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August Issue 2007

Accessibility Sumter, SC 2006

Accessibility - Sumter took a new direction for 2006. The 2006 version was a Sculpture Symposium featuring seven internationally recognized sculptors who worked in wood and stone to produce monumental sculptures on the grounds of the Sumter County Cultural Center, in Sumter, SC. The Symposium started on Oct. 2 and ended with a celebration on Oct. 19, 2006. The seven international sculptors worked in a public forum in the Sumter community for the duration of the Symposium providing many unique opportunities for the public to gain insight into the "process" of sculpture and for social interaction with the visiting artists. See the artists at work.

Participating artists included: Toomas Altnurme (Tallinn, Estonia), Paty Sonville (Brussels, Belgium), Emil Adamec (Sedliste, Czech Republic), Bart Shigeru Uchida (Canada/Boston, MA), Cesar Persi Narvaez (Lima, Peru), Matthew Terry (France/Belmont, MA), and Nora Valdez (Argentina) who is also the Symposium Curator. David Sanders of Sumter, SC, is acting as the Symposium Director. See the artists' sculptures.

Peruvian artist, Cesar Persi Narvaez Machicao was officially designated as a special Cultural Ambassador from Peru for the Symposium and was the featured artist in an exhibition of his work at the Sumter County Cultural Center gallery for the duration of the Symposium.

The concept of a "Symposium" is a gathering of like-minded individuals to discuss particular topics. Sculpture Symposia have been held in countries all over the world for many decades, yet few are held in the USA. The exciting aspect of a Sculpture Symposium is that art is not only discussed - art is actually created. During the Sumter International Sculpture Symposium, twenty-four tons of Illinois limestone and large trunks of native Cypress and Cedar were sculpted on the grounds of the Sumter County Cultural Center for 17 days. Eight professional sculptors from Europe, South America and Sumter, chipped, cut and carved monumental sculptures from stone and wood. At the conclusion of the Symposium the sculptures will remain permanently on the grounds of the Sumter County Cultural Center and become part of Sumter's public art collection.

Student's Sculptures

Sumter's annual Accessibility events have historically featured a comprehensive education component that included: an in-school artist residency, lectures, films, demonstrations and panel discussions. Accessibility 2006: The Sumter International Sculpture Symposium featured a twenty day in-school residency in Sumter-area schools by two of the visiting international artists, an "Artists' Apprentice" program, which provided opportunities for area college and university art students to actually assist the Symposium artists in creating their sculptures, and a Columbia, SC-based lecture/film series sponsored by the Columbia Museum of Art. The students involved with the Symposium's in-school residency collaborated to produce several artworks which will be displayed in the public "sculpture garden", located at the Sumter County Cultural Center. The Accessibility education component provided opportunities for area students to learn and perform traditional dance and music from the countries of the participating artists. The Symposium also provided a unique setting in which to learn, develop and apply foreign language skills. Symposium educators and directors provided the opportunity for SC university and college level art students to assist the visiting international sculptors during their participation in the Sumter International Sculpture Symposium. Art students from USC Sumter, USC Columbia, Winthrop University, Francis Marion University, Columbia College, Coker College and College of Charleston were invited to participate through a unique "Artist Apprentice" program that provided the opportunity for SC art students to live and work with the visiting international artists.

Generally, Public Art is done privately in artists' studios, and then installed for public viewing when completed. During the Sumter International Sculpture Symposium, all the work was done in full view at the Cultural Center, which gives the general public an idea of how large stone and wood sculptures are actually made. The public, and particularly students, were encouraged to visit the work site to watch the sculptures emerge from the raw, natural stone and wood. Accessibility organizers hoped that at the end of the Symposium the general public developed a better appreciation and understanding of the process of creating a sculptural work of art. It is also hoped that the completed sculptures significantly add another intriguing element to Sumter's "public spaces" and already beautiful environment.

For further info contact Martha Greenway, Executive Director, Sumter International Sculpture Symposium at 803/436-2260 or e-mail at (patriot_hall@sumtercountysc.org) or Booth Chilcutt, Accessibility 2006 Education Coordinator at 803/436-2616 or e-mail at (bchilcutt@sumter-sc.com) or visit (www.sumteraccessibility.com).

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