In 1993, Central Piedmont Community College launched its Spring Literary Festival. Founded by poet and long-time English faculty member Irene Blair Honeycutt, the literary festival celebrated local and regional talent and brought to the College renowned and prize-winning writers, including Yusef Komunyakaa, Li-Young Lee, Natasha Trethewey, and Ron Rash.
In 2006, the Spring Literary Festival was renamed Sensoria, reflecting its expansion outward from literature into the wide variety of events now offered that celebrate Central Piedmont’s curriculum and student engagement programs. The 70 to 100 co-curricular events of the festival fall into four tracks:
Arts & Design;
History & Culture;
Leadership & Service; and
Science & Technology.
Daytime events are scheduled to correspond with classes, and faculty bring entire classes for once-in-a-lifetime engagement with leaders and models of success, with excellent performances and experiential, interactive presentations. Classes engage with the material in their classes before and after Sensoria. Events are tagged to identify and filter by relevant classes and student engagement programs, from English to Accounting, from Biology to Graphic Design, from Student Life to Service Learning, and much more. Each year, 2,000+ students participate in Sensoria, and 7,000+ attend events, alongside thousands more community members and students from neighboring schools.
Students are encouraged to attend both day and night events, and, with the exceptions of some ticketed performances, events are free and open to the public. All events are free for students. Past participants have included Pulitzer Prize winning photojournalist John H. White, U.S. Poet Laureates Kay Ryan and Tracy K. Smith, Little Diversified Architects, Joffrey School of Ballet, the Jewish Film Festival, and many more.
Irene Blair Honeycutt Distinguished Lectureship and Awards
The Irene Blair Honeycutt Distinguished Lectureship and Awards honor Honeycutt, poet and founding director of the Spring Literary Festival and member of the College’s faculty and staff for 37 years. Each year, the Lectureship brings a prominent national or international author to the College to deliver two public lectures, one during a daytime class period and one in the evening, along with a master class for students.
The Irene Blair Honeycutt Awards for Lifetime Achievement in the Literary Arts and for Legacy were established in 2004. The awards recognize outstanding achievement in the field of literary arts and outstanding contribution in service and support of local and regional writers, respectively.