccolo Fiction Spotlight invites South Carolina writers to submit their brief short stories for a chance to be published in the Charleston City Paper, broadcast on S.C. Public Radio, and be read in the historic Charleston Music Hall.
The Spotlight Concert Series
The 13-performance program features classical arrangements by The Charleston Renaissance Ensemble, Chamber Music Charleston, and the Charleston Piano Trio with violist Miles Hoffman.
The Sundown Poetry Series
One of the oldest Piccolo Festival series, the Sundown Poetry Series offers local and regional poets the opportunity to gather for free evening readings. After the readings, many authors stay for a Q & A sessions to discuss their work. This event traditionally takes place at Dock Street Courtyard on Church Street.
Ready for Spoleto Festival USA?
If you happen to be in Charleston during the festival, then you should definitely explore some of the amazing artistic performances happening in the Holy City this spring. With over 160 ticketed events, there is something for everyone at Spoleto to enjoy.
Looking to hear great live music at the beach? Downtown Charleston may be known for its many venues and bars with music spilling onto King and Market streets, but the islands of the Lowcountry know how to put on a good show, too. From dirty blues at Sullivan’s Island Home Team BBQ to legendary rock shows at the Windjammer on the Isle of Palms, there are several sweet spots nearby — both new and old — with plenty of music you can kick back and sip a beer to. Here are just a few of our favorite venues for live music on Sullivan’s and IOP.
Dunleavy’s Pub | 2213 Middle Street
If you love a good, old-fashioned pub, you’ll love Dunleavy’s, where Guinness lovers have cheers’d their beers for over 20 years. Outside are picnic tables for pints in the sunshine, while inside you can enjoy some of the best Irish folk music in Charleston from well-loved local artists like Carroll Brown.
High Thyme | 2213 Middle Street
At High Thyme, Southern seafood fare is always the catch of the day, but you’ll also love all the live music this restaurant/venue has on the menu. Local Celtic folk favorites the Hungry Monks play here on the reg, as do guys like Moon Dog, Carroll Brown (you really can’t get enough of Carroll!), and the Reckoning, the latter of which is a lovely, local Grateful Dead strings cover band.
Fiery Ron’s Home Team BBQ | 2209 Middle Street
Known for their BBQ and arguably more so for their wings (best in town, y’all), Home Team has more than good grub — it puts on great live music, too, particularly blues, folk, Americana, and country artists.
On the IOP:
The Windjammer | 1008 Ocean Blvd.
Even most new islanders know about the Windjammer — a Charleston, not just an IOP, institution for over 40 years. Legends like Hootie & the Blowfish, the Blue Dogs, Drivin’ N Cryin’, and Southern Culture on the Skids have performed here for decades, both inside and out — the back features a deck majestically overlooking the beach action and the sea. Inside you’ll find the main stage and an open-air bar perfect for ocean breezes that constantly remind you that life is good.
The Dinghy | 8 J C Long Blvd.
The Dinghy is relatively new to the island, having come on board the scene only three or so years ago. Locals love it for the live music you can consistently catch nightly here. Artists are local and much loved by the regulars, making this special spot a lively, neighborly kind of place. Oh, and FYI their Dirty Elvis Fries are a dream.
Morgan Creek Grill | 80 41st Ave.
Situated on the water with brilliant sea breezes aplenty, Morgan Creek Grill is the definition of chill, particularly when you add live music to the mix. Morgan Creek recently added a recurring event called Wintertide: Songwriters in the Round, featuring local singer-songwriters every week along with an oyster roast. Head to morgancreekgrill.com for more details.
What’s your favorite local music venue on Sullivan’s Island or Isle of Palms?
There are so many ways to bring in the holiday season throughout Charleston, but here are a few holiday celebrations going on in the area for 2016. From jazz to a cruise to the hood’s own inaugural holiday fest, there’s plenty to do without traveling far if you’re one of the many who call Charleston home. Happy holidays, and enjoy!
