Louis C.K. performing at The Gaillard!

Coming October 26th and 27th! 

Comedian Louis C.K. has announced a series of new tour dates, which will take him across North America through January 2017.

The announcement comes on the heels of the massive success of his latest international comedy tour, which sold-out crowds in some of the biggest venues worldwide from Paris, to Scandinavia, to the UK, to Eastern Europe, and all the way down to Israel.

Check out this hilarious interview with Jimmy Fallon!

OPEN Performer Schedule!

We have released our #OpenArtsExpo2016 performance schedule and we are thrilled with all of the fantastic artists we have lined up this year! Check out the schedule of events below, and plan on coming for any and all of them. We can’t wait to see everyone there for our best year ever!


OPEN, Sesame!

OPEN is getting close! Mark your calendars to join us on Sunday, Sept. 11, at the College of Charleston Cistern Yard for the annual celebration of arts in the Lowcountry.

Get to know awesome artists and arts groups, and experience performances throughout the day. In addition to coming out to have a great day of arts, can you help us out beforehand? We’d love for you to help us spread the word. Here’s a link to this year’s poster. Can you print it out and share it where you work or play? Can you share the link below on social media for us?

OPEN Arts Expo poster

Aw, thanks. You’re the best!

See you on Second Sunday!

Sign up now for OPEN 2016!

artexpoLOGO3OPEN is open! Registration for the 2016 OPEN Arts Expo is now being accepted. Interested arts groups and artists can click here to sign up for this year’s exciting day of arts, to be held Sunday, Sept. 11 from noon-4 p.m. at the Cistern Yard at the College of Charleston.

Co-hosted by the Charleston Regional Alliance for the Arts and the College of Charleston School of the ArtsOPEN Arts Expo is now in its seventh year, and is a great way for the artists and arts groups to get to know the community and share their passion for the arts with others.

So sign up and now, and spread the word to all your art loving friends. Because Arts Matter.

Friday Fiver: Hirona Matsuda

Hirona Matsuda has done it all. Painting, sculpture, assisting, selling, managing, teaching. Anything that is arts related, it is likely that this Charleston power-house has done it. Perhaps best known for making tiny dioramas using dozens of different mediums, Hirona has made a name for herself as a visionary in the world of contemporary southern art. With her upcoming show, Hirona is exploring a more minimalistic approach, using paper as her surface. While the materials may be pared down, the result is, unsurprisingly, astounding. The show, “A Response to Paper”, will be a group exhibition also unnamed-1featuring Alan Jackson, Matthew Dietz, and Michael Hayes. See it tonight at Lese Corrigan Gallery at 5:00, or go during gallery hours through the month of July. We sat down with Hirona for our Friday Fiver.

