Each year, Arts in the Heart welcomes thousands to downtown Augusta in a collective celebration of the arts, culture and diversity. The festival — which takes place September 18-20 at the Augusta Common (836 Reynolds Street) and Broad Street — is in its 35th year.
Founded by The Greater Augusta Arts Council in 1981, Arts in the Heart reflects the immense diversity that comprises Augusta. From the food on offer to the local and regional talent gracing its five stages, Arts in the Heart has become one of the most popular annual events in the region, winning awards and accolades across the country.
Artists, crafters and vendors come from all over to showcase their goods, sell their art and perform for event patrons. As reported by the Greater Augusta Arts Council, Arts in the Heart will host 60 new artists/artisans while 70 are returning, including four of last year’s prize winners; Steve Meadows, Lisa Mote, David Chrzan and Lisa Davin.
Here’s some of what will be going on from the time the festival opens at 5 p.m. on Friday until it closes at 7 p.m. Sunday evening.
The Global Food Village has always been a popular part of the event, but now it is possible to eat authentic dishes from at least 25 countries. We’re talking everything from German to Puerto Rican to Thai — the festival offers attendees a chance to try things they have never eaten before, and because the food is cooked and served by local ethnic associations, it’s truly the real deal.
Food may be one of the focal points of the festival, but adults will also be able to enjoy a craft beer garden.
Broad Street, between 7th and 10th streets, will be closed for the weekend to house the Fine Arts and Crafts Market. The market will feature more than 130 fine artists and fine crafters showcasing handmade wares of all kinds. Fifteen types of fine arts and fine crafts will be on display, including jewelry, sculpture, home décor, clothing and many more. The artists and artisans who will attend the Festival hail from 17 states — as far away as Hawaii, Arizona and Minnesota. In line with the Arts Council’s mission to make cultural expression and art accessible to all, crafters and artists will be selling their handmade goods at prices that meet every budget.
Vibrant performances abound throughout the weekend. Five stages will feature live local and regional talent throughout the weekend. Among those performing is Augusta’s jazz empress Karen Gordon, as well as Sandy B and The Allstars, Patrick Blanchard, the Amos Hoffman Quartet and many others.
The festival also features a free “hands-on” interactive area for children and families, as well as a young artist market that offers artwork made by school-aged artists. The YA market both displays the work of local young artists ages 18 and under, and makes it available for members of the public to buy.
Before the Festival
Street closings are listed below. Streets will start to re-open on Sunday, September 20, as the Sheriff Department declares them safe for vehicular traffic.
Monday, September 14: the parking well on the 700 block of Broad Street (across from the Imperial Theatre) will close late afternoon.
Tuesday, September 15: 9th Street (next to the Board of Education from Ellis to Broad) and McCartan Street (next to the Downtown Y) will close late evening.
Wednesday, September 16: 8th Street (from Ellis to Broad) will close in the evening; Albion and Broad Street will close in the evening; Broad Street will close from 7th Street to 10th Street late Wednesday evening until Sunday evening.
Friday, September 18: One lane (eastbound) of Reynolds will close from 9th to 8th Street in the morning.
This year, $5 Arts in the Heart badges can be purchased through September 17, or while supplies last, at all SunTrust Bank locations in the area, as well as Vintage Ooollee (1121 Broad Street in Augusta) and New Moon Café in Aiken (116 Laurens Street, NW). Badges are good for the entire weekend and cost $10 at the gate. Children 10 and under can enter (with an adult) for free. Festival hours are Friday, September 18, from 5-9 p.m.; Saturday, September 19, from 11 a.m.-9 p.m.; and Sunday, September 20, from noon-7 p.m.
For more information on the festival, visit artsintheheartofaugusta.com.