What’s Going on in Lake City, SC?

July 18th, 2016

jones-carter-gallery-logo

Last week just before I was shutting down my computer for another thunderstorm coming through Bonneau Beach, the headquarters of Shoestring Publishing Company, I got a Facebook message from one of my “Facebook Friends” wondering what was going on in Lake City, SC? What they wanted to know was when was I going to be getting around to my follow up on the 2016 ArtFields event.

As to their direct question – I had no idea what if anything was going on in Lake City. I’m officially still waiting for answers to my questions I asked them on the day I learned that they had asked Hannah Davis to resign. I wanted to know the numbers on attendance and how many people registered to vote and then how many voted for the awards. Still no call back on those questions and I’ve been lead to believe I’ll never get that call because of my remarks about them dumping Hannah Davis as Director of ArtFields and the Jones-Carter Gallery.

Apparently I’m not entitled to answers to my questions or my opinions about their staff moves. Remember, their response to why they were asking Davis for her resignation was that ArtFields was going in a different direction. And, my response to that was, after four years of such musical chairs at leadership – whatever that direction was – it would be without me – one, if not their best cheerleader.

So, ArtFields, the Jones-Carter Gallery and Lake City have been off my radar, and most of everyone else’s radar for the last 3 months. I can hear the crickets chirping in Lake City all the way from here in Bonneau Beach.

In checking their social media and websites I didn’t find much that would bring anyone new to ArtFields or Lake City. They were making their usual effort – not much. After all the next ArtFields isn’t until April 2017. What’s the hurry?

With ArtFields’ poor retention rate for artists who entered one year but never enter again and one less cheerleader I would be a little concerned about taking so much time off before I started trying to get artists and visitors geared up for the next event.

But I did find something interesting on one of the websites – the Jones-Carter Gallery website. I want you to check this link out (http://www.jonescartergallery.com/contact/index.html). This page still shows Hannah Davis as Director of the Jones-Carter Gallery and gives an e-mail for her. Much like when I first called back in May to talk with Davis the person on the phone said she wasn’t in, but when I pressed a little further they told me she was no longer with ArtFields or the Jones-Carter Gallery – that she had resigned. And, I still say there is a big difference between resigning and being asked to resign.

Why is Davis still being listed as Director on the Jones-Carter Gallery website? Is it deception or incompetence?

In close inspection it seems the folks now running the Jones-Carter Gallery are unable to update their website info. Under Exhibitions they list their current exhibit as “MASTERWORKS The Artists of the South Carolina Cotton Trail” – an exhibit which ended on March 5, 2016. They have the wrong title for their current exhibit and who knows what else is wrong.

My experience is that when you see info that is not updated on a site you tend to ignore or mistrust everything else offered. Davis is still listed as the contact on the Artists page. There are only six pages on the site – how hard would it be to update the info? Out of the six pages four have incorrect info on them.

Now I’ll admit that the Carolina Arts website will have some incorrect info on it but we have thousands of pages on our site and the most current will have updated info. But none of them list staff members who no longer work for us.

I’m sure once the folks in Lake City hear about this post they will be scrambling to make the corrections – if they can – if they know how. So check it out now before they act.

It is my opinion that Hannah Davis was one of the few people who knew what she was doing at ArtFields and the Jones-Carter Gallery and this is just another example of who’s running things now that they have pushed her out.

As far as commenting on the 2016 ArtFields – I’m not ready for that just yet. I’m still cooling down from the news that they asked the future of ArtFields to resign just as it was getting good. I invested four years into ArtFields and it’s going to take time to get over it, but I will.

If you missed my first reaction to ArtFields’ 2016 blunder – here’s the link to my blog about ArtFields’ “letting go” of Hannah Davis (http://carolinaarts.com/wordpress/2016/05/16/wtf-artfields/).

A Trip to Charleston, SC, When the Temps Were Over 100 Degrees to Pay Respect to a Gutsy Artist – Dr. Leo Twiggs

July 15th, 2016

citygallerywaterfront

Last Friday, on July 8, 2016, I traveled down to Charleston, SC, from the headquarters of Shoestring Publishing Company in Bonneau, SC, to go to a reception for the exhibit, Requiem for Mother Emanuel, featuring nine works by Dr. Leo Twiggs, on view at the City Gallery at Joseph P. Riley, Jr. Waterfront Park, through July 31, 2016. It was already 100 degrees when I left the house. Going to Charleston was the last thing I wanted to do that afternoon, but I had to. It was a matter of paying respect to an artist who well deserved it. Later on, the heat index would reach 110 and it felt like every bit of that and more.

