In Memory of Steve Bryan

What started out as a good way to spend a New Year’s Eve became something of the family business for Steve. Steve and his wife Chase met while volunteering for Artsplosure in 1998. They quickly became festival fixtures, working backstage, making ice deliveries and pouring beers, often with daughters Sutton and Elliott in tow.

Steve’s greatest contribution, however, has been his exemplary service on the board of directors for the past 15 years.  During this time, he served in many leadership capacities, mostly recently agreeing to guide the development of Artsplosure’s next strategic plan.  His fellow board members and professional staff deeply valued his judgment, his commitment to Artsplosure’s Art for All mission, his warm and outgoing manner, and his willingness to go the extra mile.  He will be profoundly missed.

In lieu of flowers, the Bryan family has asked that donations be made to Artsplosure. To donate, follow the yellow button below. You can also make a donation by mailing a check to the address below.

Checks Payable to: Artsplosure
Memo: Steve Bryan Memorial
Mail to:
313 S. Blount St.
Suite 200B
Raleigh, NC 27601

Check Out First Night Raleigh 2017’s Lineup & Spotify Playlist

Check out our First Night Raleigh 2017 Spotify playlist today to hear the diverse array of musical performers that you can see at North Carolina’s biggest New Year’s Eve bash in downtown Raleigh!

Artsplosure, the presenter of First Night Raleigh, today announced the festival’s lineup of visual and performing artists and special programs. Taking place in downtown Raleigh on Dec. 31, patrons will experience an unforgettable New Year’s Eve, including musical and visual performances, a daytime DIY Festival and other activities.

Admission for First Night Raleigh 2017 is now on sale at:
• Area Harris Teeter & CVS Pharmacy Stores
• Local store outlets which can be found here

DIY Festival and Workshops

This year’s festivities kick off at 2 p.m. with the brand new DIY Festival at N.C. Museum of History, N.C. Museum of Natural Sciences and outdoors on the Bicentennial Plaza.

The DIY Festival will feature a multitude of workshops and demonstrations from professional artists, musicians and craftsmen. Adults and children alike can try out something new, from ukulele to weaving and pottery! Art Putt, a miniature golf course and interactive art installation, will return to this year’s First Night Raleigh in the newly-renovated Market Plaza between Fayetteville and Wilmington Streets.

In addition to its December 31st offerings, First Night Raleigh is also hosting an array of DIY December workshops in the weeks leading up to New Year’s Eve. With purchase of a First Night Raleigh $10 All Day Pass wristband, workshop attendees can learn a new skill for the New Year! Workshops include crafting an ornament at downtown retailer Ramble Supply Co from 6-8pm on December 6th, helping create a film-photography hand-tinted collage of Raleigh with photographer Katy Walls from 6-9pm on December 8th or even learn metal stamping at local retailer Edge of Urge from 2-4pm on December 10th.

Visual and Musical Performances and Other Activities

After an afternoon of miniature golf and crafting, attendees can walk in the annual People’s Procession at 6 p.m., which culminates with the early countdown at 7 p.m. at City Plaza. Attendees can also enjoy performances at the main stage starting at 5 p.m. Later into the night, the streets of Raleigh come alive with performances taking place in more than 20 blocks of downtown Raleigh.

Raleigh favorite Birds of Avalon will headline this year’s main stage leading up to the countdown to 2017. Joining them will be local band Jack the Radio, starting at 9:30 p.m. Ira David Wood III and his son, Ira David Wood IV, return as the countdown master of ceremonies, with the famous acorn dropping at midnight while fireworks are shot off into the night sky.

Other artists scheduled to appear include: Skylar Gudasz, ShadowGrass, Ron Gallo, Josh Dumbleton, XOXOK, Pat “Mother Blues” Cohen, African American Dance Ensemble, Paperhand Puppet Intervention, North Carolina Opera singers, Compton & Newberry, Comedy Worx, Transactors Improv Company, SEED Art Share, and many more!

The Fantastical First Night Ferris Wheel returns to Fayetteville Street and will be joined by the debut of “The Sea Ray”, a giant, swinging pirate ship that will sail the seas of Fayetteville Street. Both amusements will open to the public at 2 p.m. on the afternoon of Dec. 31.

The full lineup can be found by downloading the First Night app on your iPhone or Android or by visiting, with admission on sale now for $10** when purchased in advance (**plus local and state sales tax). On December 31, on-site sales will be $14* for adults and $11* for children (*including local and state sales tax).


Lucy and David Fountain Announced as Honorary Chairs of First Night Raleigh 2017


Caroline Russell, President of the Artsplosure Board of Directors, today announced that David and Lucy Fountain are the honorary chairs for Artsplosure’s 26th presentation of First Night Raleigh. The annual New Year’s Eve arts festival will take place on Saturday, Dec. in a 20+ block area of downtown Raleigh.

