Artsplosure – The Raleigh Arts Festival
Last year, we celebrated the 36th anniversary of Artsplosure – the Raleigh Arts Festival! Since its inception in 1980, the spring festival has entertained and inspired hundreds of thousands of people, introducing them to underrepresented artists and performances. Every aspect of the festival is curated with an eye toward presenting quality art – and a healthy dose of the unexpected. The festival balances critically acclaimed national artists with some of North Carolina’s best performing and visual artists. The result is an eccentric mix of artistic expression, undoubtedly with something that appeals to everyone.
2015 marked the first year that the festival was THREE days and had the Art Market and live music stages on Fayetteville Street. Kidsplosure remained on just Saturday and Sunday and was centered in Moore Square. The free festival features dozens of events, such as:
- The Art Market with more than 170 visual arts and crafts exhibitors from across North Carolina and the nation
- Kidsplosure, showcasing multiple interactive educational activities and entertainment for children and their parents
- Specially-commissioned, large-scale, interactive visual art installations
- Aerialists and/or other unique variety performers
- The Student Art Exhibition, showcasing two- and three-dimensional artwork of Wake County public and private middle and high school students
- Ongoing performances by legends and rising stars from the national and regional Jazz, Blues, and Alternative music scenes, the majority of whom have never appeared in Raleigh, and emerging local and regional performers deserving of wider acclaim
This family-friendly arts festival has been described by The News & Observer as “how the Triangle celebrates Spring.” Metro Magazine has recognized Artsplosure on numerous occasions as the “Triangle to the Coast’s Best Cultural Event,” and Artsplosure was singled out for its high quality and popularity in the New York Times’ “Escapes” section in April 2007.
First Night® Raleigh
First Night® Raleigh is the city’s go-to destination on December 31, a popular tradition for thousands of residents. The day’s festivities fill venues from museum lobbies to church sanctuaries to street corners across more than 20 blocks of downtown Raleigh on New Year’s Eve, offering entertainment for all ages in a safe, alcohol-free setting.
Festivities begin with the early afternoon DIY Festival on Bicentennial Plaza and at the NC Museums of History and Natural Sciences. The Evening Celebration comes alive with performances in 30+ downtown Raleigh locations, featuring participatory art installations, drama, magic, music, comedy and dance. The night is capped off with music on the outdoor Main Stage, the famous “Raleigh Acorn” (designed by David Benson) drop, and a spectacular fireworks show.
Thank you for joining us for First Night Raleigh 2015! Keep an eye out for more information as First Night Raleigh 2016 approaches.
Over the years, Artsplosure has presented several additional festivals beyond its two signature events, including:
- Capital Holiday Arts Celebration, 2007
- Puppet Fusion, 2008
- Art on the Edge, 2008
- Art Raleigh, 2008
- African American Cultural Festival, 2010-2012
We provided programming support for other downtown Raleigh events, including:
- Raleigh Wide Open (arts and crafts market), 2009-2010
- Wide Open Bluegrass, held in conjunction with the International Bluegrass Music Association’s Convention (arts and crafts market), 2013-2016
- Destination Dix Festival, 2016
- Live & Local: Hillsborough Street Spring Fest, 2017
We have also been the Charity Partner of the annual Raleigh World Beer Festival since 2010!
We will be planning the next event before you know it! Visit our GET INVOLVED pages to see how you can get involved.