Our Guide to the Best Arts Events This Fall

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Our curated list of can’t-miss concerts, events and more in Chapel Hill

Experience Carolina Performing Arts’ Big Band Holidays, presented by the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis and Ashley Pezzotti, just in time for the holiday season. Photo courtesy of Luigi Beverelli.

Compiled by Ginny Smith

View more than 80 master drawings from 1770 to 1830 at Ackland Art Museum’s “Reform to Restoration: French Drawings From Louis XVI to Louis XVIII” exhibition. Themes include patriotism, love, conflict and despair from an era of political and social upheaval in France.
July 21 – Oct. 8; ackland.org

The Frame & Print Shop presents an exclusive staff art show featuring eclectic pieces from paintings to woodwork made by their own employees. Aug. 3 – Sept. 21; frameshopchapelhill.com

Experience the 23rd season of North Carolina’s favorite awe-inspiring puppet show, Paperhand Puppet Intervention, joined this year by Grammy- nominee storytellers Nnenna Freelon and Pierce Freelon. Nnenna is the show’s writer, narrator and vocalist while Pierce joins the cast as composer, • performer and puppeteer. Accompanied with live music, this unique, larger-than-life performance “Where Our Spirits Reside” is sure to inspire viewers of all ages. Weekends Aug. 4 – Sept. 17; paperhand.org

Browse local art at FRANK Gallery featuring pieces from artists R. Scott Horner, Kaidy Lewis, Susan Filley, Joe Grant and emerging artist Polina Varlamova. The opening reception will be held Aug. 11. Aug. 8 – Sept. 23; frankisart.com

Margaret Lane Gallery presents multiple fall collections; scenes of majestic mountains in “The Mountains Are Calling,” depictions of nature’s intricacies with “Beauty in the Details,” traditional American art pieces in “Patterns of the Land,” vibrant fall hues in “Autumn Palette” and images of the night sky with “Star Light, Star Bright (I Wish).” Aug. 20 – Sept. 24, Sept. 27 – Oct. 22, Oct. 18 – Nov. 26, Oct. 25 – Nov. 19, Nov. 22 – Dec. 31; margaretlanegallery.com

Hillsborough Gallery of Arts first hosts “From The Mind’s Eye,” featuring oil paintings by Chris Graebner, landscape paintings by Marcy Lansman and distinctive blown glass by Pringle Teetor, followed by “Reciprocus,” showcasing collages by Pat Merriman, abstract paintings by Ellie Reinhold and mixed media sculptures by Lynn Wartski. Finally, “The Art of Giving” presents giftable art for the holiday season. Aug. 22 – Sept. 24, Sept. 26 – Oct. 22, Nov. 14 – Dec. 31; hillsboroughgallery.com

North Carolina Botanical Garden hosts “Beyond the Bloom,” an exhibit showcasing the work of artist Kathy Schermer-Gramm following the Certificate Program Graduation and Celebration. The art on display depicts flower fruits, insects, birds, edibles and plants native to Piedmont in muted colors and intricate textures. Aug. 27-Oct. 22; ncbg.unc.edu

Visit the heart of Chapel Hill and experience downtown live with musical performances at venues like Imbibe and Top of the Hill. September – November; downtownchapelhill.com

Check out various styles of live music, ranging from covers of Grateful Dead favorites to a Carolina Jazz Orchestra performance, every weekend at Southern Village during their Sunday music series. Sundays in September; southernvillage.com

Higgins & Myers Custom Framing and Fine Art Gallery hosts a preview of Orange County Artists Guild 29th annual open studio tour with a reception held on Oct. 7Sept. 1 – Nov. 1; higginsandmyers.com

Join Lanza’s Cafe on First Friday for a performance by Carrboro’s own Rob Gelblum. Throughout the past 50 years and beyond, Rob has become fluent in playing the guitar, piano and singing. He cites his parents’ treasured recordings as an influence on the start of his musical career during the ‘60s folk revival. When Rob returned to Chapel Hill and Durham in the mid-’70s, he became a fixture of the bar and club music scene, where he got involved with community organizing and brought attention to social justice issues through song. Lanza’s is hosting him for the first Friday of every month this fall. Sept. 1, Oct. 6 and Nov. 3; lanzascafe.com

