Archive for the ‘Art Festivals’ Category

A New Way To Greenwood, SC, To See Some Art

Friday, June 9th, 2017

Back in the day, when I had to spend a week delivering Carolina Arts all over North and South Carolina, I would spend 12 – 16 hours a day driving in big circles around the two states. One route in South Carolina took me up I-26 to Columbia, then to Newberry, then Clinton, then to Spartanburg, over to Greenville, up to Seneca, back down to Clemson, then over to Pendleton, across I-85 into Anderson, on to Belton, then a long stretch to Greenwood, then down to Edgefield, down further to Aiken, then to Denmark, finally to St. George over to I-26 and back home to Bonneau on the shores of Lake Moultrie where the headquarters of Shoestring Publishing is. On a real ambitious day I would include Abbeville, McCormick and Barnwell. I remember even going to Union a couple of times. That was when I was acting like I was a missionary for the arts. Eventually I just took the paper to places where we got support from, which meant almost the entire left side of SC was being left out. They didn’t support our efforts – why should they see the paper? Now that we’re an electronic publication – anyone anywhere can download a copy – no delivery by me. And we cover anywhere in the Carolinas, as long as they send us info before our deadline. We just never heard form folks on that left side of the state.

In 2016, out of the blue we started getting some support from Greenwood and then Anderson. So when I decided I wanted to make a trip to Greenwood I had to look on a map to see how to get there directly from Bonneau. Of course it was get on I-26, it’s always I-26 it seems. Head through Columbia, up to Newberry and then take Hwy. 34 over to Greenwood. I don’t think I have ever been on Hwy. 34 in SC before, which was amazing as I feel like I’ve been on every road at one time or another. I noticed I’d be going through Ninety Six (a Revolutionary War town) which might be interesting.

I’ve never understood why SC is so into the Civil War when it is the Revolutionary War it should be proud of – it was won mostly in South Carolina.

Hwy. 34 is just a two lane highway and it is an up and down road. Most of the traffic was logging trucks. I never did see where they were coming from or where they were going to, but both drives in and out of Greenwood was one logging truck after another.

I left Bonneau just before 7am (it was 61 degrees) and got to Greenwood about 10:30am (it was about 68 degrees). It was like a Fall day in October. Remember, this was the 8th of June – June.

First stop was the Arts Center of Greenwood, at the Federal Building, 120 Main Street, in downtown Greenwood to check out the “11th Annual South Carolina Festival of Flowers Juried Art Show”. The weekend of June 2-4 was the SC Festival of Flowers’ 50th Anniversary, which I had hoped to attend, but too many other things got in the way. Also on view at the Arts Center was the “South Carolina Festival of Flowers Juried Youth Art Show,” featuring works by regional youth artists (K-12).

I’ve tried over several years to get the folks at the Arts Center of Greenwood to send us press releases about their exhibits with no success. They have a nice exhibit space and put on some interesting exhibits – why they are not interested in publicizing them is a mystery to me, but I got a few insights on my visit yesterday.

When I walked into the Arts Center and began viewing the exhibit, I was soon greeted by someone who was manning a front desk. I asked if there was a handout sheet giving info about the exhibit. She replied no. A short time later I asked if she could tell me who the juror was. She could not. By the time I had a third question about the exhibit, she offered to takes some notes and get me some answers when a staff member arrived. No one on staff was on site that morning? This is why you produce an information sheet for volunteers to hand out.

As I looked around the exhibit, I recognized some names, but there were many that I did not and it was soon clear that this was mostly a regional show of artists from the left side of the state. I’m not sure if that was a restriction of the exhibit, but I didn’t see many artists from other parts of the state. We have never received a call for entries about this exhibit, so my guess is not many artists knew about it.

By the time I got home I had an e-mail from Catherine S. Gaither, Facilities Director at the Arts Center of Greenwood. Her short note offered that they had 182 entries, 64 of those were accepted and the judge for the exhibit was Erin Glaze Nathanson.

So I was wrong – the woman who couldn’t help me with much info about the exhibit was Ms. Gaither, who is on staff at the Arts Center. So the staff doesn’t talk to each other much about what goes on in the Arts Center. But she did get me the info I wanted and that was better than most communications I’ve had in the past trying to get them to send me info about their exhibits.

617Greenwood-Arts-Center0.1Centered view of the Countybank Gallery

617Greenwood-AC-gallery-view-right4887View of the right side of the Countybank Gallery

617Greenwood-AC-Hallway-viewView of the Gallery Hall/Greenwood Capital

Erin Glaze Nathanson is from Charleston, she used to work at the City Gallery at Waterfront Park, another exhibit facility that doesn’t see much value in promoting their exhibits. They do a much better job at it now.

I later requested info on the winners of the competition and once I received this I figured that it was a state-wide opportunity, as their were award winners from Rock Hill and Charleston. I’ll include that info at the end of this post.

Well there could have been more artists from around the state who were part of the 182 entries, but didn’t get selected to be in the exhibit.

I’ll give the Arts Center credit for not having a judge from the region – Charleston is a long way from the left side of the state. But it might have been better to have a judge from outside the state for a state-wide competition.

So what about the exhibit?

Not knowing what was entered and seeing the 64 works selected to be on view, one third of the entries, there were some very good works on view and I didn’t walk away thinking out of all the works on display – how did the judge give awards to these works and not others. I think it would have been a hard job for any judge. The quality of the works were all at a high level, which isn’t always true of a juried show. I’ve included some images of works that caught my eye and the show in general, showing the exhibit space. Keep in mind some works that I liked may have been impossible to get a good image of so they are not included.

