Can’t-Miss Arts Events this Fall in Orange County

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Concerts, galleries, events and more

Check out Paperhand Puppet Intervention’s 21st annual performance “Unfolding Seeds: Invocations of Transformation,” at Memorial Hall. Weekends through Oct. 3. Photo by Lee Capps

Compiled by Kelli Rainer

Events are subject to change; check with organizers prior to attending

Head to University Place with chairs and blankets to enjoy live music in the parking lot. Each show will feature two bands from Chapel Hill Community Arts & Culture‘s Tracks Music Library with themed nights such as jazz, bluegrass and hip-hop. Thursdays in September; chapelhillarts.org


Read (or re-read) the classic novel “Invisible Cities” by Italo Calvino and then go experience James McNeill Whistler’s 1879 etchings of Venice, which will be on display at the Ackland Art Musuem in the “Visions of Venice” exhibit, and engage in art and literature discussions with Carolyn Allmendinger, the Ackland’s director of education and interpretation, and UNC Professor Emerita of art history Mary Pardo on Sept. 9. Exhibit runs through Sept. 12; ackland.org


An exhibition of screenprints by Bob Goldstein, a UNC professor and Carrboro-based screenprinter, will be on display at Peel. The opening reception is Sept. 10. Sept. 10 Oct. 17; peel.gallery


Experience the art scene of downtown Carrboro and Chapel Hill by participating in the art walk on the second Friday of each month, featuring new exhibitions and artists at every event. Sept. 10, Oct. 8, Nov. 12; 2ndfridayartwalk.com


Margaret Lane Gallery presents “Deep Roots, High Hopes: Young, Promising Artists of Talent,” in which Kennedy Lytle and Sol Ramirez, both members of the local NAACP Youth & College Division, provide an artistic exploration of their roots and hopes. Through Sept. 19; margaretlanegallery.com


Check out the “Architectural Angles” exhibit at Margaret Lane Gallery to see artists’ depictions of buildings and other structures. Artists featured include Terri Gibson, Katherine Jennings and Carly Joy. Through Sept. 19; margaretlanegallery.com


Rhiannon Giddens joins fellow musician Tift Merritt on her Carolina Performing Arts podcast, “The Spark.” Rhiannon has performed at the White House and is a recipient of a MacArthur Foundation “Genius Grant.” Sept. 23; carolinaperformingarts.org

Walk through historic Hillsborough the last Friday of each month to experience all the art and music the town has to offer throughout the downtown area and Nash Street’s West End. Sept. 24, Oct. 29, Nov. 26; hillsboroughartscouncil.org

The NC 10by10 Play Festival returns to The ArtsCenter for its annual show, presenting ten of the best 10-minute plays submitted by writers in North Carolina. Featuring a 10-actor format, the festival is the most attended short play festival in the region and is slated to host both in-person and livestreamed theatrical events. Sept. 17-19, 23-26; artscenterlive.org


The exhibit “Dreamscapes” at the Hillsborough Gallery of Arts features paintings by Lolette Sudaka Guthrie, the photography and digital art of Eric Saunders and blown glass made by Pringle Teetor. Through Sept. 19; hillsboroughgallery.com


“Unmuted” features work from Marcy Lansman, Ellie Reinhold and Lynn Wartski at the Hillsborough Gallery of Arts. An opening reception will be held on Sept. 24. Sept. 20 Oct. 24; hillsboroughgallery.com


Michigan Rattlers, a rock band formed from a group of high school friends, showcases its Midwestern roots and folk-rock sound at Local 506. Sept. 25; local506.com


The music duo of 75 Dollar Bill opens for Superchunk frontman Mac McCaughan at Cat’s Cradle. Oct. 2; catscradle.com


Studio 71 Frame Shop hosts a “Zombie Frame” giveaway, offering gently used frames for local artists and community members to repurpose at no cost. Oct. 2; gallery71nc.com