Pinnacle Financial Partners presents live music on the Southern Village Green every week for “Sundays at Sundown.” See the Loose Lucies’ “The Best of the Grateful Dead” in person, enjoy original tunes by Triangle musicians Wes Collins, Barry Gray and Isabel Valls for Songwriter Night, enjoy a spirited performance by the Heart of Carolina Jazz Orchestra and close out September with Chris Stamey’s Marvelous Melodies: A Chamber Pop Premiere. There’s no cover charge, but tips for performers are greatly appreciated! Sept. 3, 10, 17 and 24; southernvillage.com

Southern Village‘s La Vita Dolce offers 50% off wine by the bottle – and 30% off by the glass – at Wine Down Wednesdays, the cafe’s mid-week open social. Chat, drink wine and enjoy live music with fellow patrons. The cafe welcomes guest musical performances by Triangle-based groups Four on Six, Tea Cup Gin, Popcorn Blue Band and harp guitarist Andrew Kasab for a smooth blend of genres including jazz, pop and folk. Sept. 6, 13 and 20-21; lavitadolcecafe.com

Grab a seat or party on the dance floor at Yonder Bar for these evening activities! In addition to open mic nights every Tuesday, live jazz every Thursday and music performances every Friday and Saturday night, Yonder plans to host Jeremy Alder’s live comedy showcase, “The Sunday Show,” on the fourth Sunday of every month. Don’t forget to swing by on Friday the Thirteenth for DISINTEGRATION, a goth night dance party featuring the tunes of DJ 20th Century Boy, attend a live staged reading of “The Lost Boys” on Oct. 4 and close out the month with Noir at the Bar, an event where eight crime fiction authors from across the country are invited to perform 10-minute excerpts of their written work. Weekends during September, Oct. 13 and 26; yonderbarnc.com

Immerse yourself in an exploration of America’s “racial reckoning” and the nature of resistance through this book talk with Anise Vance at Flyleaf Books. The signing line queues at 5:30 p.m. with the talk itself beginning at 6 p.m. Anise, a writer from the African and Iranian diasporas, is joined by Daniel Black, an author and professor of African American studies at Clark Atlanta University best known for his literary works “Black on Black,” “Don’t Cry For Me,” “The Coming,” “Perfect Peace” and “They Tell Me of a Home.” Together, the authors team up to discuss Anise’s latest novel “Hush Harbor,” which follows a resistance group as it resurrects an abandoned housing project in secret, becoming forcibly pitted against an insidious entanglement of white supremacy and local politics. Sept. 5; flyleafbooks.com

PlayMakers Repertory Company presents Lynn Nottage’s “Clyde’s,” a bittersweet comedy that tells the story of a sandwich shop owner and her ex-convict kitchen staff’s pursuit to create the perfect sandwich. Sept. 6-24; playmakersrep.org

Peel Gallery presents Amy Herman’s “how to dry a knife” photography collection. Her work embraces a surreal intimacy that examines both the power and deception of memory. Opening reception to be held on Sept. 8. Sept. 6 – Oct. 1; peel.gallery

Southern Village Green hosts a Party on The Lawn with live music, ice cream, beer tents and face painting. Sept. 9; southernvillage.com

Learn about rich historical traditions that are native to North Carolina and beyond with Mary D. Williams as she visits The ArtsCenter. Sept. 9; artscenterlive.org

Learn crochet in a beginner-friendly workshop at My Muses Card Shop and stitch your very own crochet wallet. Sept. 10; mymusescardshop.com

Southern Village hosts an evening of special Friday night ukulele music from Far From Done on the village green. Sept. 15; southernvillage.com

Experience opera, music and the sights and sounds of Venice at the exclusive cinematic event, “Renée Fleming’s Cities That Sing: Venice,” presented by Silverspot Cinema. Sept. 16; silverspot.net

Enjoy local music and food and connect with neighbors at the new Live at Legion community concert at 1714 Legion Rd. Bring blankets and chairs for lawn seating. Sept. 16; chapelhillarts.org

