Past Comments

January Issue 2005
by Tom Starland

Triennial Update

After I criticized the SC State Museum for sending out a press release that hardly mentioned the artists participating in the TRIENNIAL 2004 exhibition, we received "three" press releases that included info about the artists - of course past our deadline. It's hard to comment about the future.

Why three separate press releases? Well the PR folks at the Museum play into the theory that the people in South Carolina are only interested in the people who come from one of the three areas SC is broken into - Lowcountry, Midlands, and Upstate - or at least they think the state's media outlets are only interested in news items about local people. In the case of the TRIENNIAL 2004 exhibit it was a breakdown of what college or university the participants came from - College of Charleston, USC, and Clemson. Sprinkle in a few folks from Winthrop and Coker and you have the TRIENNIAL exhibition - any TRIENNIAL exhibition.

Not one of the three press releases included the full lists of artists in the exhibit, as if people would only want to know about those from their area who we included in the exhibit. Of course they learned that from us. But believe me or not - we don't have as much readership as some of those other media outlets in SC. Really!

Of course I'm forgetting that everyone in the state's visual arts community will be heading to see this exhibit - dying to see the exhibit that represents the best of our art community - the exhibit which is a reflection of art being produced in our state. So why worry about a list of participating artists. And, then there is that exhibition catalogue which will be distributed throughout the state. That document will have a complete list of participants - I'm sure.

Anyway it's a shame that SC has to be constantly broken down into three areas. People in SC have no interest or pride in the state as a whole. It's like cheering for USC vs. Clemson - where's the pride there?

So I guess it's easy to see why a state facility would break down the state into sections when it does publicity about exhibits.

2005 - Marks 18 Years

This January starts the 18th year of Shoestring Publishing doing an arts newspaper. In 1987, we started Charleston Arts. In 1995, we published South Carolina Arts and in 1997 started Carolina Arts. It's our ninth year of covering the two states. We weathered hurricanes, inflation, recession, 2YK, the Reagan Legacy, President Bubba, two generations of Bushes and reality TV. What next? Personally, I'm in it for 20 years. Then I think I'm on parole for a few more years, but I'm not counting on any reductions for good behavior.

Let us know what you'd like to see in Carolina Arts this year - we just might do what you suggest. But don't count on us fulfilling all your suggestions. Sorry.

Government Moves Like a Glacier

A few months ago I received a call from Scott English, Policy Advisor, for Governor Mark Sanford. He was calling to let me know that they were aware of our interest in what was going to be done about the SC Arts Commission setting themselves up as an arts broker in the state for important private businesses and individuals.

At the time we talked, the Governor had not received a report he asked for on the issue from the Arts Commission. I guess they're dragging their feet, even after they rushed to get comments from commercial gallery owners during the summer. They moved so fast to have those meetings that there were more Arts Commission staff and board members than gallery owners. Not many people they invited showed up. They didn't get a lot of advance notice to leave their businesses and go to Columbia.

To date we have no official word from the Governor's office, but the conversation I had with English led me to believe that the Governor was of the same opinion I was - is this a service the Arts Commission is going to offer everyone who requests it? I don't think so. So why do it for the rich and famous? Well that's a stupid question - mine not the Governor's.

In recent weeks the Governor has proven that he is not going to put up with state agencies and their boards who don't want to play on his team. Just ask any of the ex-board members of Santee Cooper and their chief executive - who all "retired" recently. The Governor is making it clear that no state agency is going to have a life of its own outside the realm of the state as a whole. This could be a big problem for the SC Arts Commission. But, all in all - they are still small potatoes, as far as statewide politics go. We'll see what happens this year in the restructuring process.

Four Corners of the Arts?

Charleston, SC, has its Four Corners of the Law - featuring the intersection of Broad and Meeting Streets in Charleston which has a city hall, a county building, federal building and a church. Thus - Four Corners of Law.

Charleston's visual art community now has its own Four Corners - sort of. At the intersection of Queen and State Streets you will find: Smith Killian Fine Art, the new Fraser - Fox Fine Art (West Fraser's new gallery), the moved and renamed Horton Hayes Fine Art (formerly Bernie Horton Gallery) and although it's not located on the corner - just two doors down is Nina Liu and Friends gallery.

You'll find many more galleries in any direction you go, but this might be considered the "center" of Charleston's downtown gallery scene. From this center you can fan out in any direction and run into any of the 60-70 art galleries - all within walking distance. And it's easier to walk to another gallery in Charleston than find another parking space.

Only someone who was foolish enough to deliver newspapers to each gallery would try to do it all in one day, but you can do it - and some. But, I would recommend taking your time and several days. There are lots of other neat things to see in-between.

Call For Entries - Now on Web Only

If you've been looking for our regular section of Call For Entries and Opportunities listings - you won't find it in this paper. From now on all these items can be found on our website at ( This way we can add them as we get them giving people more time to respond.

It also gives us more room to fit in dated articles. Until next time.

[ | What got printed | What didn't get printed | What no one would talk about | Past Commentaries | Home | ]


Carolina Arts is published monthly by Shoestring Publishing Company, a subsidiary of PSMG, Inc.
Copyright© 2005 by PSMG, Inc., which published Charleston Arts from July 1987 - Dec. 1994 and South Carolina Arts from Jan. 1995 - Dec. 1996. It also publishes Carolina Arts Online, Copyright© 2005 by PSMG, Inc. All rights reserved by PSMG, Inc. or by the authors of articles. Reproduction or use without written permission is strictly prohibited. Carolina Arts is available throughout North & South Carolina.