617Greenwood-AC-Elizabeth-Snipes-Rochester“Grounded” by Elizabeth Snipes-Rochester of Greenwood

617Grenwood-AC-Carey-Morton“Myth” by Carey Morton of Pendleton

617Greenwood-AC-Katelyn-Chapman“A Good Plenty” by Katelyn Chapman of Athens, GA – I guess the show was open to artists in Georgia too or they could be a student at one of the state colleges or universities.

“Vessel No. 357″ by Lee Sipe of Columbia

617Greenwood-AC-Elaine-Quave“Hominid Asclepias Sp3″ by Elaine Quave of Greenville

We included info from the SC Festival of Flowers that the show would be up through June 27, but I found that on the Art Center’s website they say it will be up through the end of the month June 30, 2017. I’d call to make sure if you plan a visit. And, I recommend that you do make a visit to Greenwood to see this show and other things still on view during the month of June.

I’m not sure why the folks at the Arts Center are not interested in sending us info about their exhibits, why they are not interested in helping Greenwood attract more visitors, but the local tourism folks are. I do know it’s discouraging for SC’s B and C size cities to do much PR beyond their own backyard as the media in SC only sees three cities in SC – Charleston, Columbia, and Greenville. All other areas can only be mentioned when something bad happens there. I hope at some point they change their mind, but I didn’t see any info about any other exhibits planned for the Summer.

617Greenwood-AC-Kendell-Lusk“Pause” by Kendall Lusk of Belton – this was a small work 7″ x 5″ but it was as strong as the biggest work in the exhibit

617Greenwood-AC-Al-Byers“Untitled” by Al Beyer of Aiken

617Greenwood-AC-Kymberly-Day“The Girls Who Hang with Cattle” by Kymberly Day of Pendleton – this was the Best of Show winner

617Greenwood-AC-Deighton-Abrams“Self-Created Bliss/Everything True” by Deighton Abrams of Seneca

617Greenwood-AC-Doug-McAbee“Fred” by Doug McAbee of Laurens

Hours for the Arts Center are: Mon.-Fri., 10am-5pm and Sat., 9:30am-1:30pm. You can contact them by calling 864/388-7800 or visit (, but you won’t really find much info there.

617Greenwood-AC-youth-gallery-viewView of the Calhoun Mays Reception Hall

Now while at the Arts Center I also took a look at the “South Carolina Festival of Flowers Juried Youth Art Show,” on display, but it will come down before I can get this posted. I’m always amazed at youth art shows as there are always a few works that don’t look like they were done by a student. There were a couple of works that reminded me of work by Jim Arendt, the winner of the first top prize at ArtFields – paintings made with different colored strips of denim. But my favorite works were a series of ink drawings. I took a few images but the works were all covered with shrink wrap, which is very reflective and that made it impossible to get good photos of them. There is another part of the story of these ink drawings later.

617Greenwood-youth-denim-Rachel-Holder“Blue Skies” by Rachel Holder, 8th grade, Brewer ACTS School – painting with denim

617Greenwood-youth-ink-Faith-McMann“Elated Elephants” Faith McMann, 10th grade, Clinton High School

617Greenwood-youth-pig-Samantha-Phillips“Pigskin” by Samantha Phillips, 8th grade, Brewer ACTS Magnet School – I thing a woodcut

My next stop was at Main & Maxwell, 210 Main Street, at the intersection of Main Street and Maxwell Avenue in Greenwood – just a few buildings down from the Arts Center on the same side of Main Street.

Main & Maxwell art gallery is celebrating its one year anniversary during June. The gallery, which is a converted bank building, specializes in local South Carolina artists, offers handcrafted art, pottery, jewelry, fiber and gifts for all occasions. It’s the kind of gallery where there is wall to wall art and is almost filled from floor to ceiling. You could spend hours in there looking and I’m sure if you came back a few hours later you would notice something you swear you didn’t see before. My eyes were bouncing from one place to another. All the work in the gallery was work from artists I’ve never seen before with a few exceptions.

617Main&Maxwell-Sandy-SingletaryPottery works by Sandy Singletary

617Main&Maxwell-Jim-BrinsonPainting by Jim Brinson

The owner of Main & Maxwell is Laura Bachinski, who is a ceramic artist herself, so the gallery carries a lot of pottery – mostly by other artists. There is some works by her there, but you know how that goes when an artist opens a gallery – their own work tends to take a backseat to everyone else’s work. But I heard they are soon to open a basement space and a kiln is in the gallery’s future. So Bachinski might have more occasion to make work at work, but…we’ll see. This basement will also add on room for classes and maybe even studio space.

617Main&Maxwell-Laura-BachinskiWorks by Laura Bachinski

There seems to be more jewelry on hand than I’ve seen in most art galleries. I’m glad Linda couldn’t make the trip – we’d still be there looking. But at the same time the place seemed full of paintings and other fine art craft items of all sorts and mediums – all really good stuff too. I know what you’re thinking – what else is he going to say about an advertiser? Well, I didn’t have to go. I could have gone in, looked around and left, but I didn’t – I wanted to know who all these talented artists were and where had they been in my thirty years of doing an arts publication.


