Archive for the ‘North Charleston SC Visual Arts’ Category

A Visit to a New Art Space in North Charleston, SC, to See an Exhibit by Fletcher Williams III

Thursday, May 4th, 2017

Last Tuesday, I was engaged in my now “If it’s Tuesday” I’ll be at a protest rally with fellow members of Indivisible Charleston at one of two offices for SC Congressional representatives, Senators Lindsey Graham and Tim Scott, as well as Representative Mark Sanford. What am I protesting? Well generally the fact that we have the most unqualified person in the history of the United States as President and that a day doesn’t go by when he does something damaging to the American citizens, our world image and the environment – as if the actions of Congress are not damaging enough. And if you feel like politics has nothing to do with the visual arts in the Carolinas – you’re naive. What’s happening in Washington, DC, has everything to do with the arts and artists – including health care for artists, public funding for artists and art institutions, whether anyone but the rich will have money to buy art, and on and on. Artists are not exempt from what effects the rest of Americans.

So after the rally in Mt. Pleasant at Sen. Graham’s and Rep. Sanford’s office I planned on stopping by the Historic Reynolds Avenue Fire Station, located at 2006 Reynolds Avenue, in North Charleston, SC, on my way home. Local sculptor and painter Fletcher Williams III is presenting “City Block”, a series of new work inspired by the North Charleston cityscape, on view through June 3, 2017. With the use of reclaimed wood, automotive paints, and various building materials, Williams has created three-dimensional works that symbolize the deconstruction and transformation of local neighborhoods. The exhibit is part of the visual arts offerings of the 2017 North Charleston Arts Fest (May 3 – 7, 2017) organized and presented by the City of North Charleston Cultural Arts Department. Hours at this exhibit space are, Tue., Thur., Fri., & Sat., 11am-4pm and Wed., 11am-7pm.

Fletcher Williams III exhibit statement

Fletcher Williams III (b. 1987) was born in North Charleston, SC. He attended Charleston County School of the Arts for much of his secondary education. Upon graduation in 2005, he enrolled in two local colleges, Trident Technical College and College of Charleston, where he focused on drawing, painting, and graphic design. He later transferred to The Cooper Union: For the Advancement in Science in Art (NYC) where he received his BFA in 2010. Since then his work has been shown in notable institutions such as MoCada Museum (2016), McKissick Museum (2015), Mann-Simon Center (2016), San Diego Museum of Contemporary Art (2015). In 2015, Williams was named an Art Matters Grantee and an Alternate Roots Visual Arts Scholar.

Now I know when most people in the greater Charleston area hear the words “Reynolds Avenue” they envision in the words of President Trump – an area worst than a battleground in Afghanistan. But it’s not! Reynolds Avenue was once one of the major gateways on to the old Charleston Naval Yard. Thousands of workers from all points in the Charleston area used to work at the Naval Yard. There are still businesses open there and I felt no concern in parking my car and visiting this exhibit. The fire station has a lot of free parking at the rear of the building. Hours the facility is open are all during daylight hours – not 2am. So don’t let your unfounded fears keep you away from seeing this exhibit. Go with a group if that makes you feel better.

I’ve been admiring Williams’ works from afar up until this day. He has had shows in downtown Charleston, but it’s harder for me to get to Charleston these days than Mt. Pleasant and North Charleston. I’ve seen a lot of his work on Facebook. And from what I was seeing, Williams was a rare item in Charleston’s visual art community – he wasn’t making art that was oriented towards Charleston’s tourist market. The only connection there might me to tourism is his incorporation of the “Palmetto Rose” in his artwork. A “Palmetto Rose” is a rose made from a fron (long leaf) from the official SC State tree, the Palmetto tree, which Black youth sell to tourists throughout downtown Charleston.

“Bless Those Sittin’ High and Ridin’ Clean” by Fletcher Williams III, wood, automotive paint, metal flake, steel lath, 72 x 36 x 13 inch

One work in this show has the “Palmetto Rose” incorporated in it – making a link from his previous works to this exhibit, but most of the works in “City Block” which are constructed from reclaimed wood, automotive paints, and various building materials show three trends – the use of the cross, the use of colored light, and wood assembled in different directions.

One thing that seems to be true in all of Williams’ works is that he is a gifted carpenter. His use of reclaimed wood is very creative. Not to mention keeping these materials out of landfills or being burned adding more carbon to our air. See, everything is political.

“Stacked” by Fletcher Williams III, discarded wood, plywood, 70 x 64 x 4 inches

“Brace” by Fletcher Williams III, discarded wood, plywood, shingle, 77 x 52 x 21 inches

“Surveillance Station” by Fletcher Williams III, discarded wood, steel lath, LED, 63 x 48 x 4 inches

There are just thirteen works in this exhibit and I only want to show a few to give you a taste of what you’ll see, as I want you to go see this exhibit. Williams deserves the attention and support of the art community and those interested in art. Don’t let a trip to North Charleston get in the way of that.

To let you know how important Williams’ works are and will be in the future, there was one work that had a red dot on it, meaning it had sold. I asked him if an individual had purchased it or if the City of North Charleston had purchased it to add to their art collection. He told me an artist and his wife had purchased it – named Juan Logan. It seemed Williams was not totally informed about this artist.

“Fresh Linen and Royalty” by Fletcher Williams III, discarded wood, automotive paint, metal flake, steel lath, LED, 30 x 30 x 4 inches – SOLD

I grabbed this from Logan’s website ( Born in Nashville, TN, Juan Logan now lives and works in Belmont, NC. Logan’s artworks address subjects relevant to the American experience. At once abstract and representational, his paintings, drawings, sculptures, installations, and videos address the interconnections of race, place, and power. They make visible how hierarchical relations and social stereotypes shape individuals, institutions, and the material and mental landscapes of contemporary life. Logan has shown extensively nationally and internationally, has had numerous solo exhibitions, and executed many private and public commissions. He is married to curator Jonell Logan. Logan’s works can be found in private, corporate, and public collections, including the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Gibbes Museum of Art, the Baltimore Museum of Art, the Memphis Brooks Museum, the Zimmerli Museum of Art, and the Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art. Most recently, his piece “Some Clouds are Darker” became part of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture.

Now I don’t want to make this all about Juan Logan, but when an artist of his reputation ends up at an exhibit at an old fire station in North Charleston and he purchases a work from an up and coming artist to add to his collection – that says something. I was impressed, but then I already liked the work Williams was producing, my pocketbook just doesn’t run as deep as this dynamic couple’s. But I felt good knowing we share the same opinion on the work we were seeing in this exhibit and of the artist’s future. Which leads me to the fact of asking – how long will Williams be able to stay in Charleston – a town not known for supporting creative and challenging artwork.

Williams talking with some gallery visitors

William Halsey and his wife Corrie McCallum made the decision to stay in Charleston and there is no doubt it cost them in the long run. They supplemented their income by teaching art. Charleston loses creative artists all the time who don’t give into the lure of creating works tourist will buy. I don’t blame the artists – many who are super talented and skilled at their art but who made at some point in their lives the decision to stick to subjects tourists will buy.

