Past Comments

April Issue 2004
by Tom Starland

Happy Birthday Corrie

On the 90th anniversary of my birth I fully expect to be providing nutrients for dandelions and crab-grass. While Corrie McCallum is celebrating her 90th Birthday, planning is going on for the latest retrospective of her works to be seen at the new Sumter Gallery of Art in Sumter, SC. The exhibition titled, Corrie McCallum: A Retrospective, will be presented from May 18 through July 31, 2004.

This exhibition will be sort of a homecoming for Corrie, in that she was born in Sumter in 1914. This will be the first time a major exhibition of her works from throughout her art career will be shown in her hometown. A few years back, Corrie had some of her fine art print work exhibited at the old Sumter Gallery of Art, which was housed in the historic Elizabeth White House, the home of her cousin, who was also an artist.

Corrie began her art career in Sumter as a child recovering from tuberculosis. She would draw illustrations for stories her uncle would read to her. She eventually went to art school at the University of South Carolina and the Boston Museum School of Fine Art.

In 1936, Corrie was the director of a gallery space in Columbia, SC, for the WPA/Federal Art Project. In 1939, Corrie married a fellow art student by the name of William Melton Halsey. The couple went to Mexico when Halsey won an art travel fellowship.

During the next few decades, Corrie made a home for her husband, raised three children, held numerous teaching positions at art schools, art museums, and several colleges - and when she found time - created art.

In 1968, it was time to do something for herself. Corrie applied for a grant from a Charleston foundation and decided to travel - by herself - to places like Iran, India, Bali, and Cambodia. The trip provided her years of inspiration.

In 1979, once the children were on their own and she felt it was time to retire from teaching, Corrie felt it was time to get to work - full time. And, boy did she work. She and her husband lived to get up in the morning, go off to their separate studios, and create.

In 1999, she lost her life-long partner. Although it was a devastating loss, as with every other challenge handed to Corrie, she took on the future as another adventure and opportunity to create. She doesn't create that much work these days, but she still wants to know what everyone else is doing and what's going on in the art world.

Corrie has done it all - made art, exhibited art, taught art, won awards and accolades for her contributions and at the same time managed to be a great friend, wife and mother.

On her 90th birthday, I'm not surprised that she is the queen of Charleston's and South Carolina's art community and I won't be surprised to see what might come next. I've been honored to know her and thank her for all the history and adventures she has shared with me and our readers.

Happy birthday Corrie and I wish you as many more as you want.

Short Takes

Signs of spring are showing throughout "most" of the Carolinas. Some areas might still be in the grips of winter and some are already heading into summer, but by far this has been the coldest delivery season I have seen in the last ten years. Snow and ice everywhere has been my constant worry. Bring on the heat! This year I'm finally ready.

Our next issue (May 2004) is usually our biggest of the year due to the Spoleto Festival season in Charleston, SC. We'll be jam-packed with ads and articles about all kinds of exhibitions and there will be lot about exhibits all over the Carolinas - make sure we have yours. I also expect to be talking about the biggest exhibit that "didn't" happen in Charleston - or did it. The Thresholds exhibit was a two-month long exhibition hosted by five state arts agencies for a national gathering of state art agencies in Charleston. It was probably one of the best contemporary art exhibitions to be seen in Charleston - in some time, but did anyone see it?

Much like planning a wedding for two years and then forgetting to send out the invitations - this was an exhibition that very few, other than those people attending that national conference, - witnessed its existence. Of course, unlike the tree that falls in the forest - there is a very expensive catalog to prove that it did take place.


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