"S" is for Spoleto
"S" is for Spoleto. In 1977, the composer Gian Carlo Menotti, backed by the National Endowment for the Arts, chose Charleston as the home for the American counterpart of his festival in Spoleto, Italy. He ran the festival himself. When he angrily pulled out in 1993, few thought that the festival would survive. It nearly did not. But by the turn of the twenty-first century, Spoleto was flourishing. It developed a substantial endowment and an even more substantial reputation for quality, variety, innovation, and, not least, for nurturing young artists. It offered more than 120 performances, and its companion festival Piccolo Spoleto, run by the city, added more than 700 events—most of them inexpensive or free. Annually, Spoleto attracts more than 150,000 visitors and generates millions of dollars in economic output in South Carolina.