Established in 1977, the City of Charleston Office of Cultural Affairs (OCA) is committed to promoting and fostering excellence through artistic expression, thereby enhancing the quality of life for all of Charleston’s citizens regardless of social, economic, or physical considerations. The OCA strives to provide access to the arts for all citizens and plays an important role in producing and/or supporting programs that educate, inform, and inspire through a wide variety of cultural activities that celebrate creativity and diversity, contribute to the area’s economic development, and underscore Charleston’s reputation as an international cultural destination.
In 2008, Travel & Leisure Magazine ranked Charleston No. 7 in the Nation in the category of Arts & Cultural offerings. The Charleston Farmers Market, a project of the OCA was also ranked No. 5 in the Nation in the category of Farmers Markets in the same listing. In 2003, the City of Charleston Office of Cultural Affairs was given the prestigious Elizabeth O’Neill Verner Governor’s Award for the Arts for its ongoing outstanding service to the Lowcountry Arts Community since it was established.