I first met Dr. Twiggs at a special lunch set up by the Gibbes Museum of Art, back in the 90’s when they were showing an exhibit of photographs by W. Eugene Smith on his landmark photo essay, ‘Nurse Midwife’ Maude Callen, published in LIFE magazine in Dec. 1951. Back then I was still known as “somebody” in the Charleston photography community and I lived in Berkeley County where Maude Callen did her work. Dr. Twiggs was from St. Stephens, SC, in Berkeley County where Callan operated out of a small clinic.

I’ve never really talked with Dr. Twiggs since, but we have covered many an exhibit of his works throughout the years at institutional art spaces and commercial galleries in our publications South Carolina Arts and now Carolina Arts. In fact I loved every opportunity we got to show one of his works with the Confederate battle flag in it. I truly enjoy publishing works by a black man using that flag as a recurring symbol in his art.

And just like any day I go anywhere outside the area I live in, on Friday as I left to go to Charleston I had to drive past four Confederate flags flying in people’s front yards in my neighborhood.

I have no personal connection to the Civil War so it shouldn’t matter to me whether that flag flies anywhere, but I’ve grown to hate what it stands for today. Don’t give me that line about heritage – I’m not buying it. When I first arrived in SC I would often get asked which side my family was on – North or South. Being from Michigan, many assumed I was one of those carpetbaggin’ Yankees, but my relatives weren’t even in the US when the Civil War took place. They where trying to get out from under the boots of Russian Czars and British rulers and they didn’t make it out until after the turn of the century.

I’ve lived in South Carolina for 42 years and I never thought that the Confederate flag would come down off the SC State House grounds, much less the State House, but a stupid kid who thought he was a Johnny Reb who killed nine people while they were at a bible study class brought it down. Who would have thought that? Not me.

I’m not going to go into what’s behind Dr. Twiggs work or the work in this exhibit, the gallery has a film you can watch about that and a nice exhibit catalog which you can read his words on his work. You don’t need to hear my interpretation. But you should go see this exhibit.

716chas-city-gallery-gallery-scene

Here’s some information the gallery provided about this exhibition: Requiem for Mother Emanuel brings together nine new works by Leo Twiggs, created in commemoration of the nine victims who lost their lives on June 17, 2015 at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church. A video produced exclusively for this exhibition will feature the personal commentary of Twiggs, who shares his artistic vision and gives tribute to the extreme grace displayed by the Mother Emanuel family.

716chas-city-gallery-couple-looking

“This series has been the most difficult I have ever done,” says Leo Twiggs. “Some of the members of Mother Emanuel are close to my family. No series has been more painful or personal. I want people to look at my works and know that something tragic happened in a Church . . .  that a horrible thing happened in a Church that changed lives. My paintings are testimonies to the nine who were slain. But I also record another moment: our state’s greatest moment . . . a response that moved us from tragedy to redemption. For one shining moment we looked at each other not as different races but as human beings. From the City Gallery I can see the docks where the ships came in carrying my ancestors. Through the decades many of them worshiped at Mother Emanuel. Hopefully, we will not forget but will remember that moment that brought us all together.”

716chas-city-gallery--Dr.-Twiggs
Dr. Leo Twiggs (center)

One of the symbols that Twiggs has used in his paintings since the 1970’s is the Confederate Flag. The flag becomes a reoccurring symbol in the Requiem series as it is splashed across the surface of the Church. The flag morphs from a recognizable symbol to a disintegrating form that becomes a cross on a blood stained background and then changes to a cross with the red drained from it. The target and the symbol nine also appear in this series. There is a definite visual transition in the sixth painting as Twiggs recalls the afternoon he entered the Church and stood in front of the stained glass window.

716chas-city-gallery-Twiggs-Film
People watching the film about Dr. Twiggs and the making of this exhibit.

I also want to mention that this exhibit was made possible with the help of the Hampton III Gallery in Taylors, SC, (Greenville area) that is one of the galleries in SC which represents Dr. Twiggs’ work. Also, if you don’t live in the Charleston area or can’t get there in time to see this exhibit, that I understand it will be traveling to other parts of SC. Stay tuned into to Carolina Arts for more info on that.

716chas-city-gallery-Twiggs-talk
Dr. Twiggs giving a short talk at the reception.

As I mentioned in a Facebook post after attending the reception, the crowd there was a Who’s Who of the SC visual art community. The director of the SC Arts Commission and staff members where there, City of Charleston officials and staff members, institutional and commercial gallery owners and directors, artists, and other folks involved in the visual arts, as well as members of the Mother Emanuel family. They were all there to pay respect to one of SC’s most talented artist and one who was not afraid to use symbols of SC’s racial history in his works.

