What's on Tap

What's on Tap

Artsplosure: What's new for Raleigh's largest arts festival

Posted May 18

— Beginning Friday and continuing all weekend, Artsplosure will fill downtown Raleigh's City Plaza and surrounding areas with arts vendors, interactive games, entertainment and more.

Now in its 36th year, Artsplosure, the largest arts festival in the Triangle, is bigger than ever. "We are really excited about having a huge presence in both Moore Square and on Fayetteville Street this year," said Cameron Laws, an Artsplosure organizer. "On Fayetteville Street, festival-goers can experience our juried art market of over 170 artists, 'pop-up' activities and a phenomenal music line-up on the City Plaza main stage."

The live music and art start on Friday, but Laws said that the excitement will grow throughout the weekend.

"You’ll find another set of incredible musicians and performers on our Park Stage in Moore Square on Saturday and Sunday, along with Art Putt, Kidsplosure and tons of food and beverage vendors," exclaimed Laws. "It’s looking like we’re all set for the best Artsplosure yet!"

It's not just the size of the festival (Laws expects 85,000 people will attend over the course of three days) that's new for 2016. For the first time, four "artlets" will entertain Artsplosure guests on the streets that branch off from Fayetteville Street.

What's an artlet? "The artlets are interactive groups," Laws explained. "They'll feature dancers, theater and improv groups, art pianos for the public to play and even a dress up artlet, where you can dress up and pose as a few of your favorite famous artists - from Frida Kahlo to Bansky!"

Art putt, a nine-hole miniature golf course filled with art from nine local artists, is another new feature at Artsplosure this year. Art putt made its debut at First Night, Raleigh's New Year's Eve celebration, last year, but it will be back starting Saturday for the public to enjoy once again. "You can putt your way through artwork of all kinds," Laws said. "It’s a blast!"

It's incredible that Artsplosure has been around since 1980. Back then, the festival spanned throughout 16 different sites in Raleigh and featured 58 performing groups and 560 artists. Now a three-day event with participation from more than 170 artists, the festival has certainly grown - but its mission to inspire and amaze the community hasn't changed.

"Our goal with Artsplosure is to bring a vast array of performing and visual artists to everyone in our community," said Laws. "Our motto is art for all, and we have kept that in mind throughout the whole planning process. We want to enhance the amazing city that we live in, and we want everyone to feel welcomed and enriched by what they find at Artsplosure."

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