Uproarious Fun through Art and Wonder July 15 – August 12, 2023


By Laurie Paolicelli

A once-in-a-lifetime event is about to take place in Orange County. 60 large-scale public art installations are making their way to Chapel Hill, Carrboro, and Hillsborough for a five-week summer stint designed to delight, entertain, and leave a smile on your face, possibly an uproarious one.

Adding spice to the happening: the public is being asked to vote on their favorite pieces in order to reward the artists with cash prizes.

This an ambitious affair from top to bottom. Is it going to work? Will residents, visitors, and arts aficionados from all over come to the greater Chapel Hill/Hillsborough area to enjoy a transformed community, absorb the joie de vivre of our various downtowns, and vote on what moves them?

“Art brings people together,” says Tinka Jordy, Hillsborough-based sculptor. “Displaying art in public places and making it accessible to everyone inspires engagement and a feeling of belonging to a community. I hope visitors try to see the wide array of awe-inspiring pieces dotted around Orange County this summer.”

During the month-long festival, community members and art enthusiasts can visit several sites across Orange County to view the installations.

The festival will launch on July 14 and will conclude on August 12 with an awards celebration in Hillsborough. Cash prizes — up to $10,000 — will be awarded to artists chosen by both the public and a jury panel of three selected experts. Every vote counts!

Inspired by festivals featuring installation art, such as ArtPrize in Grand Rapids, Mich., and ArtFields in Lake City, S.C., Uproar will be the first festival of its kind in North Carolina.

Dear Voting Public: You’ll have 29 days (July 14 – August 11) to seek out all 60 works of art. A sign with each artwork will have a QR code taking you to a scoring page. At the Awards Party on Saturday, August 12, prize money will be awarded, with both the People’s Choice Winner and Juror’s 1st Place winning $10,000.

Voting Dates: Saturday, July 15 – Friday, August 11 at 9 pm

Awards Party (Eno Arts Mill, Hillsborough): Saturday, August 12 | 6pm-9pm

TJ Christensen is an artist who will be participating with new work.

Though Uproar is happening in the summer and fewer students are in the area, the festival aims to support local businesses and the community by bringing people to Orange County.

More than 100 artists across the Southeast applied to be featured in Uproar, but only 60 artists were selected from four states: North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, and Arkansas. During the festival, these artists will be evaluated by the judge panel based on artistic excellence, visual impact, creativity, and feasibility.

Uproar Festival Trolley.

FREE air-conditioned Saturday Trolley Service, circling Chapel Hill and Carrboro for Uproar guests and ALL VISITORS. Check out this map of where to hop on and off. Note the 12 Stops denoted by black circle and star.


  • July 15: Noon – 8 PM
  • July 22: Noon – 8PM
  • July 29: Noon – 8PM
  • August 5: Noon – 8PM
  • August 12: Noon – 8PM

Free, accessible and air conditioned. Hop on and off and enjoy the public art route that the trolley will provide.

This is a phenomenal and monumental undertaking, and thanks for it go to the Orange County Arts Commission, led by Katie Murray.

Katie Murray, Orange County Arts Commission Director.

“Oftentimes, the arts can be viewed as elitist and exclusive, and that makes my heart hurt,” she says. The festival is free to everyone and she hopes all kinds of people are able to experience it.

“Public art reflects a community working to cultivate a cultural identity,” Murray says. “Artwork helps express a community’s values and creates an elevated sense of awareness for residents and visitors.”



Before the festival begins, event coordinators will have an online map on the Uproar website. For those more at home with a physical map you can stop by one of our two Uproar Welcome Centers. Both welcome centers offer more information, accessible parking, public restrooms, and air conditioning.

Chapel Hill/Carrboro
Chapel Hill/Orange County Welcome Center
308 W. Franklin St., Chapel Hill, NC 27516

Monday-Friday: 8:30am-5pm
Saturday & Sunday: 10am-8pm

Eno Arts Mill/Orange County Arts Commission
437 Dimmocks Mill Rd., Hillsborough, NC 27278

Tuesday-Friday: 12-5pm
Saturday and Sunday: 10am-7pm

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