The April 2014 Issue of “Carolina Arts” is Now Ready to Download

April 1st, 2014


The April 2014 issue of Carolina Arts is up on our website at ( – all 83 pages of it.

That’s ten more pages than the March issue and May will probably be even bigger. The big ice storm we had put us a little behind. That’s what happens when you lose power and even worse – internet service. But we made it – even if it did take all the way up to the last minute.

I’m declaring that Winter is over and all of April should be 75 degrees – no warmer and no cooler. That the perfect temp for reading our paper.

The link is: (

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 this month. 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 issue – send it now or as soon as you can. Don’t wait till the Apr. 24 deadline – or you could be left out.

Thanks – Tom and Linda Starland
Carolina Arts

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Charleston County (SC) Public Library System – Best Value and Best Investment in Our Future

March 25th, 2014

Editor’s note: If you live in Charleston County SC, you need to go to at least one of these meetings if not all of them to show your support for the Charleston County Public Library system – now and into the future. You won’t hear me say this often – but $100 million dollars is peanuts compared to other projects being funded – yet serve so few people. The libraries in this community serve all the people – rich, middle-class, poor, and homeless – of all ages. If Charleston can cough up $100 million to fix the Gaillard Municipal Auditorium the way it should have been to begin with – it surely can give the same amount of funding to expand and renovate our libraries. So read the official press release about these meetings – then participate. And artists remember – the libraries present art exhibits in several of its branches. Don’t let some small minded people teabag this project.


Charleston County Public Library in Charleston County, SC, Will Conduct Community Meetings to Explain Library Construction/Renovation Proposal

Charleston County voters will consider a proposal this November, 2014, to fund the renovation of existing library branches and construction of new ones, a question last on the ballot 28 years ago.

To help voters understand the proposal and what it means for their neighborhoods, Charleston County Public Library is holding a series of 10 community meetings throughout the county between March 31 and April 21, 2014.


The building plan is a result of two years of study that included community input, a detailed survey of the library’s existing 16 branches, research into library service and technology trends plus a review of population and demographic changes since the last library referendum in 1986. Approved by 76 percent of the voters at the time, that referendum included funds to construct four regional libraries – Mt. Pleasant, Dorchester Road, St. Andrews and Otranto Road – plus expanding or constructing a new Main Library.

The current proposal calls for constructing four new buildings, renovating 12 existing branches and moving library support services out of the Main Library to free up that space for public use. Estimated cost to construct, renovate and relocate the 17 buildings is $103.8 million, which would cost the owner of a $100,000 owner-occupied home a maximum of $12 annually.


In January, Charleston County Council agreed to put the building referendum on this November’s ballot. The proposal came after the library completed a Strategic Plan that determined the library’s buildings and services fall far behind services provided in other areas and are below standards established by the S.C. State Library for public libraries in the state. As a result, county and library staff worked with architects and engineers to do a detailed analysis of all library facilities to determine what buildings can be renovated, where new buildings should be located, what technology updates are needed and develop estimated costs.

Now that the analysis is complete, it is being presented to area residents during a series of community meetings to gather input. County Council hopes to finalize the proposal and the wording for the ballot in early summer.

If approved by voters, officials estimate the four new libraries could open by late 2017 or early 2018. The renovation of existing branches would be staggered, with most of it completed in 2018-2019.

Studies looking at library services and buildings determined shortcomings in several areas, including the need for updated buildings, technology and the ability to provide more modernized services. Since the 1986 referendum, the county’s population has grown 27 percent while the library’s circulation soared by 289 percent in the same period. Current circulation is nearly 3.4 million items annually. Additionally, the library offered nearly 6,000 free programs, classes, exhibits, concerts and similar programs last year, attracting more than 166,000 residents.

In a comparison to public library standards adopted by the S.C. State Library, CCPL fell far below the standards in multiple categories. For instance, the standards say libraries should have 1.25 square feet of public space per capita. Locally, that would equal more than 450,000 square feet of libraries to serve local residents, but CCPL’s 16 branches have 155,458 square feet or about .43 square feet per resident. In the area of technology, the state says libraries should have three public computers per 1,000 residents or more than 1,000 locally. CCPL has .9 public computers or 349 public computers.

For a complete list of Community Meetings, a map showing the construction/renovation proposal and a breakdown of the estimated costs, visit the library’s web site at ( Residents unable to attend one of the community meetings can send their comments by e-mail to (

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The March 2014 Issue of “Carolina Arts” is Now Ready to Download

March 1st, 2014


The March 2014 issue of Carolina Arts is up on our website at ( – all 73 pages of it.

