Past Commentaries

September Issue 1999
by Tom Starland

The New Web Site

It is still amazing how many people I run into who remark that they didn't even know we had a web site. I guess I should be glad that they seem to now be aware of it. But are they? Many people who have computers still haven't hooked up to the Internet and even those who are don't do much surfing. Something like channel-surfing with a TV remote. We all know about that. The only difference here is that your standard TV has maybe 30-50 channels to surf and the Internet has millions and millions - something like 10,000 new Internet sites are added each week. Finding an individual site or page is like finding a needle in a haystack. But some people like spending hours searching for that needle.

To help you find our web site we print our address or URL (Internet talk for address or phone number) in the paper as much as we can without wasting space. ( If you have access to the Internet we'd like you to check us out, because there is so much more there than what you'll find in this paper each month. One of the more interesting features found there are color images of artwork that have been scanned (converted from a photo or slide of artwork to an electronic image). These images are still not exacting reproductions but better than the black & white images found in this paper. There are also many more articles about exhibits, more gallery listings of exhibits in North and South Carolina and from outside our area, more information for artists, and Special Features.

Special Features are items we couldn't do in the paper. Currently we're featuring a new site for the McCallum Halsey Foundation, the institution handling the artistic legacy of the late William Halsey and the still very active and very alive, Corrie McCallum. This site, still under construction currently offers some historical data about William Halsey, with some images which represent almost 70 years of creating art. Hopefully by the time you are reading this it will also include some of the same for Corrie McCallum. As time goes by, this site will offer more and more information and images by these two talented artists.

We also have another new Special Feature dealing with One Eared Cow Glass in Columbia, SC. This offering attempts to give viewers a short glance at seeing molten glass turned into works of art. As nifty as this feature is compared to a black & white newspaper article, I still recommend a visit to the glass studio for an up close look at this unique process. But in the meantime, you can get a look on our web site right from your home. We'll be adding new images and info to this site over time, but it is very informative as it is.

I guess the phrase "under construction" is pretty much the catch phrase for our web site for the rest of its life. Unlike sites that get created when someone is excited about the Internet, but then doesn't update it, our web site will always be changing and expanding - giving you a reason to check it out time and time again.

For those of you with your own web sites we will begin exchanging "hot links" to other sites with a reciprocal link on your site. Just call us and make arrangements, but this is an offer for the Visual Arts only. This goes for commercial and nonprofits alike - we don't discriminate against nonprofits the way they do against the commercial sector.

Arts Commission's 100 Artists

And, speaking of those who discriminate, I've heard that the SC Arts Commission with the SC State Museum is planning another one of their non-inclusive, non-representative, exhibits featuring 100 artists as a special millennium celebration of SC's visual arts. We've seen their other exhibits which were supposed to represent art in South Carolina - why should we expect this one to be much different? I'm sure there will be a few additions to the normal group, but I've known for over a decade about the Arts Commission's privileged 100. Out of all the talented artists in SC the Arts Commission seems to only be interested in a small group of artists. In fact, without even seeing the list of the chosen 100, I can make some pretty good guesses as to who will be included in this exhibit.

First, you can start with the art faculty members of SC's colleges and universities - they form the Arts Commission's security blanket - John Acorn, Carl Blair, Kim Chalmers, Margaret Tallon Chalmers, Robert E. Chance, Alison Collins, Jim Creal, Sydney Cross, Jamie Davis, Barbara Duval, Thomas E. Flowers, David Freeman, MacArthur Goodwin, Jean Grosser, Harry Hansen, Mana Hewitt, Steven Hewitt, Peter Lenzo, Alan MacTaggert, Cecile Martin, Paul Martyka, Paul Matheny, Larry Merriman, John Michel, Mary Mintich, Phil Moody, Philip Mullen, Jane Allen Nodine, John O'Neil, Herb Parker, Michelle Van Parys, Cliffton Peacock, Carol Pittman, Teresa Prater, Richard Rose, Boyd Saunders, Virginia Scotchie, Mark Sloan, Tom Stanley, Jinger Simkins-Stunz, Gunars Strazdins, Leo Twiggs, Michael Tyzack, Mike Vatalaro, Sam Wang, Alf Ward, and David Zacharias. (47) I expect about 50% of this show to be current or recent faculty members covering only 20-30 years of this century.