Go give this young artist the support he deserves – even if it’s just to go see his works. It might help him stay in Charleston and help carve out a second art market in Charleston for more than pretty images of the city and its environment. And I’m not knocking it as there is plenty of that work in my collection.

I was hoping to add a short movie of one of Williams’ works but I’ve yet to figure that out.

If you want to see a lot more of Williams’ work, which is diverse, check out his website at ( You’ll see he’s not an idle artist.

For more info about the North Charleston Arts Fest call 843/740-5854 or visit (

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 (

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.

A Trip to Charleston, SC, to see Colin Quashie’s Exhibit at Redux and the French Quarter Art Walk

Thursday, May 10th, 2012

Some people say that 60 is the new 40. Maybe, but on this day I was feeling my 60 years in full force. Last week I spent three fast days taking in the arts. I was in Columbia, SC, for a few hours on Thursday doing an emergency gift trip to One Eared Cow Glass. I spent more time in the car than in the gallery, but it was worth it. On Friday, I went to Redux Contemporary Art Center in Charleston, SC, seeing the exhibit that helped set a record for viewers of Carolina Arts and doing a bit of the art walk in Charleston. By Saturday morning I was back in North Charleston, SC, doing the North Charleston Arts Festival I blogged about earlier. On Sunday, I was dead.

I did the blog about some of the North Charleston Arts Festival exhibits first as they will end on May 12, 2012. For info about other exhibits being offered visit (

So, Friday I went to see The Plantation (Plan-ta-shun) featuring works by Colin Quashie as it was going to end in a few days. I didn’t want to miss the exhibit that launched over 112,000 downloads of our paper. It was the first time I’ve been to Redux since their major renovation and the place looked great. Seeing Quashie’s works up close was a testament to the mission of our paper. We exist only to show you what you have an opportunity to go see every month. We don’t want to be your outlet to the visual arts in the Carolinas – we want you to go see art. No matter how good things look in the paper, they will never look as good as they do when you’re standing in front of them.



Quashie’s works were even more powerful seeing them in their true scale – something we can’t duplicate in our paper. These works were much larger than I expected. I know we sometimes give the dimensions of works with some images we present, but they’re just numbers until you’re standing in front of the actual works. It works the same way for smaller works too.


I love the works that poke fun at how “Madison Avenue” might market slavery today. They’re clever statements about the past and present, but I loved Quashie’s portraits more. I can’t write in “art speak” but I hope this exhibit finds other venues in the Carolinas and I hope Quashie continues the series. And, I sure wouldn’t mind featuring more works by him on our cover – someday down the road.



While at Redux I discovered they have another gallery space, called the Conolly Studio Gallery which features current works by some of its studio artists every eight weeks. This was news to me and a slip by the folks at Redux by not informing us about it. It was a good thing I checked it out, as while there, I ran into one of my favorite artists, Karin Olah Knowlton, who left Charleston for a Rocky Mountain high to live in Colorado and got to meet her very new daughter Ali. Karin has some of her new floral works (fabric paintings) on exhibit at Robert Lange Studios in Charleston. That was an unexpected pleasant meeting.


Go see her works at RLS soon – I bet they won’t last long before they are sold and off to new homes.

Next stop – Charleston’s French Quarter and my first stop there was Nina Liu & Friends, on State Street, as Liu was back in town for the Spoleto season. She finally moved to her new home in Mexico this winter, but is still looking to sell her “prime location” home in downtown Charleston. And, Spoleto visitors always bring a new crop of future Charlestonians – they come – they fall in love – they move to Charleston.

The gallery is presenting the wonderful black and white photographs of Michael Johnson through June during Spoleto. You would think that since she moved to Mexico the gallery would be a little sparse, but it was full of art. So all of you Nina Liu & Friends fans – the gallery is open and ready for business, but the building is also for sale.

You hear that greater visual art community out there? A gallery/home in the heart of Charleston’s French Quarter art district is available for anyone interested in opening a gallery or expanding their business to Charleston. Of course I’m not looking forward to the day when Liu is gone to Mexico for good – I’ll miss her and our conversations.

I got to Nina Liu & Friends well before the Art Walk officially opened and she was having some new lighting installed, so I slipped out to go over to Robert Lange Studios, just around the corner on Queen Street, to see those works by Karin Olah Knowlton, and then I walked over to Lowcountry Artists LTD on East Bay Street to see the exhibit,  Painting With Fire: Lowcountry Impressions in Clay, featuring works by Marty Biernbaum, on view through May 31, 2012.

That’s the beauty of the French Quarter – you can’t toss a stone in any direction without hitting an art gallery. If you run and just barely stick your head in each door you might be able to visit them all in one art walk, but you really have to narrow your visits to a few if you want to see some work and if you’re like me – there will be some talking going on too. I don’t get to the art walks that often, but I still know a lot of folks there.


Biernbaum’s works looked great in our paper, but also much better in person. And in person you can get that tactile experience too. I’m not saying you can touch all art works, but it’s usually OK with pottery. Just remember – you drop it – you bought it. And you don’t always have to pick things up to get a little feel.

That exhibit was about 20 minutes from officially opening, yet they say they had already sold a third of the works. Better get down to see this exhibit fast. Of course they have lots of other art there too, so you won’t have to leave empty handed if the pottery is all sold out, but I bet Biernbaum has some backup works on hand.

I checked back in at Nina Liu & Friends, but Liu was busy with another art walk matter and it was just after 5pm so I headed across the street to see the exhibit, First Light by Shannon Smith, on view through May 18, 2012 at Smith-Killian Fine Art, on the corner of State and Queen Streets.


I’ll never admit to having a favorite out of the Smith clan, but Linda claims I’m partial to Shannon’s work. I’ll invoke the 5th in any court, but she had some spectacular works on display, but I also saw a pretty fantastic view of Charleston from Mt. Pleasant by Jennifer that evening and it was just a year ago when Betty’s abstracts knocked my socks off. And, being an old black and white guy myself – Tripp holds his own in that clan of artists. So, how could anyone pick a favorite? That’s what I say and I’m sticking to it.

My next stop was going to be Corrigan Gallery, further down Queen Street, to see the exhibit, Landscape Reconfigured, featuring new works by Linda Fantuzzo on view through May 30, 2012. I don’t know if it was the heat and humidity, the week of work, or the fact that my age was catching up with me, but that walk seemed like a couple of miles instead of a few blocks, and I was feeling it all.


The one disadvantage of the May art walk in Charleston is that at this time of year in Charleston, at 5pm the sun is still bearing down and well after the art walk is over the sun is still up. Because I’m an hour plus away, I can’t show up fashionably late like some when the temps are a little better and I still have to make that hour plus trip back home.

