Local News

Sand sculptors, puppeteers ready Raleigh for Artsplosure

Artsplosure, a free outdoor event featuring artists' booths and musical performances, will be held rain or shine this weekend.

Posted Updated

RALEIGH, N.C. — Loads of sand and a 20-foot caterpillar in downtown's Moore Square are signs that Raleigh is preparing for its annual arts festival this weekend.

Organizers hope to equal last year's record attendance of 75,000 at the 29th edition of Artsplosure, a free outdoor event featuring artists' booths and musical performances. It will go on, rain or shine, in Moore Square Saturday and Sunday.

"The weather's supposed to be terrific, so I really encourage people to come out and feel a part of the community and enjoy some great art," Jackie Smith, Artsplosure's marketing and promotions manager, said.

Smith anticipates a “hustle and bustle” of visitors, artists, musicians and food vendors.

Sand sculptor Ed Moore and his team on Friday piled and packed sand to get his canvas ready for his annual creation in Moore Square.

Moore’s 10-foot tall, 16-ton pile of sand could take on any shape during the two-day festival.

“We may do face jugs…and let them turn into real jugs, and let them be playing as a jazz band,” Moore said.

Moore said other artists at the festival will sometimes try their hand at sand sculpting.

“It’s amazing…it takes a while for them to get the feel for what they’re doing, but then it’s just a new medium to work in,” he said.

The Paperhand Puppet Intervention team has also begun putting together its commission for the festival: a 20-foot, paper caterpillar.

Puppeteers say the caterpillar will be big enough for 20 to 30 people inside to move its huge, wriggling body through the festival grounds.

An interactive wind chime exhibit will hang from tree branches and let attendees make their own music.

On display will be works by roughly 170 juried artists and dozens of Wake County middle- and high-school students. An art competition among local students is also held with a top prize of $100.

“It’s more for the opportunity to exhibit and have your work seen,” said Tanya Amatori, the student art coordinator for the festival.

An art market will showcase wares from ceramics and jewelry to photography,

"The art is very exciting. It's always the highlight of our festival," Smith said.

The festival also features Kidsplosure, with activities and entertainment for children.

"We have hundreds of make-and-take projects for kids to create their own arts and crafts, which lets them feel (they are) a part of the festival," Smith said.

Musical entertainment will take place on two stages at opposite ends of Moore Square. One will feature jazz and blues musicians, and the other will showcase home-grown talent from North Carolina.

Festival-goers can also tour cottages, historic houses and condos on the Raleigh Downtown Home Tour on Saturday. Tours cost $10 and leave from the Raleigh Urban Design Center, 133 Fayetteville St., from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Log onto WRAL.com Saturday evening for a slideshow of the art and people at Artsplosure.


Copyright 2023 by Capitol Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.