I’m sure Winter is running out of gas for us in the South, while many of my friends back up North still have a month and some to suffer. And they are suffering. One friend in Michigan has had almost 200 inches of snow fall in their yard. Well, it fell all over the county they live in, but it also fell in their driveway, on their house, and in their yard. It’s the price you pay to have 70 degree weather in August.

The link is: (

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 this month. 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 send these links to your friends.
Thanks – Tom and Linda Starland
Carolina Arts

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As an Artist or Art Lover – You Should Go See the Movie – “The Monuments Men”

February 19th, 2014

Before the Winter Freeze of 2014, when the lights when out and the phone and Internet service crashed, Linda and I went to see the movie The Monuments Men.


It’s a movie based on a real situation when during WW II President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, a good democrat and apparently lover of art, dispatched a group of middle-aged men – art historians, museum curators, architects, and other arty types to go to Europe and save the art the Nazis were stealing and perhaps would destroy at the end of the war – as they were loosing. As it turns out – they also saved it from the Russians who would claim it as their spoils of war.

Critics had panned the movie, but I’ve learned not to listen to them and after the movie was over I knew why. There were no special effects, limited explosions, no car chases, and get this – no sex scenes. What kind of movie can that be? Well, there was an offer of sex.

What George Clooney, the movie’s director, presented us was a slightly Hollywood juiced up movie of historical facts, with an all-star cast. The basics were that the Americas would save the art from the Nazis, who looted five million works of art, and returned what they could to the original owners. And as usual, our good allies the French didn’t trust us to do the right thing.

American GIs, under the supervision of Capt. James Rorimer, carry paintings down the steps of Neuschwanstein Castle in southern Germany, where about 21,000 items stolen by the Nazis from French art collectors were recovered.

What was hard to believe in the Clooney movie was that seven arty types would do all this without the help of any regular Army types. In reading about the real events, from 200 to 350 men and women worked on this project – including our allies. I would think a letter from the President would get you more help than a jeep driver who spoke German. But Hollywood can’t help being Hollywood.

I won’t say much more about the movie, except it was much better than critics stated, but Clooney could have told more of the story.

The movie turns out to be quite timely as last year German authorities found 1,400 pieces of stolen art from WW II in a Munich apartment, including works by Matisse and Picasso. And recently an 18th-century painting from that group was returned to Poland, nearly 70 years after it was stolen by the Nazis.

There is an older movie about this same subject called The Train (1964), which was directed by John Frankenheimer and staring a very physical Burt Lancaster – playing a railroad official who stopped a train full of stolen art headed to Germany. It’s a great black and white film.

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The February 2014 Issue of “Carolina Arts” is Now Ready to Download

February 1st, 2014

The February 2014 issue of Carolina Arts is up on our website at ( – all 66 pages of it. That’s right – the same number of pages as last month.

Winter has shown its face,but we hope most of that is behind us, so now that you have more time while you’re not out chasing mike and bread, we hope you’ll spend some time downloading our paper, read through it, and send the link to download it to your e-mail, Facebook and Twitter friends.

The link is: (

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 this month. And, don’t forget to find a way to thank our advertisers – they make the paper possible.

Thanks – Tom and Linda Starland
Carolina Arts

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Artists Be Smart – All Shinny New Things Are Not All Good

January 6th, 2014

If you’ve been on the internet looking at publications this holiday season you may have seen ads for a new online gallery with a slogan – Ugallery original art. original you. I’ve even see it on our Google Adsense ads on our website and blogs – of which we have no control.

After seeing it for the 50th time I clicked on the link to see what it was all about and essentially it was nothing new – an online gallery. Although it looks slicker than most and doing the most advertising than any I’ve seen it’s still like most online galleries – lots of pictures of a variety of art. The only difference is they boost of having the “top emerging artists” and the key word here is “emerging” – meaning artists who are not that popular yet. Which was true when I looked at the artist’s roster. I did not recognize any of the names I saw representing North or South Carolina. Which means they haven’t been exhibiting in galleries in the Carolinas. At least ones we’ve been covering.

Here’s their basic statement: “Here at Ugallery, we represent the top emerging artists from across North America and photographers from around the world. We’re passionate about our collection and our artists, and we are always looking for talented artists with positive attitudes to join our community. The application process is a quick one, and we’ll get back to you within one week to let you know if you’ve been accepted to the website. For more information on how we operate, be sure to read our Artist FAQ.”

Here’s a few of their FAQ’s that stood out to me:

One more thing – we charge a small non-refundable fee of $5 to apply to the website. Bummer, we know, but it helps us ensure that the artists who apply are serious and committed.

