Arts International consists of firsts

Florence, SC - From Francis Marion University:

FLORENCE, SC – Organizers of this year's inaugural Arts International said the event will include several firsts.

The festival, a union of Francis Marion University's Art's Alive and the Pee Dee International Festival, will take place for the first time on April 24, on the FMU campus.

Included in this event, also for the first time, will be a Blues Bash celebrating the best of a great American art form – the blues. A talented line-up of some of the most exciting national, regional, and international blues artists on the circuit today will perform.

"With the greater scale and resources of the combined festivals and the addition of the Blues Bash, we will continue to deliver on our promise of bringing the best art and international entertainment and educational content to children and families in the Pee Dee through the medium of their choice," said Libby Cooper, Arts International co-chair. "Our two organizations are a perfect fit, and I look forward to working closely with them in charting our future growth."

Headlining this year's event are the Kenya Safari Acrobats. From Mombassa, Kenya, this talented acrobatic troupe performs astonishing feats and offers an exciting and unique cultural experience. The lineup also includes John Jaramillo performing traditional Aztec dance in full warrior style regalia and Flamenco dance of Spain.

The Ambassador Duo, Bay Street Brassworks, Bradley's Circus, Harper, Lenti Piano Duo and Part Time Party Time Band will offer attendees a myriad of musical genres ranging from world music, rock and pop, to folk and jazz. In addition, the Florence Men's Choral Society and the Palmetto State Boys Choir will take the stage.

Performances in both classical and contemporary dance styles will be given by the Carolina Ballet Theatre. Its internationally acclaimed dancers entertain and educate audiences with every performance. In addition, magician Joshua Lozoff will entertain attendees under the children's tent with his magical skill and creativity.

"The festival's productions reflect our commitment to presenting contemporary, innovative work by both emerging and established artists from all over the world, at the forefront of their fields," said Cooper.

The sixth-annual Art Show will be held from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. during the festival as well.  This one-day exhibition and sales event is designed to promote the quality of diverse artisans residing in the region. In addition to booths displaying items for sale, several sites will have artisans demonstrating their skills. The art show will be juried, with cash awards of $600, $300 and $150 awarded to first, second and third places, respectively.

Plan now to visit the FMU campus for a day of theater, music, dance, art and cultural exhibitions, and so much more presented on the five stages, indoor and outdoor.  There will also be exotic foods from around the world along with American favorites.

There will be future updates about the Blues Bash. For more information about the art show or an application, go to or contact The Office of Public and Community Affairs, at 843-661-1225.