Immerse yourself in traditional Appalachian music and culture with a performance from the Sugaree String Society at The ArtsCenter. Sept. 16; artscenterlive.org

Learn the art of sashiko stitching at Peel Gallery’s Japanese embroidery workshop led by River Takada and create your own embellished garment. Sept. 17; peel.gallery

Enjoy the free-flowing process of watercolor painting at My Muses Card Shop’s beginner- friendly workshop. Sept. 17; mymusescardshop.co

Experience the relationship between art and the natural world at the 35th annual “Sculpture in the Garden” exhibit at the North Carolina Botanical Garden. Sept. 17 – Dec. 3; ncbg.unc.edu

Carolina Performing Arts welcomes the Philadelphia Orchestra to honor the 50th anniversary of their historical concert in the People’s Republic of China, a pivotal moment of cultural peace and exchange. Iconic works, such as Beethoven’s Symphony No. 6, will be performed. Sept. 20 – 21; carolinaperformingarts.org

Photo courtesy of Jessica Griffin

Enjoy a night of open mic and karaoke at Southern Village. Sept. 21; southernvillage.com

Your Neighbors, an indie pop-rock group from Nashville, visits Local 506 during their 2023 U.S. tour. Sept. 21; local506.com

Carolina Waves present “Tuning In To Tomorrow: The Next Wave of Radio” at Carolina Performing Arts, joining industry leaders, technological pioneers and creative minds as they unpack the past, present and future of radio broadcasting. Sept. 23; carolinaperformingarts.org

Shop handcrafted items at Burwell School Historic Site‘s Fall Festival “Publick Day” and participate in the silent auction. The all-day community market is located on the lower front lawn of the former school, featuring Triangle merchants selling a variety of fall-themed trinkets and goodies, from pumpkins and apples to baked goods, locally produced honeys and more. The Historic Hillsborough Commission will oversee the silent auction. Sept. 23; burwellschool.org

Explore the depths of power and divine energy in My Muses Card Shop’s “Durga Yantra Workshop” with Abhi Sivadas. Sept. 24; mymusescardshop.co

Artists Barbara Tyroler, Dan Gottlieb and Daniel Johnston showcase their work at FRANK Gallery with an opening reception on Oct. 13. Sept. 26 – Nov. 11; frankisart.com

Margaret Lane Gallery presents “Something to Say,” a collection of art from residents at Orange Correctional Center. See and “hear” their messages, expressed through a range of mediums and styles. Sept. 27 – Oct. 15; margaretlanegallery.com

Support Black-led food justice organization Grow to Life’s “CommUnity Day” at Market Street Green at Southern Village. Shop fresh produce from the Farmers of Color Market, vendors and food trucks while enjoying music, activities and more. Sept. 28 and Oct. 26; southernvillage.com

The newly incorporated Center Theater Company hosts Lucky Street Comedy for a night of family-friendly improv. Sept. 29; centertheatercompany.com

Connect with local artists with unique exhibits, family-friendly art activities, a market for makers and a drum circle at Last Fridays & The Art Walk in downtown Hillsborough. Sept. 29, Oct. 27; hillsboroughartscouncil.org

Swing by Cat’s Cradle on the last day of the month to celebrate the Carrboro Music Festival’s opening night. The festival officially begins the following day. The festival began as an official affiliate of the Fête de la Musique (“Make Music Day”) in 1998 before becoming one of the largest free music festivals in North Carolina, hosting more than one hundred acts on stage across the city. Venues are sprinkled all throughout town at locations like Craftboro Brewing, Speakeasy, Cat’s Cradle, Carrboro Century Center, The ArtsCenter, 401 Main and more, ranging from traditional staples to brand new additions. Sept. 30 and Oct. 1; carrboromusicfestival.com

Cat’s Cradle hosts The National Parks, an indie pop quartet from Utah known for melding folk music with catchy melodies. Since emerging in 2013, the band’s discography has netted more than 150 million streams. Sept. 30; catscradle.com

Listen to the soulful melodies and powerful vocals of Jess Klein at The ArtsCenter as she performs new releases from her album “When We Rise.” Sept. 30; artscenterlive.org

