Arts festival returns

Melanie Mitchell, Copy Editor

For the fifteenth year, Arts International will return to Francis Marion University (FMU) on Saturday, April 20 to bring a cultural experience to the campus and Florence community.

Arts International is a free, day-long event that will run from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The Public and Community Affairs department at FMU is responsible for planning the annual event. Kathy Johnson, coordinator of special events, said that it takes several months before planning is complete.

“It takes us about nine months of each school year to get ready for Arts International,” Johnson said. “First, we have to find performers. If they are already booked, then we have to find more. We try to switch things up year to year.”

Performers for this year’s International Stage include Jabali African Dancers, Walhalla Oktoberfest Bavarian Dancers and Shrimp City Slim with Wanda Johnson & Swamp Pop Shelley. The international stage will be located on the University Center (UC) lawn, but will move to an indoor location in the event of rain.

Inside the UC will be an area for youth to participate in art activities. At the Corporate World booth, there will be information to learn more about the global businesses located around the world and in the Pee Dee area. A fine arts and crafts show will be set up throughout the UC. Vendors from the Carolinas will be showcasing their art, some of which will be available for purchase.

There will also be food vendors featuring international cuisine from countries including Japan, India and Italy.

Inside the Fine Arts Center (FAC), FMU senior visual arts majors will have their senior shows on display. Just outside of the FAC will be the Sidewalk Chalk Art. Assistant Professor of Art History Sam Howell coordinates this activity. Participants will be able to submit their works of art for judging.

Deshoyna Davis, a senior sociology major, said because she has attended Arts International in the past and enjoyed the sidewalk chalk, dancers and food, she will most likely attend this year’s event.

FMU has hosted Arts International since 1970s. Prior to hosting Arts International, FMU hosted Arts Alive. There was also a festival called Pee Dee International held on campus. In 1998, the two merged into what is known today as Arts International and has been held annually ever since.

To see the full line-up of performers and activities, visit and click the news link to find Arts International 2013.