617Main&Maxwell-Elizabeth-Nason2Jewelry by Elizabeth Nason

One of my discoveries was a batch of ink drawings that looked a lot like those works I enjoyed in the youth art show at the Arts Center. These note cards and framed drawings were by Art by Phyllis Anne which had to be connected to the works at the youth show. I asked if they knew if she was the teacher of student work in the show and Bachinski said she was a teacher.

617Main&Maxwell-Phyllis-AnneWork by Phyllis Anne

617Greenwood-youth-ink-Faith-McMannWork by her student Faith McMann

You see another thing missing at the Arts Center was that they did not include the teacher’s name of the student’s work in the show, Most youth art shows do that to give credit to the teacher. I mean these kids didn’t just one day start making art like that on their own. They gave me the artist’s business card at the gallery and I later e-mailed her and found out she did teach those students.

Unlike the Arts Center, Main & Maxwell is doing everything they can to get people to come to Greenwood and see the works by regional arts and in many cases take them home with them.

Here’s some views of the gallery:





Main & Maxwell is open Mon.-Sat., 10am-6pm. For further information call 864/223-6229 or visit (

Time was running out on me and I had one more mission for this day and that was to get some images I could use in the future to promote Greenwood. Here’s a few.


617Festival-of-Flowers-flowers2Of course you can’t have a Festival of Flowers without flowers

And here’s a few of the Signature Topiaries placed around the downtown area




And, one more thing – if you can’t make it there this month to see these exhibits, Main & maxwell is always going to be open and on July 6-8, 2017, Uptown Greenwood will be presenting the Festival of Discovery – BBQ & Blues, including a BBQ competition, live Blues music on a main stage, an arts & crafts fair, and Kids Zone. For further info visit (

Here’s the results of the Juried Arts Show at the Arts Center of Greenwood:

Honorable Mention – “Myth” by Carey Morton (Pendleton, SC)

Honorable Mention – “Image of a Nude” by Jack Rookard (Central, SC)

Honorable Mention – “After A While, You Learn” by Lindsey Bargar (Rock Hill, SC)

Merit Award ($100) – “Pause” by Kendell Lusk (Belton, SC)

Merit Award ($100) – “Diminishing Connections 3” by Mary Cooke (Inman, SC)

Merit Award ($100) – “Tender Love & Care” by Haley Floyd (Central, SC)

Best of 3-D ($400) – “Hominid Asclepias Sp3” by Elaine Quave (Greenville, SC)

Arts Center Merit Award (1) ($100) – “A Good Plenty” by Katelyn Chapman (Athens, GA)

Arts Center Merit Award (2) ($100) – “Evelyn” by Chuck Keppler (Charleston, SC)

3rd Place ($300) – “Coil Form 2” by Spencer Bautista (Greenwood, SC)

My Not So Annual Trip to the Celebration of Seagrove Potters in Seagrove, NC

Monday, November 28th, 2016

I didn’t get to go to the first Celebration of Seagrove Potters in 2008, but I’ve been writing about it way before then, since I got myself in the middle of a heated battle going on in Seagrove, NC, the center of pottery in North Carolina. There was a fight going on between a slick festival promoter, his Seagrove sidekick, and a group of long term potters from the Seagrove area – potters who’s families have been throwing pots in the area for generations. And I think time has proven that I took the right side way back when – now nine Celebrations ago.

I’m not going to rehash the problem or even name names – mostly because no one can hardly remember the other two dudes. That’s what happens when a new idea becomes an annual success. And, that’s what the Celebration of Seagrove Potters is – a resounding success. 2017 will be its 10th anniversary – our 30th in doing an arts publication and the 20th for Carolina Arts. How time flies.

When we got our tickets in the mail from the good folks at the Celebration, Linda had to do some horse trading to get a few days off from her 911 job and we booked a room in a hotel in Asheboro, NC, where everyone else there is either going to the Celebration or the NC Zoo.

It’s about a five hour trip from Bonneau Beach, SC, the headquarters of PSMG, Inc. to Seagrove – depending on how many stops we have to make. The older we get the more stops it seems to take. Maybe with all that infrastructure building our new President has promised the I-74/73 highway will get finished and it will be down to a four hour trip, but we won’t hold our breath.

When we got to the hotel we got a surprise – the woman who checked us in was the sister of Rhonda McCanless, who used to write a column about Seagrove for us before she went to work for the STARworks Center for Creative Enterprise in Star, NC. Rhonda is married to Eck McCanless, one of the overly talented McCanless clan of potters and musicians in the Seagrove area. You might say that in Seagrove potters grow on trees – family trees that is.

Next stop was the Friday night Gala at the Celebration at the historic Luck’s Cannery just outside of downtown Seagrove. That’s an inside joke for anyone who has been to Seagrove. There’s not much of a town there, but it is the capital of pottery in North Carolina – pretty much the Southeast. And on the weekend before Thanksgiving every year the Celebration of Seagrove Potters takes place featuring over 75 local potters. This town might be small but it goes big when it comes to pottery events in that – believe it or not – there’s another big pottery festival which takes place that same weekend in another location. So little old Seagrove offers two major pottery events on the same weekend. It’s pottery madness.

