Humanities Festival

Every year, SC Humanities sponsors the Humanities Festival in a community in South Carolina. Started in 1993 in honor of the Council’s 20th Anniversary, the Humanities Festival has been held in nineteen different South Carolina cities. Each festival celebrates the local history and culture of the host community, engaging the citizens in lectures, discussions, films, and exhibits and facilitating partnerships between cultural organizations and community groups. Will your city be next?

SAVE THE DATE: 2018 South Carolina Humanities Festival
April 12 – 14, 2018
Aiken, SC

The rich cultural history of Aiken is the focus of the 2018 South Carolina Humanities Festival.  From April 12 to 14, a host of activities—lectures on local history, readings by poets and fiction writers, walking and trolley tours, film screenings, art exhibitions, and special open house events at key sites around town—will be the order of the day.

Chartered in 1835 as a stop on the Charleston-to-Hamburg Railroad, Aiken has gone through a number of amazing transformations, from early health resort to international sporting mecca to a major player in our country’s efforts to win the Cold War.  The festival will kick off with a gala opening night event celebrating the town’s relationship to its Italian partner city Orvieto and showcasing, in particular, the life and work of master artist Livio Valentini, whose three residencies in Aiken changed the course of his creative output.  Other festival highlights will include a self-guided tour of historic churches in Aiken and Graniteville, readings by award-winning authors Pam Durban and Andrew Geyer, and a grants writing workshop hosted by SC Humanities staff.

The festival will also provide a rare opportunity to sample some of the city’s newest cultural attractions: the Aiken Train Museum, the SRS Heritage Museum, and the Center for African American History, Art, and Culture.  Sponsored by SC Humanities, USC Aiken, and the City of Aiken, most events are free and open to the public.  Some, however, require reservations; for more information, visit

2018 SC Humanities Festival schedule

Most events are open and free to the public with the exception of some tours. (Trolley tour is $15 per person, and the Redcliffe tour is $7.50 per person.)

Reservations for trolley, walking, and Redcliffe tours: Call 803-644-1907 or 803-293-7846; email Trolley tours begin at the train museum. Redcliffe tours begin onsite in Beech Island. Walking tour participants meet at the William Aiken Sr. statue on Newberry Street.

Visit Aiken, SC

Previous Humanities Festival hosts

2017 – Gaffney
2016 – Beaufort
2015 – Camden
2014 – Walterboro
2013 – Summerville
2011 – Sumter
2010 – Chester
2009 – Bennettsville
2008 – Lake City
2007 – Newberry
2006 – Georgetown
2005 – Greenville
2004 – Winnsboro
2003 – Spartanburg
2002 – Pendleton
2001 – Florence
2000 – Beaufort
1999 – Aiken
1997 – Greenwood
1996 – Hartsville
1995 – Beaufort
1994 – Beaufort
1993 – Beaufort

Previous Humanities Festivals

2011 SC Humanities Festival – Sumter – ARCHIVED SCHEDULE OF EVENTS | pdf file

2013 SC Humanities Festival – Summerville – ARCHIVED SCHEDULE OF EVENTS | Word document

2014 SC Humanities Festival – Walterboro – ARCHIVED SCHEDULE OF EVENTS

2015 SC Humanities Festival – Camden – ARCHIVED SCHEDULE OF EVENTS | PDF File

2016 SC Humanities Festival – Beaufort – ARCHIVED SCHEDULE OF EVENTS | PDF File

2017 SC Humanities Festival – Gaffney – ARCHIVED SCHEDULE OF EVENTS | PDF File

For more information about the South Carolina Humanities Festival, please contact us.