The next group of folks would die if they were not included, but don't worry they will be there - Heidi Darr-Hope, Mary Edna Fraser, Lee Malerich, and Jorge Otero. (4)

Here are some other pretty good guesses of who I expect the Arts Commission to include in their exhibit - Mary Aldwyth, Tarleton Blackwell, Russell Biles, Jeri Burdick, Clay Burnette, Sharon H. Campbell, Stephen Chesley, Jim Connell, Robert Doster, Clark Ellefson, Linda Fantuzzo, Phillip M. Garrett, Joseph Scott Goldsmith, Jonathan Green, Judy Hubbard, Mary Jackson, Nancy Jaramillo, Ellen Kochansky, Larry Lebby, Marcelo Novo, Alex Powers, Blake Praytor, Colin Quashie, Edward Rice, Edward Shmunes, Joe Walters, Thea Weiss, Manning Williams, Mike Williams, Edward Wimberly, and Winston Wingo. (30)

Here's a group of recent favorites who will probably make the cut - Debbie R. Cook, Julia Cart Day, Susan Filley, Amy Fisher, and Jack Gerstner. (5)

Some of the old guard that should, but might or might not be included - Sigmund Abeles, J. Bardin, August Cook, Jeanet S. Dreskin, William Halsey, Willard Hirsh, Robert Hunter, Darrell Koons, Edmond Lewandowski, Leo Manske, Corrie McCallum, Merton Simpson, and Edmund Yaghjian. (13)

That leaves few slots for historical figures such as - Edwin A. Harleston, Alfred Hutty, Alice Ravenel Huger Smith, Anna Heyward Taylor, Elizabeth O'Neill Verner, William Aiken Walker, and Elizabeth White. (7)

That makes 106 guesses for 100 slots. I wonder how good an average I'll have for each group? Just keep in mind that this show is supposed to represent 100 years of art and artists from South Carolina. When you see the final list ask yourself how many of these artists have been in exhibits which the Arts Commission didn't host or pay for, how many have been creating art for more than 20 years to be so significant to the century, how many haven't lived in the state for over ten years, and ask yourself how many really good artists were not included and have never been included in Arts Commission exhibits. But, then we all know that artists who sell their art can't be worthy of recognition of this kind and after all they have their money and the public's respect. Which group would you rather be in?

Don't get me wrong, I think all of the artists mentioned above are talented artists and worthy of such an honor - I'm just tired of seeing them over and over again. Perhaps in the next century the Arts Commission can showcase a different 100 artists.

McCallum - Halsey Updates

Two of my favorite subjects while doing this paper has been and continues to be reporting on activities concerning Corrie McCallum and William Halsey. After Halsey's death on Valentines Day of this year, the artist's career entered its second phase - the post years, which I expect to go on for many a decade to come. McCallum is still actively working on her first phase - the active years. At 85, she is still getting up and working on a daily basis looking forward to entering her second millennium of creativity. She could become one of those turn of the century artists spanning the 1900's and 2000's.

Both artists currently have work on exhibit in Columbia, SC. Works by McCallum are on view at City Art in the Congaree Vista area of Columbia through Sept. 18, and works by Halsey are on exhibit at the Morris Gallery on Devine Street, just off the Five Points area of Columbia through Oct. 1, as well as at the SC State Museum, located along the Congaree River in Columbia, also through Oct. 1. Galleries and museums in the Carolinas and beyond interested in exhibiting the works of these two artists, jointly or individually, can contact David Halsey at the McCallum Halsey Foundation at 843/723-5977.

People in the Charleston, SC, area can now see works by Halsey at the Eva Carter Gallery in Charleston's French Quarter District. Eva Carter was asked by the Halsey family to represent the artist in Charleston - an offer you can't refuse and one Carter jumped at instantly. William Halsey often said he felt that his work and Carter's looked well together, and I think you'll agree. And, as a side bar, the Eva Carter Gallery will also start representing steel sculptural works by Gretchen Lothrop, who had one of her works recently featured on the cover of this paper. Lothrop, a former SC artist from the Aiken area is now working out of Pittsboro, NC, but you wouldn't know that by looking at her exhibit schedule. She just finished a solo exhibit in Myrtle Beach, SC, currently is part of a group show of sculpture in North Charleston, SC, returns to Myrtle Beach for another group exhibit of sculpture in Oct., and will open another solo exhibit in Camden, SC, in Nov. And now, her work will be represented at the Eva Carter Gallery - Carter, Halsey & Lothrop - it sounds like an international law firm. This group of work should make for a very strong offering for those interested in contemporary art.

And of course, getting back to my original train of thought, you can always see both Corrie McCallum and William Halsey's works at their Charleston studio by appointment by calling 843/723-5977.

Just Not Getting The Message

How many times do you have to complain about short notice times given by the City of Charleston's Office of Cultural Affairs for juried shows for them to learn that it takes more than two or three weeks for artists to learn about these opportunities and then respond? It shouldn't take a genius to figure out that monthly publications need at least a month ahead to publish such "call for entries". Weekly publications need time and even most daily publications only report art news once a week. Even bulk mailings can take several weeks to reach mail boxes. So do you have to be a rocket scientist to figure out that for annual juried shows that take place within the same week each year that you should plan for publicity at least three months or more ahead? Even a broken clock can get the time right twice a day.