The Gala is a special event made for serious collectors, who pay $45 to get a first chance to buy the latest works right out of the kiln and a chance at owning special collaborative works, created by two area potters, offered at a live auction. These one-of-a-kind works are fought over by collectors who want something no one else can own. It’s a fundraiser, so when the bidding gets hot – the winner does a lot of good for the pottery community. One of these works, a pot created by Ben Owen III of Ben Owen Pottery and Takura Shibata of Studio Touya went for over $1,450+. This was a sort of East meets West creation since Takura and his wife Hitomi, also a gifted potter, moved from Japan to USA and then Seagrove. But some bidders got some real bargains.

This was a work created by Zeke McCanless of Dover Pottery and Frank Neef of Pottery by Frank Neef – it’s high bid almost reached $1,000.

This is the pot by Ben Owen III of Ben Owen Pottery and Takura Shibata of Studio Touya

But the Gala is much more than buying pottery – it’s good food and drink with live entertainment, good conversation with the folks who create all these wonderful pots, and an opportunity to learn about this pottery community as several organizations are also involved – the NC Pottery Center and STARworks Center for Creative Enterprise, which is not only involved in promoting pottery, pottery supplies, glass making, glass making equipment, teaching classes, and much more.

Of course you can get a lot of this during the sales event Sat. and Sun., but you’ll miss out on the collaborative works. Admission is only $5 these days and parking is free.


For me – it’s mostly about conversations and some adding to our pottery collection. And that’s why I don’t have hundreds of images of pottery to show you. I talk too much and forget to take photos, but then again I want you to go experience this event yourself not just look at my pictures of the event.

If you have never been to Seagrove and you like pottery, going will be an experience you’ll never forget. Some folks make going there a regular habit. Many do their holiday shopping during the Celebration. Oh the lucky folks on their lists. If you have been there but it was some time ago – new potters are moving there and setting up shop all the time. And, of course there are always new generations of historic pottery families coming on line.

The 10th Annual Celebration of Seagrove Potters will take place Nov. 17-19, 2017. For more information about that and other events taking place in Seagrove visit (

So here’s some more images of our visit this year.

Our first stop is always the Whynot Pottery booth, the folks who first got me to Seagrove. These art tiles being shown are being offered through Acacia Art Tile at Whynot and are made by Meredith Heywood.





Our next stop is usually to the Bulldog Pottery booth, where we’ll meet up with Samantha Henneke and Bruce Gholson and their crew Gloria and Ed Henneke, Samantha’s parents.



This clay dog is guarding the booth for Johnston & Gentithes Art Pottery. He was created by Carol Gentithes.

Here’s a face jug by Sid Luck of Luck’s Ware, Sid is a cultural treasure in North Carolina.

Here’s a view of the booth of Dean & Martin Pottery (love that name). They incorporate images from the 60’s in their work. I knew most of the people I saw on their pots – how is that possible – oh yeah – I’m old.

This little bear is having fun with a butterfly at the Crystal King Pottery booth.

Here’s a view of works at the Ben Owen Pottery booth.

Always a favorite stop for Linda is the JLK Jewelry booth. I finally got Linda to stop looking and buy something.

OK – you’re wondering what this jewelry has to do with a pottery event. All the stones you see in these works are made of clay.

There were lots of other booths we visited who had wonderful works, but as I said I talk to much and forgot to take photos.

Now speaking about talking too much – it has it cost. Last year I had my eye on adding a work to our collection from Ray Pottery. I love red in artwork, but I spent too much time talking last year and by the time I got back to their booth – the pieces I had my eye on were gone. So it was a first order of business this year and their booth was across from Whynot Pottery’s booth, but no one was there. That was frustrating as I knew I’d get talking again. Mark Heywood said to pick what I wanted and he’d hold it for me until the Ray Pottery booth was open for business. Now that’s service and a reflection of this community.

Here’s a side view of this piece. There’s lot of details to enjoy.

I also got this mug from Whynot Pottery to match a little pot we found while visiting Whynot’s studio last year. It was a glaze that they had used in the past but had trouble getting it to come out right in the kiln process – so it was a real find. Well they have worked out that process and had lots of works with this glaze available this year. Oh, you didn’t know that most of the potters at the Celebration also opened their studio/galleries during that weekend so you can see even more of their works – well they do.

Hey folks, stick with me and I’ll let you know all the things I’m learning. In fact, I’m thinking of organizing a tour bus to the 10th Celebration from the Charleston, SC, area next year. Stay tuned for details.

What’s Going on in Lake City, SC?

Monday, July 18th, 2016


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 ( 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 (

WTF ArtFields©?

Monday, 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 (

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

Wednesday, May 4th, 2016


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.

“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 ( or visit (

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

Tuesday, May 3rd, 2016


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.


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.


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.


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


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

For more info visit (

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

Sunday, May 1st, 2016


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.


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.


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.


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.


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:


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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.


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

For more info visit (

ArtFields Redux 2014, A Look Back at Lake City, SC

Thursday, May 15th, 2014


What a difference a year makes. It will be really interesting to see what version this event shows up in next year. The first event was just a big juried art show with a bigger than normal cash prize for four of the 400 + artists who had one piece of their work on display throughout this small downtown area. Last year there were a few stumbles right out of the gate but overall the small town of Lake City, SC, did a great job pulling the event off and the merchants were delighted to see folks from around the region spending money inside their shops.

After last year’s event I offered some suggestions which I felt would make this event better. I think organizers listened to some of those suggestions, but others are still out there to be considered. Some took my suggestions for criticism, so I didn’t have much, if any, contact with folks who were happy to talk with me before the start of the event in 2013 – what I guess now was just an effort to get lots of publicity and support out of me. Long time followers know that I’m happy to give support, but it won’t come with sugar coating and a pledge to always agree with everything. I’m just not made that way.

