The North Charleston Arts Festival is a big part of celebrating spring here in the Lowcountry.

The 9-day arts and culture event features every type of art form you could think of, and is a wonderful way for artists to showcase their work and for patrons of the arts to come and simply enjoy and take it all in.

Featuring dance, music, theatre, visual arts, crafts, photography, media arts and literature, the festival is celebrating its 30th year.

One of the festival’s goals is to make quality arts programming affordable and accessible, and they’ve done an amazing job of that, attracting more than 30,000 residents and visitors throughout the Southeast to experience the 100-plus free or moderately priced events.

The event has been named one of the Top 20 Events by the Southeastern Tourism Society.

One of the highlights of the festival and leading up to the festival is the North Charleston Arts Festival Design Competition, where local artists submit their designs for consideration to be selected the winner and have their image featured on the official poster of the festival.

“The winning piece will become the official art design of the 2014 Arts Festival, taking place May 2-10, and will be featured on promotional materials and merchandise, including billboards, print ads, television commercials, program booklets, posters, apparel, online and more,” says Ann Simmons, arts coordinator for the city of North Charleston. “The winning artist will receive $500 and be given the opportunity to exhibit other original works at the North Charleston City Gallery during the festival. In addition, the winning piece will become part of the city of North Charleston’s Public Art Collection, which is displayed throughout City Hall.”

If you’re interested, now is the time to get organized and get your piece completed for submission by the Jan. 18 due date. There is no entry fee to participate and the competition is open to South Carolina residents 18 and older.

Works in the following categories will be accepted for consideration: acrylic, oil, drawing/pastel, watercolor and 2-D media.

Applications are available at Submissions may be delivered in person to the North Charleston City Gallery on Jan. 17 and 18 or may be submitted via email to with a deadline of noon Jan. 18.

For more information about the North Charleston Arts Festival and other participation opportunities, go to or contact the city of North Charleston Cultural Arts Department office at 740-5854.