Two decades after its launch as a grassroots literary festival, Sensoria – Central Piedmont Community College’s annual celebration of the arts – is bringing a stellar lineup to Charlotte in recognition of its 20th anniversary. The festival begins Friday and runs through April 12.
More than 10,000 are expected to attend over the next nine days. They’ll enjoy literary, performing and visual arts lectures, discussions, workshops and performances featuring regional and nationally renowned artists.
Here are selected Sensoria highlights:
• This year’s lecturer is Richard Blanco, who is the first Latino, the first immigrant and the first openly gay man chosen to deliver a poem at a presidential inauguration (Obama’s second, last year). Blanco hosts a reading and discussion at 10:30 a.m. April 9 and 7 p.m. April 10 at Halton Theater.
• New York Times obituary writer Margalit Fox leads sessions at 11 a.m. April 10 at Pease Auditorium and at 7 p.m. April 10 at Tate Hall. She discusses her book, “The Riddle of the Labyrinth: The Quest to Crack an Ancient Code,” and speaks about “capturing the essence of celebrated lives in memoriam.”
• Joseph Bathanti is a faculty member at Appalachian State, a former CPCC instructor, and North Carolina’s seventh poet laureate. Bathanti – who travels around the state working on writing groups for veterans – hosts a reading, discussion and signing at 7 p.m. April 8 at Tate Hall.
• Irene Blair Honeycutt – a longtime former faculty and staff member of CPCC and founding director of the school’s Spring Literary Festival – is featured in a discussion (along with four poets she’s mentored) at 12:30 p.m. April 10 at Tate Hall.
• “Bechtler on Campus” is a program featuring the partnership of the CPCC Music Department and the Bechtler Museum of Modern Art in a concert of modern chamber music, pairing visual art and music of the 20th and 21st centuries with the artwork from the Bechtler. 7:30 p.m. April 7 at Halton Theater.
• Performing arts enthusiasts can take advantage of CPCC Theatre’s presentation of Neil Simon’s “The Sunshine Boys.” Performances run April 4-13 at Pease Auditorium.
• “Don Giovanni,” W.A. Mozart’s classic opera, is performed by the CPCC Opera Theatre throughout the weekend at Halton Theater.
• Community and industry leaders participate in “Digital Film People,” a discussion addressing real-world advice about the film industry in North Carolina and the state’s tax breaks for the movie and TV productions. 7 p.m. April 8 at Halton Theater.
• “Welcome to Kutscher’s,” a documentary highlighting the last Borscht Belt Catskills resort, will be screened at 7 p.m. Sunday at Tate Hall.