I’m hopeful for this art competition and exhibition, but I won’t call it an epic arts festival until it becomes one. They can advertise the event any way they choose, but my advice is to tone it down a bit and wait to see if they earn such a description. They’re doing better than some bigger communities, but time will tell what this event should be called. Only in the world of television is a show a hit before anyone sees the first show or after just one episode.

So What About This Year’s Event?

I’ll say this again as I did last year, ArtFields missed the opportunity to educate the public and artists about the opportunity this event was offering through social media. I have no idea what effort they had in other states, but what media crossed my radar just never seemed to explain the event or the Lake City community other than to direct folks to check out their website for further info – which wasn’t updated very early after the first event. The event suffered from the big lull effect, and a little controversy in the judging process by going silent for much too long after the first event ended. That may be the case again this year, but it’s still early to tell. They have to promote this event all year long. There is lots of education to be done about the event and the community.

I hope the organizers have learned something this year about the media. What was big news one year is old news or no news the next year. Next to Florence, SC’s newspaper, “Carolina Arts” is presenting more text and photos about this event than anyone else – more than just a few weeks of the year. It may not all be positive and smiley faces, but it’s coverage not many other media outlets are giving this event. So my advice to organizers is that they will have to work harder at getting their message in the media or spend more time telling their story through social media. And, I’m not talking about the slick video they made this year after the event which makes ArtFields look more like a community party than an art event. What I saw in that video wouldn’t make me travel to check out ArtFields in Lake City, SC, from Miami, FL. People can have a good time anywhere.

First Impressions

My first impression of ArtFields 2014 came from the online gallery of selected artists. And that impression was that the SC Arts Commission had a hand in recruiting artists to enter this event. And then there was the shot heard throughout academia. The fact that last year’s top winner was Jim Arendt, an art professor at Coastal Carolina University in Conway, SC, brought entries from art professors throughout the region and especially South Carolina. As I checked out the bios it looked like university and college art professors got the impression that they could win $50,000 just by entering their work. Installation artists had also gotten the message that these folks wanted to be more like ArtPrize in Grand Rapids, MI – which now awards $400,000 in cash.

When I finally stepped into The R.O.B., the large warehouse building turned into an art gallery, my impression was confirmed – this building looked like one of the SC Arts Commission’s “Triennial” shows. So, I’m sure they were more involved in this year’s event, giving artists their seal of approval to enter and making contacts to artists telling them they should enter this competition. Funny thing though, not too long ago the Arts Commission was sending out the word that they didn’t see much value in juried exhibits without themes that only showed one work by artists. What changed their mind? I guess they were trying to warm themselves up to Darla Moore – probably looking for funding for one of their pet projects.

Of course, none of these professors were winners of the awards so I’m not sure they will be back next year, of course they could be back in full force.

Hannah L. Davis, Gallery Director at the Jones-Carter Gallery in Lake City, was the curator of the works presented in The R.O.B., all 102 of them, which was no easy task with all the different kinds of works included there. She did a great job of laying the works out in that space. During the two days that I visited ArtFields I must have toured this facility at least six times. This venue would have been worth seeing if there was nothing else offered at ArtFields. It also showed that the event was headed in the right direction, but… and it’s a big but – it all depends on what is entered and how far ArtFields reaches into the visual art communities of the 12 states from which artists can enter this competition.

Another point about The R.O.B. worth mentioning is that last year I said they needed to get rest rooms in that building. I may have overlooked it last year, but this year they had the fanciest outdoor rest rooms I’ve ever used. They were air-conditioned, had running water, flowers (although probably plastic ones) and artwork on the walls. And, no lines on the days I was there.


This year I got the opportunity to see more of the works being presented in the shops throughout Lake City. Some were no bigger than my bedroom. I think I saw about 90% of all works displayed in my two visits. I might have seen more except for a few basic problems – I had a May issue of “Carolina Arts” to finish, I like to talk with people in the visual art community and I ran into a lot of folks at ArtFields, even on a Monday and Thursday, and I don’t like trying to see works of art over people trying to eat their food in restaurants. Stepping into hair salons which emitted a certain smell didn’t bother me one bit, this paper got it’s beginnings in a broom closet inside a Charleston, SC, hair salon, but bothering people during their lunch or dinner is not something I like doing. I think it bothered a lot of other people and artists too, so I would recommend ArtFields rethinking that one.

I think most of the merchants did a great job of accommodating the artworks they selected to be in their shops and many were ready to act as tour guides. A few gave up more space than I might have as a business person and a few placed works in places too hard to get a good look at – most notably some were too high up the walls to even read the ID cards. I heard this complaint from a few artists as well, who say they won’t be returning next year. They may not enter the competition, but they have no way of knowing if they could even make the cut next year, so that complaint could be moot.

This work by Hirona Matsuda took up a lot of space at M & D Drug Company

Only a third of the folks who entered last year entered again this year, and ArtFields got about the same amount of entries (780), but I don’t think they can maintain that kind of turn over every year.

I know the idea behind ArtFields is to get people to come to Lake City and spend money, and to attract people to open new businesses there, but the organizers should never lose sight of the fact that it is a fine art event and they shouldn’t compromise the art in any situation over sales. An artist’s lounge with free snacks and drinks are not all it takes to keep artists happy. Believe me it takes much, much more. So keep that in mind.