For its 21st annual performance, Paperhand Puppet Intervention presents the giant puppet show titled “Unfolding Seeds: Invocations of Transformation,” sharing stories of love for the community and the Earth at Memorial Hall. Weekends through Oct. 3; paperhand.org


The Ackland Art Museum presents “Buddha and Shiva, Lotus and Dragon: Masterworks from the Mr. and Mrs. John D. Rockefeller 3rd Collection at Asia Society,” an exhibition that shines light on the artistic impact and evolution associated with Buddhism and Hinduism. Beginning Oct. 8; ackland.org


The 11th annual Off the Wall Fundraising Gala is coming back to the Frank Gallery, with limited seating available in the gallery and
virtual tickets available for Friends of Frank. Oct. 9; frankisart.com

The 16th annual West End Poetry Festival features readings from poets and celebrates various poetic styles. Poets are invited to engage with audiences and share in the reading, writing and listening of poetry. The festival may take on a hybrid format with both virtual and in-person events at multiple venues. Oct. 14-16; westendpoetryfestival.com


The rockabilly and swing trio, The Straight 8s, play a live concert at Yonder Southern Cocktails & Brew. Oct. 15; yonderbarnc.com


Chapel Hill’s annual Festifall returns, now as a multi-day event featuring 20 to 30 local artists and craftspeople selling their works. The festival will also host dance performances, poetry readings and live music. Locations TBD. Oct. 15, 23, 30; chapelhillarts.org/festifall


Theatermakers 600 HIGHWAYMEN return to Carolina Performing Arts this fall to perform “A Thousand Ways Part Two: An Encounter” at CURRENT ArtSpace + Studio. Challenging the traditional definition of theater, the performance invites the audience to also be the actor. Oct. 1-17; carolinaperformingarts.org

Whitehall, an indie rock band from Charleston, South Carolina, and Carver Commodore, an Alabama-based rock ’n’ roll band, come to Local 506 for a live concert. Oct. 18; local506.com


Studio 71 Frame Shop welcomes guests for a Halloween art showing and party complete with costumes, spooky displays for photo ops, gift bags for kids and vintage horror movie posters for sale. Oct. 20; gallery71nc.com


Film Fest 919 highlights the best feature films and the artists behind them over five days of screenings at The Drive-In at Carraway Village and Silverspot Cinema. Past years have included dozens of movies that go on to be nominated for Oscars. Oct. 20-24; filmfest919.com


The founders of Culture Mill – Tommy Noonan and Murielle Elizéon – join Tift Merritt virtually for an episode of “The Spark.” Tommy and Murielle’s “Eclipse,” will be performed at CPA in the spring of 2022. Oct. 21; carolinaperformingarts.org


Chapel Hill-based painter and co-director of Basement gallery, Chieko Murasugi shows new paintings at Peel. An opening reception will be held on Nov. 12. Oct. 22-Nov. 28; peel.gallery


Higgins & Myers Custom Framing and Fine Art Gallery hosts an exhibition of the work done by folk artist Mark Cool, who makes artful furnishings with reclaimed wood and found objects. An opening reception will be held on Oct. 22. Oct. 22-Nov. 30; higginsandmyers.com/fine-art-gallery


The kids of School of Rock Chapel Hill take the stage to show off their new skills and present a midseason preview show at a venue TBD. Oct. 24; locations.schoolofrock.com/chapelhill


Saturn Leaves, featuring Brianna Tam on the electric cello, will play live hip-hop, rock and R&B fusion at Yonder Southern Cocktails & Brew. Oct. 29; yonderbarnc.com


Studio 71 Frame Shop will exhibit art from Wes Flanary and Christy LaGuardia. Oct. 29; gallery71nc.com


More than 80 artists will submit work to the Hillsborough Gallery of Arts for a preview show in anticipation of the annual Orange County Artists Guild Open Studio Tour held in November. The preview allows attendees to get an idea of the studios they might want to visit during the tour. The reception is held Oct. 29. Oct. 29-Nov. 14; hillsboroughgallery.com