We split the sale of artwork 50/50 and we cover all of the costs of packaging and shipping the work.

We currently represent 450 artists.

UGallery has the exclusive right to the artwork displayed on the website. This prevents the risk of selling the same piece of art to two different parties. However, we encourage you to pursue physical gallery representation while exhibiting on our site. This increases the exposure of your work as well as of our gallery.

OK – if I were an artist those four answers to FAQ’s would give me second thoughts about applying to be the 451st artists in their roster. And when you take a look at some of those 450 artist’s work – you better hope you have something really different than what I saw to help you stand out. Besides I’m not sure how many people will look through that many different portfolios in this day of short attention spans. And, I bet after this media blitz their roster has doubled. They might just be making money off the $5 application fee. And, does $5 really make you serious and committed? That’s a laugh.

Ask yourself what are they doing for their 50% cut? Except tying up the rights to the works you send them. And what does that mean? Do they have the right to sell your images to be used in advertising or what? This media blitz won’t last forever and each time they run it – it will just increase their stable of artists – unless the turnover will be that great. Then you have to ask yourself why it there that much turnover?

The problem with most galleries – from an artist’s point of view is that they represent too many artists and don’t spend enough time promoting their work. Think about that 450 number now.

The one good thing I read about Ugallery is that you still hold onto your work. So you won’t get lost in some warehouse with thousands of works stacked up in it, but once you send the work off to their buyer (regardless if they pay for shipping) – will you get paid in the time frame they state? Your work is gone. And if you don’t – who do you call to find out about when you get paid and where is Ugallery anyway?

Sure this system may be good for some artists – emerging artists – but I hope “emerging” in this case doesn’t mean learning tough lessons about the art industry.

I’m just saying – be smart – ask questions – ask around.

I’ve got a question for Ugallery. How do you think that physical gallery is going to feel when they find out that you want their artists to stay with them while playing around with you at the same time? You’re not playing on an equal basis. Ugallery isn’t like a physical gallery in another city 300 miles away – paying overhead, local taxes, and greeting customers who come through the door.

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The January 2014 Issue of “Carolina Arts” is Now Ready to Download

January 1st, 2014


The January 2014 issue of Carolina Arts is up on our website at ( – all 66 pages of it. That’s right – the same number of pages as last month.

Winter just might really show up this month, so when you’re huddled in your home we hope you’ll spend some time downloading our paper, read through it, and send the link to download it to your e-mail, Facebook and Twitter friends.

The link is: (

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.

Thanks – Tom and Linda Starland
Carolina Arts

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Hurry to the Franklin G. Burroughs-Simeon B. Chapin Art Museum in Myrtle Beach, SC, to See the Exhibit “The Opulent Object” – on View Through Jan. 5, 2014

December 19th, 2013


Back in the Fall, Linda and I traveled to Myrtle Beach, SC, Linda’s hometown to visit the Franklin G. Burroughs-Simeon B. Chapin Art Museum, which was showing an exhibit I had come across when it was showing at other exhibit venues in the Carolinas, but never got a chance to see. The exhibition is, The Opulent Object: Tapestries by Jon Riis with Sculpture by Richard Mafong and Mike Harrison. I’m sorry for this late write-up, but somehow this trip had fallen through the cracks in my daily struggles to keep up with all that we’re doing here at Shoestring Publishing. But, this is a show you should make a point to try and see before it ends on Jan. 5, 2014. It’s my bad for giving you such a short heads up.

Although in the past Linda and I made many trips to Myrtle Beach when her mother still lived there we don’t get back there that often these days. It’s not like its on the way to other destinations. Well, it is if you’re traveling up and down the Atlantic coast, but we don’t make it that way much. Our beach days are over. We’re always amazed at how much Myrtle Beach has changed each time we make it back there, but all you have to do is go to the Gay Dolphin to see that in some ways it never changes. We discovered the new boardwalk on this trip.

The Art Museum is practically right on the beach, but far enough back to keep sand from blowing in the door. That’s a little inside joke. Years ago I sat in on a SC Arts Commission grant-funding meeting and one of the out-of-state panel members was shocked to hear that the Museum was on the beach. She was reluctant to approve funding for a facility that would, in her mind, spent most of its time sweeping sand out the doors. It was explained to her that the Museum wasn’t a Teke Hut on the beach – it was a modern facility. That’s a memory that comes up every time I’m dealing with the Franklin G. Burroughs-Simeon B. Chapin Art Museum, besides it having the longest name for a museum in the Carolinas. And, as we walked through it viewing the exhibits I was amazed at how good a shape it was in. There was no look of wear and tear that you’ll see in some urban facilities. The folks there must keep the facility well maintained.

One of the other exhibits on view that day was Passionate Collectors, featuring works from the collection of husband and wife Barbara Burgess and John Dinkelspiel, which was donated to the Museum. The collection includes works in a wide range of styles, subjects and media all focused on Southern art. Represented in the collection are 21 pieces from South Carolinian Jonathan Green, along with works by noted African-American artists William H. Clarke, James Denmark, Cassandra Gillens and others.

Work by Corrie Parker McCallum

Some of the others in this collection were artists like Corrie Parker McCallum, Chris Ritsch, and Lynda R. Karl, an artist from Moncks Corner, SC, our backyard, and I’ve never seen any of her work before. But, I liked what I saw. I also saw the first work by Jonathan Green that I liked. Don’t get me wrong I admire what Green does, but that style has never appealed to me. I’d like to see more works by Green like the work included here.

Ambassador, 1984, by Jonathan Green

The third exhibit on view that day was, Celia Pearson: Glass Transformed, A Photographer Explores Sea Glass. Nationally known photographer Celia Pearson was commissioned to produce 150 images of the sea glass in the collection of Marylanders Richard and Nancy LaMotte. The photographs were not that impressive, adequate for the purpose, but the glass objects found on the world’s beaches was very interesting.

Works by Celia Pearson

The main show to me was the works of Jon Riis. His work was amazing and staggering to think of how much time went into each piece and there were so many – each equally impressive, if not more than the next. The images I took won’t do these works justice as you have to see them up close to realize the details.

Works by Jon Riis

Work by Jon Riis

Works by Jon Riis

You can get a better feel for this artist’s work by reading a blog entry (Feb. 17, 2012) by Susan Lenz, a fiber artist from Columbia, SC, who saw works by Riis at the Sumter County Gallery of Art in Sumter, SC, at her blog Art In Stitches at ( Lenz, a talented artist who works in fiber, among other mediums has a better feel for describing Riis’ works. We also had an article about this exhibition in our March 2012 issue of Carolina Arts.

The works in this exhibit by Richard Mafong and Mike Harrison are impressive too. They’re a good match for Riis’ works. But, I have to admit that I was blown away by Riis’ works – even those that had subject matter I didn’t care for. Riis has a darker side to him which undoubtably will be the works others find more impressive. Different strokes for different folks.

Work by Richard Mafong and Mike Harrison

I took a picture of a class that was going on at the Museum – it’s the bread and butter of most visual art facilities these days. The children looked like they were having a good time with art. They weren’t making art – not yet, but they were having fun and maybe preparing for a future in the arts. Hopefully they’ll grow up to be art patrons. We’ve got enough artists.


Again, I’m sorry for the lateness of this blog post, but this show may pop up somewhere else in the Carolinas and if it does, I’ll give a holler. Hey, and you never know – this year could be like my first year in South Carolina where Christmas day and New Years day were 75 degrees back in 1974 – beach weather for a guy from Michigan. I got sunburned on Folly Beach on New Years day back in 1974. Called the folks back in Michigan and it was 20 degrees and the snow was blowing horizontally. Ya gotta love the winters here.

For further information call the Museum at 843/238-2510 or visit (

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Last Chance to See the Works of Florence, SC, Native, William H. Johnson, on View at the Jones-Carter Gallery in Lake City, SC

December 5th, 2013


Not too long ago I did another Pee Dee Two Fer trip where I went to the Artisan Outpost in Johnsonville, SC, held the first Saturday of the month and the Jones-Carter Gallery in Lake City, SC, which is now open on Saturdays. The Artisan Outpost will be hosting another great gathering of artworks on Dec. 7, 2013, from 10am-6pm. This gathering is so popular – Santa is going to show up at this next event. But, for now I want to tell you about the exhibit at the Jones-Carter Gallery – time is running out to see it.

The Jones-Carter Gallery, located at 105 Henry Street in Lake City, next to The Bean Market, just a block off Main Street is presenting an exhibition from the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service (SITES), featuring rare paintings by Florence, South Carolina-native, William H. Johnson, from the collection of the James E. Lewis Museum at Morgan State University. An essential figure in modern American art, William H. Johnson (1901-1970) was a virtuoso skilled in various media and techniques, and produced thousands of works over a career that spanned decades, continents and genres.

Ring Around the Rosey, by William H. Johnson, courtesy of Morgan State University.