Now you can go and pay your respects to the artist and see the works he made in commemoration of the nine victims.

The City Gallery at Joseph P. Riley, Jr. Waterfront Park is located at 34 Prioleau Street in downtown Charleston, SC, and gallery hours of operation are Tuesday through Friday, 10am until 6pm, Saturday and Sunday, noon until 5pm.

For more information and holiday closures, visit (http://citygalleryatwaterfrontpark.com) or call 843/958-6484.

The July 2016 Issue of “Carolina Arts” is Now Ready to Download

July 1st, 2016

716carolinarts-cover

The July 2016 issue of Carolina Arts is up on our website at (http://www.carolinaarts.com/716/716carolinaarts.html) – all 59 pages of it.

So download that PDF and dig in – it makes for good reading and shows that you have lots of opportunities to enjoy the visual arts in the Carolinas. And, don’t forget to find a way to thank our advertisers – they make the paper possible.

And help us spread the paper around by sending this link to your friends.

If you want to get something in the August 2016 issue – send it now or as soon as you can. Don’t wait till the July 24 deadline. You do know you can be early. Some folks are already several months ahead of the deadline when their press release would be due.

Thanks – Tom and Linda Starland
Carolina Arts
843/693-1306 (a new number)
info@carolinaarts.com

The June 2016 Issue of “Carolina Arts” is Now Ready to Download

June 1st, 2016

616cover-carolinaarts

The June 2016 issue of Carolina Arts is up on our website at (http://www.carolinaarts.com/616/616carolinaarts.html) – all 67 pages of it.

So download that PDF and dig in – it makes for good reading and shows that you have lots of opportunities to enjoy the visual arts in the Carolinas. And, don’t forget to find a way to thank our advertisers – they make the paper possible.

And help us spread the paper around by sending this link to your friends.

If you want to get something in the July 2016 issue – send it now or as soon as you can. Don’t wait till the June 24 deadline. You do know you can be early. Some folks are already several months ahead of the deadline when their press release would be due.

July begins our 30th year of publishing info about the visual arts in South Carolina and now the Carolinas.

Thanks – Tom and Linda Starland
Carolina Arts
843/693-1306 (a new number)
info@carolinaarts.com

WTF ArtFields©?

May 16th, 2016

So I get a press release from the BIG deal Columbia, SC, marketing agency that ArtFields© hired this year. What a mistake – it’s full of misstatements about the amount of works on display and using words like Honorable Mention for the Merit Awards. It’s like they copied a press release from a few years ago. It also mentions that attendance was up this year – a statement that came from Hannah Davis, director of ArtFields© and director of the Jones-Carter Gallery in Lake City, SC. I know they keep track of everyone who comes through the door at the gallery so they would have a good idea if more people came through the door this year compared to last year and the year before that. I wanted to know if it was 5% more, 10% more, or whatever it was. So I e-mailed Davis to get that figure so I could talk about it in my commentary in our June 2016 issue of Carolina Arts.

All month long I’m worry about whether I’m meeting my self-imposed deadlines so the publication will get done, so when I didn’t get an e-mail answer I called the gallery. Of course they don’t have an exhibit right now so I left a message when no one answered. After no response to that message I called the ArtFields© office in Lake City. The person who answered the phone said Davis wasn’t in – was there anything they could do for me? I told them about my e-mail, that I had left a message at the gallery and needed these figures real soon. They said they would see about getting them to me. Before I hung up I asked if Davis would be back in today and that’s when this person told me that Davis was no longer with ArtFields©.

After the explosion in my brain was over I said you’re kidding me. They said no – she resigned. And, that was the end of our conversation.

For the next ten minutes I’m sitting in a state of Deja Vu thinking it was last year all over again when Ray McBride, the previous director told me he was leaving ArtFields© on the last day of the festival. He said he had another opportunity, but I knew he was bailing on ArtFields© for some reason. McBride was a good organizer and manager but he didn’t know the visual arts community.

I just couldn’t believe Davis would resign – I was at ArtFields© four days this year and all we talked about was the future of ArtFields© and hopefully changes that would be made. At no time did Davis mention she had another job offer, that she was sick of ArtFields©, or she was leaving the area because her husband got a job in another city. This just didn’t sound right.

It took a day to find someone I knew who had a phone number for Davis and I called. She told me she was asked to resign. That’s a lot different then leaving something on your own. I asked the logical question – why? Davis told me the answer she got was that ArtFields© was going in a different direction. My mind explodes for the second time asking what direction was that? She had no idea.

Making Davis the director of ArtFields© was one of the smartest ideas the leaders in Lake City had done in four years and in just a little over a couple of months after that smart move, they made the biggest mistake in ArtFields© short history by forcing her to resign. Whatever direction they are going in they will be doing it without me and I was one of their biggest cheerleaders. Oh they can buy other cheerleaders, but will they tell you the truth or will they just stay on script? Saying what you’re paid to say.

I haven’t heard anything back from ArtFields© about those increases in attendance numbers, and I’m not sure I ever will. Other than Hannah Davis and Ray McBride – I haven’t gotten any speedy responses from others at ArtFields©. I’m not sure they would have told me where Davis was unless I asked if she would be in later that day.

For four years I’ve looked the other way when it came to ArtFields© and its secrets about attendance and the number of votes their award winners received – hoping that this event would turn into something good for the Carolina visual art community. I’ve had my complaints, but always offered suggestions for improvements. We (Carolina Arts) donated advertising so they could keep their name out there all year long instead of just a few months out of the year. I’ve traveled to Lake City more than anywhere else in the last four years trying to keep a spotlight on this community that said it wanted to be an arts destination. But as things sit right now – I’m done. The wrong people are calling the shots in Lake City and I don’t think they’ll ever get it right. I don’t care how much money Darla Moore has, it looks like ArtFields© will always be just a small town juried show with big cash awards going to a ever smaller group of regional artists.

And, oh yes, there will be more about this to come.

I’d like to hear what other people think about this. As always, all comments are off the record – unless you want to be heard. Call 843/693-1306 or e-mail to (info@carolinaarts.com).

P.S. If someone is looking to fill some position in the visual arts with a highly qualified person – Hannah Davis is available right now. I wouldn’t wait too long to make her an offer. Is anybody listening in Florence, SC?

And Unplanned Trip to See a Couple of Exhibits Presented During the North Charleston Arts Fest in North Charleston, SC

May 4th, 2016

north-charleston-arts-festival-logo

I had to go to North Charleston, SC, to give some blood for my next Doctor’s visit and after they were through sucking blood out of me I decided since I was half way there that I could go check out the “15th Annual South Carolina Palmetto Hands Fine Craft Competition & Exhibition” on view at the North Charleston Performing Arts Center & Convention Center Complex. The exhibit will be up through May 6, 2016. It’s part of the 34th North Charleston Arts Fest taking place throughout North Charleston through May 7, 2016. That’s this weekend so this little blog post has to be quick and dirty, well it’s not dirty, but that’s the saying.

I had gotten frustrated with the exhibits presented during the North Charleston Arts Fest, not because of the quality of the work, but mostly on how the works are presented. Take this craft show, it was being presented in Exhibit Hall A where the lights are about 30-40 feet up and they only had a third of the light turned on. Some works are shown in complete darkness. Sure your eyes adjust to the lack of light and my phone’s camera made adjustments, but they should have all the lights on during this exhibit.

I just choose a few things to photograph and it will be easy to see the problems of photographing behind class and in a big dark room.

516n-chas-art-fest-Tom-Boozer“Fellowship” by Tom Boozer of Yonges Island, SC, won Best of Show and will be in the Traveling Show.

516n-chas-art-fest-Patz-Fowle“Boot Scoot” by Patz Fowle of Hartsville, SC, won one of two special merit awards and will be in the Traveling Show.

516n-chas-art-fest-Tanya-Graig“Gameboard” by Tanya Craig of Charleston, SC

A description of this show follows: Fine craft artists from across the state will display inspiring objects in the media of clay, fiber, glass, metal, wood, and three-dimensional mixed media in this 15th annual juried competition and exhibition. Following the close of the exhibition, up to 25 works from the show will go on to tour the state through the South Carolina State Museum’s 2016/2017 Traveling Exhibitions Program. Selections for the exhibit, as well as the subsequent traveling show, were made by the juror, internationally exhibiting contemporary silversmith Kaminer Haislip.

516n-chas-art-fest-Janet-Kozachek“Rattle in Shape of a Cat” by Janet Kozachek of Orangeburg, SC

516n-chas-art-fest-Ron-Hodge“Patience” by Ron Hodge of Bluffton, SC

In viewing this exhibit I noticed something new right away. They have upgraded their signage giving much more info about the artist. I could now see where the artist was from in South Carolina and read some details about the artist. I’ve been nagging Marty Besancon, the Director of the City of North Charleston Cultural Arts Department about signage of the visual art exhibits and their placement for years – to the point that I said I would report on the shows if the signage stayed the same. But I always had to go look to see if anything changed.