You recently returned from a three-week trip through Europe. Tell us how that trip has influenced your upcoming show “A Response to Paper”.
My three colleges, Matt Dietz, Michael Hayes and Alan Jackson and I, came up with the idea for a show featuring works on paper because we had the desire to produce a cohesive show together even though our styles and mediums are vastly different.  By using paper as the uniting force we were able to stay true to our own styles yet create work with a common thread.  Paper is not my usual material of choice, but luckily this trip played into the concept perfectly.
I arrived in Sweden with a portfolio full of blank paper knowing that I had a show to put together when I got back.  The first leg of my trip took me to an old mill town called Fengersfors outside of Gothenburg.  The town now has only about 300 residents, but the old paper mill has been taken over by a group of artists called Not Quite http://www.notquite.se/.  They have made a good portion of the factory into beautiful studio spaces for working artists.
Being the scavenger that I am, I made a beeline for the areas that had yet to be renovated.  During my exploration I came across rooms and rooms of beautiful abandoned machinery.  It was like I had walked into a world that usually only appears in my favorite dreams.  The closest thing I can relate it to is exploring our old naval base ten years ago.
I found the inspiration for this show when I came upon the filing cabinets that held the paperwork for the factory when they were still in production.  Strewn all over the floors and spilling out of rusty binders were pages and pages of work orders and samples for all of the product they were manufacturing.  Each sample was signed off by an employee and had been cross hatched by hand to show how the paper handled ink.  The crown jewel was when I found a folder full of blueprints and plans for the machinery I had just explored.
Of all the awe-inspiring sights I took in and the amazing museums I visited during my travels, this portion of the trip was really the key to the body of work that I produced for this show.  The remoteness of this area and the unadulterated nature of the things I saw were more exciting than all of the master works I stood in front of.  Not to say that they aren’t going to play into my future work, but you know, one show at a time.
Although this show is all on paper, you work with a ton of different mediums and materials. What is the one thing you can’t live without to create your art?
Whether I’m working with paper or metal and wood, the key ingredient is a good adhesive to stick it all together.  I spend a lot of time searching out and testing as many varieties and combinations as I can find.   Because I was flying a bunch and didn’t want to carry a bunch of liquids in my suitcase, I brought the strongest, acid free glue stick I could find.  Without an archival glue that is customized to the materials I am trying to attach, my entire body of work could fall apart.  The biggest challenge is finding non toxic, studio safe alternatives to the harsher things on the market.
Having been in Charleston for the last 13 years, how have you seen things change for contemporary artists?
For the most part contemporary art in this city has seen a steady upward climb.  Over the past several years I feel like Charleston has become better known, not only as a place to find more traditional art, but also more modern or experimental art.
The biggest hurdle that contemporary artists face in Charleston is funding for non traditional art forms.  While sales of contemporary art art thankfully taking off in our galleries, there is still a lack of funding for artists who want to create work that is temporal, installation based, or performance based.  These art forms have few venues and almost no support, but are an important component of contemporary art.
Who are the top three artists that you would like to have at a dinner party?
I really enjoy dinner in the company of close friends over strangers.  But three artist that I feel might seem almost as familiar as the beautiful artists I’m lucky enough to call my closest might be Miyazaki the illustrator/filmmaker, Chris Ware the illustrator and graphic novelist (I must like illustrators), and maybe a wild card like Toulouse-Lautrec.  On second thought, all of these artists would probably fare better at three separate dinner parties.  Can’t complain about more parties.
If you could wave a magic wand over Charleston and one thing would change, what would it be?
I would make it easier for artists to make a living doing what they should be doing.  That includes funding for arts education in our public schools.  Most of us that are artists today, would never be doing what we do if we hadn’t been encouraged at a young age.  As far as I’m concerned, the more people making art and sharing it with our community the healthier our city will be.

Sign up now for Public Speaking workshop

We are excited to announce that our next workshop is coming up soon! We are partnering with Jenny Maxwell, Co-Director of The Buckley School of Public Speaking to present “Three Ways to Make Every Presentation Better Now.” During this free workshop, attendees will learn how to manage the three often overlooked areas of public speaking: your open, your nonverbal communication, and the way you manage audience questions and challenges.

Wednesday, July 13th @ 3PM
Main Library, Auditorium
68 Calhoun Street
E-mail elise@artscharleston.org to reserve your space!
For 30 years, The Buckley School has been helping professionals get their ideas across through public speaking and presentations, hosting open-enrollment seminars for individuals and traveling to companies to facilitate on-site sessions. Based in Camden,S.C., the school provides training to Fortune 500 companies, think tanks, and advocacy groups–working with professionals and policymakers to help them fine-tune content and delivery for important speeches, contract pitches, media interviews, and panel discussions. 
Jenny Maxwell is co-director of The Buckley School and has been a public speaking coach with the school since 2000. A writer and television producer, she has also created documentaries for PBS and written series for The Food Network. She was editor of skirt! magazine in Columbia for eight years and headed marketing and community relations at WIS-TV, the NBC affiliate in Columbia, for seven years.

Marcus Amaker named Poet Laureate

Friend of the Alliance and exceptionally talented artist Marcus Amaker was named Charleston’s first “Poet Laureate” on Tuesday evening.


Marcus Amaker shows Henrietta Snype, local sweetgrass basket artist, a clip from the “Arts Matter” video.