Check out Saltire Gallerie’s African art exhibit and sale with themes of global reaches of art and art worlds, from traditional to contemporary arts. October through December; saltiregallerie.com

Cassilhaus’ fall photography exhibition will feature work from The Film Photo Award winners, a prestigious endowment to photography students working with analog film. This exhibition runs as part of the Triangle’s Click! Photography Festival. Oct. 1 – Dec. 31; cassilhaus.com

The Carrboro Music Festival returns for the 26th year, showcasing local artists featuring a variety of music styles. Oct. 1; carrboromusicfestival.com

The Orange County Arts Commission presents the seventh annual Paint it Orange plein air paint-out and wet paint sale, featuring original pieces from 60-plus artists from around the Southeast. Artists will spend three days painting iconic scenes of Orange County with a reception and party to follow on Oct. 6 at Eno Arts Mill Gallery. Oct. 4-6; artsorange.org

In conjunction with the Click! Photo Festival, Peel Gallery presents Michael Galinsky’s Decline of Malls Across America photo gallery from the early ’90s and their accompanying publications. Signings, a carousel slideshow and movie screenings throughout the month will be featured. Opening reception to be held Oct. 13. Oct. 4 – Nov. 6; peel.gallery

Experience the eighth annual Bluegrass Festival at historic Moorefields with music from Vintage Blue, Pickard Mountain, Nixon Blevins and Gage, The Carolina Cutups and The Bathtub of the South. Bring chairs and blankets for lawn seating on the idyllic 70-acre historical site and enjoy food and beverages. Oct. 7; moorefields.org

Calico Studio hosts their Fall Makers Market where attendees can shop for art, pottery, jewelry and photography from more than 20 local artists and vendors at 1141 Smith Level Rd. Oct. 7-8; calico-studio.com

Dwarf Star Studios showcases numerous local bands at On the Green Music Festival at the Southern Village Green. Performances include The Unsustainables, WhoIAre, The Yardarm and Burns and are free for all to enjoy. Oct. 8; southernvillage.com

PlayMakers Repertory Company puts on a production of William Goldman’s adaptation of Stephen King’s “Misery,” a tense thriller that follows a writer being held captive in the home of his biggest fan. Oct. 11-31; playmakersrep.org

Experience “Rimini Protokoll: 100% The Triangle,” an immersive anthropological performance illustrating what the future holds for our area. Presented by Carolina Performing Arts, the production features 100 statistically-chosen non-actor participants and gives audience members the ability to bridge gaps with the community. Oct. 14-15; carolinaperformingarts.org

Photo courtesy of Arnold Poeschl

Come out to Franklin Street for Festifall Arts Market & More for the return of Chapel Hill’s beloved arts festival and check out local artisans, vendors and musical performances. Oct. 14, 21, 28; chapelhillarts.org

Ventriloquist Steve Brogan brings an unexpected comedic experience to The ArtsCenter with hilarious puppet characters and improvisation. Oct. 14; artscenterlive.org

The UNC Clef Hangers visit the Southern Village Green with special guests Durham- based The Seven Deadly Bibs. Oct. 15; southernvillage.com

Local 506 hosts Be Your Own Pet, the mid- aughts punk band sensation from Nashville who return to town on tour amid a 14-year hiatus, along with the release of a new album, “Mommy.” Oct. 18; local506.com

Cat’s Cradle presents Gus Dapperton, a rising star in the world of retrospective indie. His single “Supalonely” with New Zealand singer Benee went viral amid lockdown, and newest releases are continuing to grow Gus’s momentum. Oct. 18; catscradle.com

Starting strong with a reading and open mic at Luna Rotisserie and Taproom on Thursday night, the 2023 West End Poetry Festival features a number  of events that take place at The ArtsCenter on Friday and at the Carrboro Century Center all day Saturday. Carrboro’s first poetry festival was organized by laureate Patrick Herron, a formerly Carrboro-based poet, in 2005. Since then, the festival has grown substantially, becoming a staple event for poets from all corners of North Carolina and beyond. This year’s theme is “Community.” Oct. 19-21; carrboronc.gov