I finally made it there and I’m glad I did. I’ve known Linda Fantuzzo for a long time – way before Linda (my Linda) and I started doing an arts newspaper, and her works just keep getting better and better and they started out good. She was part of the old John Street art colony – back in the day with Manning Williams, Bill Buggle and Bobby Brown. If you know these folks – you’ve been around Charleston for a long time. We (Linda and I) were doing photo processing on John Street, but the City ran us all off when they built the Visitor Center causing high rents to settle in on John Street.

I got in a few words with Fantuzzo and Lese Corrigan, but this gallery was filling up fast and these folks needed to talk to some real customers. While I was checking out some of the other works in the gallery, I was offered some help by a young lady who I guessed was helping Corrigan out, she might have been an intern from the College of Charleston, I’m not sure, but she told me about Mary Walker, Kevin Parent, and John Moore’s work – which I was checking out. I never know what to do is a situation like that. I know these artists’ work well, but she didn’t know that and I didn’t see any reason to say anything – why should I, and what would I say that wouldn’t seem rude? She knew her stuff – much better than some I’ve encountered in a similar situation. I once had a gallery helper try to tell me Corrie McCallum was dead long before she passed and there was nothing I could say to change her mind.

Situations like that make me think of saying – “Look, I know Corrie McCallum, I’m a friend of Corrie McCallum – you don’t know diddily about Corrie McCallum,” and then storm out – but I don’t. What would be the use in that? I’m just an old dude who has forgotten more than some know, but a new generation is in control now. This wasn’t the case – this young lady knew her stuff and she was a real asset to the Corrigan Gallery. And, the next person might not know who these artists are.

I hate to admit it, but after Corrigan Gallery I was finished for the evening. I was going to be lucky to get back to my car and endure that hour plus drive home. Luckily, a good night’s rest made it possible to do the North Charleston Arts Festival’s Main Event the next day.

If people want to sell me on the notion that 60 is the new 40 – I know I felt a lot better when I was 40 and I’m not doing too badly now, but what else do you want to sell me – the Brooklyn Bridge?


You can read more about these exhibits in the May 2012 issue of Carolina Arts. You can download a copy of the paper at this link (

A Trip to the 2012 North Charleston Arts Festival in North Charleston, SC

Monday, May 7th, 2012


I started off my trip to the 2012 North Charleston Arts Festival with a trip to the 7th Annual National Outdoor Sculpture Competition and Exhibitionat the North Charleston River Front Park at the old Navy Base on the Cooper River where I think I gave a pint of blood. No, there wasn’t a Red Cross blood drive going on, but the mosquitoes where taking their fair share of blood from me. I don’t know if it was that I got there so early, about 9am, before the sun made them run for the shadows, but they were out in force, so you might want to take some spray if you go there – just in case. But this show will be up for a year – so no hurry.

I completely missed last year’s event so I wanted to make sure I photographed this year’s event, but I think the exhibit was still being set up so we’ll wait for that posting a little later, but here’s a little tease. I don’t have names and info yet.



I next headed over to the Charleston Area Convention Center for the Festival’s Main Event which is the site of many of the Festival’s exhibitions and competitions. I’ve never arrived at the Main Event when it was opening and I was amazed at the river of people flowing into the Convention Center to get their first look at the Festival’s offerings. This place was wall to wall art offerings – performances of all types and visual arts in every area of the facility, including the exhibits and artists’ booths selling their creations. Music could be heard just outside in the courtyard between the Convention Center and the Coliseum where area graduations were being held. I heard many a folk headed to the graduation say the festival was their next stop.

I started out at the Judged Fine Art & Photography Competitions and Exhibitions to see who the big winners were this year. I was really curious to see if Denise L. Greer was dominating the competition again this year. She’s been all over the place and even has a big solo exhibit at the Sumter County Gallery of Art through July 6, 2012.

The artworks were marked better this year, but for this 60 + guy I wish they would put the ID tags at the top of the works instead of at the bottom. I really had to test my ability to bend over to see who some of the artists were. My apologies to those folks who got a way too close look at my rear during this process. The lighting here is not so good, so in fairness I didn’t take any photos of these works.

Denise L. Greer didn’t do as well this year as she did last year. She won two Honorable Mention ribbons in Mixed Media and Watercolor. But I think she might have been robbed of a higher award in the Oils category due to some bad placement. But, that’s just my opinion. She had a small work in a very dark area of the Center – with almost no light on her work. The work itself was also very dark which didn’t help. From what I could see the work could have been very interesting, but hard to tell and I don’t see how any judge could tell either, but that’s the luck of placement – a factor in any competition. But I have to tell you there is a certain lure to an image you can’t see very well. I spent three hours looking at art that day and I kept going back to see if the lighting got any better, but it was always the same. Pretty soon I was getting the feeling that someone was trying to keep something good from me and that this work might be the best work of art in the world and I was being denied a look at it. That’s kind of crazy, but it’s how I felt.

Bob Graham, another dominating force at this show from year to year had won 1st Place in Drawing and 2nd Place in Watercolor. But Best of Show this year went to Shelia Thompson, an artist I do not know of, but the work was very good – so I’ll keep an eye out for that name in the future.

There were a number of new people with works in the show this year and a lot of the same people. I was glad to see Peter Scala had work in the Oils category. He won 2nd Place in Oils. His style does stand out from a lot of artists and I was glad to see that the judge agreed with my taste in art.

After a couple of turns around this exhibit to make sure I saw everything, I went to look at the Youth Art Competition and Exhibition next, which got a better placement than the Adult works did – lighting wise. This was a massive display of student art in three groupings, 1-5 grades, 6-8 grades, and 9-12 grades, from various schools in North Charleston, which includes the Charleston County School of the Arts.

A lot of people who come to see the art exhibits seem to dismiss the Youth Art, especially if they don’t have a child of their own whose work is on display, but I like looking at it to get a glimpse into the future of our art community and I saw some strong signs that things are doing well there despite cutbacks in school art funding.

My favorite work in the 1-5 group was by Jose DeLa Cruz, a student of Peggy Bennett at Howe Hall AIMS. This photo stood out from all the works I saw – there was nothing else like it.

Work by Jose DeLa Cruz

Another favorite was in the 9-12 group by Allic Alcerno, a student of B. Moore at the School of the Arts for a haunting portrait. (Not sure about the spelling of names here as tags were hand written.)

Work by Allic Alcerno

But I have to say the most impressive thing I saw in the Youth Art show was a group of works by students of J. Carol Gardner at Hanahan High School in the 9-12 group. Works by Eliza Westbrook, Tristen Mincey, Anthony Gabrish, Cody Dawson, Katie Hancock, Alyssa Black, Kaytlin Clack, Frances Fisher, and Ashley Seiderman were outstanding. Other students from that school had good works too. And the types and styles of the works were all over the spectrum of media. It showed that students don’t have to go to a school especially set up for the arts to get good training and guidance. This was the sign of a good art teacher. But that name seemed familiar.