The Fountains have a long history of support and involvement with some of the state’s leading nonprofit causes. She expressed the Board’s appreciation that they have chosen to lend their leadership to Artsplosure’s First Night Raleigh.

Married the same year as the initial First Night Raleigh celebration, David and Lucy Fountain are excited to serve as the honorary co-chairs of First Night Raleigh 2017. David is Duke Energy’s North Carolina President. He joined the Carolina Power & Light (CP&L) Legal Department in 2000 and previously served as the vice president of Progress Energy’s legal department, and as senior vice president of Duke Energy’s office of general counsel in Raleigh. David currently chairs the Leadership North Carolina board and is also active on the boards of the North Carolina Chamber, the YMCA of the Triangle, the Alexander Family YMCA and the Shepherd’s Table Soup Kitchen. In addition, he enjoyed his tenure as the chair of the Marbles Kids Museum board. Lucy is the immediate past President of the Saint Mary’s School Parents’ Association. She is also a past vice president of the National Charity League’s Dogwood Chapter and is a sustaining member of the Junior League of Raleigh. David and Lucy received their undergraduate degrees and their law degrees from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and are the parents of three daughters.

This year’s First Night Raleigh festivities kick off at 2 p.m. with the new “DIY Fest” at N.C. Museum of History, N.C. Museum of Natural Sciences and outside on the Bicentennial Plaza. The First Night ferris wheel and pirate ship rides open to the public at 2 p.m. as does Artsplosure’s “Art Putt”, a playable nine-hole miniature golf course created by local artists.

Performances on the outdoor main stage begin at 5:20 p.m., with the people’s procession following shortly after at 6 p.m. Parents and children alike can ring in the New Year with the early countdown at 7 p.m. An array of evening performances also begin at 7 p.m. in multiple indoor and outdoor venues.

The Countdown to Midnight begins at 9:30 p.m. and concludes at midnight with the famous Raleigh acorn drop and fireworks finale.

A complete list of the full lineup can be found at, with tickets going on sale online on Dec. 1 and in stores on December 12 for $10* when purchased in advance (*plus local and state sales tax).

Calling Artists for Art Putt at First Night Raleigh 2017

First Night Raleigh Art Putt




WHAT: Art Putt will be an interactive art installation featuring a miniature golf course of nine artist-designed mini-golf holes.

WHEN: December 30-December 31, 2016

WHERE: TBD outdoor location (weather permitting) in Downtown Raleigh.

Any Artist or Group of Artists is invited to submit a proposal for one of the nine holes. Think of this as a public art exhibit where folks can interact with your artwork while playing a fun game at the same time! Each selected artist will be featured on the First Night Raleigh website and mobile app in addition to their hole being on display at Art Putt.

First Night Raleigh has commissioned set designer Greg Osbeck to construct the actual structure of the individual holes and to make the course cohesive. Artists may select from these base layouts, which are listed at the end of this document, when submitting their designs.

Call for Artist Entries! Artsplosure: The Raleigh Arts Festival 2017

Call to Artists 2017


Each fall, Artsplosure calls artists like you who are interested in exhibiting and selling at our namesake festival that is held each year in the third week of May. This year, for the second time in the festival’s 38-year history, Artsplosure: The Raleigh Arts Festival will be three days: May 19-21, 2017. All work displayed or offered for sale must be of your own artistic creation.

A three-member jury will review and score all submissions and artists will be notified of acceptance or non-acceptance in late February.

At the festival, a three-judge panel awards six cash prizes, totaling $3,500!

The early deadline for entries is Friday, December 12, 2016. The final deadline for entries is Friday, January 27, 2017.

For more information on our Arts Festival, please email us at or call (919) 832-8699 ext. 804.

Swing by the Wide Open Bluegrass Festival Art Market!

The 2016 Wide Open Bluegrass Festival Art Market has begun! Thanks to Shop Local Raleigh, Got to be NC, and Artsplosure, almost 100 vendors will be selling their unique wares as part of Wide Open Bluegrass! Artsplosure’s Art Market features over 45 art vendors from the area. Swing by today and tomorrow between noon and 8pm! There will be many artists at the Art Market between the Martin Street and Hargett Street block in Downtown Raleigh. Liven up the walls of your home with a painting by a local artist or find a unique piece of jewelry! On top of that, you can find pottery, handmade leather pieces, hand-carved wood items, and much more! Can’t wait to see you there!

Meet the Artists: The Art Market Returns to Raleigh’s Wide Open Bluegrass Festival


We are thrilled to have such a talented array of artists and craftsmen at this year’s Art Market at Wide Open Bluegrass 2016! The list of participating artists is below, along with examples of their work and links to their sites.