James Island County Park’s Festival of Lights
This one’s a no-brainer, but if you haven’t gotten in on probably the most popular Charleston tradition, here’s what you need to know. The Festival of Lights is magical, and everyone should witness it. Even with traffic, the drive through doesn’t take more than half an hour at most — and that’s driving slowly so you can see it all. It’s $20 per car, so load it up! If you go Mon-Thurs, it’s only $15/car with a canned food donation. Be sure to park your car in one of the three lots and walk around the lit paths and to the winter wonderland (near lot A), where you’ll see everything from Santa to sand art and have the opportunity to roast marshmallows — oh yes: don’t forget to pack the marshmallows!
Charleston Sleigh Ride
This unique tour embarks at West Ashley’s Ripley Light Marina but its travels are predominantly on the Ashley River through James Island’s Intracoastal Waterway, where they say you’ll have a good chance of viewing holiday lights! The cruise is nearly two hours long and is spent listening to Christmas music and stories about Charleston’s most storied holiday traditions. There’ll be plenty of hot chocolate to go around, but guests are also welcome to bring their own cooler full of drinks — and yes, that means adult beverages, too. This has been a tradition of Pegasus Charters for eight years and counting, and it’s the perfect way to ring in the season — Charleston style. Dates run from Dec. 9 until Dec. 26.
The Pour House’s Christmas Party with the Hungry Monks
If you want to relax and have a chill celebration outside on the laid-back deck of one of Charleston’s best music venues, head to the Pour House on Thurs. Dec. 22 for the Hungry Monks’ Christmas Party. Doors open at 4 p.m., so you can grab some grub from their onsite food truck before the music starts at 6:30 p.m. The Hungry Monks features the guys who run the music school of the same name in West Ashley and have been playing their genius blend of folk, jam, Celtic, and bluegrass tunes for many years. Oh, and children and dogs are also welcome.
It’s just not Christmas without a viewing of White Christmas, the classic from 1954. It’s hard to imagine the Christmas season even existing prior to Bing Crosby’s “White Christmas.” While it’s fun to see the film at home, it’s extraordinary on the big screen, and that’s why the Terrace Theater is offering two chances with its screenings on Tues. Dec. 6 and Wed. Dec. 7 at 7:15 p.m. And let’s face it — this is the closest us Charlestonians will ever get to a white Christmas.
Dec. 11 Oscar Rivers and Sam Singleton Christmas show at How Art Thou
Fans of music from eras gone by will love this top-shelf jazz event coming to How Art Thou Jazz Cafe on Maybank Highway. Soul singer Sam Singleton joins jazz great Oscar Rivers (who has worked with the likes of Stevie Wonder, BB King, The Temptations, Etta James, and much more) the second Sunday of every month at this intimate local jazz club, but on Dec. 11 the session will be extra special, and extra Christmas-y. This is their Holiday Season Special, so expect to hear holiday tunes performed in the jazz idiom as well as some with a touch of rhythm and blues, plus a few jazz standards. Doors open at 5:30 p.m. and showtime is at 6:30.
Thrifters and Drifters
Find gifts for everyone on your list this holiday at the Royal American from 12pm-5pm on Sunday, December 11th. Thrifters and Drifters features unique vintage gifts and handmade creations from your favorite Charleston artisans. If you love vintage art, jewelry, crafts you will not want to miss this!
Charleston Parade of Boats
‘Tis the season to jingle and mingle on the harbor front! Join the Rotary Club of Charleston to celebrate the holiday season with a viewing party of the Holiday Parade of Boats at the Maritime Center on December 10th from 5-8pm. Enjoy savory foods, holiday music and a view of spectacular boats decorated for the season as they cruise across the harbor.
What holiday outing are you excited about this year?
In a city as old as Charleston, it is no surprise we have a few lingering spirits. Here our some of our favorite Holy City haunted tales as well as some events you can enjoy this Halloween season.
