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FMU hosts second annual combined celebration of the arts, April 9

FLORENCE – For more than 30 years, Francis Marion University’s arts community has gathered together in the shade of the campus’ towering trees and celebrated the rich vein of culture that enhances life in the Pee Dee region.

Each year, the celebration of the artistic talent that makes the region and state unique grows as new artists and spectators participate. This year’s event on April 9 and will be no exception.

Arts International will take place from 10 a.m. to 5 pm. and is free and open to the public. This celebration of the visual and performing arts is for the entire family, with simultaneous performances at several different venues on campus.

Arts International Video

The event, a union of FMU’s Art’s Alive and the Pee Dee International Festival, will take place for the second time on the FMU campus. Musical, theatrical and dance performances are scheduled at stages indoors and outdoors. 

“We are very excited about the entertainment for Arts International,” said Libby Cooper, Arts International committee chairperson. “We have a variety of international and regional performing artists, including a talented line up of musicians, dancers, and visual artists. The colorful cultural displays and youth art center offer something for everyone to see and do.”  

Featured on the international stage are Matsuriza, Taiko drummers from Japan; Foothills Oompah Band; Buen Ache’ Dance Company, an African-Latino dance group; and Chief Kamu’s Fire and Hula Show.

In the Fine Arts Center Theatre are two international one-act plays performed by the FMU Theatre – Three Tales from Japan and Senora Tortuga.

The Palmetto State Boychoir, The Cobb Festival singers of Marietta, Ga., Brass 5 x 5, Parris Island Marine Band Ensemble and Baritone Graham Wright will perform in Kassab Recital Hall in the Fine Arts Center.

The University of South Carolina Dance Company will perform in Chapman Auditorium in McNair Science Building. The group will be performing an eclectic dance concert entitled “Dance Through the Ages.”  A variety of different dance styles such as hip- hop, classical and contemporary dance will be highlighted.

Marcelo Ponce y Viviana Dallas of Argentina, South Carolina’s legendary, “Blues Doctor” Drink Small, Wanda Johnson and the Shrimp City Slim, Ike and Val Woods of Miami and the Rick Strickland Band will perform on the Blues/Beach Stage.

In addition, artists from S.C., N.C., and Ga. will be showing and selling their work at the festival. There will be oils, acrylics, pottery, woodwork, stained glass, jewelry, metalwork, photography, basketry and more.

Food vendors representing countries all over the world will be on hand and cultural booths will have displays featuring global history, businesses and organizations. Also participate in a sidewalk chalk art competition and a recycled reading book sale.

The seventh-annual Art Show will be held from 10 a.m. to 5 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.

All events are offered at no charge thanks to the major sponsors:

--Francis Marion University

--The City of Florence

--Honda of South Carolina Mfg., Inc.

--Nan Ya Plastics Corporation, America

--First Reliance Bank

--GE Healthcare, Florence

--Florence Convention and Visitors Bureau

--Florence County


--Crown Beverages


“We are very pleased to have the support and participation of the business community for this event.  We are fortunate to have so many international companies within the region,” said Joan Billheimer, long-time committee member of Art’s International. “The festival gives us a chance to recognize the contributions of the corporate community while fostering an appreciation for the arts and other cultures.”
For more information about the art show or Arts International, go to or contact Kathy Johnson at the FMU Office of Public and Community Affairs at 843-661-1225, or
Last Published: April 11, 2011 9:41 AM
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