New Uproar Festival of Public Art


By Laurie Paolicelli

The Summer 2023 Public Art ­Festival will feature 60 large-scale works in Chapel Hill, Carrboro, and Hillsborough.

Together with its community partners, the Orange County Arts Commission is announcing an uproarious, raucous, and exhilarating arts festival, July 14 – August 12, 2023. Uproar Festival of Public Art will display 60 large-scale, BOLD works of art throughout the downtown areas of Chapel Hill, Carrboro, and Hillsborough. Cash prizes will be awarded to Southeastern artists chosen by both the public and a jury panel of experts.

For twenty-nine days, art is exhibited in public spaces and at venues of all kinds. During the festival a free trolley sponsored by the Chapel Hill/Orange County Visitors Bureau will run on Saturdays, from Noon to 8:00 pm, circling UNC, Carrboro, and Chapel Hill providing drop-off and hop-on opportunities.

Sample work of participating artist Jessica Bradsher.

Inspired by ArtPrize in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and ArtFields in Lake Park, South Carolina, Uproar will be the first festival of its kind in the state. Accessibility is a priority for the festival.

“Everyone needs times of connection and belonging. The thrill of being part of something bigger than we are. The jubilant intersection of creativity, fellowship, and wonder,” say leaders of the Orange County Arts Commission.

Katie Murray, Director of the Orange County Arts Commission agrees:

“Uproar will transform our downtowns this summer and lead to a host of energizing related activities as locals and travelers alike take part in it,” Murray says. “This fully accessible festival will give us an unforgettable opportunity to celebrate art, the people who make it, the people who consume it, and our wonderful communities that uplift it.”

Sample work of participating artist Carlos Gonzales Garcia.

Things to know:

  • Uproar Festival of Public Art is a new arts festival coming to Chapel Hill, Carrboro, and Hillsborough, July 14 – August 12, 2023.
  • Sixty works will be selected for display and $27,500 in cash prizes awarded.

TJ Christiansen is an artist who will be participating with new work in Uproar 2023.

Uproar will provide the following incentives for selected artists:

  • The opportunity to win $27,500 in prize money. Applicants will be evaluated based on artistic excellence, visual impact, creativity, and feasibility (including public safety, durability, and space required.) Jurors include Larry Wheeler, former director of the North Carolina Museum of Art; Stacey L. Kirby, installation artist and the winner of ArtPrize 8; and interdisciplinary award-winning artist Antoine Williams.
  • Sales opportunity: artists are encouraged to sell their work during Uproar. The Orange County Arts Alliance (the nonprofit partner of the Orange County Arts Commission) will handle sales, including tax payments. The Arts Alliance will retain a 20% commission on any work sold during the festival.
  • 1st Place Jury Selection: $10,000
  • 2nd Place Jury Selection: $5,000
  • 3rd Place Jury Selection: $2,500
  • People’s Choice Winner: $10,000
  • And a $500 honorarium for each selected applicant (artist or team)

Cricket Forge is an artist who will participate this summer in Uproar with a new piece of metal art sculpture.

The kick-off party for Uproar will launch in Chapel Hill on July 14th. An awards celebration in Hillsborough will close the festival on August 12th. By August 15th the art will be de-installed and disappear from our lives forever.

For a few weeks this summer the entirety of Orange County will be transformed into an art gallery. Nothing quite like this has ever happened here, but Orange County feels like a place it should. The new world is always welcome to mix and mingle with the old one. We are lucky to have both.

Sample Work of Participating Artist Jane Cheek.

Trolley Information:

The Chapel Hill/Orange County Visitors Bureau with Kannapolis Charters is coordinating a Trolley route. The route will be published on the Uproar Site in the coming weeks. It’s free, handicapped accessible, and open air.


Contact Katie Murray for more information: or (919) 245-2335.

Trolley: FREE. Handicapped Accessible. Open Air.

Katie Murray, Director of Orange County Arts Comission, speaking about uproar to a community gathering.

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