Attend Triangle Youth Ballet’s annual masquerade gala with a plated dinner and a performance of “Paquita” to support local dancers at Chapel Hill Country Club. The event features live music from Kevin Van Sant, a raffle, a silent and live auction, a complimentary signature cocktail and more. Oct. 21; triangleyouthballet.org

Catch an exclusive early glance into the work of 80 plus Orange County artists participating in this year’s Orange County Artists Guild open studio tour at the OCAG Open Studio Tour Preview Show at Hillsborough Gallery of Art, to get an inside look at which studios attendees may want to visit. Oct. 24 – Nov. 12; hillsboroughgallery.com

Two-time Grammy nominee and mandolin virtuoso Sierra Hull brings her signature bluegrass sound to the Carolina Performing Arts stage. Oct. 27; carolinaperformingarts.org

Check out an evening of exclusive fall premieres from Triangle Youth Ballet. Performances include “Danse Macabre,” “Night on Bald Mountain,” “The Yellow Wallpaper” and “Paquita” at East Chapel Hill High School. Oct. 28; triangleyouthballet.org

Open new conversations about making social change through the arts with Carolina Performing Arts’ artist-in-residence Toshi Reagon during “Meet You at the Crossroads IV” held at Current ArtSpace + Studio. Nov. 3-4; carolinaperformingarts.org

Photo courtesy of Carolina Performing Arts

Explore communication through painting in “Black White and ‘Read’’ All Over,” with various artistic styles that challenge viewers to face the impact of digital interaction. An opening reception will be held Nov. 10 at Higgins & Meyers Custom Framing and Fine Art Gallery. Nov. 4 – Jan. 31; higginsandmyers.com

Learn how area producers and beatmakers use cutting-edge tools to build a song during Respect the Producer, presented by The Underground Collective held at Carolina Performing ArtsCurrent ArtSpace + Studio. Nov. 8; carolinaperformingarts.org

Honor Veterans Day at the Southern Village Green with a free special performance from Durham Community Concert Band. Nov. 11; southernvillage.com

Check out some of Orange County’s best eats offered up by an array of local food trucks and nonprofits at the Thanks + Giving Food Truck Rodeo and community picnic at 1714 Legion Rd. Nov. 12; chapelhillarts.org

Experience FRANK Gallery’s holiday show with exclusive pieces from gallery and guest artists. Nov. 14 – Dec. 31; frankisart.com

PlayMakers Repertory Company puts on “Much Ado About Nothing,” a witty, modern twist on a classic Shakespearean production. The performance centers around a quirky love story and provides plenty of heartbreak and hilarity to go around. Nov. 15 – Dec. 3; playmakersrep.org

Stellar Circuits, a progressive metal band from Winston-Salem, comes to Local 506 amid the release of their new album, “Sight to Sound.” Nov. 17; local506.com

Center Theater Company showcases its talented youth cast in a production of the classic story of Robin Hood. Nov. 17-19; centertheatercompany.com

Celebrate independent cinema and Southern culture at the 18th Carrboro Film Fest hosted at The ArtsCenter, where the best Southern short films of the year will be showcased. Nov. 17-19; carrborofilm.org

The semi-annual Arts on Market at Southern Village offers art and gifts for sale from local artists, artisans, bakers and makers, plus live music. Nov. 19; southernvillage.com

Triangle Youth Ballet continues its traditional performance of the classic Christmas tale, “The Nutcracker,” with live music by the Tchaikovsky Virtuosi at the Hanes Theatre at Chapel Hill High School. Dec. 1 & 2; triangleyouthballet.org

Center Theater Company presents the beloved holiday tale, “A Christmas Carol,” on stage. Dec. 6-17; centertheatercompany.com

Experience Carolina Performing Arts’ Big Band Holidays, presented by the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis and Ashley Pezzotti, just in time for the holiday season with soulful arrangements of cherished classics at Memorial Hall. Dec. 9; carolinaperformingarts.org

Carolina Performing Arts presents Dorrance Dance: Nutcracker Suite, an exclusive holiday tap dance set to a festive jazz score from Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn. Dec. 13; carolinaperformingarts.org

Photo courtesy of Christopher Duggan

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