Some of you may know him as the mastermind behind our “Arts Matter” video, but most
Charlestonians will recognize him from his countless speaking engagements, musical performances, and of course, his incredible poetry. As Charleston’s Poet Laureate, Mr. Amaker will work with the Office of Cultural Affairs to encourage the artistry of poetry as both an important educational and cultural tool.

In a statement, Mayor Tecklenburg said “Marcus is a well-known artist in our community who has the drive, passion and talent to make poetry accessible to everyone.”

A reception to celebrate and commemorate this important occasion will be held at The City Gallery at Waterfront Park on Wednesday June 29 at 6:00PM. Mr. Amaker will be performing at the event.

We can’t imagine this honor going to anyone else and we are can’t wait to see what wonderful things Mr. Amaker will do with his new position!

Charleston Stage awarded Alliance’s Boeing Vision Award

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The Charleston Regional Alliance for the Arts is excited to announce that Charleston Stage has been awarded the $25,000 Boeing Vision Award. The grant is for an innovative arts concept that will reach an underserved segment of the community. This grant will help Charleston Stage launch a program to offer sensory-friendly performances for specials needs children and their family, performed at the Dock Street Theatre. The grant was selected by an independent five-person panel of community leaders from the arts, business, and education communities that was selected by the Arts Alliance Board of Directors. Thank you to Boeing for their generous contribution to the arts, and thanks to Charleston Stage for bringing this innovative initiative to our community. To learn more about this exciting program, please visit Charleston Stage’s Boeing Vision Award.



Starting on Tuesday June 7th, Avondale’s second annual chART-a-Rama begins! Held in Avondale, this three day art event is even bigger this year. Events range from birdhouse painting and yoga classes, to a 24-hour live pianist marathon and a Brendan James concert. Follow them on their Facebook Page, which is updated with newly added events, and make plans to check out one or all three nights of this awesome event!



Friday Fiver: Erin Nathanson

Erin Nathanson has been dedicated to the arts in Charleston for over a decade. She has served as the gallery coordinator for The City Gallery at Waterfront Park, is a founding member and artistic Erin Nathansondirector of Charleston Supported Art, and now has opened The Southern Gallery alongside her husband Justin Nathanson. The Southern Gallery has only been open a few months, but has already become a landmark for the contemporary art scene in Charleston. If you haven’t had a chance to check out the gorgeous new space, head to The Southern Saturday night to see their newest show “Kelly Lu’s War,” from 7-10. We sat down with Erin for this week’s Friday Fiver.

Reflecting on your newly renovated gallery, what has been the number 1 benefit of designing your own space?
A huge benefit of designing The Southern ourselves was having control over functional features like our reinforced walls and adding some surprise with neon and wallpaper in the bathrooms. 2 Carlson has allowed us to show our aesthetic without architectural restrictions.
You showcase and represent artists only for the length of their exhibits. How does this benefit the artists?
This is somewhat true. We are taking our time to build a roster for The Southern in a number of ways – producing exhibitions and consigning works on paper and objects for 3-6 month periods. For some artists, working with one gallery feels constricting, but for others it’s like “Jesus, take the wheel”. We like to work with artists on all ends of that spectrum. This benefits the artist at the end of the day because we are understanding of their needs and goals for their career. 
3. At your last opening, the DJ played mostly hip-hop music. What can we expect to hear at “Kelly Lu’s War” on Saturday and how do you decide what music to play?
 Saturday night’s opening will have a playlist curated by our girls Camela Guevara and Dalia Dalili of Gemsounds. Girl power is definitely the theme of the evening. We usually select the music based on the artist’s vibe. This is why our last DJ was from a North Charleston strip club, and it was fun.
4. The outfits you wear to the gallery are so cool and professional at the same time. Who is your fashion inspiration?
I have no idea. Thankfully, I have very fashionable friends, like Sarah Frierson, so I usually ask her if something is cool or not.
5. If you could wave a magic wand over Charleston, what would you like to see happen?
The impractical side of me would love to see all the stray cats come together and parade up King Street because that would be pretty magical.