1. Old Jail
One of the most popular Charleston ghost tales is of Lavinia Fisher who is suspected of still haunting the Old Jail. Lavinia and her husband John owned the Six Mile House right outside of Charleston where weary travelers could stop and spend the night. It is reported that the couple would poison guests and send them to bed over a trap door where they would wait until the traveler was asleep then pull the trap door releasing the bed and the guest. John Peoples was the lucky soul who claims he escaped the twisted couple. By denying Lavinia’s special tea he was able to get out the window after the bed fell through floor and ran to police who after investigation found the bodies of multiple missing people. The couple was found guilty and sentenced to the gallows. In South Carolina at the time, a married women could escape the death penalty, but the judge squashed that plan and and hung John first which made Lavinia a widow and eligible to hang. It’s said that Lavinia wore a wedding dress to her hanging, hoping her beauty and the pity of her state would cause some man in the crowd to swoon, and marry her at the last moment. Unsuccessful, when she realized that wasn’t going to happen, her mood quickly changed. They had to drag her up on the gallows, kicking and screaming.
This 1888 Victorian home now houses a great Southern restaurant, Poogan’s Porch, but it was the former residence of Zoe Amand, a spinster schoolteacher who died on the second floor of the home in 1954. Outside observers and hotel guests at The Mills House across the street have reported seeing her inside the restaurant after it is closed.
122 East Bay Street once imprisoned many pirates and patriots as they were awaiting execution. Prisoners were chained and starved and their moans were heard throughout the dungeon. Staff members to this day have reported hearing these moans as well as eerie footsteps on the upper floors.
At 20 South Battery, several ghosts sightings have been reported at this 1843 inn. Room Eight is said to be the home to the Headless Torso, reputedly a Civil War soldier, a terrifying apparition which moans menacingly. Room Ten has a spirit known as the Gentleman Caller, who is a spectral presence which is fond of ladies who stay in the room, often lightly petting their hair as they sleep.
This building has been around since 1809 and has an incredibly rich history. It began as a theatre that suffered from a fire bringing actors and audience members to their death. The Planter’s Hotel was built on the property shortly after the catastrophe and was then converted back into a theatre we still enjoy today. Performers and spectators alike have claimed to see spirits wandering around and even out on the stage.
See for yourself, check out Dracula, King of the vampires on stage now at the theatre.
Have we sparked your curiosity? Contact Bull Dog Tours for their Ghost & Gaveyards Tour or check out the Old Jail Tour and see the ghost of Lavinia Fisher yourself! Looking for something appropriate for the kiddos? Try Family Fright Nights at Magnolia Planation or The Boone Hall Pumpkin Patch & Maze. Happy Halloween in the Holy City!
Looking for some plans outside the house this fall? A simple scroll through the charlestoncvb.com calendar will render a long list of possibilities. Here are just a few of the events we’re looking forward to this season.
Charleston Arts Festival | Oct. 5-8
The first annual Charleston Arts Festival is brought to you by the creator of Jailbreak. Though Jailbreak’s technically defunct, the CFA finale will take place at the Old Jail on Magazine Street, so it’ll be like a Jailbreak reincarnated. Also on the agenda for CFA is Pecha Kucha 25 (8 presentations by local members of Charleston’s music community and Women & Radiohead, where local female musicians will perform Radiohead songs. Both of the latter events take place at the Music Hall, while the other facet of CAF, a Culinary Evolution, will go down at High Wire Distillery. For tickets, dates, and further details, go to charlestonartsfestival.com.
MOJA Arts Festival | Sept. 29-Oct. 9
This will be Charleston’s 33rd year with the MOJA Arts fest, a celebration of African-American and Caribbean Arts. The city will be taken over by isual arts, classical music, dance, gospel, jazz, poetry, R&B music, storytelling, theatre, children’s activities, traditional crafts, ethnic food, and much more. Guess what else — most events are free! Ticketed events are priced modestly. For further details, see mojafestival.com.