The WOB art market is an intimate showcase, designed to recognize North Carolina’s talented and enthusiastic art community and feature unique artisans from across the United States. Local makers, and those who sell works that will appeal to a music-loving audience are encouraged. The World of Bluegrass event will attract over 6,000 national and international traditional music performers, presenters, and fans — in addition to over 75,000 local attendees anticipated for the two-day Wide Open Bluegrass festival.

We look forward to seeing all of these artists for the weekend of September 30th through October 1st, between the Martin Street and Hargett Street block in Downtown Raleigh, as apart of Wide Open Bluegrass 2016.



Mixed Media:

Metal & Wood:


Fiber & Leather:

Clay & Glass:


Artsplosure Brings Art Market to Destination Dix Community Festival: July 23, 2016


Artsplosure has organized an Art Market as part of the Destination Dix Community Festival, which will take place in Dorthea Dix Park on July 23, 2016.

The Art Market will serve as an anchor feature of the Destination Dix festival, and will feature more than 25 local artists exhibiting and selling their original artwork and crafts. The festival is scheduled to be open from 10 am to 7 pm on Saturday.

“With Artsplosure’s mission of promoting and showcasing artists, the Destination Dix event is a perfect opportunity for us to give some of these fine artists a great chance to present their works to the folks coming out to this festival. We look forward to being a part of the exciting Dix evolution!” said Programming Director Terri Dollar of Artsplosure’s participation in the event.

The festival will take place on the one-year anniversary of the sale of the Dorthea Dix campus by the State of North Carolina to the City of Raleigh. Event-goers will be able to enjoy art, music, food and other festivities in a celebration of the past and present of Dix Park. Attendees will also have several opportunities to share their vision for the future of 308-acre property through interactive activities.

In addition to the Destination Dix Festival Art Market, Artsplosure will also showcase more of North Carolina’s talent as it produces the Opening Ceremonies of the USA Masters Games in Greensboro this summer. The event, which hosts Olympic-style athletic competitions for adult athletes in over 20 sports, will take place at the Greensboro Coliseum on July 22, 2016. The opening ceremony will feature Paperhand Puppet Intervention, Barefoot Movement, and North Tower, among others.

Full details for the Destination Dix festival, visit

For more about USA Masters Games

Artsplosure Gives Thanks & Recognition As It Celebrates Another Successful Year

Artsplosure held it’s Annual Meeting and Recognition Luncheon last week. The event is a chance to celebrate the successes of First Night Raleigh 2016 and Artsplosure – The Raleigh Arts Festival 2016 and announce new members and positions within the Board of Directors. It’s also an opportunity to thank the many members of the Raleigh community that make Artsplosure’s events possible!

This year had many much to celebrate and many thanks to give.

We said thank you to our Board of Directors member, Ann-Cabell Baum for her 20 years of service with Artsplosure! In her two decades of involvement with the organization, Ann-Cabell has held many leadership positions, serving as Secretary, Vice President, and President of the Board. As a fundraiser, she has raised $92,000 for our organization. She has been and continues to be an irreplaceable force of nature!

Ann-Cabell Receives Award

We also expressed our gratitude to Raleigh Police Department Officer Willie Sanders, who has been a vital part of Artsplosure for 15 years as our on-site security presence at both First Night Raleigh and Artsplosure – The Raleigh Arts Festival. In his years of service he has become a great friend, and we will miss him as he begins his retirement from the force.

Artsplosure Team with Willie Sanders

Artsplosure would not be possible without our fantastic Board of Directors, lead by Lori Vitale for the past two years. She has lead with expertise and passion for bringing the arts to the community, and we are grateful for her service. We are also thrilled to announce our new President of the Board for 2016-2017, Caroline Russell! A long-time Board of Directors member, Caroline has the knowledge and skill to be a fantastic leader of the Board of Directors.

Caroline Russel presents Lori Vitale with a gift for her service.

As it has been for 37 years, Artsplosure continues to thrive as a result of the passion and hard work of individuals from around our community. Our organization would not be possible without such individuals as Ann-Cabell, Willie Sanders, Lori Vitale, Caroline Russell, and the many sponsors that were able to join us.

Thank you for another great year bring art and music to our community!

Thank You for Joining Us at Artsplosure 2016

This FREE event is brought to you by Artsplosure, and all of our sponsors. We look forward to seeing you back for Artsplosure – The Raleigh Arts Festival 2017!

As one of the Southeast’s premier arts festivals, Artsplosure – The Raleigh Arts Festival attracts more than 80,000 people to downtown Raleigh during the third weekend of May each year. Celebrating fine visual art and live music since 1980, this year’s festival continues the tradition of presenting high quality and accessible visual art and live music for free in the heart of the capital city.

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