Engaging the Community

Spoleto ETC

Spoleto Festival USA was founded with a mission to pair young artists with established masters and provide a fertile ground for experimentation, exploration, and artistic learning. This vision, however, extends far beyond the concert stages and opera houses. Vital to the Festival’s longevity are its endeavors to engage audiences across a broad spectrum. Through three distinct avenues outlined below, Spoleto ETC (Engaging the Community) aims to build audiences, spark connections, and leave a lasting impression on the next generation of artists and arts lovers.


Community engagement programs encourage participation and remove barriers. This avenue includes discussion series before and during Festival seasons, performances designed for individuals on the Autism spectrum and their families, as well as Spoleto’s Open Stage Door program that provides complimentary tickets to area community-based nonprofit organizations.

In 2022, members of the Spoleto Festival USA Orchestra collaborated with three members of the Charleston community to engage in creative placemaking and create sonic collages based in personal histories, memories, and reflections. Learn more about the project here.



Programs for professional advancement aid in the development of young artists and arts administrators. This avenue includes the Spoleto Festival USA Orchestra as well as Spoleto’s apprentice program.



Tailored education programs for students instill artistic curiosity and inspire audiences of the future. This avenue includes artists visiting schools, students visiting Festival venues, and partnerships with student-focused organizations.

Most recently, Spoleto has partnered with artist Jonathan Green and school districts in the Charleston tri-county area to provide students with educational material around Omar Ibn Said, whose life and historical significance inspired the 2022 opera Omar. You can view and download the full book below. Or, for those specifically interested in the story and prompts, a worksheet version is available, too.




Spoleto ETC is made possible thanks to the ongoing generosity of our individual donors. To ensure the future of the Festival and to further the efforts of programs like Spoleto ETC, please consider making a gift.


Learn more about ways to contribute to the Festival. All donors enjoy membership benefits based on their giving level.

Spoleto ETC is generously supported by Carol H. Fishman, in memory of Leo Fishman; The Samuel Freeman Charitable Trust; William R. Kenan, Jr. Charitable Trust, Thomas S. Kenan Institute for the Arts, and SC Humanities, which receives support from the National Endowment for the Humanities.