Smarties, prepare to be moved, inspired and wildly entertained as the Charlotte International Arts Festival returns for the second year, starting this Friday and running through Sunday, Oct. 1!
For 17 days at more than 15 venues from Uptown to Ballantyne, our city will be transformed into a cultural celebration, featuring global artists with live performances, art installations, food from around the world, and more. A spree of creativity, innovation, and art, CIAF offers something for every taste, culture, expression, and budget, with more than 200 events across multiple genres, the majority which are free and open to the public, with ticketed events starting at $5. The festival features 170 free events, 150 art installations, 120 musical acts, 75 vendors at the International Bazaar and two hit Broadway shows, Chicago and MJ: The Musical. Oh my!
“The launch of CIAF last fall exceeded our expectations in every way,” said Blumenthal Performing Arts President and CEO, Tom Gabbard. “The festival uniquely blends artists from around the world and around the corner. This year, we are really elevating the focus on international artists and organizations right here in Charlotte.”
This year CIAF is partnering with two cultural staples in the Charlotte area: the Festival of India and the Latin American Festival. Now in its 25th year, the annual Festival of India will take over the Belk Theater Sept. 23 for a dazzling display of Indian dance, music, art, food, and more. The Latin American Festival returns for its 33rd year to welcome internationally renowned musical acts, cuisine, a community-organized interactive village, marketplace, dance performances, and more to its new home in Ballantyne’s Backyard Sept. 23.
Throughout the festival, musical acts will pop up again this year at Levine Avenue of the Arts and Ballantyne’s Backyard. New CIAF venues will include a stage on Wells Fargo Plaza and new Ballantyne venue The Amp.
Programming will expand to Founders Hall, including the return of Gaia, UK artist Luke Jerram’s 23-foot, suspended, three-dimensional, illuminated sculpture of the earth that will run September 15–October 1, and a locally produced Argentinian Tango Milonga international dance party on Oct, 1.
The final weekend of the festival, Founders Hall will transform into an International Bazaar Sept. 29 and 30, featuring 75 merchants and vendors representing local cultural groups and nonprofit organizations in a magnificent celebration of the art, food, goods, and spirit that make up Charlotte’s diverse and creative cultural landscape.
For a complete listing of events and locations and for more information, click here.