Various Local Arts Council projects: aerial view of Chapel Hill at night from Uproar Festival, Kiss the Sky by Regina Burchett from an exhibit at Cabarrus County, Juneteenth exhibit at Craven County, Matilda the Musical at McDowll Children's Theatre, and a sari exhibit at Milton Rhodes Center for the Arts

Summertime with our Local Arts Councils

Author: Mariah Harris

North Carolina’s local arts councils have a long tradition of cultivating and preserving the rich cultures and histories of their communities. They support the work of artists and arts organizations and also host festivals, exhibits, and other events that encourage audiences to come out and celebrate the unique arts landscape that makes up our state. 

Summer is a great time to explore the many public art and sculpture exhibitions across North Carolina. Here is just a sampling of the arts events presented by our local arts councils in the next few months:


North Carolina state map with Ashe, Caldwell, McDowell, Graham, and Cherokee counties highlighted in blue
Caldwell, Ashe, Graham, Cherokee, and McDowell county

Western Region

Caldwell Arts Council is excited to present the 37th Annual Sculpture Celebration to be held Saturday, September 9th, 2023.  Registration for entry is still open through September 6th, 2023.

As many of you might know, this year is North Carolina’s “Year of the Trail,” a celebration of our thousands of miles of beautiful trails that provide a place for relaxation, exploration, and a connection to our beautiful state from the mountains to the coast. Ashe County Arts Council is currently hosting an exhibition themed around NC’s Mountains to Sea trail which stretches 1175 miles and through 37 counties, connecting the Great Smoky Mountains to the Outer Banks. The works in this exhibition are on display through July 2nd and are inspired by the trail that showcases North Carolina’s diverse natural landscape.

Stecoah Valley Arts, Crafts, and Educational Center in Graham County is presenting the 24th season of An Appalachian Evening Concert Series, with concerts through the end of August.

Cherokee County Arts Council is currently presenting the Fain Alley Music Series taking place on the first Friday of each month, starting in April and running through October in downtown Murphy, all shows are free and start at 6 pm.

This month, June 16th, 17th, 18th, 23rd, 24th, 25th, McDowell Arts Council Association and McDowell Children’s Theatre will be presenting Roald Dahl’s Matilda the Musical, Jr. Next month they are also offering an exciting cost-free two-week theater summer camp that will include three performances of Disney’s 101 Dalmatians KIDS. Additionally, auditions will be held the 1st and 2nd of August for the October run of The Addams Family young@part, for their fall teen production.


NC state map with Cleveland and Cabarrus counties highlighted
Cleveland and Cabarrus county

Charlotte Metro

Cleveland County Arts Council is presenting their 20th Annual Art of Sound Music Festival, free to the public, on June 24th.

Cabarrus Arts Council currently has a fascinating local art exhibition on display, titled LIM|NAL The Space Between, focused on showcasing the creative culture of Concord in this exact moment as they anticipate the coming changes to their town in the future. This exhibition will also coincide with a performance that will showcase local musicians, dancers, and spoken word and rap artists. The LIM|NAL exhibition will be on display through July 22nd with the stage performance taking place on July 13th. Tickets for the performance are free but they ask that they be reserved through their website.


NC state map with Surry, Forsyth, and Stokes counties highlighted
Surry, Forsyth, and Stokes county


Surry Arts Council is presenting a full lineup of concerts going on now through October for their 2023 Summer Series. Concerts take place at the Blackmon Amphitheater where attendees are encouraged to bring along their lawn chairs or blankets to experience live music outdoors on the grass with their friends and family. Tickets can be purchased on their website

Arts Council of Winston-Salem and Forsyth County in partnership with the Rotary Club of Winston-Salem, is currently presenting an inspiring exhibition featuring the work of artist and entrepreneur Namrata Mitra, titled 5 1/2 Yards: The History and Heritage of the Indian Saree. The exhibition is on display through June 30th at Milton Rhodes Center for the Arts.

Stokes County Arts Council will be hosting a series of youth summer art camps going on now through August. The art camps range in topics from pottery and visual art to theater and history. Registration can be found on their website. They are also presenting their summer concert series with concerts on the 2nd and 4th Saturday of the month through August. 


NC state map with Orange, Wayne, and Pitt counties highlighted
Orange, Wayne, and Pitt county


The Orange County Arts Commission is excited to launch a brand-new public art festival, called Uproar, that will prioritize accessibility. Uproar will take place from July 14th to August 12th featuring large-scale works in Chapel Hill, Carrboro, and Hillsborough.

The Arts Council of Wayne County will be offering a way to experience the world without leaving the local community via a series of youth summer camps titled “Art Around the World”.  In each session, participants will have the opportunity to learn about the history, nature, and art from other cultures and create art inspired by what they learn. The summer art camps will run through August with variations of crafts meant for different age groups.

The Pitt County Arts Council at Emerge Gallery will be facilitating summer art camps for youth of all ages through mid-August. They are offering summer camp opportunities in everything from ceramics, enameling, and silk painting to graphic design and textiles. Registration is available on their website.


NC state map with Dare and Craven counties highlighted
Dare and Craven county

Coastal Region

Many local arts councils and organizations are hosting events and exhibitions in support of the causes and celebrations highlighted this month including Dare County Arts Council with their Outside Straight Lines visual art exhibition featuring all LGBTQ+ artists, on display through June 30th. 

The Craven County Arts Council has a compelling and unique Juneteenth art exhibition on display in their main gallery exploring African American history since the original Juneteenth.


All of these events, exhibitions, camps and programs are only a glimpse into what local arts councils are doing across the state in the coming weeks. Make sure to check out what the local arts councils near you are planning and how they are making the arts available to your community. A directory of our local arts councils can be found on the North Carolina Arts Council website.

Header collage highlights various Local Arts Council projects featured in this post: an aerial view of Chapel Hill at night from the Uproar Festival website, Kiss the Sky by Regina Burchett from the LIM|NAL exhibit at Cabarrus County, a work from the Juneteenth exhibit at Craven County, a rehearsal still from Matilda the Musical at McDowll Children's Theatre, and an image from a flyer promoting Namrata Mitra's 5 1/2 Yards saree exhibit at Milton Rhodes Center for the Arts.

Related Topics: