6 Influential Arts Organizations In The Carolinas

Coming together to celebrate local artistic contributions can foster a sense of community and make people appreciate where they come from. Each of these organizations takes a different approach to nurturing and highlighting creative people in the area and getting local citizens involved in the appreciation of artistic endeavors in the Carolinas. This video was made with Ezvid Wikimaker.

6 Organizations Bringing Art to Communities in North & South Carolina

Name Location Focus
Surry Arts Council Mount Airy, NC Operates the Andy Griffith Museum, hosts music and theater performances, and offers classes in painting, drawing, dance, crafts, and other disciplines
Community Theatre of Greensboro Greensboro, NC Theater productions that involve local participants, including many youth programs and camps for young performers
Redux Contemporary Art Center Charleston, SC Offers free exhibitions, professional studio space, darkroom facilities, and educational programs with over 100 classes and workshops
Cucalorus Festival Wilmington, NC Yearly event featuring films from around the world, as well as performing arts performances
Burning Coal Theatre Company Raleigh, NC Presents plays that address social issues with an eye on diverse casting, along with staged readings of works by local writers and youth education programs
Metropolitan Arts Council Greenville, SC Provides grants and other support services to cultural organizations and artists, and puts on Downtown Alive and other events in Greenville

Highlights from Cucalorus Connect

Notable Artists from North Carolina

The Inviting Community Surrounding Redux Contemporary Art Center

Notable Artists from South Carolina

In Depth

A source of inspiration, communication, and change, art is a critical part of society that has the power to transcend geographical boundaries. Despite this, it doesn't always reach people equally or consistently, leaving many populations creatively and aesthetically underserved. Fortunately, there are plenty of impassioned organizations devoted to overcoming this. The ones included here, all based in North or South Carolina, strive to ensure that everything from painting to theater can be enjoyed and appreciated by all audiences. In no particular order, here are six influential groups spreading the arts throughout the Carolinas.

At #1 is the Surry Arts Council. Driven by the notion that art enhances the overall quality of life, this Mount Airy-based organization seeks to supply everyone in the community with opportunities to experience the visual and performing arts. It does this by offering a bevy of programs, classes, shows, and events, which engage audiences in disciplines such as music, painting, dance, and more. The council also operates the Andy Griffith Museum, which exhibits hundreds of artifacts from the actor's illustrious life, and serves as a significant venue for performances and events.

The organization's weekly youth classes cover subjects ranging from theater to music, while monthly classes involve many different crafts activities. Adult courses and programs teach acrylic painting, drawing, and traditional dances, among other creative disciplines. Prominent events include live stage productions, a summer concert series, and a number of festivals, many of which are held at the Andy Griffith Playhouse and the historic Earle Theatre. Support the Surry Arts Council by making a donation in the form of an honorary seat plaque or engraved tile.

Support the Surry Arts Council by making a donation in the form of an honorary seat plaque or engraved tile.

For #2 we get the Community Theatre of Greensboro. Established in 1949, CTG operates with the goal of involving the community in the excitement of theatrical participation. Its inclusive programming encompasses myriad youth theatre programs, family-focused productions, adult education, and outreach for those with special needs. One of the group's most notable offerings is an annual production of "The Wizard of Oz," a presentation that involves the work of over a hundred participants of all ages.

At the heart of CTG is its youth theatre, which gives young people in the community opportunities to learn about and perform in large-scale productions. Complementing this are an array of summer camps, as well as pop-up camps held during school breaks. The organization's award-winning Centerstage Youth Performing Group, meanwhile, is an audition-only troupe designed for experienced actors in grades three through twelve. Give back by contributing to CTG's Yellow Brick Road Campaign, and get your own personalized brick installed outside the theatre.

Arriving at #3 is Redux Contemporary Art Center. Located in Charleston, South Carolina, this nonprofit strives to cultivate creativity by offering free exhibitions, education and outreach programs, and inexpensive, professional studio spaces for artists. Film screenings, lecture series, and over 100 classes and workshops help further perpetuate contemporary aesthetics and cultural practices. In addition, an artist-in-residency program gives emerging and mid-career creators valuable resources to develop their careers.

Film screenings, lecture series, and over 100 classes and workshops help further perpetuate contemporary aesthetics and cultural practices.

Committed to fostering aesthetic appreciation and innovative collaborations, Redux hosts eight major exhibitions throughout the year that showcase the work of both burgeoning and established creators. These exhibitions, plus complementary programs, are made to facilitate productive exchanges between artists and the public. To give member artists even more opportunities for growth and exploration, the organization allows them around-the-clock access to its print and darkroom facilities. Help Redux keep its operations going by becoming a member, and get benefits such as program discounts.

For #4 we have the Cucalorus Festival. Held every November in downtown Wilmington, North Carolina, this non-competitive festival is dedicated to promoting adventurous creators and generating meaningful discourse around the arts. One of the biggest film events in the South, it presents over 300 works from around the world, with programs that emphasize social justice, international cinema, music videos, and works-in-progress, among others subjects. Concurrently, the organization hosts a variety of live stage performances that encompass theatre, installations, stand-up comedy, and more.

Cucalorus runs a number of programs in addition to the annual festival, including artist residencies and outreach and education initiatives that bring media literacy to underserved communities. A major event it organizes is the Connect Conference, which unites entrepreneurs from around the globe for two days of networking, talks, and workshops. Cucalorus's events take place at a plethora of venues throughout the area, with much of its year-round activity centered in Jengo's Playhouse, a multimedia arts facility that features a large community cinema. To aid the organization and its efforts, consider donating through its site.

Cucalorus's events take place at a plethora of venues throughout the area, with much of its year-round activity centered in Jengo's Playhouse, a multimedia arts facility that features a large community cinema.

Showing up at #5 is the Burning Coal Theatre Company. A small-scale professional theatre company located in Raleigh, Burning Coal devotes itself to creating impactful productions that audiences experience in a visceral way. Diverging from traditional, linear plays, the group focuses on dynamic and unconventional works that address important, challenging social issues. With diverse casting as a vital part of its philosophy, it employs talented performers from around the world to produce shows with an international perspective.

To promote the development of new works by artists from the state, Burning Coal presents professionally staged readings of scripts from aspiring North Carolina playwrights. A range of education programs, meanwhile, bring the theatrical arts to diverse populations throughout the area. They include Shakescenes, a series of rehearsals and workshops leading to a production of a Shakespearean play, and WillPower, an outreach program that brings acting classes to schools. An annual festival, KidsWrite showcases performances of scripts penned by middle and high school students. Subscribe to Burning Coal online to help keep quality theatre publicly accessible.

Finally, for #6 we come to the Metropolitan Arts Council. Founded in 1973, MAC seeks to galvanize and nurture creative expression throughout South Carolina's Greenville County communities. It carries out this mission by providing grants and other support services to cultural organizations and artists, as well as by initiating collaborative marketing strategies that advocate for under-resourced groups. To further engage and bolster the community, the council hosts myriad public programs such as gallery crawls, open studios, and outdoor exhibitions.

To further engage and bolster the community, the council hosts myriad public programs such as gallery crawls, open studios, and outdoor exhibitions.

The cornerstone of the organization, MAC's quarterly grants program helps fund individual creators as well as arts organizations and education programs across Greenville. Providing unrestricted income, these grants play a critical role in sustaining both the artistic and economic welfare of the region. Also significant in this regard is the council's Downtown Alive event, which runs from March to August and features live music, beverages, and the work of local creators. Make a minimum donation of $50 and receive the MAC ArtCard, which allows you to get ticket deals at a variety of partner venues.