In 1993, Central Piedmont Community College launched its Spring Literary Festival. Founded by poet and long-time English faculty member Irene Blair Honeycutt, the festival has celebrated local and regional talent and brought to CPCC renowned and prize-winning writers, including Richard Blanco, Yusef Komunyakaa, Li-Young Lee, Natasha Trethewey, and Ron Rash. This tradition continues.
In 2006, the Spring Literary Festival was renamed Sensoria. This reflected its expansion outward from literature into the wide variety of arts and cultural events now offered, celebrating CPCC’s own creative curriculum programs and endeavors.
Daytime events are scheduled to correspond with classes, and faculty bring entire classes for once-in-a-lifetime engagement with leaders in the arts. Students are encouraged to attend both day and night events, and, with the exceptions of some ticketed performances, most events are free and open to the public.
Each year, more than 15,000 students and community members attend some of the best presentations in literature, music, visual arts, history, culture (and food!) around the Charlotte region while learning more about CPCC’s outstanding creative programs. Past participants have included Pulitzer Prize winning photojournalist John H. White, U.S. Poet Laureate Kay Ryan, Author Ron Rash, Joffrey School of Ballet, Carolina Voices, the Jewish Film Festival, Tosco Music Party and many more.
The Irene Blair Honeycutt Distinguished Lectureship honors Irene Blair Honeycutt, founding director of the Spring Literary Festival at CPCC and a member of the College’s faculty and staff for 37 years. Each year, the award brings a prominent author to the College to deliver a public lecture and to meet with faculty, students and area writers.
The Irene Blair Honeycutt Award for Lifetime Achievement in the Literary Arts was established in February, 2004. The Advisory Committee for CPCC’s Annual Spring Literary Festival voted to name the award after Irene Honeycutt in recognition of her advocacy of writers and for her service to the Charlotte community and to the region as Founding Director of the Festival. The award recognizes outstanding achievement in the field of literary arts, as well as community involvement in support of writers. The award is presented to a community member who is committed to the artistic life, shares skills and talents, produces exemplary art and has achieved public recognition in the art field.
The Irene Blair Honeycutt Legacy Award was established by CPCC's Literary Festival Advisory Committee to honor a community member who has contributed outstanding service in support of local and regional writers.