Charleston offers an amazingly diverse range of choices in the Arts. For 17 days and nights each spring, The Spoleto Festival fills Charleston’s historic theaters, churches and outdoor spaces with performances by renowned artists and emerging performers in opera, theater and dance, as well as chamber, symphonic, choral and jazz music. Now approaching its 41st season, Spoleto is internationally recognized as America’s premier performing arts festival.
Running concurrently, The Piccolo Spoleto Festival showcases artists from the Southeast USA in an exhilarating collection of events and performances including visual arts exhibits, classical music, jazz, dance, theatre, poetry readings, ethnic cultural presentations, crafts and film.
Along a one mile stretch of famous Meeting Street, you’ll find 6 museums, including The Charleston Museum - America’s first museum founded in 1773, and the newly renovated Gibbes Museum of Art. Additionally, 5 nationally renowned historic houses, 4 scenic parks, a Revolutionary War powder magazine, and an array of historic houses of worship and public buildings such as the Market and City Hall line the Museum Mile.
The first Friday in March, May, October and December, more than 40 Art Galleries open their doors to showcase their collections of fine art for the Charleston Gallery Association Artwalk. Four days each October, the Nuovo Cinema Italiano (New Italian Film Festival) shows the year's most artistically important and beloved Italian films from celebrated directors. In November, The Charleston International Film Festival digs into all aspects of filmmaking: the art, the filmmaker, talented directors and actors. Showing blocks of feature length films and shorts over 5 days, there’s something for the movie lover in all of us.
With its first performance in 1736, the historic Dock Theater is America’s oldest theater. The Charleston Stage company, now in residence at the Dock, offers a vibrant array of productions throughout the year. There are numerous other stage companies, and Charleston has earned its reputation as a fine theater town.
With so much to choose from, Charleston truly is a world class arts destination!