I know this, I stepped into a lot of stores I wouldn’t even consider going into, even in downtown Charleston, to see what they had on display. So the overall concept works, but there has to be a happy medium between art and commerce.


Lake City also looked a lot more green and flowery. So ArtFields has helped spruce up a town that probably looked pretty brown a few years ago. Of course I wouldn’t know as I had no reason to check it out before 2013, and I have driven through Lake City on Hwy 52 many a time headed to Florence, SC, and back again. I’m actually looking forward to staying there overnight sometime in the future. A new 57 room hotel will be open on Main Street before ArtFields 2015 opens.


I had a great time riding the tour bus around Lake City and talking with the driver getting his impressions about this year compared to last year – sometimes riding when it was just me and the driver. Remember, I was there on a Monday and Thursday. Like they say – if you want to know what’s going on talk to a taxi driver, or in this case a bus driver. He was a great ambassador for Lake City. Shop owners, waitresses, and local reporters also gave me a better view of what was going on in many cases – much better than ArtFields’ staff members did. ArtFields runs a tight lipped ship in Lake City.

At some point while viewing art in the new shops on Main Street in Lake City I came up with what could be a subtitle to whatever I titled this blog. “Men of the Carolinas – Keep Your Women Away From Lake City, SC,” if you don’t, it’s going to cost you. Then I thought that would be a pretty chauvinistic thing to say, but it’s more a reflection of how this town has turned into a shopping haven – for mostly women and children. I just hope people come to Lake City throughout the rest of the year or some of these places might be closed by next year – unless their rent is being subsidized.

ArtFields hasn’t released any numbers yet on how many people they thought attended, how many registered to vote, how many people voted, and the number I’ve been waiting to hear since last year – how many votes the top winners received. So, I can’t say much about that. On a Monday and Thursday I couldn’t gage whether there were more people there than last year, but I did have several, of what I call Spoleto moments.

Sometimes in Charleston, SC, when the Spoleto Festival USA and the City’s Piccolo Spoleto Festival are going on it would take me 15 to 20 minutes to cross a street – the traffic was that bad. A few times on Main Street in Lake City, it took a good time to cross the street. Once I thought it would take forever, but a bus had to stop at the railroad tracks that cut Main Street in half, and it was just enough to cause a break in the traffic so I could cross. And that was on a Thursday.

This image was part of The Inside Out Project – Local Matters, showing the faces of the people who are making this all happen in Lake City

Some Bullet Points

I received a number of calls and e-mails asking me how a  number of boxes making sounds was a visual artwork? This was referring to the top prize, “Sun Boxes Mach II,” by Craig Colorusso of Rogers, AR. This was one of my favorite pieces and I voted for it. I explained that as this competition goes on they will see even more borderline works that won’t look like a sculpture or painting in this competition and it won’t be long before an artist enters a performance piece where they stand somewhere and create their one work of art during the event where they are the artwork or something like that.

“Sun Boxes Mach II,” by Craig Colorusso of Rogers, AR, not very visual

I also got asked how the jurors could select John Eric Riis’ work “Neoclassic Male and Female Tapestry” a diptych (meaning a two part work) and only buy have of it – the female part as the “second” juried “bonus” prize. I couldn’t answer that, but I think the fact that the work was priced at $50,000 and the award was for just $25,000 might tell you something about that.

In the case of Robert Snead, the artist who listed himself as from Charleston, SC, but now lives in New Orleans, LA, his work, “Family Dollar General Tree,” was listed as Not For Sale. I’m sure he didn’t turn his nose up to the “other” $25,000 Juror’s Choice award offered him. Or did he? Is listing a work NFS, ever really not for sale? Snead is from Charleston, but he doesn’t live their now, but I figure he did that to bank on attracting the local vote – for the People’s Choice award.

Which brings us to a trend which took place at ArtFields 2014, and that is “inflation”. A lot of artists heard that Darla Moore does some shopping during ArtFields, so many showed up with prices on works they only dream about at night. For a few, the big prices were their normal market price, but for many, they priced themselves out of making a sale or being selected (if that was a factor). What happens when a work is priced at $100,000 and the jurors want to make it the $50,000 prize? What does that say if the artist says I’ll take it and runs to the bank? What if the jurors pass it by and say too bad we can’t pick that one?

Let’s get real artists, ArtFields in not only an exhibition and a competition, but it is a sales opportunity. Darla Moore didn’t get rich overpaying for goods and services. Plus the odds are 22,000 to 1. There is only one Darla Moore and many more possible art buyers coming to see this exhibit. I didn’t know this and it wasn’t publicly promoted anywhere last year but apparently a lot of art was sold during the first ArtFields – something that should be promoted to the artists and the general public. I was told this year’s sales were down – I wonder why? While viewing this exhibit many others viewing the exhibit made funny remarks about the prices on the works. I hope artists get more realistic next year when it comes to pricing their works – for their own good.

The life-changing award of $50,000 is a lot for a top prize of a regular juried show. But for the type of artists ArtFields is hoping to attract to this event, it’s not that much money, especially when you have to give up your work if it is selected for one of the top awards. And, except for a few, it’s not going to be life-changing. If some of the artists had sold their works at the price they were asking – winning the top prize would have been a letdown. All works sold or that have a pending sale have to wait to see what the jurors pick first and it might not be too long before an artist turns down the top award to make a better sale.