Besancon has built this festival from a one-day event in Park Circle to now nine days offering nearly 200 events throughout the city. But I felt she was coasting when it came to these exhibits as nothing would change from year to year as to how they were presented.

Well, Besancon has retired and the new Director, Kyle Lahm has made some changes although only being on the job since Dec. 2015. And, I guess there has been a bit of a turnover in the Department’s staff too. Fresh blood, with new eyes may lead to more changes (improvements I hope).

I had vowed to not look at the Fine Art Show until the ID tags were moved from the bottom of the artworks to the top or the side where you could see them without having to crawl on the floor to read them, but one look at Bob Graham’s First Place ribbon for the Drawing category and I had to check it out. There were a lot of the same folks taking the ribbons – year after year and a few new entries. I’m still boycotting this exhibit, but I did photograph two images. One, Bob Graham’s First Place winning entry in Drawing and a surprise work by a long-time friend in the arts, Patsy Tidwell-Painton – one of the first supporters of, what was then Charleston Arts almost 30 years ago. I never forget our supporters.

516n-char-art-fest-Bob-Graham
“Strike of an Eye” by Bob Graham of Mt, Pleasant, SC, won First Place for Drawing

516n-chas-art-fest-Patsy-Tudwell-Painton“R 2 D2’s Friend” by Patsy Tidwell-Painton of Charleston, SC

Hurry up and go see these shows if you’re interested – they’re only up through Friday, May 6, 2016.

For further information call the City of North Charleston Cultural Arts Department at 843/740-5854, visit (http://www.northcharleston.org/Residents/Arts-and-Culture) or visit (http://northcharlestonartsfest.com/).

Officials Announce the Final Batch of Award Winners from the ArtFields© 2016 Competition in Lake City, SC

May 3rd, 2016

artFields-colorbands-and-logo

Editor’s Note: The images provided here are from the ArtFields© website of the entries made. They do not all represent the final presentations in Lake City. I have some photos of final works on display, but to show them would not be fair to all the artists.

We have the final announcement of awards given at ArtFields© 2016, which took place from Apr. 22 – 30, 2016, in Lake City, SC.

The Roots Award which goes to an established artist was awarded to Aron Belka of New Orleans, LA. Belka will have an exhibit at the Jones-Carter Gallery in Lake City, SC, from Sept. 17, 2016 to Oct. 29, 2016.

516artfields-winners-Aron-Belka3

The Bloom Award which goes to an emerging artist was awarded to Meredith Dallas of Rock Hill, SC. Dallas will have an exhibit at the Jones-Carter Gallery in Lake City, SC, from Nov. 12, 2016 to Jan. 7, 2017.

516artfields-exhbit-bloom-Meredith-Dallas

The Solo Exhibition Award presented by Florence Regional Arts Alliance was awarded to IlaSahai Prouty of Bakersville, NC. Prouty will have an exhibit at the Waters Gallery of The Florence Museum in Florence, SC, from June 28 to Oct. 2, 2016.

516artfields-exhibits-florence-IlsSahai-Prouty

Congratulations to Artfields© Portrait Contest 1st place $1,000 prize winner, Emmanuel Ogbonna.

516artfields-portrait-contest

Congrats to all the winners, Hers’s looking forward to next year’s ArtFields© event.

For more info visit (www.artfieldssc.org).

Officials Announce the Winners of the ArtFields© 2016 Competition in Lake City, SC

May 1st, 2016

artFields-colorbands-and-logo

Editor’s Note: The images provided here are from the ArtFields© website of the entries made. They do not all represent the final presentations in Lake City. I have some photos of final works on display, but to show them would not be fair to all the artists.

516artfields-winners-Charles-Clary1

ArtFields© 2016 (Apr. 22-30, 2016) in Lake City, SC, has announced most of its winners from their forth competition including Charles Clary of Conway, SC, who was given the top $50,000 award for his work “Be Kind Rewind”. This award was selected by the jury panel from the top 50 works that received the most votes from those folks who came to Lake City to view the art, registered to vote and actually voted for the works they liked the most.

516artfields-winners-Brent-Pafford2

Brent Pafford of Clemson, SC, was given the Jury Prize, of $25,000 for “Remember This As A Time Of Day”. This award was selected by the jury panel with no consideration of votes received.

516artfields-winners-Aron-Belka3

Aron Belka of New Orleans, LA, was given the 2-D People’s Choice award of $12,500 for “Contact Tracing”. This award was determined by receiving the most votes from those registered to vote.

