Charleston’s arts community is busy year-round, but this is probably the busiest arts weekend of the year.

Here is a quick overview.

‘Cross Currents’

The weekend kicks off Thursday with events for a variety of tastes and budgets.

For some local flavor, check out the group exhibition “Contemporary Cross Currents” by members of BAMN’N LLC and special guests at the North Charleston City Gallery.

BAMN’N is an acronym for By Any Means Necessary, Now. The group describes itself as “socially concerned, aesthetically astute contemporary artists with a mission to support, facilitate and foster artistic opportunities for contemporary artists through exhibitions, peer mentoring, collections, education, etc.” Members include Marty Biernbaum, Arianne King Comer, Hank D. Herring, KTC and Addelle Sanders.

Special guests featured in “Contemporary Cross Currents” include Susanne Frenzel, Andrea Hazel, Hampton R. Olfus Jr., Pedro Rodriquez, Francina Smalls-Joyner and Cookie Washington.

There will be an opening reception 5-7 p.m. Thursday at the gallery inside the Charleston Area Convention Center.

Call 740-5854 or go to for more.

Art Extravaganza

Get dolled up for the M Gallery of Fine Art’s Star Studded Art Extravaganza.

Five nationally renowned painters — Thomas Reis, Lynn Sanguedolce, Bryce Cameron Liston, Kevin Beilfuss and Michelle Dunaway — will be painting live models while being asked questions about their techniques. The completed paintings will be raffled off at the end of the evening.

Tickets are $35 per person and $60 for a couple for this black-tie optional event, which starts at 7 p.m. at Hibernian Hall, 105 Meeting St. A portion of the proceeds will benefit the Charleston Library Society.

Call 727-4500 or go to for more.

First Friday art walk

While the 14th annual Charleston Fine Art Annual weekend kicks off Friday with an art stroll (see Pages 18-19 for more), let’s not forget that it’s also time for the First Friday openings on Gallery Row on Broad Street.

Each of these participating galleries — Ellis-Nicholson Gallery, Hamlet Fine Art, Edward Dare Gallery, Coco Vivo, Mary Martin Fine Art, Utopia, Spencer Galleries, Ella Walton Richardson Fine Art, Martin Gallery, Lambert Gray Gallery, Galerie on Broad and Robison & Richard Fine Art — will be open to the public 5-8 p.m.

Call 722-1944 or go to

There are also those that aren’t necessarily part of an organization but are having great art shows on Friday, as well. Check out Frank Peabody 6-8 p.m. at the Real Estate Studio, 214 King St., and see the paintings of Mia Bergeron, Amy Lind and Ali Cavanaugh at Robert Lange Studios, 2 Queen St., 5-8 p.m.

Fine Art Festival

If you’re not feeling the bustle of downtown, hop over the bridge to Mount Pleasant for the second annual Greater Charleston Fine Art Festival, taking place Saturday and Sunday at Mount Pleasant Towne Centre.

Directed by Paragon Fine Art Festivals, “the nation’s premier organizer of juried fine art festivals,” this event will consist of juried artists from over 20 states and overseas. Expect to see paintings, sculpture, photography, jewelry, ceramics, glass, metal, woodwork, digital art, graphics, printmaking and fabric art.

This festival is free and will take place 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday.

Call 631-421-1590 or go to for more.

‘Hot Button Boulevard’

If you’re one of those who just can’t get enough of the political debates, then this play is right up your ballot box.

Two actors and several puppets hit all the “hot buttons” of the current political landscape.

Deuce Theatre co-artistic director Andrea Studley describes it: “Think ‘Meet the Press’ ... (and) ‘Sesame Street,’ add in a streak of audience participation, a honk of media parodies and what do you get? It’s a fun, fast-paced, unpredictable crash course into all the fundamentals and foibles of our political process.”

The 8 p.m. shows Thursday and Friday will take place at the South of Broadway Theatre, 1080 E. Montague Ave., North Charleston. The Saturday show will take place at 10 p.m. at Theatre 99, 280 Meeting St. downtown. Tickets are $12 and can be purchased online at

Call 810-2771 for more.