Arts International coming to campus

Daniel Purves, Staff Writer

Francis Marion University is hosting Arts International, a free one day event celebrating visual and performance art from South Carolina and across the world, on Saturday, April 9.

“It is a day filled with the arts,” the co-chairman of the planning committee, Libby Cooper, said. “It’s an opportunity to see performance artists, purchase art, sample exotic food and learn about other cultures. Not only is it entertaining, but it is educational.”

Some of the anticipated events include performances from the Japanese Taiko Drummers, Chief Kamu’s Fire and Hula Show, and a set from Drink Small, South Carolina’s “blues doctor.”

There will be a kiosk from which a variety of fine arts and crafts ranging from acrylic paintings, to jewelry and clothes, to woodwork and basketry can be purchased.

While there are many theatre, music and dance shows alongside art exhibits, there is also plenty of opportunity for hands on involvement. A sidewalk chalk art competition will take place at 11:00 a.m. Each contestant will be given a part of the sidewalk as their canvas.

Another interactive event is the Big Draw. The purpose is to use drawing as a tool for thought and creativity, as well as social and cultural engagement.

“Art is the most representative thing of a culture,” Professor of Theatre Arts Keith Best said. “It is indicative of patterns of thought and life. Life in South Carolina is very localized. Arts International is one of the easiest, most fun ways to experience lifestyles other than the South Carolina worldview.”

The day is designed to entertain and engage, but within this there is a large focus on education and children. The Youth Art Center will have cartoonist contests, balloon sculptures and face painting, to name a few events. There will also be a performance of the Children’s Art Theatre International One-Acts in the evenings of April 7 and 8 as part of the lead up to the festival.

Another popular feature from previous years is the food court, which offers exotic food from around the world. Chinese, German Pastry, Cajun, Caribbean, American and Thai are just some of the selections that will be offered. There will also be a beer garden for those 21 and over.

“My personal favorite is the food,” Best said.

Arts International is still looking for volunteers to help both on the day and with the setup.

“It is an opportunity to do voluntary work with kids and the community for a day,” Best said.