516artfields-winners-Jocelyn-Chateauvert4

Jocelyn Chateauvert of Charleston, SC, was given the 3-D People’s Choice award of $12,500 for “Invasive Species”. Also determined by receiving the most votes by those registered to vote.

All of these works will join the ArtFields© collection, which can usually be seen at The Crossroads Inn, located on Main Street in Lake City.

The Citizens Bank of Lake City also provide ArtFields© with $10,000 for 10 Merit Awards which are selected by the jury panel without consideration of votes received.

The winners of the ArtFields© 2016 Merit Awards include:

516artfields-merit-Susie-Ganch5

Susie Ganch of Richmond, VA, for “Drag (Diptych)”.

516artfields-merit-Heather-Mae-Erickson6

Heather Mae Erickson of Sylvia, NC, for “American Values/Handmade in America”.

516artfields-merit-Brad-Williams7

Brad Williams of Myrtle Beach, SC, for “Of the Earth”.

516artfields-merit-colin-Quashie8

Colin Quashie of Charleston, SC, for “French Toile, Negro Toil”.

516artfields-merit-Logan-woodle9

Michael Logan Woodle of Conway, SC, for “Clabber Ladle”.

516artfields-merit-Wanbli-Hamilton-Gamache10

Wanbli Hamilton Gamache of Fayetteville, AR, for “Excavations”.

516artfields-merit-logan-tanner11

Logan Tanner of Huntsville, AL, for “Hog”.

516artfields-merit-Ken-Kamilton12

Ken Hamilton of Goose Creek, SC, for “E-Z Rest Motel”.

516artfields-merit-Tyrone-Geter13

Tyrone Geter of Elgin, SC, for “Mother Nature’s Last In-House Domestic Worker”.

516artfields-merit-Stact-Rexrode14

Stacy Rexrode of Chapel Hill, NC, for “Quasi-Delft Bequest”.

These awards were non-purchase awards and the artists got to keep their works.

I’ve also included an image with info about the jury panel.

516artfields-jury-Panel

There are a few more awards to be announced and we’ll report on those ASAP.

For more info visit (www.artfieldssc.org).

Once More I Ventured Into the Pee Dee Area of South Carolina to Get My Fine Art Fix

April 10th, 2016

For at least five years, the Pee Dee area of South Carolina has been a source of frustration and hope in looking at the future of SC’s overall visual art community. Mostly concentrating on Florence and Lake City, SC, Florence represents the frustration and Lake City the hope. I’ve given both cities an unusual amount of my time and exposure in Carolina Arts and our social media network. And I feel at times that I’m holding the short end of the stick. And, besides all that exposure I find that I’m still having to fight to get info from this area about exhibitions being offered there. If this was school I’d have to give them an “F” in communications and promotions – with few exceptions.

In wondering why this is the situation, I bounce back and forth from my theory that they just don’t care, due to decades of a lack of respect for the area by the rest of South Carolina, or that they just don’t get it due to a lack of knowledge about promotion.

So, when I came across a notice that Jennifer Appleton Ervin or Jen Ervin was going to have an exhibit at the Waters Gallery of the Florence County Museum in April I knew we had our cover for our April issue. Since first seeing her work I’ve loved her imagery. And being an old black & white film processor I love black & white photography and I love the images Ervin makes of her daughters who take their images very seriously. Some might call them “posers”. Most people are afraid of having a camera pointed in their direction, I think they have learned to enjoy it or at least make the best of it. And one day they might even be famous due to one of these images.

416carolinaarts-cover

The exhibit is Along the River: The Polaroid Work of Jen Ervin, which will be on view through June 10, 2016, at the Waters Gallery which is located at 135 South Dargan Street, a separate building from the main facility of the Florence County Museum. This exhibition is presented by the Florence Regional Arts Alliance in conjunction with the Museum. A reception will be held on May 10, 2016, beginning at 6pm, during the Florence Regional Arts Alliance’s Arts Awards Presentations. On May 11, Ervin will give a gallery talk at 11am.

416jen-ervin2
Some examples of items found inside Ark Lodge.

The exhibit traces the stories, heritage and landscape of a southern family’s experiences within the Pee Dee, but I think the girls steal the show. The location where the images were made is called Ark Lodge, a cabin built in the 1940s by Ervin’s husband’s grandparents along the Little Pee Dee River.

Ervin states, “I was led to use Polaroid as medium because each image immediately becomes an object of experience that lends well to intimacy and family history.”