Let me offer some suggestions. Let's see, the Piccolo Spoleto Juried Art Show takes place in late May each year. A suggested deadline could be Apr. 15. That means that a call for entries should start by no later than Jan. 1. That means in print in publications or by direct mail by Jan. 1, meaning press releases have to be sent out by Dec. 1. As an editor, I've never met a "call for entry" that came too early. The same formula would work for the MOJA Arts Festival Juried Show. This year I received the the press release about the MOJA show postmarked on Aug. 5. I received it on Aug. 6, well after our Aug. issue was at the printer and in fact already on the street in Charleston. The deadline for entries was Aug. 18. Who can respond to that, especially if they have to call and have a prospectus sent to them by mail? This should be unacceptable, but it is normal operating procedure for the Office of Cultural Affairs under the direction of Ellen Dressler Moryl.

But you know something? The City of Charleston's Office of Cultural Affairs is not the only host of a juried show guilty of late notice for "call for entries". Most juried shows in the Carolinas suffer from this problem, among others. If it's not a problem with late or short notice of deadlines, it's a problem of requiring artists to deliver entries to gallery spaces to be juried and then too often make another return trip to pick up rejected works. Shipping should always be an option or shows should be juried by slides first, an then selected works can be delivered.

There are many reasons artists don't bother to enter juried shows among them being: poor exhibit spaces or exhibit spaces TBA (location to be announced later and the next thing you know the exhibit is being held at an aquarium), too high an entry fee, too little cash awards, no notice of who the juror of the show will be, jurors too close to local artists or jurors not qualified in the eyes of the artists, and one of the most popular reasons for not entering a juried show is that juried shows by nature tend to be eclectic without themes. Then there are the juried shows that seem to be obsessed with retaining reproduction rights to images entered, even those that are rejected for an exhibit. And, when you add in the problem of short notice and long distances to travel, it's no wonder artists don't submit themselves and their artwork to juried shows.

Here's an example of two well organized and worthy juried shows to enter - they may have their problems (few in my opinion), but they have evolved over the years to improve and make themselves more attractive to the artists. First, there is the SC Watercolor Society's Annual Members Juried Show. Of course you have to be a member and work in aqua-media to enter, but these people try to provide the best exhibition spaces available, they rotate the exhibit locations around the state from year to year, they provide regional collection sites around the state for delivery of entries, provide a sales opportunity for all works entered, even those not selected for the exhibit, provide national caliber jurors, have respectable cash awards, host a traveling exhibit of top winners which travels the state for a year, and send notice of call for entries giving artists ample time to respond. They have no problem getting entries.

Our second outstanding example of a good juried show is the annual SC State Fair Juried Fine Art Show (see deadline for entry in ART NEWS on page 4.) The State Fair Show requires no entry fee even though I recommend they should to offset some expenses, they show almost 500 works seen by more people than any other single exhibit in SC, present over $50,000 in cash and purchase awards, provide good regional jurors, host a traveling exhibit of top winners that also travels the state for a year, and provide ample notice of call for entries giving artists ample time to respond. Both shows mentioned purchase advertising to promote their shows and give additional notice of deadlines for entry. Incorporate the best of these two shows and you'd have a near perfect opportunity for artists - I say near perfect because you can never satisfy everyone. And, no one is asking for perfection, but to be reasonable and professional - yes.

Now you would think that if there were so many problems and dissatisfaction with juried shows that your local state art agency would take on the task of solving these problems - if not just by setting an example for others to follow or making financial incentives available for those who follow certain guidelines, but in SC, our state arts agency, the SC Arts Commission, just decided to do away with their annual open juried show. They say they gathered a group of artists together and that's what they wanted. I'm sure most of those artists are in the chosen 100.

The Arts Commission prefers to have total control over who gets in their exhibits and at the same time sends out messages in the art community that they don't like juried shows and would look with disfavor (that means cut your funding) on those gallery spaces that cooperate with such events - making it even harder for those still trying to provide quality exhibit opportunities for artists. With friends like the Arts Commission, artists in South Carolina don't need any enemies.

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


Mailing Address: Carolina Arts, P.O. Drawer 427, Bonneau, SC 29431
Telephone, Answering Machine and FAX: 843/825-3408
Subscriptions are available for $18 a year.

Carolina Arts is published monthly by Shoestring Publishing Company, a subsidiary of PSMG, Inc.
Copyright© 2000 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© 2000 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.