Lovin’ the Lowcountry Fall Festival | Nov. 3
The Footlight Players will bring their own festival to life on Nov. 3 at Pierce Park Pavilion (1801 Pierce Street, Daniel Island). Celebrating all that is fall, the fest involves a heapin’ helping of Lowcountry boil, plus bee, wine, and a silent auction. The Shem Creek Boogie Band will provide the beach music soundtrack, while SC Shagging Hall of Fame dancer Claude Robertson and dance partner Linda Ouzts cut a rug. Tickets are $35 and will benefit the Footlight Players, one of the oldest community theaters in Charleston.
Y’allFest | Nov. 11-12
Something for the teens or any young adult fiction lover, Y’allFest celebrates YA fiction, welcoming best-selling authors to the city for a series of events at Charleston Music Hall, the Charleston County Library. This year’s featured authors are many, and they include Beautiful Creatures’ Kami Garcia, Sara Shepard (Pretty Little Liars), and Renee Ahdieh (The Wrath and the Dawn). Check yallfest.org for a complete list and schedule of events, like book signings and forums.
Colour of Music Festival Masterwork Series | Oct 19-23
Colour of Music celebrates black classical musicians. This year’s edition brings renowned artists from around the world to Charleston for the occasion. Some notable events include the debut of18th-Century African-American French composer Chevalier de Saint George’s only discovered opera as well as “The Anonymous Lover,” featuring Magali Leger, native of Saint George’s birthplace, the Isle of Guadeloupe, showcasing the festival’s All Things French theme. The Masterworks series opens with the petit opera on Thurs. Oct. 20 at the Gaillard Center downtown and will also include Bruch’s Violin Concerto No. 2, Op. 44 in G Minor.
What are you looking forward to this season?
8/4, 8/11, 8/18-Rockin’ the River is a family and pet-friendly summer concert series that takes place at the beautiful and historic Riverfront Park in North Charleston. Admission and parking are FREE. Gates open at 5:30, band takes the stage at 6:30 and ends at 9:30. Food trucks, beer and wine vendors and a kid’s zone adds to the fun.
8/10-Grammy award winner Ray LaMontagne will be live at the PAC in North Charleston. Ray will be touring in support of his sixth studio album, Ouroboros. Concert starts at 7pm. Tickets on sale now.
8/27-Hot Nights & Holy City Dinner. Enjoy the pairings of summer seasonal beers from Charleston’s Holy City Brewing with summer seasonal dishes from the Middleton Place Restaurant. The event is scheduled for 6-9 p.m. in the air-conditioned Middleton Place Pavilion.
8/27-The 17th annual Thrivent Financial Race for The ARK is Aug. 27 in downtown Summerville. This 5K run/walk raises money for The ARK in its work providing comprehensive support services to families living with Alzheimer’s or related dementia.
8/30-Join famed cookbook author, Nathalie Dupree, as she signs copies of her cookbook, Southern Biscuits, at Mercantile and Mash from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Nathalie Dupree is an author, chef, and cooking show host whose work has focused on American Southern cuisine
Since the busy season is over, the Folly Beach locals can throw a party and take back the beach. Follypalooza, a carnival style, family friendly event with arts, music, games, food and more will be Saturday October 24, 2015. Come on out and enjoy the fall sunshine, listen to some tunes, and see your Folly friends, while benefiting the Folly Angels.
Last year I remember the great chili served up by the loggerheads crew, the goat curry from Chico Feo, and the Corn on the Cob seasoned perfectly from the Taco Boy truck. There is so much food to choose from, you really can’t go wrong. The music is another of my favorite parts of the festival, and this year all the bands are local. Come see my buddy Nathan play in Deadwin, just one of the acts I am looking forward to. The Folly Beach Jazz All-Stars is another act that should draw a big crowd, as they are Folly favorites, and can really jam. Arts and Crafts will be on display throughout the event, so pick up some stained glass, candles, jewelry, and more.