William H. Johnson: An American Modern is on view at the Jones-Carter Gallery, a branch of the Community Museum Society, Inc., in Lake City, through Dec. 29, 2013. The Jones-Carter Gallery is the only South Carolina venue on the tour.  Developed by Morgan State University and SITES, the exhibition is made possible through the generous support of the National Endowment for the Arts, the Henry Luce Foundation and Morgan State University Foundation Inc. Additional support is provided by Ford Motor Company Fund.

Jitterbug, by William H. Johnson, courtesy of Morgan State University.

The pivotal stages of Johnson’s career as a modernist painter are assembled in this group of rarely seen paintings. Every step of his artistic development is conveyed – from his post-impressionist and expressionist works of the 1920s, to vibrant vernacular paintings from the end of his career in the 1940s, in which Johnson articulated his distinctive, unforgettable vision as an American modern artist.

Usually I’d be offering lots of photos of the exhibition, but there were so many restrictions on photography that all I have to show of the exhibit is the one shot I was allowed to take. I may have pushed the button on my iPhone, but I was placed in the only position allowed by the gallery staff. I could have taken more on the sly, but I know the restrictions are from the Smithsonian and I didn’t want to get the gallery in trouble or prevent future shows from the Smithsonian coming to Lake City. I’ve got two images from the press kit and I took several more of the surrounding area outside – which I think is just as important to Lake City’s progress in becoming a cultural destination.

This photo doesn’t show you much of the exhibit, but it at least shows you there were others there viewing the exhibit while I was there.

The works in the exhibit and provided text tell an interesting story of this artist’s history. And being from the North originally – that’s right I’m one of those transplanted Yankees, I had to think when viewing these images how many other talented black artists had to leave the South to have a creative life and how many never made it out and just had to put that creativity aside. Frankly I’m not sure how easy it is to be an African American artist today. In some ways it seems that you can get more attention if you’re considered a folk-artist or visionary artist (untrained) than if you have a Masters degree in art. But like I always say to my old Yankee friends in describing what it’s like in good olde South Carolina – it’s 400 years of history – 20 years of progress, and it seems like the Tea Baggers are dragging us further back in time every day.

But then again, when you think about it Jasper Johns had to leave SC before he made it big in New York City. In this case Johnson left the United States to find fame and respect.

Go see this exhibit before it leaves South Carolina and if you haven’t been before you’ll be amazed that such a facility as the Jones-Carter Gallery is located in Lake City. Most other small towns in SC will have exhibit space in an old house or a converted bank – if they have any at all. This space is as good as any in bigger cities.

Now, lets talk about Lake City. Since my last trip to the Jones-Carter Gallery, SCDOT has placed many new signs directing you to the Jones-Carter Gallery making it easy to find coming into Lake City from any direction. I bet there are more signs in Lake City directing you to this gallery than there are in Charleston, SC, directing you to the Gibbes Museum of Art.

View from across The Green

The front door of the gallery

The gallery is located next to The Bean Market, another great facility for cultural events in Lake City and across from The Green, an open green space with a performance stage. There’s a sculpture by Alex Palkovich, from Florence, SC, there and this unique drinking fountain – designed for humans of all sizes and pets. Banners were up promoting the Johnson exhibit and new ones will probably flap in the wind for other exhibits and events in the future. The city is really serious about becoming a cultural destination and small details like this fountain will make the difference.

A pet friendly drinking fountain

Lake City has big plans for transforming their city, but none of it will happen very fast unless people get up off their back sides and travel there to see and enjoy it all. It’s not a big trip from Charleston, Columbia, Florence and Myrtle Beach, and for those folks traveling further – they do have hotels and motels – like the ones people use to travel to your city.

A view of The Green

Gallery hours are Tue. through Fri., from 10am to 6pm and Sat., from 11am to 5pm. Large groups are encouraged to call ahead.

And, don’t forget – ArtFields will return to Lake City from April 25 through May 4, 2014.

For additional information about William H. Johnson: An American Modern call the gallery at 843/374-1505 or visit (

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The December 2013 Issue of Carolina Arts is Now Ready to Download

December 1st, 2013


The December 2013 issue of Carolina Arts is up on our website at ( – all 66 pages of it.

Winter has been showing its face already, so when you’re huddled in your home we hope you’ll spend some time downloading our paper, read through it, and send the link to download it to your e-mail, Facebook and Twitter friends.

We’re asking the Internet spirits and you for a bunch of new “Likes” on our Facebook page – we’d like to reach the 2,000 mark by the end of the year.

The link is: (

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 December before the holiday take over our lives -like last month. And, don’t forget to find a way to thank our advertisers – they make the paper possible.

Thanks – Tom and Linda Starland
Carolina Arts

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