Arts & Culture

Your Guide to the Charlotte International Arts Festival

The Charlotte International Arts Festival, a celebration of discovery, play and creativity, will bring more than 200 attractions to the Queen City from September 16 to October 2. The inaugural festival features performing arts and large-scale interactive art installations, most of which are free. Here are a few highlights of events from Ballantyne to Uptown.

Ballantyne's Backyard

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Man by Amanda Parer

When: September 16-October 2
Cost:
Free

The creators that brought the infamous giant bunnies to Charlotte present a larger-than-life, inflatable statue modeled after Auguste Rodin’s “Thinker.” The statue will be accompanied by a musical soundscape from Charlotte-based composer and sound designer Jason Hausman.

Mentalgassi

When: September 16-October 2
Cost:
Free

Experience the transformation of ordinary objects into works of art. This trio of German artists snaps viewers out of the daily routine with a witty application of large-scale photography, street art and image manipulation.

Mazing Shadows

When: September 16-October 2
Cost:
Free

Adventure with friends and family through a labyrinth made from shadows. Make your way through twists and turns with shadow-based art forming a world anyone can get lost in.

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Birdmen

When: September 16-25
Cost:
Free

Witness huge, illuminated pterodactyl-like creatures invade the Queen City. This street theater features stilt-walkers outfitted as strange, enlightened beings that wander as they tell a whimsical story without words.

Wanted

When: September 16-18; September 22-25
Cost:
Free

Watch as aerialists defy gravity in this visual comedy show. Journey with two artists as they venture through vintage video games, crazy desktops and breathtaking scenes as they play cops and robbers on a vertical stage.

Luminarium – Architects of Air by Alan Parkinson

When: September 16-October 2
Cost: $5

Transport into a world of light and saturated hues with in this the walk-in sculpture exhibition. This installation offers a sensory experience of light, color and sound through a labyrinth inspired by natural forms, geometric solids, and Islamic and Gothic architecture.

Uptown

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Bloom!

When: September 16-18; September 22-25; September 29-October 2
Where:
Romare Bearden Park
Cost:
Free

Witness the colorful and spirited aerial antics of performers on 15-foot swaying poles, inspired by the flowers of the Smoky Mountains.

Drag Story Hour

When: September 17-18
Where: Romare Bearden Park
Cost: Free

Join Charlotte-area drag queens and kings for story time as readers share stories of self-love and showcase a fluidity of gender expression. Bring the kids for books, crafts and fun.

We Are Hip Hop Battles & Block Party

When: September 17-18
Where:
Knight Theater & Levine Ave Stage
Cost:
Free

Celebrate local hip hop culture, music and artistry with DJ battles, beatbox battles and live dance performances. Join in all the fun with a block party at the event’s conclusion.

Bees

When: September 23-25; September 29-30; October 1-2
Where:
Romare Bearden Park
Cost:
Free

Join the buzzing hive activity of three human-sized bees. Children are welcomed into the mysterious life and work of bees in this interactive performance of sounds, shapes and scents of the bee world.

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Color Play

When: September 23-24
Where:
Booth Playhouse
Cost:
$5

Immerse yourself in a multi-media live painting experience. Watch as a unique visual story unfolds when the artist directs a dancer to use her body as a paintbrush with every footstep, sway and turn through a creative performance using unconventional mediums like a mop, broom and leaf blower.

Brooklyn: The Collective Memory

When: September 29-30; October 1
Where:
Studio 229
Cost:
$5

Experience the history of the once-flourishing Brooklyn neighborhood, Charlotte’s once-vibrant Black Wall Street community, through life-size portraits, archival books and documented videos of former residents sharing their stories. Learn more about

Levine Ave Artist Stage

When: September 30-October 2
Where:
Levine Artist Stage
Cost:
Free

Enjoy the best live music and Biergarten with various artists and genres throughout the entire festival. Grab your dance partner and even take the mic at some of these live shows.

Waterbombs

When: September 30-October 2
Where:
Romare Bearden Park
Cost:
Free

This isn’t your typical water balloon fight. Enjoy a hysterical battle filled with 100 flying water balloons and a laughter-filled zone of fun during this comedic water balloon gladiator show.

Blue Lapis Light

When: September 30; October 1-2
Where:
Government Center
Cost:
Free

Experience a ballet performance en pointe and in the air. Watch as highly skilled aerial dancers twirl and repel while suspended at great heights.

For a full listing of events at the Charlotte International Arts Festival, visit their website.

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