Past Comments

May Issue 2009
by Tom Starland

Our Last Color Cover - For Now

This beautiful color cover of a work by Karin Olah will be our last color cover - until the economy and the visual art community recovers - which might take longer than the recovery of the economy in general.

Now while the shouts of "Oh No!" and "Say It Ain't So, Tom" die down, understand this. It was a choice of going on with the paper in black and white or no paper at all.

Some advertisers would have gone on with color ads, but we couldn't find enough to fill the three pages besides our cover to continue for now. And, I'm not saying we won't have color again any time soon - it all depends.

Some have suggested we sell the covers, but we have never done that and will never do that. Others do it - we won't. If you are interested in doing color ads on a regular basis - give us a call.

Not Going Anywhere

Some have said the signs look like Carolina Arts is coming to an end. If you can read that, can you give me some lottery numbers?

Galleries may be closing, daily newspapers might be cutting arts coverage, our paper may get smaller, color pages may be lacking, and the head of state arts agencies may be "retiring", but I can assure you - I'm here to stay, with the help of Linda and our advertisers because I want the last word. And, I still have a lot to say. So don't go counting us out before the count of ten.

Hurricane Hugo didn't kill us, the mission accomplished guy didn't kill us and it will take a lot more than this economic downturn to kill us - so we're here until we don't want to be.

We're putting our financial house in order literally - we just survived a successful refi on our home (don't get me started) and we're making adjustments, but light can be seen down the tunnel.

For those who have suffered through a few slow months of blogging on Carolina Arts Unleashed - check it out - the tap is flowing again. There's a lot going on and I've stored up some comments on things that have happened in the last couple of months.

With A Little Help From Our Friends

Besides our advertisers, we have received some financial help from a few friends who responded to my call to "just send us some money if you like what we've been doing and would like to see us continue." It hasn't been a snowfall of checks as one contributor suggested they hoped would happen, but I want you to know every dollar means a lot to us and it made a difference when we needed it.

We never expected much considering the situation we are all in, but we wanted to acknowledge those people here with just a list of their names. There is no order to the list so don't try and make anything out of it, except that these are the people who responded to our call as of this writing.

I'm sure Linda and I are embarrassed to be in this situation as much as they are to be acknowledged, but this isn't just a business to us - it never has been.

Here are the names: Toni Elkins, Sarah E. Kuhnell, Jim Darlington Brown, Doug McAbee, Catherine & Jerry Spencer, Carol Beth Icard, Midge Peery, Linda Hudgins, Billie Sumner, and Susan Colwell.

We'll never forget their generosity and kind words sent along with their contributions.

May Is A Festive Month in SC

It all starts with the 2009 North Charleston Arts Festival, taking place in locations throughout North Charleston, SC, from May 1 - 9, 2009. The "Main Event" takes place at the North Charleston Performing Arts Center & Convention Center Complex on May 2 & 3. For a full schedule contact the North Charleston Cultural Arts Department at 843/745-1087 or at (

The 2009 POP Open Studio Tour takes place throughout Pickens, Oconee & Pendleton Counties in SC, on May 2 & 3, 2009. For info contact the Blue Ridge Arts Council at 864/882-2722 or at (

Artisphere 2009 will take place near and around the West End along Main Street and Falls Park on the Reedy River in downtown Greenville, SC, from May 8 - 10, 2009. Contact: 864/271-9398 or at (

Then comes the 11th Annual Sculpture in the South Show & Sale, at Azalea Park in Summerville, SC, on May 16 & 17, 2009. Featuring works by 35 world-class sculptors, children's activities and great barbeque. During the event, each sculptor has his own "gallery". Artists demonstrate the creative and technical processes used to make sculpture. Contact: 843/851-7800 or at (

And, of course there is the Spoleto Festival USA (May 22 - June 7) and Piccolo Spoleto Festival (May 22 - June 6) which take place in and around Charleston, SC. Spoleto has no visual art offering so it doesn't matter and as we write this commentary we have not heard directly from the City of Charleston Office of Cultural Affairs - nothing unusual there, but we did glean some info from various sources - without any help from the City. You might find some info by visiting ( or (, but the Office of Cultural Affairs is very slack on details until the festival is almost ready to start. Piccolo is something where you have to be flexible - something always pops up at the last minute.

The End/The Beginning

The last day to buy a fine work of art at the Eva Carter Gallery in downtown Charleston, SC, will be May 26, 2009. After that you'll have to drive out to The River Studio on Wadmalaw, 20 miles south of Charleston on Wadmalaw Island. I've been there for parties - it's well worth the trip to see a bit of the real Lowcountry. Carter has been painting there for years and we'll have announcements where you can buy her art in the future.

Same goes for the work of the late William Halsey and Karen Olah. But, for now, you can find Olah's work in the Piccolo Spoleto exhibit at the City Gallery at Waterfront Park in Charleston, starting May 15 and you can always find works by Halsey at Hampton III Gallery in Taylors, SC. Info about both can be found in our gallery listings.

Change We Can Believe In?

Susie Surkamer, Executive Director of the South Carolina Arts Commission will retire effective May 2, 2009 - after 35 years at the agency. Is this change we can believe in?

I'm not sure - there are still a lot of longtime employees at the Arts Commission who are responsible for the lack of good arts management and equal support for all the arts in SC. A new director may mean some change, but whoever it is, they will still be stuck with a lot of folks waiting for their retirement.

Tune in to my blog at Carolina Arts Unleashed for more on this subject on our website at (


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Carolina Arts is published monthly by Shoestring Publishing Company, a subsidiary of PSMG, Inc. Copyright© 2009 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© 2009 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.