I went back to the Adult competition and found that this teacher practiced what she preached. J. Carol Gardner had won an Honorable Mention in Oils and Mixed Media and a 3rd Place in Mixed Media. And, it was also good to see that the teacher wasn’t turning out clones of the teacher. The student work was very different from what the teacher was presenting. That’s not always the case in the student/teacher relationship.

I hate to say it but some of the works in the Youth Art display were better than some of the works in the Adult Art exhibit. But, again – all this is just my opinion. Others would see things totally different and neither of us would have the final right opinion. After all it’s just an opinion or how you feel at the moment – educated opinion or not – that’s how juried shows are.

I next went into the room the SC Palmetto Hands Fine Craft Competition and Exhibition was in and the first thing I noticed was that it seemed to be much brighter and it was a lot easier taking photos. This may just be another opinion, but I think my photos were better.

This show is always interesting, showing some of the best craft work being done in SC, but I know there are many others out there that don’t enter, but the works presented show viewers a good sample of the quality being done in our state. And, selected works from this show will travel throughout the state for a year.

The good thing here is that I can let photos do most of my talking.

Pearl Fryar’s Glorious Garden, clay by Patz Fowle

High Chair Driver, mixed media by Dennis Vernon

Cleo Car, mixed media by Dennis Vernon

Spool Cradle, mixed media by Susan Lenz

Close up of spools in Spool Cradle, mixed media by Susan Lenz

Mark Leaving Series #2, mixed media by Fran Gardner

Some of My Very Best Friends, clay by Pamela L. Steele

Brown Jug, clay by Pamela L. Steele

Time Signature, mixed media by Susan Lenz – back

Time Signature, mixed media by Susan Lenz – front

Tone: 31, mixed media by Doni Jordan

Container, clay by Tuula Ihamaki-Widdifield

Lidded Jar, clay by John Johnson

Handed Down, mixed media by Susan Lenz – Best of Show

My last art viewing of this day was the Photography Competition and Exhibition which included works by professional and amateur photographers. This year’s offerings included another outstanding group of images. I’m an old photographer myself (in a time – far, far away) and for some reason I feel funny about taking photos of photographs – so I didn’t.

There was a time when I would recognize many of the names of the photographers in this display, but I don’t think I recognized one. But, that’s not unusual in that I’ve been out of the local photography scene for several decades and many of the people I know no longer submit their images to be displayed in a way that anyone could reach out and handle their images – including children with sticky fingers. So, I admire those who had excellent images, yet still participated in this competition. What they get back after a couple of weeks may be very different than the prints they submitted.

About this time that massive art viewing headache was coming on strong. It’s one of the side effects of viewing too much art in a short period of time.

What was my lasting impressions of these shows?

First off, my favorite work might have been that work by Denise L. Greer hidden in the shadows, but today Fran Gardner took the prize. It might be because it’s been so long since I’ve seen her work, but it was such a surprise and joy to see what she was up to these days. And, I liked it. I’d like to see an exhibit of her works in a gallery setting and I think a lot of other folks would enjoy it too.

Mark Leaving Series #3 by Fran Gardner

Second, the works by Hanahan High School students and their teacher left me with a positive impression that an individual art teacher can still make a big impact on children to express themselves through art – despite funding cuts. And, it makes you think what could they do with proper funding?

Except for the Youth Art show, the other shows will be on view through May 12, 2012. Viewing times include May 7-11, 9am-5pm and May 12, 9am-noon, with free admission and parking.

The 2012 North Charleston Arts Festival offers a lot more exhibits throughout North Charleston during the festival. You can find out about them in our May 2012 issue of Carolina Arts. You can download a copy at ( or you can check out the info by visiting the festival’s website at (

North Charleston Artist Guild in North Charleston, SC, Offers $5-$50 Gift Market! – Dec. 3 and 4, 2011

Tuesday, November 15th, 2011


Looking for one-of-a-kind, handcrafted gifts this holiday season? With the $5 to $50 Gift Market, the North Charleston Artist Guild brings affordable art to the community just in time for holiday gift giving. The $5 to $50 Gift Market is Dec. 3 & 4, 2011, from 11am to 3pm at the Meeting Place, located at 1077 East Montague Avenue in Park Circle. All items for sale will be $50 and below, and each day features different participating artists. Admission to the market is free, and there will be plenty of free parking available.

The North Charleston Artist Guild is an arts organization hosted by the The Olde North Charleston Merchants Association operating out of the Old Village of Park Circle North Charleston. The purposes of the guild are to network local artists, promote their works through alliance with Park Circle area businesses, advance artist communities in the area, organize and promote events in all art disciplines, and educate the public about the arts. To find out more about the guild, visit our website at ( or e-mail us at (

In October I attended Parktober Fest held in this same area. Together with the Olde North Charleston Merchants Association, the North Charleston Artist Guild presented this outdoor arts festival along East Montague Avenue. I ran out of time working on our November 2011 issue of Carolina Arts, to make a timely posting on that event, but I thought I’d show you some photos from that day – which was wonderful – in hopes that more people would travel to this changed part of North Charleston – which is turning into a very nice community. I assure you, if you haven’t been there in over ten years you’ll be surprised and amazed at what you’ll find there.

Here’s some photos:










For further information contact guild member Liv Antonecchia at ( or visit (

A Trip to the 2011 North Charleston Arts Festival on May 1, 2011 and Art Walk on May 4, 2011

Friday, May 6th, 2011

After a very crazy Saturday, April 30, 2011 – the day we have to pull everything together to launch the May 2011 issue of Carolina Arts before midnight – Sunday was a day of relief. That last day of the month for us is the day of reconciliation. That’s the day we see if my layout matches what Linda, my better half, has as far as ads go – some I’ve never seen. As things go, just before the end, we found one ad was missing. My mistake – this time. But lately I’ve been leaving a few escape hatches to bail me out, just in case, and I was saved with just a little rearranging. You would think that after 24 years I’d pick up a few tricks and I have.


After a jammed packed week we had some places to visit in North Charleston on Sunday, which reminded me that the Main Event would still be going on for the North Charleston Arts Festival. I had made a little joke on facebook after sending out e-mails, and posting notices of the new issue on our blogs, that I was going to the Festival. Like when they ask the winning quarterback in the Super Bowl what he’s going to do after winning the big game.

Anyway after a morning of waiting, waiting and disappointment – which I won’t go into, and then lunch – we finally get to the Charleston Area Convention Center Complex just before 2pm. Once in the door we were greeted with the sounds of a beehive of children’s art activities. As we wade through what looks like the largest children’s birthday party in the world, we finally get to where some of the exhibits were on display.

As I’ve said many times before, the hallways of the Convention Center are not the best places to display art or even for looking at art, but the North Charleston folks do with what they have. And there are no possibilities for taking decent photos, so I don’t even try in most cases. In some cases you even have to get on your hands and knees to see the name of the artist on the tags placed at the bottom of images.

I could bitch, whine, and raise critical cane, but when you think about the fact that they took in hundreds of artworks just a few days before the two-day event begins, get it displayed and judged, before the doors open – it’s an amazing feat.