Jimmie Ray Swagger & the Fussy Eaters returns to Yonder Southern Cocktails & Brew for a rollicking live show. Oct. 30; yonderbarnc.com


Artists come from all over to spend a few days in Orange County and participate in the fifth annual Paint it Orange event. Participants create a work inspired by what they see around them anywhere in the county. The opening and Wet Paint Sale is slated for Nov. 5 at Eno Arts Mill Gallery. Nov. 3-5; artsorange.org


Toshi Reagon, a Brooklyn-based musician, continues her residency virtually at Carolina Performing Arts with an appearance on “The Spark with Tift Merritt.” Toshi aims to explore conversations on critical issues in the Black community, and she wants to establish a “creative exchange” program, which connects artists in the region to those based in New York. Nov. 4; carolinaperformingarts.org

Yonder Southern Cocktails & Brew’s Jazz Nights series features Katharine Whalen’s Jazz Squad. Nov. 4 and 18; yonderbarnc.com


Theater artists Marcella Murray and David Neumann, alongside collaborator Tei Blow, combine imagery, short dances and digitized distance, for their new online theater work, “Primer for an Impossible Conversation,” for Carolina Performing Arts. Nov. 5; carolinaperformingarts.org


Drive around the county and pop in artists’ workshops during the Orange County Artists Guild Open Studio Tour, a chance to connect with fellow art lovers during the first two weekends in November. Nov 6-7, 13-14; ocagnc.org


PlayMakers Repertory Company’s full-company, in-person production of Thornton Wilder’s “The Skin of Our Teeth” in the Paul Green Theatre is directed by PlayMakers’ Producing Artistic Director Vivienne Benesch. Nov. 10-28; playmakersrep.org


Imbibe hosts Grewen & Griffanzo Jazz – Danny Grewen joins pianist Robert Griffin – on Monday evenings in November. Nov. 15, 22, 29; imbibenc.com


Don’t miss Songwriters in the Round at Yonder Southern Cocktails & Brew as Kirk Ridge hosts two musicians who each take a turn sharing their passions for songwriting and music and perform their own music. Nov. 17; yonderbarnc.com


The ArtsCenter hosts the 16th annual Carrboro Film Fest, celebrating film and video creativity. Work from established professional filmmakers and beginners is featured. The festival may take a hybrid format with virtual and in-person screenings. Nov. 19-21; carrborofilm.org


All 21 artists and co-owners of the Hillsborough Gallery of Arts come together for this show, “The Art of Giving,” featuring handmade ornaments for the holidays. Nov. 19 Dec. 31; hillsboroughgallery.com


After the show went virtual in 2020, Be Loud! returns to Cat’s Cradle for the sixth time as a one-night-only, in-person concert supporting the nonprofit Be Loud! Sophie Foundation. Four bands – Preesh, Pipe, John Howie Jr & The Rosewood Bluff and Snatches of Pink – come together, each to perform a side of The Clash’s seminal record “London Calling.” Special guests will appear throughout the evening. Nov. 20; catscradle.com


The bi-annual Arts on Market at Southern Village offers art and gifts for sale from local artists, artisans, bakers and makers, plus live music. Nov. 21; southernvillage.com


Basement presents a new show, “Loose Footing,” which will feature the work of Felicity Palma, Kate Robinson and Peat Szilagyi. The exhibit explores the human response to places and the implications that introduces. Through Dec. 5; basementartspace.com


In the fourth long-term installation with pieces from the collection of Rhonda Morgan Wilkerson, the Ackland Art Museum displays “Beads of Distinction: Yoruba Royal Caps from the Collection of Rhonda Morgan Wilkerson, Ph.D.” The exhibit will feature headgear from the Yoruba peoples of southwestern Nigeria and nearby regions. Through Dec. 26; ackland.org

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