416jen-ervin3
One group of images in the exhibit.

Polaroid images in their original form have limitations, one is size and two a limited tonal range, but for a camera that was designed to take family images that you could see – almost instantly, the detail is very good. But like in all things, talented photographers can make exceptional images with the simplest of cameras. But, the good thing is small images make the viewer focus intensely.

416jen-ervin4
The three daughters together. Excuse the glare and reflections – this work was under glass.

Although the environment is a family cabin and people’s reactions to nature, the images presented are not family snapshots. I’m not saying the images were staged, the situations may have been planned and then the natural flow of things took place, but it would have been nice to see these young girls giggling in at least one image. At least I hope their days spent at the cabin are not that stoic. I’m sure they are not – girls will be girls.

416jen-ervin5
The camera and film used.

A short black & white film is offered in the gallery space on an Apple computer. The short film fills in the feel of the environment that still images just can’t capture. It was just enough to complete a picture of this remote area of South Carolina and how Ervin’s daughters enjoy and explore it.

Go see this exhibit and enjoy the richness of black & white photography, feel the flow of the river, and step back into a slower time.

If you go, you might also want to check out the exhibit, Arriving South, at the main Museum. It features a selection of paintings, prints, and drawings from the Florence County Museum’s existing permanent collection and the museum’s Wright Collection of Southern Art, on view through Feb. 26, 2017. The exhibition features the work of Thomas Hart Benton, William H. Johnson, Gilbert Gaul, Anna Heyward Taylor and Alfred Hutty.

The folks at the Museum haven’t sent us a press release about this exhibit yet, but I’m hoping this mention will have one coming soon or not. I’ve never been able to figure out how they expect to get people to come see their exhibits when they don’t promote them.

Admission to the Florence County Museum is free. Hours are: Tue.-Sat., 10am-5pm & Sun. 2-5pm, but only Tue.-Sat. at the Waters Gallery. For further information call the Museum at 843/676-1200 or visit (www.flocomuseum.org). Of course you might get more info by contacting the Florence Regional Arts Alliance by calling 843/407-3062 or by visiting (www.florenceartsalliance.org).

artFields-colorbands-and-logo

The second half of my trip on this day was to get a sneak peak at the upcoming ArtFields© 2016 exhibit taking place in Lake City, SC, from Apr. 22 – 30, 2016 – so I could share that peek with you.

As I said in the past, I usually take two days to see ArtFields© and it doesn’t seem to be enough, but because of the dates of the event I can’t give it much more as we have a publication to turn out and our May issue is always a big one. So why not get an early look? I e-mailed Hannah Davis, the new director of ArtFields© but someone who has been there from the start, to see if this would be possible and she told me yes and that Friday and Saturday artists would be delivering work, but a lot of it was in place already. Friday would be the best day for me.

I went through Lake City in the morning on my way to Florence on that familiar path of Hwy. 52 north that I had taken many times before, but never stopping to see what was in Lake City beyond what I saw on Hwy. 52 until four years ago when they wanted me to come check out this new event called ArtFields©. I can honestly say that if it wasn’t for ArtFields© I would have never traveled down Main Street, a place I now know quite well.

416artfields2016-Bob-Doster
“Summer Wind 2″ by Bob Doster of Lancaster, SC.

416artfields2016-Gregory-Johnson
“Caryatid” by Gregory Johnson of Cummins, GA.

My first look at ArtFields© 2016 confirmed my prediction that this year’s jurors would fill the ranks with a lot of university and college professors. If you put them on the jury panels don’t be surprised when they select a lot of their friends, contacts and works that looks like the kind of work they make. This is not so bad as it does guarantee a lot of interesting work, but these jury panels need to be more diverse, including commercial gallery owners who might select more work that the public is not only used to seeing in galleries but might actually purchase to show in their homes. After all, the visual art community is very diverse and it would be nice to see more fine art crafts at ArtFields©. Also, at least nine out of ten artists I have talked to at ArtFields© would like to see these jurors come from outside the 12 states included in the competition. They don’t like the thought of artists picking their friends for this competition.

416artfields2016-jim-Boden
“Woman With Cuts” by Jim Boden of Hartsville, SC.

The other impression I’ve gotten is that artists entering this competition are falling into what I call the “Juried Show Syndrome” where they enter works they think the jurors will like. A lot of past winners at ArtFields© have been portraits or images of people, so this year we have a lot of entries by artists who may be known for doing other types of work but have entered works featuring people. I might be off base on this and I prefer to think that artists are using ArtFields© to present new works, but I’m seeing a lot of entries with names on them that I would have never expected to have produced them. We’ll see if others pick up on this pattern.