At this point I’ll reveal that they gave Linda and I Festival T-shirts, as good supporters of the arts in North Charleston, but it would take a lot more to change my views on what I saw that day. I’m full of suggestions on what they should do to make things better, but since I can’t make a major financial donation to the Festival or pitch in physically and help – I take the exhibits as they are, with one exception.

As we worked our way down the hallway toward the space where the City of North Charleston Art Gallery is I noticed that it was pretty dark down there. It looked like a lot of the lights were burned out – which is the case in all art facilities – even major museums have lights burn out in the middle of the day, but once I got up to them – the lights were off. I went to the gallery desk and reported this fact to Olga Bixby, who looks after the gallery space, and she tried turning them on, but they wouldn’t come on. She said the Festival was having some electrical problems. A few minutes later we ran into Marty Besancon, director of the North Charleston Cultural Arts Department, and told her about it and she went off – later the lights were on. It was probably just one of the fires she had to put out that weekend I’m sure.

Even with the gallery lights on, they were having a hard time illuminating the large works by Pedro Rodriguez, winner of the 2011 North Charleston Arts Festival Design Competition, which are on view through May 31, 2011, but they looked better.

Anyway, in viewing the fine art show we started to notice that there was a new sheriff in town- so to speak – named Denise L. Greer. She had won the Best of Show award for a mixed media work, the First Place award for another of her works in the mixed media category, and First Place in the watercolor category. Charleston artist Bob Graham, who I call the king of the North Charleston Arts Festival fine art show, did win a First Place in the drawing/pastel category and a Second Place in watercolors, but who was this new queen? And, to top it off she was doing abstracts – my favorite kind of art. More about this later.

I also liked works by Kathy Clark, who won a First Place in the oils category. I was agreeing with Michael Haga of the College of Charleston, this year’s judge – almost 100% – most unusual. I don’t often see eye to eye with jurors of these kinds of shows. But, I know Haga has a good eye for art. But, I have to say, I hope he was carrying a strong flashlight when he was viewing this show, as it was pretty dark in some areas of those hallways.

Although this show had some great works in it – it by far in no way represented the full scale of works by artists from the Charleston area. I couldn’t begin to compare it to the works you can see in a few weeks at the Piccolo Spoleto Outdoor Arts Show and that show is just a sampling of local talent.

We headed off to the SC Palmetto Hands exhibit which is in better lighting – not great, but better. The first problem here is there was no handout listing the participants and their works. So, out comes my notebook. Again, for some reason, there was no time this year to print up the handout. If it wasn’t for exams, I wish the College of Charleston could throw their hands into this effort with the help of their Art Management students. This would be good experience for them – working against a ticking clock.

Bird of Prey, Best in Show by Matt Wilson

Fiber piece by Judith Heyward

Except for a few out of town entries, the SC Palmetto Hands show is down to being a competition between local artists, due to the fact that the work has to be delivered to North Charleston. For what was once organized to be a state-wide exhibit, it is now a local exhibit – by most of the same people every year. The show is still full of works by very creative artists, but it doesn’t seem to draw from much of the state’s craft artists. I’m not sure what the problem is, but I can think of a few – high gas prices, the show’s short length and venue, artists afraid of having their works selected for the Traveling Show and being bounced from one end of the state to another for a year, or just a lack of notice – many may not even see the call of entries. SC doesn’t have a craft guild or a statewide organization dealing with craft artists. The SC Artisan Center in Walterboro, SC, helps with this event, but they don’t represent the best craft artists in this state either.

Work by Susan Lenz – one of the hardest working artist in SC

A closer look at Susan Lenz’s work.

Of course there is the SC Arts Commission, but their focus is on holding on to their funding and keeping their jobs long enough to retire. Plus they have no real way of making contact with the craft artists of this state. No one knows who and how many artists we have in this state.

I took a few photos of some of the works that caught my eye, but there were others that I wanted to mention but I just couldn’t get a decent photo of them.

An up close look at a basket by Mary Jefferson

I loved two works by Arianne King Comer: Haitian Mardi Gras Festival andPeace; the clay works by Dede Vergot; and the inlaid wooden bowls by Kenny Teague.

Again, the photography show and competition seems to get better every year, which wasn’t always the case. There was a time when it seemed they put everything and anything they got on display. I assume they are being more selective and it really makes a difference.

Some people think that putting not so good work next to good work makes the good works stand out, but that’s not always the case. Sometimes, really bad work in a show can bring one’s perception of the exhibit down a notch or two. I have always felt that a good juried show is one that is very selective so that anyone who gets in can think of themselves as a winner for making the cut. Winning an award or cash prize is a bonus. But that’s me.

So, who is this Denise L. Greer? Before we left the Main Event, Linda went and checked out the gem show, which gave me lots of time to do some checking. I found the folks who had the check in sheets for the various competitions and when we located Greer’s entry form in the first category – her address was left blank. It was the same thing in the other category she entered. That was strange and they were a little concerned as that would make it hard to notify her of her winnings, but then she has to pick up her works in a few days – they’ll find out then. But, before I left the convention center, I went and looked on the back of one of her works and saw that the tag showed she was from Rembert, SC.

When I got home I did a Google search and was I surprised what I found there. This artist was on fire in competitions all over South Carolina. She won First Place in the 22nd Annual Friends of the Florence Museum Miniature Art Competition; Best in Show at the latest Trenholm Artist Guild show at HoFP Art Gallery in Columbia; and she won the second top award at the SC Watermedia Society’s annual show last year in Rock Hill.

Juried competitions around SC – keep a look out for Denise L. Greer!

The only puzzle was that address or lack of one. I also found that it’s a little fuzzy as to where Greer lives. In one reference to the Sumter Artist Guild they say she’s a long time Sumter artist. Write ups about her victories in Florence and Columbia say she’s from Boykin. Her tag on the back of her works showed she was from Rembert. Boykin and Rembert are towns next to each other and like most places Sumter probably wanted to claim this rising star as its own. Also, when you live in a small town that most people don’t know where it is – it’s easy to say the name of the largest town they might recognize – mystery solved.

I know Rembert, because you have to slow down to 35mph in going through it – for a whole minute – if that. It was on my delivery trail at one time – passing through on the way to Camden.

Before I finish this posting, I’m going to throw in a few words about our trip to the North Charleston Arts Festival Art Walk, held on Wednesday, May 4, 2011. Why Wednesday? Well, perhaps the best choice, I guess. If they tried to have it Friday, they would be in competition with one of the biggest art walks of the year in Charleston. Saturday would put them in competition with the Festival’s finale at the North Charleston Riverfront Park – just down the street. That leaves Thursday – still a workweek day – toss a coin – I guess they got Wednesday.

It was a perfect and rare May evening in South Carolina. A cold snap had come through that morning making the temps around 73 degrees at 5pm, when it could have been 90. The Olde Village area of North Charleston has gone through a lot of changes in the last two decades, from a hang out for sailors from the old Navy Base, to what is kind of a mini main street for the 2nd or 3rd largest city in SC. There are lots of little pubs and restaurants offering all sorts of fare. Music was in the air – what a great night for an art walk.

