Arts International transports FMU around the world


Guests enjoy the Arts International Festival held on Saturday, March 31. Flags from various countries lined the area between the McNair Science Building and the Smith University Center.

Melissa Rollins, Staff Writer

Arts International took place for the third year in a row on Saturday, Mar. 31 on the campus of Francis Marion University.

The event featured food, performers and crafts from all over the world as well as local vendors. It took place over the entire campus and lasted from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m.

Florence resident Scarlett Canter brought her sons to the event for a day of fun and new experiences.

“We have come almost every year,” Canter said. “We came (today) to experience stuff you don’t see every day in Florence.”

Canter said that they had already seen the Ngoma Za Kongo (“Drums of Congo”) and were looking forward to seeing the Chinese Acrobats from the Bureau of Lectures later in the day. Her older son Dalton added that Arts International is “just awesome,” to which her younger son Aidan chimed in, “plus they have really good food!”

The Smith University Center (UC) Commons was transformed to display arts and crafts from local artists. Some of the vendors included The Earring Lady from Florence and Witzel Art from Pawleys Island.

Part of the UC gym was sectioned off to display cultural tables. Some of the countries represented included Israel, China, Peru, Greece and the Ukraine. Each table had clothing and food items from the country as well as pamphlets telling different aspects of the culture and people who live there. These items included things like shofar horns and yamakas from Israel and Yorkshire pudding from the United Kingdom.

The other side of the gym was the relocated home of the International Stage, due to rain earlier in the day. The Chinese Acrobats and the drummers from the Congo were some of the performers in the gym.

Senior visual arts major Ashley Burton attended the event as president of the Japan Club, but she found time to walk around and see other parts of the event.

“Japan Club has a booth doing Gyotaku fish prints. I also saw the African drummers,” Burton said. “They were really good, but I was really sad the Japanese drummers couldn’t make it this year.”

The Japan Club booth was set up on the patio outside Founders Hall alongside a used book sale, an art swap and tables for making balloon sculptures and fabric bracelets.

Lowrimore Auditorium in the Cauthen Educational Media Center was the venue for the Blues Stage. Throughout the day, bands performed original songs and classic blues songs. Professor Bottleneck and Harmonica Frank were from Schwalmtal, Germany while the Michael Charles Blues Band traveled from Australia.

Senior mass commun-ication major Sybol English said that she had a really good time at the event.

“I enjoyed the arts and crafts that were handmade by the Charlestonians,” English said. “(But) I liked the international arts and crafts the best. Each country had something unique to show.”

English also said that she liked how the walkways leading up to the UC were lined with flags from many different countries.

Food was available all day from Ann’s Taste of Thai, Delhi Palace and George’s Funnel Cakes. Art exhibits were set up outside and inside of the Hyman Fine Arts Center, which also held musical performances in its recital hall throughout the day. The Chapman Auditorium in the McNair Science Building held two ballet performances by the Carolina Ballet Theatre.