Everything to know about the upcoming arts festival!
Uproar Festival of Public Art is a new arts festival taking place in Orange County, North Carolina, July 14 – Aug. 12, 2023. It’s free and accessible to all. Think of Uproar as a big, artsy scavenger hunt. Sixty bold, high-impact, outdoor works of art will be showcased throughout the downtown communities of Chapel Hill, Carrboro, and Hillsborough, and cash prizes will be awarded based on public voting and a jury panel of experts.
Uproar is a project four years in the making. Born from a desire to showcase our community through the arts, Uproar has become not only the first festival of its kind for Orange County, but in the state of North Carolina.
The Orange County Arts Commission, together with nine community partners, have created this new event for three reasons:
Uproar is inspired by similar events including ArtPrize in Grand Rapids, MI, and ArtFields in Lake Park, SC; however, this is the first event of its nature in North Carolina. The scale of the event, in addition to the prioritization of accessibility, make this different from other similar festivals.
You'll have 29 days (July 14–Aug. 11) to seek out all works of art. Because everything is outdoors and accessible, you can plan your outing at your convenience during those weeks. We encourage you to attend our Awards Party at the Eno Arts Mill on Aug. 12 from 6 to 9 pm. It’s free, and no tickets are required. At the Closing Party, prize money will be awarded, with both the People's Choice Winner and Juror's 1st Place winning $10,000.
Yes! We believe ALL people should be able to participate in the arts. Uproar requires no RSVPS, no tickets. In addition, we have some free transportation options.
More than 100 artists from throughout the Southeast applied to be a part of Uproar. Ultimately, 60 artists were selected from four states: North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, and Arkansas. They bring a vast range of experience and talent. See their bios.
Each work of Uproar art has an accompanying sign with a QR code. Open your phone's camera and hold it over the code and you'll see a link pop up. Click on the link and you'll be sent to a webpage where you will score that piece of art. Be sure to score while you're there in person, because you won't be able to do it later.
The piece of art with the highest score will win the $10,000 Eichholz Foundation People's Choice Prize. Join us at the Awards Party on Saturday, Aug. 12 (6-9pm) at the Eno Arts Mill in Hillsborough to find out the winner! Free and open to all!
Larry Wheeler was the director of the North Carolina Museum of Art from 1994 until he retired in 2018. As director, Wheeler helped bring national recognition to the museum through his efforts to grow the museum’s collection and offer the people of North Carolina more, in his words, than “mute art” on the wall. Wheeler’s legacy includes the acquiring of 29 Auguste Rodin sculptures and the construction of the museum’s West Building, sculpture garden and reflecting pools. Roy Cooper, North Carolina’s governor, states, “North Carolinians of all walks of life have access to one of the most renowned art museums in the country thanks to Larry Wheeler’s visionary leadership.”
Stacey Kirby is a queer, white-bodied, self-appointed civil servant from North Carolina who creates socially-engaged interactive performance art. Her work has been featured at Greensboro Project Space, 21c Museum Hotel, Ackland Art Museum at UNC-Chapel Hill, Gibbes Museum of Art, Appalachian State University, ArtPrize, Meredith College, the Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art, the Nasher Museum of Art and the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University, Contemporary Art Museum of Raleigh, North Carolina Museum of Art, and the Mint Museum of Craft and Design. Kirby is a recipient of the ArtPrize 8 Juried Grand Prize, a NC Arts Council Artist Fellowship for Visual Artists and nominated for the United States Artist Award, Anonymous Was A Woman Award and a finalist for the 1858 Prize. She has been awarded artist residencies at the Headlands Center for the Arts (Sausalito, CA), Barton College (NC), the Atlantic Center for the Arts (New Smyrna Beach, FL) the Gibbes Museum of Art (Charleston, SC) as well as a visiting artist at UNC Wilmington. Her work is represented in the Ackland Art Museum at the UNC-Chapel Hill, Duke University Rare Book Collection and other private collections. Kirby has a dual degree from the UNC-Chapel Hill in Studio Art and Journalism and Mass Communications.
Antoine Williams is an interdisciplinary artist who is heavily influenced by speculative fiction, critical Black studies and his working-class upbringing in Red Springs, North Carolina. Antoine received his BFA from the University of North Carolina, Charlotte, and his MFA from UNC Chapel Hill. He is a recipient of the 2017 Joan Mitchell Award for Painters and Sculptors, 2018 Harpo Foundation Grant Award, and the 2022 National Academy of Art Abbey Mural Prize. His work is in the permanent collection of the Nasher Museum of Art and the North Carolina Museum of Art; exhibits include Smack Mellon Brooklyn, Columbia Museum of Art, 21c Museum, Elsewhere Museum, Prizm Art Fair, The McColl Center of Art and Innovation, and the California Museum of Photography. His residencies include The Center for Afrofuturist Studies, The Hambidge Center, and the Joan Mitchel Residency in New Orleans. Williams was also a part of the 2021 Drawing Center viewing program and is an assistant professor of Drawing in the Expanded Field at the University of Florida.
More than $27,000 is up for grabs. Here is how it breaks down:
1st Place Jury Selection: $10,000
2nd Place Jury Selection: $5,000
3rd Place Jury Selection: $2,500
People’s Choice Winner: $10,000
We love art and the people who make it. A huge part of our mission involves treating artists like the huge rock stars they are! Participating artists have the opportunity to win our $27,500 in prize money. They also receive a $600 honorarium. Artists who live farther than 60 miles from Chapel Hill are receiving four nights complimentary lodging at one of our partner hotels (two nights for install/opening, two nights for closing/de-install). Plus, we are offering a mileage stipend for up to 200 miles based on artist’s location (based on the IRS standard mileage rate for business travel in July 2023). Finally, artists have the opportunity to sell their work featured at Uproar. This is encouraged, but not required. Sales, including tax payments, will be handled by the Orange County Arts Alliance. The Arts Alliance will retain a 20% commission on any work sold during the festival.
Artists can sell their work featured at Uproar. This is encouraged, but not required. Sales, including tax payments, will be handled by the Orange County Arts Alliance. The Arts Alliance will retain a 20% commission on any work sold during the festival. Check out the Art Page for a price list.
We believe ALL people should be able to participate in the arts. Uproar will provide a free and accessible arts experience for visitors of all abilities.
Check out our local hotel partners, who are offering special discounts for Uproar visitors!
Chapel Hill & Carrboro
Yes! Uproar is a BIG undertaking and many volunteers are needed! No matter your skill set, abilities, or availability, we can use your help and will work around your needs.
The Orange County Arts Commission (OCAC) is the primary coordinator of the festival and will be organizing all volunteers.
Learn more and sign up HERE.
Yes please! The Orange County Arts Alliance is the nonprofit arm of the Orange County Arts Commission and the fundraising force behind Uproar. You can read more about the Arts Alliance and make a donation here.
No. If the inaugural Uproar is a success, it will happen every-other year. So how do you help make it a success? Make sure you vote, patronize our downtown businesses, stay in our hotels, and tell everyone you know to come participate! Also, help us share Uproar on social media by tagging #UproarFestNC.