Like I said last year – when dealing with artists you’ll find they are more complicated than the rest of us. They see things differently and it’s a good thing they do – most of the time.

Some artists told me they will keep trying to get into ArtFields – more for the exposure than the chance to win a top award. Some think the work they produce will never be selected by the jurors and they might be right, but they still want to be part of this event as they think one day it will be a major accomplishment to just get into the competition. There are other things to be gained by entering and getting it this exhibition. Our June 2014 issue of “Carolina Arts” will feature a work on the cover from ArtFields 2014. No big deal, but it’s something.

This year, there were 278 South Carolina artists accepted into ArtFields (64 from the Charleston area and 50 from the Columbia area) – 522 from SC sent in entries – that’s a 53% success ratio. Those numbers need to slow down in order for ArtFields to attract visitors from other states. I’m not saying the jurors have to limit how many works can be in the show from certain areas – the event needs to encourage more “excellent” works from the other 11 states. Eventually, down the road a ways, I think you could see that number shrink down to 50 – 100 from SC. And you’ll perhaps see 30 – 50 artists from each eligible state. That’s once the word gets out about the opportunities being offered artists by ArtFields. I was surprised how few were coming from North Carolina.

I heard that some locals were critical about the fact that only a few Lake City artists got in the event. I was surprised that a few I saw made the cut at all, and very soon the event might see fewer from the Pee Dee area of SC make the cut. Not that there isn’t talent in the Pee Dee, it’s just that the competition might get that rough. But, again it all depends on how well the event attracts top artists from other states. Maybe in the future there will be a side competition just open to local and regional artists – bigger than the Greater Lake City Artist Guild show presented at the ArtFields Gallery on Main Street. Remember the goal is to get outsiders – people who live far away from Lake City – to come to Lake City.

The new handout explaining ArtFields was an improvement, as was the 64 page competition catalog you only received once you registered to vote. That was a good idea, but I’m not sure it will help get people to register to vote and then actually vote. The numbers on that haven’t been released yet. The Artist’s Gallery on the ArtFields’ website is the most informative resource, offering larger images of artworks and artist’s bios.

A lot of education and promotion that ArtFields is a competition determined – mostly – by the public voting on their favorite works has to be done. I kept hearing the mantra from staff members that people keep telling them – they just want to look at the art – not vote on it. It’s tough turning some bystanders into participants.

The worst thing I heard at ArtFields was that folks from Hilton Head Island, SC, came this year to Lake City talking about the fact that they were thinking of launching their own Art??? – something. This would be a shame and dilute both events. This is what happened with the Art Walk craze – everyone has one now and nothing is special about them anymore.

What’s going to bring folks to Lake City in between ArtFields each year? Well, the Jones-Carter Gallery will help with that, offering excellent exhibits, and if someone could do a better job of publicity on what the ArtFields Gallery is offering – that would help too (and Saturday hours). A new commercial art learning center/gallery opened on Main Street six months ago, named Olio Studio – this will also help, but they’re going to need something more. Maybe an upscale concert series or music festival would help keep a spotlight on Lake City – bringing in upscale cultural visitors. But they’re going to need something to build tourism traffic in Lake City all year long.

Finally, I think ArtFields should consider pulling the event back into April and stay away from the month of May – too many other visual art events are taking place during the first part of May. I think it cost them in attendance and media coverage. I’d head more for the middle of April.

OK – that’s enough from me until the numbers come in, which I hope doesn’t take too long.

I posted a number of images of art on display at ArtFields on Facebook at Tom Starland.

If you want to learn more about ArtFields – as an artist or as a possible visitor – visit ( of keep up with “Carolina Arts” at (

A Visit to a Few Art Exhibits at the North Charleston Arts Festival Taking Place in North Charleston, SC

Wednesday, May 7th, 2014


Every year I try and go see a couple of art exhibits presented during the annual North Charleston Arts Festival taking place throughout North Charleston, SC. This year was the 32nd version of the Festival. The shows I try to see are the annual “Judged Fine Art & Photography Exhibitions” and the “South Carolina Palmetto Hands Fine Craft Exhibit”, (the 13th) on view at the North Charleston Performing Arts Center and Charleston Area Convention Center in North Charleston. Both exhibits are on view through May 10, 2014. Hours of viewing are through May 9, from 9am-5pm and  May 10, from 9am-noon.

As of late, I go see these shows to see if any changes have taken place. In the case of the “South Carolina Palmetto Hands Fine Craft Exhibit” I’m looking to see if any new craft artists are in this exhibit. Many of the participants are the same each year – at least it seems that way. It’s hard to blame the North Charleston Arts Festival for this as they can’t make artists enter this exhibit. Why more craft artists don’t see this exhibit as a show to be in I’m not sure but we have many more excellent craft artists in SC then this show has attracted. The ArtFields competition in Lake City, SC, may have some impact since it has created a People’s Choice award of $12,500 for 3-D works, but “Palmetto Hands” has had this problem of “sameness” long before ArtFields came along.

One problem is that the City of North Charleston doesn’t get a lot of respect when it comes to the arts. A lot of that attitude is unfair, but some of it is earned. First, the city doesn’t have a decent space dedicated to showing art and second, is how they present it at this festival. Until these two factors change, I expect the exhibits will stay pretty much the same. I guess they would say they are doing the best they can with the resources they have and it’s hard to find fault with that. After all, they are offering artists opportunities that are hard to come by in SC.

