Arts and culture in Augusta, Georgia
The culture of Augusta, Georgia is influenced by the many different perspectives and histories of its community members, as well as its own history. The large African American population of the area as well as the city's rural surroundings have affected the types of festivals and culture produced within the city. Another major influence on the culture of the city is the annual Masters golf tournament held in April of each year. The most prolific cultural medium produced by the city is its musicians, as evidenced by James Brown, Jessye Norman, and Wycliffe Gordon.
Large events and festivals
Augusta is host to a variety of annual events. The largest event held in the city each year is the Masters golf tournament bringing in around 250,000 visitors. One of the majors of the PGA tour, the Masters is also a major cultural influence on the city. Most semi-professional sports teams in the city are named for puns related to the tournament (the Augusta Greenjackets and the now defunct Augusta Lynx). Many establishments in the city, especially in the area around the Augusta National Golf Club, are also named in a similar manner. Restaurants throughout Augusta use memorabilia from the tournament as decor. In fact, spring break for schools within the Richmond County School System coincides with the tournament, similarly to the timing of school breaks in New Orleans and Mardi Gras.
Other annual events include the cultural festival Arts in the Heart of Augusta, the Hip hop concert Mayfest, and the arts festival Westobou. The Rock Fore! Dough Concert is a charity concert held each year to coincide with the Masters golf tournament. The CSRA Classic, a traditional style marching band competition, is also held each year in Augusta.
Augusta hosts an annual LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) pride parade called Augusta Pride. Augusta Pride attracted 4,000 people in 2010, its first year. The festival is rapidly growing and an estimated 7,000 people attended in 2011.
Theater and dance
The metropolitan area supports a number of theatrical venues and both amateur and professional companies. The Imperial Theatre, where James Brown formerly practiced, and the Bell Auditorium are the largest dedicated theater venues in Augusta. The Miller Theater was formerly a movie theater that is now undergoing major renovations in order to be returned to a usable, historic space. The Le Chat Noir Theatre is a new addition to the theater scene in Augusta. All of these spaces are located in the downtown district.
Two theaters operate in the district of South Augusta. The Augusta Mini Theater recently opened its doors for both theatrical classes and performances. The Fort Gordon Dinner Theater is a long-running theater that is based on the military base of Fort Gordon. The Young Artists Repertory Theatre, Inc. (YART) is a 10-year-old youth theatre company based in adjoining Martinez.
Augusta Ballet is a prominent presenting dance company based in Augusta. They present world-class performers mostly out of the Imperial Theatre. The Augusta Players are a theatrical troupe in the city.
Musical venues and companies
The James Brown Arena is the largest venue in Augusta. It is used for a variety of events. Notably, the arena was named for Augusta-native musician James Brown just prior to his death in 2006. The Sky City is a new music venue in town while Sector 7G caters to the youth music scene.
Artists' Row is a small district located in downtown along Broad Street. Artists' Row is an important landmark in downtown Augusta because it is one of the first beginning revitalization efforts throughout downtown. It is named for the local art galleries, which are located along the 700-1200 blocks. The business fronts stay open for the arts council's First Friday. Every First Friday of the month downtown galleries, dinners, and boutiques stay open until 10 pm for the First Friday celebration. First Friday began in 1995 and continues today.
Museums, historical sites, and other points of cultural interest
Other arts organizations
- Greater Augusta Arts Council
- Chris Gay Cutting horse show embraces milestone, Augusta Chronicle, January 18, 2009.
- Reaction to gay march is muted — Augusta Chronicle, Susan McCord, June 18, 2011
- Augusta Georgia: metro@ugusta: Soul singer Brown prepares for tour 03/18/99
- Steven Uhles Dramatic debut, Augusta Chronicle, January 19, 2009
- Arts in the Heart of Augusta Festival
- Greater Augusta Arts Council
- First Friday
- Westobou Festival
- Augusta Mini Theater
- The Augusta Players
- Augusta Ballet
- Le Chat Noir Theatre
- The Augusta Choral Society
- The Metro Spirit