I wish I had photos to show you, but I like to look before I start taking photos so I was holding off. At one point we’re walking from one place to another and we came to a spot where a stage was set up for a band, The Lime and the Coconuts, who were playing. As we get alongside to pass by, one of the band members says, “Hey Mr. Starland”, and when I look up it was Mary Edna Fraser playing a banjo. That’s Mary Edna Fraser, Charleston’s famous batik artist. We were there for the visual arts, but who could pass this by. We sat and listened for a few numbers, watched Fraser play several different instruments and sing a few songs. Some people have all the talent.

Mary Edna Fraser – not sure if she’s the Lime or one of the Coconuts

You never know what you’ll see at an art walk. I took a few photos, which I soon learned would be my last of the night. My camera had been getting a workout lately and the batteries decided they had given enough right then and there. Extra batteries were way back in the car. So I grabbed some images off the internet of works by artists who were there that evening, but not the same works – but just as good.

A work by Madeline Dukes. She was showing at the Meeting Place

Works by keller Lee. He was showing at Charlestowne Stained Glass

Work by Kelly Thiel, showing at Village Hall

Work by Liv Antonecchia, also showing at Village Hall

Work by Arianne King Comer, showing at 1st Citizen’s bank

By the time we left, there were still just a few people here and there that looked like they were doing the art walk, which might have been what you would expect for a Wednesday evening.

Art lovers in the greater Charleston area have to get over their perceptions of North Charleston, there is more to it than shopping centers and malls – if you look hard enough. No one is promising you things on the scale of downtown Charleston, but not all gems are found in just that city. Give North Charleston’s art community a chance sometime.

Events are still going on and some exhibits will be up into June. For info visit ( or visit Pages 6 & 7 of our May 2011 issue of Carolina Arts found at (

29th Annual North Charleston Arts Festival in North Charleston, SC – Begins Apr. 29, 2011

Wednesday, April 27th, 2011


Now in its 29th year, the North Charleston Arts Festival will take place throughout North Charleston, SC, from April 29 through May 7, 2011. The nine day event is one of the most comprehensive arts festivals in the state, providing thousands of residents and visitors with a fabulous array of performances, exhibitions, and activities featuring national, regional, and local artists and performers.

Organized by the City of North Charleston Cultural Arts Department, the festival strives to maintain the spirit of a community celebration with the mission of presenting a broad, multidiscipline event schedule that provides a wide range of performing, visual, media, and literary arts events for people of all ages and backgrounds. Many of the offerings are free, and those that are ticketed are moderately priced. Recognized by the Southeast Tourism Society as a Top 20 Event, the North Charleston Arts Festival truly offers something for everyone. For detailed event schedules and venue information, visit (

Info about visual art offerings:

Judged Fine Art & Photography Exhibitions (Apr. 30 – May 7, 2011) – Charleston Area Convention Center, 5001 Coliseum Drive, North Charleston. View entries in Fine Art and Professional & Amateur Photography. Fine Art Juror: Michael W. Haga, Art History Adjunct Faculty and Associate Dean at the College of Charleston’s School of the Arts. Photography entries judged using the Photographic Society of America Print Guidelines. Hours: April 30 & May 1, 9am-6pm; May 2-6, 9am-5pm; & May 7, 9am-noon.

411nchas-kim-keatsWork by Kim Keats

9th Annual South Carolina Palmetto Hands Fine Craft Competition & Exhibition (Apr. 30 – May 7, 2011) – Charleston Area Convention Center, 5001 Coliseum Drive, North Charleston. 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 9th annual juried competition and exhibition. Juror: Denise Butler, co-founder and former Executive Director and Board member of the South Carolina Artisans Center in Walterboro, SC. Hours: April 30 & May 1, 9am-6pm; May 2-6, 9am-5pm; & May 7, 9am-noon.

Strings by Pedro Rodriguez

North Charleston City Gallery Exhibit: Works by Pedro Rodriguez ( Apr. 30 – May 31, 2011) – Charleston Area Convention Center, 5001 Coliseum Drive, North Charleston. Pedro Rodriguez, winner of the 2011 North Charleston Arts Festival Design Competition, will display a variety of works in oil, including his winning design, Strings. Hours: April 30 & May 1, 9am-6pm; May 2-31, 9am-5pm.

Work by Jenn Garrett

6th Annual National Outdoor Sculpture Competition & Exhibition (May 1, 2011 – Mar. 31, 2012) – North Charleston Riverfront Park, 1001 Everglades Avenue, North Charleston. View thought provoking, large-scale sculptures by established and emerging artists from across the nation in this 6th annual juried competition and exhibition. Juror: Sylvie Fortin, an independent curator, art historian, critic, and editor-in-chief of Art Papers. Hours: daily during daylight hours.

Work by Madeline Dukes

Spring Art & Fine Craft Co-Op Gallery & Sale (Through May 28, 2011) – The Meeting Place, 1077 East Montague Avenue, North Charleston. View a collection of works by this local artist cooperative. A wide range of pieces including paintings, prints, sculpture, fine crafts, jewelry and more will be available for sale. The public is invited to a free reception hosted by the artists on Wednesday, May 4, from 5-8pm during the North Charleston Arts Festival Art Walk. Hours: Fri. & Sat., 11am-7pm.

Art/Humanity – 5th Annual Quilt & Fiber Art Exhibition (Apr. 29 – June 13, 2011) – North Charleston City Hall, 1st& 2nd floor, 2500 City Hall Lane, North Charleston. Inspired by a quote from Brock Peters, “In art there is compassion, in compassion there is humanity, with humanity there is generosity and love,” African American art quilters from across the nation will explore and depict themes of Art, Humanity, Compassion, Service, Generosity, and Love, in cloth through traditional and non-traditional fiber techniques, including innovative and original wearable art. Hours: daily from 8am-8pm.

Structures – Works by Liz Whitney Quisgard (Apr. 29 – June 13, 2011) – North Charleston City Hall, 3rd floor, 2500 City Hall Lane, North Charleston. Liz Whitney Quisgard presents sculpted columns, towers, obelisks, and wood turnings in brilliant geometric patterns reminiscent of pointillism, ancient Moorish architecture, Islamic decorative art, Navajo textiles, and Byzantine mosaics. Liz is the recipient of numerous awards, including the prestigious Pollack-Krasner Award. She has had solo shows at galleries and museums nationwide including the Andre Emmerich Gallery in New York, NY; Franz Bader Gallery in Washington, DC; Gallery 707 in Los Angeles, CA; Tiffany’s Windows in New York, NY; the Art Museum in Richmond, IN; the Carnegie Art Center in Leavenworth, KS; the Art Museum in Asheville, NC; the Savannah College of Art and Design; and the Jefferson Place Gallery, in Washington, DC, among others. Hours: daily from 8am-8pm.