Looking at the “Palmetto Hands” show, Matt Wilson, of Charleston, SC, a recent regular in this show presented four outstanding works and received the Best in Show award for one of his works titled “SC State Bird” – a mosquito. Most all involved recycled pieces of metal. These are all small sized works, a few years ago Wilson entered a full-size metal eagle. I agree his works were the highlight of this show.




All four works by Matt Wilson

Speaking of metal works we have “Ascension,” by Bob Doster of Lancaster, SC – he’s Mr. metal in this state. And we have “Low on the Hog: Chitlin Cleaning Funnel,” made of silver and brass, by Michael Woodle of Conway, SC. I found the front end of this pig at the ArtFields 2014 exhibit in Lake City, SC. And, finishing the metal category we have “Rusted Rodent,” by Patz and Mike Fowle of Hartsville, SC. I think I have seen this guy’s cousin before – he looks familiar, but I’m sure all rodents in SC are inbred so that was no surprise.

Work by Bob Doster

Work by Michael Woodle

Work by Patz and Mike Fowle

Other works that caught my eye:

“Birds of a Feather,” by Keller Lee of North Charleston, SC, with his fused glass work. This work was selected to be part of the Traveling Exhibit which will tour SC throughout the next year. I liked “Spring Returns,” by Deborah Appleby, with this clay plate.

Work by Keller Lee

Work by Deborah Appleby

“Open Segment Bowl,” by Kenny Teague is an amazing wooden bowl. I also offer an up close detail image of this work to show what it took to create this piece. Then we have “Volume Nine: Hobbies to Irrigation,” by Susan Lenz, of Columbia, SC. Lenz is also a regular fixture of “Palmetto Hands”, but you never know what she will enter. This is a mixed-media: altered book. I offer two views here as it is hard to see in one image. This work is also included in the Traveling Exhibit.

Work by Kenny Teague


Work by Susan Lenz


There were a lot more interesting entries, but if I showed them all, you would have no reason to go see this exhibit, which I hope you will. If it seems I forgot to let you know where some of these artists are from in SC, it’s because that info wasn’t offered on the tags or in the exhibit handout.

Here’s my one image of the annual “Judged Fine Art & Photography Exhibitions” – mostly the fine art show. It is “Give and Take,” by Latasha R. Hollins.

Work by Latasha R. Hollins

This exhibit is very hard to photograph, due to many reason, but my biggest problem is that I have gotten to an age where bending down below my waist or keeling on the floor to see the ID tag has come to the point where I might not be able to get back up and the point is I shouldn’t have to. Nor should anyone else, but it’s something viewers of this exhibit have had to deal with for years.

Sameness is also a problem here too. The greater Charleston, SC, area has a wealth of fine artists, but few choose to enter this show. Why is that? It’s the North Charleston factors I mentioned above and mostly the presentation of the work.

Finally, we have the work, “Happy,” by Amiri Geuka Farris of Bluffton, SC, winner of the 2014 North Charleston Arts Festival Design Competition, on view at the North Charleston City Gallery, located at the Charleston Area Convention Center, from May 2 – 31, 2014. This is an excellent exhibit to go see.

Work by Amiri Geuka Farris

For further information contact the North Charleston Cultural Arts Department office by calling 843/740-5854 or visit ( where you’ll find a complete schedule of events.

The Results of the ArtFields 2014 Competition in Lake City, SC, Are In

Sunday, May 4th, 2014


The judges have spoken, after the people registered their votes and the winners have been announced. I voted for 26 works and 4 out of the 5 winners were on my list.

Top Prize of $50,000 goes to Craig Colorusso of Rogers, AR, for “Sun Boxes”. These wooden boxes are not much to look at, but what they do is amazing yet simple. My little video is not much but gives you a taste of what they do.

Still image of “Sun Boxes” by Craig Colorusso of Rogers, AR

To hear the sound of the “Sun Boxes” visit this link if you have Facebook (

There was a surprise in the naming of the Juried Prize winner in that the judges picked two and ArtFields came up with the extra money to award two prizes – $25k each to Robert Snead of New Orleans, LA, for “Family Dollar General Tree,” and John Eric Riis of Atlanta, GA, for “Neoclassic Female Tapestry” (which was only half of the work displayed). Riis was featured last year in a major show at the Franklin G. Burroughs • Simeon B. Chapin Art Museum in Myrtle Beach, SC. Snead is a Charleston native, and one of the organizers of Redux Contemporary Art Center. I’ve included a few more detail shots of Snead’s piece. You can see more of Riis’ works in a blog I did at this link (

“Family Dollar General Tree,” by Robert Snead of New Orleans, LA




“Neoclassic Female Tapestry” by John Eric Riis of Atlanta, GA (which was only half of the work displayed – the female image)

The People’s Choice winners were, “Think” by Joshua Redfearn of Cheraw, SC, for 3-d and “Out of Bondage,” by Colin Quashie of Charleston, SC, for 2-d. You can check out a blog I did about Quashie’s exhibit at Redux back in 2012 at this link (

“Think” by Joshua Redfearn of Cheraw, SC, for 3-d

“Out of Bondage,” by Colin Quashie of Charleston, SC

There you have it – read em’ and weap or celebrate.

For further info visit ( The event is still taking place today, Sunday, May 4, 2014, from 1-6pm.