Over the years I’ve also been surprised at the work some artists enter – what I would call – not their best work. I would hope that artists will start to think of ArtFields© as an opportunity to put their best foot forward. It’s clear that some artists are already in the mode of planning their entries for the next ArtFields© the minute one ends. And those seem to be the most interesting entries.

Well, as things go with my visits to ArtFields©, I had a few great conversations with Hannah Davis about what it’s like to be in charge, with Patrick Parise a Columbia, SC, artist delivering his entry, and a few merchants on Main Street. People are excited to have ArtFields© start.

416artfields2016-Kara-Gunter
An interesting image by itself, but only a detail of a larger work.

416artfields2016-kara-Gunter2
‘Rising in Falling” by Kara Gunter of Lexington, SC.

I took a few photos of things that caught my eye, but since everything is not installed or even delivered yet I wouldn’t make any judgements on what I’m offering as being my favorites yet. Some I took because I knew who created them. Others I took because I didn’t have time to walk too far around town.

416artfields2016-Mark-Grote
Just part of an outdoor installation entitled “Sculpture Cakes” by Mark Grote of Covington, LA, on the grounds of the Lake City Public Library.

There were a couple of installations that were in the process of being created which I would return to ArtFields© alone just to see how they turned out. Some artists are going all out.

416artfields2016-Jocelyn-Chateavert1
Jocelyn Chateauvert of Charleston, SC, works on her installation, “Invasive Species” at the Jones-Carter Gallery.

416artfields2016-jocelyn-Chateauvert2
This image shows that Chateauvert has a long way to go before she is finished.

Under the category of new things learned, exhibition catalogs will now be available for the public to purchase. This is the second year ArtFields© has produced an exhibition catalog which was previously only available to artists who visited Lake City. Did you know that? If you’re an artist competing in ArtFields© but don’t come to Lake City by mailing your entry there and having in mailed back, you are missing out on a packet of goodies given to the artists who check in. This year they are printing enough to be able to sell them to the public along with other merchandise like T-Shirts and hats.

416artfields2016-Murray-Sease
“Perfect Afternoon” by Murray Sease of Bluffton, SC.

416artfields2016-Murray-Sease2
Sease’s work is on display at one of the locations on Main Street in Lake City.

416artfields2016-Murray-Sease3
This is what it’s all about – getting people in the businesses of Lake City.

416artfields2016-Loren-Schwerd
“Wisp” by Loren Schwerd of New Oreleans, LA.

416artfields2016-Loren-Schwerd2
The same work in its merchant setting.

416artfields2016-loren-schwerd3
I’m always surprised by the personal tours you are given inside some stores of their ArtFields© entries.

Food Trucks! There will be food trucks at ArtFields© this year. I think that is new. Thar creates more choices for folks who want to keep going on their quest to see all the art being offered.

Finally – go to Lake City, SC, between Apr. 22 – 30, 2016, register to vote, go look at art, eat something while you are there, do some shopping while looking at art in these downtown shops and stores, see more art and then vote – either while looking at art, after you’re finished looking at art, or at least when you get home before the deadline.

See you there.

For more information about ArtFields© 2016 visit (www.artfieldssc.org).

The April 2016 Issue of “Carolina Arts” is Now Ready to Download

April 1st, 2016

416carolinaarts-cover

The April 2016 issue of Carolina Arts is up on our website at (www.carolinaarts.com) – all 77 pages of it. In my commentary I talk about ArtFields© 2016, scheduled to take place in Lake City, SC, Apr. 22 – 30, 2016. We’re making that event a special focus this month in an attempt to get more folks to go see this major visual art event hosted by this small Southern town.

For single page format use this link (http://www.carolinaarts.com/416/416carolinaarts-sp.pdf).

For side by side page format use this link (http://www.carolinaarts.com/416/416carolinaarts-dp.pdf).

So download that PDF and dig in – it makes for good reading and shows that you have lots of opportunities to enjoy the visual arts in the Carolinas in this new year. And, don’t forget to find a way to thank our advertisers – they make the paper possible.

And help us spread the paper around by sending these links to your friends.

If you want to get something in the May 2016 issue – send it now or as soon as you can. Don’t wait till the April 24 deadline. But, you do know that you don’t have to wait until the deadline comes up to send us stuff – you can be early. Some folks are already several months ahead of the deadline when their press release would be due.

Thanks – Tom and Linda Starland
Carolina Arts
843/693-1306 (a new number)
info@carolinaarts.com