Work by Timothy Pakron

From Chaos – Works by Timothy Pakron (Apr. 29 – June 13, 2011) – North Charleston City Hall, 3rd floor, 2500 City Hall Lane, North Charleston. Timothy Pakron creates mysterious portraits in hand painted silver gelatin prints and oil paintings through loose brushstrokes, splashes, and drips, resulting in portraits that are created “from chaos.” Pakron is one of Charleston’s up and coming artists to watch. Hours: daily from 8am-8pm.

Heavens – Works by Deborah Meyer (Apr. 29 – May 7, 2011) – North Charleston City Hall, 3rd floor, 2500 City Hall Lane, North Charleston. North Charleston’s 2010/11 Artist-In-Residence, Deborah Meyer, will display large scale skyscapes and “heavens” paintings in oil inspired by Psalm 19:1, “The heavens declare the glory of God, and the skies proclaim the work of his hands.” Hours: daily from 8am-8pm.

From Our Cities to Our Seas – Works by Karson Photography (Apr. 29 – May 7, 2011) – Golf Club at Wescott Plantation Clubhouse, 5000 Wescott Plantation Drive, North Charleston. Kip Bulwinkle of Karson Photography presents a two dimensional exploration of our man-made and natural surroundings in this dynamic photographic series. Hours: Mon.-Wed., 8am-7pm; Thur.-Fri., 8am-11pm; & Sat.-Sun., 7:30am-7pm.

Flavor Cutz – Works by Conrad Guevara (Apr. 29 – May 6, 2011) – 10 Storehouse Row, 2120 Noisette Boulevard, North Charleston. View colorful, innovative paintings and sculptural objects achieved through experimentation with nontraditional materials. Found objects, card stock, yarn, and other disposable products are cut and reconfigured to take on the quality of moving paint. Hours: Mon.-Fri., 9am-6pm.

Info about visual art installation:

Ascension by Cade Kaufman (Apr. 29 – May 7, 2011) – Traffic Circle at Wescott Blvd. & Oak Forest Blvd., North Charleston. Repeating doves move with the wind and are meant to evoke a sense of peace. Hours: daily during daylight hours.

Harry Potter
by Corey Rodriguez (Apr. 29 – May 7, 2011) – Northwoods Park, 8348 Greenridge Road, North Charleston. Originally inspired by the challenge to set goals and reach for one’s dreams, this rebar sculpture was later named after the popular boy wizard as it resembles him reaching for the golden snitch. Hours: daily during daylight hours.

Namaste by Sarah Carlisle (Apr. 29 – May 7, 2011) – North Charleston & American LaFrance Fire Museum & Educational Center Grounds, 4975 Centre Pointe Drive, North Charleston. This interactive installation is a whimsical interpretation of the Sanskrit greeting. Namaste is a symbol of gratitude and respect toward others. Hours: daily during daylight hours.

Pouring Cup by George Thalman (Apr. 29 – May 7, 2011) – Green space at intersection of East Montague Ave. and Spruill Ave., North Charleston. The pouring cup simulates the magic and hospitality of the Lowcountry. This piece reminds us to slow down and enjoy life. Hours: daily during daylight hours.

Shoes by Lauren Rackley (Apr. 29 – June 13, 2011) – North Charleston City Hall Lobby, 2500 City Hall Lane, North Charleston. A visual representation of fashion and female beauty taken to the extreme. Hours: daily during daylight hours.

Wind Fish by Coreyanna Moore (Apr. 29 – May 7, 2011) – Palmetto Gardens Park, East Montague Avenue, North Charleston. Whimsical fish from Prehistoric history come to life in a natural setting to form a sea of fish swimming in the air. Hours: daily during daylight hours.

Info on other visual art related events:

May 2, 2011 – Fiber Art Lunchtime Lecture – North Charleston City Hall, Montague Conference Rm. (2nd fl.), 2500 City Hall Lane, North Charleston. Quilt and fiber art enthusiasts are welcome to bring a lunch to this lecture on Art/Humanity, led by Torreah “Cookie” Washington, curator of the 5th annual quilt and fiber art exhibition. Cookie is a textile artist with over 25 years of experience, specializing in quilted fiber art murals, elegant wedding gowns, unique soft accessories for special occasions, and Goddess blessing dolls. She has also designed costumes for theater and film. Hours: noon-1pm.

May 3, 2011 – Visual Artist Lunchtime Lecture – North Charleston City Hall, Montague Conference Rm. (2nd fl.), 2500 City Hall Lane, North Charleston. Bring your lunch to this fascinating talk led by emerging local artist, Conrad Guevara. Topics will include his artistic process, current works, and sources of inspiration. Conrad has participated in several group exhibitions in Charleston and is a youth art instructor for area arts organizations such as Redux Contemporary Art Center, the City of North Charleston Cultural Arts Department, and the Gibbes Museum of Art. Hours: noon-1pm.


May 4, 2011 – North Charleston Arts Festival Art Walk – Olde Village area, East Montague Avenue, North Charleston. Take a stroll down East Montague Avenue through businesses, pubs, restaurants, studios, and salons to see works by local artists and fine craft artisans in a variety of subjects and mediums. Lime & the Coconuts (Ukulele/Swing/Folk) and Lane Gregory (Bluegrass/Folk/Old Time/Americana) will provide musical entertainment throughout the evening. Be sure to stop by the Art & Fine Craft Co-Op Gallery reception at the Meeting Place. Other attractions include children’s activities and live artist demonstrations. It’s an evening of art and culture for the whole family! Hours: 5-8pm.

May 5, 2011 – Quilt & Fiber Art Exhibition Reception – Art/Humanity – North Charleston City Hall, 2nd Floor, 2500 City Hall Lane, North Charleston. The public is invited to join curator, Torreah “Cookie” Washington, for the opening reception of this unique quilt and fiber art exhibition. Enjoy piano jazz, blues, and spirituals by Jessica Minahan throughout the evening. Hours: 6-8pm.

For more information about the 2011 North Charleston Arts Festival, including detailed event schedules and venue information, visit (, e-mail to (, or contact the North Charleston Cultural Arts Department office at 843/740-5854.

A Trip to the First Park Circle Studio and House Tour in North Charleston, SC

Sunday, December 12th, 2010


Sometime before Thanksgiving I received an e-mail from Madeline Dukes about the Park Circle Studio and House Tour in North Charleston, SC, sponsored by the North Charleston Artist Guild. My first question was – since when has there been a North Charleston Artist Guild? I was glad to find out that the group was newly formed and this was one of their first events.

I posted a blog about it that same day at Carolina Arts News, but as usual for us, by the time that date would have come around – tons of other events would have come across our radar and have been posted on our various blogs and catalogued into our system for future publishing. Luckily, we received a timely e-mail from Peter Scala’s wife Patricia Buckley, a great supporter of Carolina Arts, about the event and we decided to go.

