Charlotte International Arts Festival: Free Events

Bloom!

Sept. 16-18; Sept. 22-25; Sept. 29-Oct. 2

Bloom! is a colorful and spirited aerial spectacle performed atop SWAY’s bespoke 15-foot sway poles. Inspired by the beautiful flowers of the Smoky Mountains, Bloom! features the aerial antics of three, highly skilled and equally colorful performers. Drawing parallels with the world of humans, Bloom! explores themes of individuality, diversity, transformation, and community. 20 minutes in length and accompanied by Ania Reynold’s original soundtrack, Bloom! celebrates the natural world of the ephemeral.

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Man by Amanda Parer

Sept. 16-Oct. 2

Auguste Rodin’s Thinker, made in 1880 is famous for celebrating man for his/her perfect physicality and is often used as an image to represent man’s pursuit of intellectual thought and philosophy. Man is a contemporized version, in this giant seated figure we can see the results of our self-indulgence and self-importance. Man holds his head in search of answers, in search perhaps of what went wrong?

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We Are Hip Hop: Battles and Block Party

Sept. 17-18

Conceived and organized by a group of Charlotte-area artists, We Are Hip Hop celebrates hip hop culture through performances and installations by visual artists, dancers, DJs, spoken word poets, graffiti artists, and more. Slammaster Boris “Bluz” Rogers, visual artist Bree Stallings, dancer and CrayzeeBeat Dance founder AJ Glasco and Heal Charlotte Executive Director Greg Jackson have come together in collaboration with Blumenthal Performing Arts to present the multi-day celebration.

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Wanted

Sept. 16-18; Sept. 22-25

A 2d cartoon with 3d heroes. The videography, inspired by comics and videogames of the 80s, portrays different landscapes and scenarios with which the characters interact. The two artists are tossed around between spy-story scenes and acrobatic combats. From Pac Man labyrinths and Super Mario settings to a risky ‘Mission Impossible’ … you’ll be be watching with bated breath!

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Bees

Sept. 23-25; Sept. 29-30; Oct. 1-2

Bee’s is a joyful interactive work in which children are welcomed into a world of community, communication, wonder, and imagination.

Explore a buzzing, humming hive of activity, as three human-sized Bees busy themselves in the creation of a community alongside children who transform into bees as they play. The bees are fascinating, strange, and beautiful, traversing invisible pathways and mapping delicate patterns across the performance space.

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Waterbombs

Sept. 29-Oct. 2

EVERYONE LOVES A WATER BALLOON FIGHT!

Direct from New York City, dramatic opera music scores this hysterical battle filled with 100 flying water balloons and ridiculous comedy.

WITH NO WORDS, Seth and Christina create a laughter-filled zone of wet fun, encouraging two audience members to be mighty gladiators. See why Waterbombs has thrilled crowds in over 25 countries.

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Blue Lapis Light

Sept. 30; Oct. 1-2

Blue Lapis Light’s company dancers have extensive dance training in all forms of dance, which they incorporate into working on structures with an assortment of technical apparatuses. They are highly skilled in both aerial and ballet techniques and perform with graceful athleticism, while suspended at great heights.

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Birdmen

Sept. 16-25

Huge illuminated animals rove the streets.  These flying animals are operated by mysterious men. We, humans, are unnoticed by these creatures. Are they living in another dimension and what is their reason to invade our streets?

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RECLAMATION by Jason Hackenworth

Sept. 16-Oct. 2

There is only one thing. Consciousness. Every-thing is a fragment of the totality of consciousness. All seemingly-separate objects, trees, stones, buildings, birds, rivers, planets, stars, everything is a manifestation of consciousness into matter. Many people will argue that consciousness is a mind-created phenomenon and that when our mind ceases function, our consciousness will end. But this is only true if we make a self from it. Ultimately, there is no self, there is only the totality, and there is no end, only eternity. 

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Mentalglassi

Sept. 16-Oct. 2

The trio of German artists, known under the name Mentalgassi, create large-scale photographs which they tape on outdoor objects. Since they banded together in 2006, Mentalgassi’s artwork has been seen in many cities around the world, including in London, Berlin, Brazil, and Finland. By combining photography, sculpture, image manipulation, and street art, they transform ordinary objects into artworks that make passersby smile. Their work communicates with the environment.

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Brooklyn: The Collective Memory

Sept. 16-Oct. 2

The Collective Memory project commemorates and celebrates Charlotte’s once vibrant Black Wall Street community known as Brooklyn — upholding the legacies of those who came before us one brick at a time. The interactive experience invites people to learn the history of the once flourishing Brooklyn neighborhood through life-size portraits, archival books, and documented videos of former residents sharing their stories.

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Heart and Sole CLT

Sept. 16-Oct. 2

Experience Charlotte’s most memorable and notable places through the contribution of the community in a most unconventional fashion…through the Air Jordan 1 High OG. Heart and Sole CLT preserves the city’s soul and history and combines it with the present by using the iconic shoe of one of Charlotte’s most famous residents, Michael Jordan, former professional basketball player and owner of the Charlotte Hornets, as the canvas.

Color Play

Sept. 16-Oct. 2

Come get immersed in the spirit of creativity, as a visual artist directs a dancer to use her body as her paint brush. Every turn of the body, footstep, and hip sway drives the development of the colorful and dynamic 16′ x 12′ performance painting. Through key phrases and creative triggers, a unique visual story unfolds connecting the painter, the dancer, and the audience. The artist also paints with large format tools: a mop, squeegee, broom, and even a leaf blower.

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QC Crown Towers

Sept. 16-Oct. 2

Five towers form the five points of Charlotte’s ubiquitous crown logo. Each tower is a representation of the ingenuity and ideals of the artist – Jason Payne, Bunny Gregory, and other local artists. The people of the city are the ones that bring it to life with their energy; each tower is illuminated from within to illustrate that the crown shines forth from all involved in the hustle and bustle of the metropolitan area.

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H2O

Sept. 16-Oct. 2

Just as water is life, without water, this art project does not exist. H20 is an interactive mural that requires visitors to splash it with water to reveal hidden imagery and messages. The message of H20, “Without water… this does not exist,” contains a double meaning. First, the plants and animals depicted in the mural were chosen because they depend on water to survive. Second, the imagery of the mural is hidden by a hydrochromic surface and can only be seen through the application of water. 

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I Am

Sept. 16-Oct. 2

With so many amazing reasons to love the City of Charlotte, it can be easy to forget what makes the city shine…its people! Artist and Charlotte native, DavehasWingz documents the city center and its visitors with limited edition Polaroids.

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Queen Charlotte's Secret Garden

Sept. 16-Oct. 2

Did you know Queen Charlotte was an amateur botanist? Imagine what her garden may have looked like and who she may have allowed to visit. Come and take a peek at this playful fantasy, with its enchanting scenery and colorful, light-filled surprises at night. 

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Tree of Life

Sept. 16-Oct.2

Constructed primarily out of reused, clear plastic bottles, this massive tree boasts a complex root system through which you can physically walk. During the day, it appears opaque. However, at night multi-colored illumination highlights the connections of the different branches, like a circulatory system. As you take notice that this remarkable tree is made out of what is in your own trash can, the title, “Tree of Life,” becomes ironic as there is nothing living about this tree.

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Wishes and Whispers

Sept. 16-Oct.2

Play the puzzle, win the experience! Wishes and Whispers is the thread woven throughout the festival, connecting visitors to the art and cityscape surrounding them. Sprinkled throughout the celebration, 8 installations provide an interactive path from one experience to the next. There are 4 interactive Whispers with trigger points to foster wonder and discovery.

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