Kids games are the biggest part of the festival, as a boardwalk style atmosphere is created on Center Street. My kids loved the field goal kick and ring toss the best, but you will also see an inflatable obstacle course, a mechanical bull, and games for kids of all ages. You can win prizes at these games, which makes the little ones so excited, and all the proceeds are benefiting those in need.
Lastly, the people are the best part of the event. Getting the chance to see your friends, relax and chat, and meet new ones is what it is all about. I can usually count on running into some long lost pals, and catching up, while enjoying a cold beverage and watching some great music. This year, I am helping out near the obstacle course running the beanbag toss, so stop by, say hi, and we’ll be new friends too. See you there! -Vince Perna
1:30 – 3:00 Noelle Brown & The Troublemakers
3:30 – 5:00 Deadwin
3:30 – 5:00 Jazz on the Edge Allstars
Additional Info about Follypalooza 2015:
The sponsors for this year’s event include Holy City Brewing Co., Dos Equis, Thurmond Kirchner Timbes & Yelverton Law Firm, Peter McCoy/McCoy & Stokes Attorneys at Law, Dunes Properties, Planet Follywood, Follywood Productions & more.
The Real Estate Studio is currently showcasing local photographer Mark Swick until July 28, 2015. We recently hosted a reception for his beautiful photographs of all things Charleston – window boxes, doors, wrought iron gates, and landscapes that celebrate the beauty of the Lowcountry. Mark certainly has talent and an appreciation for the architecture and charm of this town. We sat down with Mark to get the skinny on his photography, and here’s what he had to say…
Dunes Properties: What inspired you to start taking photos?Mark Swick: I have no formal background in photography, and it did not become a passion for me until I moved to Charleston in 2012. Living downtown and spending lots of time on a bike, I quickly developed an appreciation for the impressive historic architecture on the peninsula. Previously I had only used the camera on my iPhone casually, but I began to take pictures in earnest – mainly of doors and windows. I found myself seeking out entire neighborhoods and canvassing their entrances, gates and flower boxes. I was hooked, and it was around that time that I became more serious about sharing my photographs on Instagram. The support of the Instagram community propelled my interest further, and in 2014 I began shooting with a DSLR and editing primarily on a computer.
What is your absolute favorite thing to photograph in Charleston?After all this time I’m still entranced by Charleston’s different neighborhoods and architecture. I love being a part of this city; photographing Charleston homes and sharing them with others all over the world is my small contribution to what makes the Lowcountry so great.What do you like to do in your free time besides photography?I spend a lot of time exploring the city with my girlfriend, trying new restaurants and attending local events. I am also very involved in Charleston’s Jewish community.Do you plan on venturing into any other types of photography?I am really fortunate, especially of late, that my humble photography beginnings have led to new professional experiences. I recently photographed a couple’s engagement proposal, and have also done album cover and profile work for a local country duo. I hope to gain additional experiences in portraiture and event photography — who knows where that will take me!You can purchase Mark’s from his website, in any size or medium that you would like. You can also follow him on Instagram and Twitter. dunes properties agents Angela Wicke and Emily Gildea recently caught up with Mark at his Studio reception, and he is featured this week on their blog Lowcountry Love Letters. Check it out!Don’t forget to check back in to The Real Estate Studio where we showcase a new local artist every 6 weeks in our space. We love this town and all the talented people who live, work, and play here.
It’s beach season and there is no doubt that each one of Charleston’s beaches has it’s own charm. I would say that all are worth a visit, and you can pick one that suites your mood! If you’re looking for surf and are feeling adventurous, Folly is for you. If you’re looking for a great beach to take the kids to, Isle of Palms is where you should be. Want to go kiteboarding? Head on over to Sullivans. Each week we will be featuring a different local beach, and this week it’s all about Sullivans Island! Read on to see some rules, guidelines, and what to expect at Charleston’s most historic beach.
