FLORENCE, S.C. – Francis Marion University and the city of Florence announced Tuesday that they will partner to bring the Arts International Festival to FMU’s downtown Performing Arts Center in April.
FMU President Fred Carter and Florence Mayor Stephen Wukela announced the partnership at a press conference held at the PAC.
The festival, held on FMU’s campus for nearly 40 years, features a mix of art, music and food.
“About every 10 years we revitalize this festival with changes,” Carter said. “The international component was added about a decade ago. Changing venues, I think, will be a very, very positive thing. The festival goes very, very well on campus, but this gives us an opportunity to cultivate new audiences.”
Changing venues will give FMU the chance to create new support partners downtown, Carter said. The festival is not leaving campus, he said, but instead going from one part of campus to another part that is six miles away.
Wukela said the relocation of the Arts International Festival allows for an opportunity to tap in to the cohort that is already accustomed to coming to downtown festivals. With it being centrally located in downtown, people might participate in the festival when they might not have otherwise.
“I think that produces a great, great dynamic,” Wukela said. “Also, of course, it makes very, very good use of the cultural amenities we have already here downtown and the international community that’s here in the city of Florence. So I think all of those melt very well, and I think we’ll have a very successful festival.
The Arts International Festival will serve as the signature spring festival in Florence, Wukela said.
The festival is scheduled for April 11. The Blue Dogs headline the list of artists scheduled to perform. The festival will also feature performances by FMU music groups, the Jabali African Acrobats, hula lessons, an international food court, beer and wine gardens, art displays and the Florence-Darlington Technical College’s welding sculpture competition, among other activities.