Sullivans Island has a lively main street, wooded beach paths, and tons of history, making it a relaxing, family-friendly local escape. Sullivans Island is full of worn-out but well-kept cottages of all shapes and is also known for having very wealthy, full time residents who live in exquisite new homes and is the 211th highest priced zip code in the United States! Sullivans Island is bordered on the West end by Charleston Harbor, where Fort Moultrie, which dates back to the 1700’s, overlooks the water. For just a few dollars, you can explore the fort’s grounds before hitting the beach Middle Street is the town’s retail stretch, and has sunny outdoor dining at famous places like Poe’s Tavern, named after Edgar Allen Poe, who served a stint at Fort Moultrie.
After dark, many of the restaurants on Middle Street bring in a partying crowd with live music and flowing drinks. Although alcohol in not allowed on the beach, some people break the rules anyway and find themselves with a $1,090 fine for open containers on the beach. There is also a strict noise ordinance on this island after 11:00 pm, so make sure you keep your voices down throughout the night.
The island likes to keep things natural and low key, there are no public restrooms or lifeguards on this beach and there is no swimming allowed on either side of the island, where the currents are dangerously strong. Swimmers should also be very careful with the sandbars on this beach, if you get stuck on one while the tide is out, it will be extremely hard to get back in. Parking lots are few and far between and they fill up awfully fast. You can park on the city streets for free, as long as all of your tires are off the pavement and there isn’t a sign telling you otherwise. All dogs (including dogs belonging to visitors) must have a Sullivans Island permit, which can be picked up at Town Hall for $35 ($25 if you’re a local). In the summer months (May-September) dogs can be off leash from 5-10 am and on leash from 6 pm to 5 am. If you decide to take your chances during off hours, just know that you could be fined more than $1000.
Sullivans Island waters are often calm, thanks to the many sandbars at this beach. You won’t find many surfers at Sullivans Island except for the occasional beginner longboarder. However, kiteboarders flock to this Sullivans Island, particularly Station 28.5. On a windy day, don’t be surprised if you see hundreds of kiteboarders flying through the air – it’s rather fun to watch! For watersport rentals, head to the neighboring Isle of Palms. If you decide that Sullivans Island beach isn’t for you, check out our post on the family friendly Isle of Palms Beach.
The Real Estate Studio is excited to feature “Close to Home,” an exhibit of oil and pastel paintings featuring unique visions of the islands and city of Charleston by James Island artists Susan Trott, Jane Hart, and Anna Cox. This beautiful exhibit of landscapes and architecture of the area will be on display from February 11 – March 24, 2015, with an Artists Reception on Friday, February 13 from 5-8pm.
Susan Trott began painting at a young age, exploring the galleries and museums of Washington, D.C. After attending the Art School at Virginia Commonwealth University she became further attracted to the culture and architectural details of historic cities. Trott has lived in Charleston for over 30 years and can frequently be seen painting outdoors around historic Charleston. She takes inspiration for her work from the historic architecture of Charleston, including buildings with interesting features or unique signage. You can see Susan’s work at www.susantrott.com.
Jane Hart is a retired systems analyst and business manager who fell in love with painting after her first painting
class. Soon after, master pastelist Claire Miller Hopkins introduced Hart to pastels and since then she has taken college-level art classes and studied extensively with well-known artists. She considers the composition, or design, to be key to a successful painting and loves that painting is a constant learning process. Jane’s oil paintings and pastels have been exhibited in both juried and invitational exhibitions, including the Piccolo Spoleto Juried Art Exhibition and Southeastern Pastel Society Exhibition. See more of Jane’s work at www.janehartart.com.
Anna Cox was introduced to oil painting in a class at the Corcoran School of Art & Design while she was working as an interior designer in the metro D.C. area. She traveled to Italy to continue her study and over the last 7 years Cox has combined her interior design skills and oil paintings to give her the unique ability to create personalized works that perfectly accent homes and offices. After moving to Charleston, Anna found the natural landscape to be a perfect subject to explore and intends for her work to convey a shared respect, gratitude, and love for nature that supports and connects everyone. You can see Anna’s work at www.annacoxstudio.com.