The only problem was that we had already scheduled to have a yard sale that day (Dec. 11, 2010) and in the evening, dinner with a neighbor, so we had a short window of opportunity to run down to North Charleston and get back home before 6pm. The yard sale ended at 2pm. The Tour took place from 2-6pm. It was a good thing that North Charleston is not that far away from us.

So like with all tours or art walks we had to make a decision of where we would try to go – knowing that I would probably end up talking too much at someplace – or everywhere – blowing our plan up in our faces.

Peter Scala

I had never met Peter Scala, so that was number one on the list. I’ve met his wife, Pat, once at the SC Arts Commission Canvas of the People held at North Charleston City Hall – almost a year ago. She’s very active in the North Charleston arts community.

Meeting Pat was about all I can say attending that meeting was worth. Anybody see or hear any results of the great Canvas of the People?

Amelia “Mimi” Whaley

We also wanted to make sure we dropped in on Amelia “Mimi” Whaley, a fellow blogger and artist we have known for years. She keeps people informed about daily activities at the Outdoor Art Show in Marion Square each Piccolo Spoleto Festival.

So on a day that was supposed to be 60 degrees and partly sunny, we did our yard sale in the middle of a constant rain and a bone chilling 40-50 degree weather, packed it in around 1:30pm, and then cleaned up and headed to North Charleston for a cultural event. Not Charleston. As far as I know there wasn’t much going on – as far as the visual arts goes – in Charleston.

You see, North Charleston, Mt. Pleasant, Summerville, Berkeley County – they are all ugly step-children in most people’s eyes in the Charleston area. Not mine. For most others in this area, their first thought is that nothing good could ever be going on there. And, that’s too bad, as with that attitude – they often miss out by never leaving the boundaries of Charleston – unless they are going to New York City.

Don’t get me wrong – Charleston is a great cultural city. More goes on there than in most cities twice its size, but it’s not the end-all to culture. Other good events are being offered by its neighbors. People just need to venture out of their cultural safety zones to see.

OK – stepping off the soap box. We downloaded the map offered on the North Charleston Artist Guild’s website ( and headed to Park Circle, an area I drive through at least a couple times a month. And I can tell you – the area they called Old North Charleston isn’t your parents version of old North Charleston. The Navy Base has been gone for many a year now and the joints the sailors and shipyard workers used to hang out in are gone. The area is now known as Olde North Charleston Village and it offers neighborhood pubs and bistros, a film society, a theatre group and much more. East Montague Avenue is the focal point of Park Circle.

First stop, Peter Scala’s home and studio, just off East Montague Ave., near the shopping and dining district. We were greeted by Pat Buckley (who is not the artist – a little joke), and everyone visiting got to take home a free drawing by Peter Scala, who starts out every day with a drawing session. In fact, when Peter Scala pays his bill each month (for his ad in Carolina Arts) he sends it wrapped in a drawing, instead of a plain sheet of paper like most people do. So every month we get a little art and money in the mail from him.


Scala’s work is not typical to the Charleston area. Back in June of 2009 in a blog posting I did about an exhibit he had at the Charleston County Public Library I referenced his work as – a taste of old world modern art. You can read that posting at this link.


We finally got to meet Peter and a few other nice folks doing the tour and see his workspace. There was a steady flow of people coming and going – not like the hoards that do the art walks in Charleston, but during this event you could actually talk to an artist, look at their work, see the space that they work in and not joust for food with the hoard. But like always, the clock was ticking and we had to move on.

“Where To?” by Peter Scala

We said good-bye to Pat on the way out as she was greeting more visitors. I wish we had more time to talk about numerous subjects.



Next stop was the Mixson project, just off of East Montague Ave., on the other side of Park Circle. The folks at Mixson provided several artists, who didn’t have studios in the Park Circle area, including Amelia Whaley, space to show off works in a few of their model homes. This was a good partnership deal for Mixson and the North Charleston Artist Guild. It showed off the Mixson project and individual homes and the participating artists’ work at the same time. Here, you had the feeling of a neighborhood block party – music and the smell of good food was in the air.

We soon found Amelia Whaley’s location and that of J. Carol Gardener, who was partnered up with her. I made the mistake of asking Mimi if she was going to blog about this event and the conversation turned quickly to talk of computers and problems with computers. She had recently left the Dark Side and come over to the Force when she purchased her first Apple computer. Apple computers don’t have many problems.

Apple computers is one of our favorite subjects. We’ve had one since 1983. Of course we also touched on the recent problems we’re having with the robots at Facebook. I made a mistake and apparently Facebook has no humans you can send an e-mail to or talk to. But that’s another blog I hope I never have to write.

“Landscape Dream” by Amelia Whaley

We did eventually view the art, but before you know it that darn clock was calling. On the way out we had a short chat with David Springer who had a great display of metal sculpture outside. The way his works looked outside the complex, I wouldn’t be surprised if the Mixson folks purchased one before he packed them away after the event.

Work by David Springer

I also want to mention that there was a group of nice young – I don’t know if you would call them docents or tour guides who had volunteered to help the North Charleston Artist Guild during this event. That’s something the folks in Charleston could learn from – some of those galleries could use some help when it comes to crowd control.

If we had more time we would have loved to visit the studios of Arianne King-Comer and Madeline Dukes, or visited the Mixson sites where Pedro Rodriguez and Keller Lee were located. Or for that matter, discover the other artists who we did not know of, but I’m betting this Studio and House Tour will become an annual event if not more often. And, it’s a good reason to look forward to the next offering of the North Charleston Artist Guild.

The North Charleston Artist Guild is an arts organization hosted by The Olde North Charleston Merchants Association operating out of the Old Village of Park Circle North Charleston.

The purposes of the guild are to 1.) network local artists, 2.) promote their works through alliance with Park Circle area businesses, 3.) advance artist communities in the area, 4.) organize and promote events in all art disciplines, 5.) educate the public about the arts.

If you’d like to join them visit (

5th National Outdoor Sculpture Competition & Exhibition on View in North Charleston, SC

Saturday, June 26th, 2010

I went into North Charleston, SC, to turn our July 2010 issue of Carolina Arts into the printer, so I decided to go over to the North Charleston Riverfront Park at The Navy Yard at Noisette (former Charleston Naval Base), even though the temps were in the mid-90’s. It was a little overcast so I figured it would be a good day to photograph the 11 sculptures that were part of the 5th National Outdoor Sculpture Competition & Exhibition, on view through Mar. 2011. The exhibit and competition is organized and presented by the City of North Charleston Cultural Arts Department. The competition was juried by Stuart Horodner, Artistic Director of the Atlanta Contemporary Art Center. The exhibit features eleven sculptures by eleven artists from seven states.

Two Headed Ass (steel) by George Long

Mass Murder Machine (steel, iron, and aluminum) by Doug Barton

Prism Arc SC (painted steel) by Carl Billingsly

When I arrived at the parking area it was almost full, which was a surprise considering the heat, but it was lunchtime so maybe folks were enjoying their lunch in the park, but as it turned out all the cars were there for either the aftermath or preparations for filming of the Lifetime drama, Army Wives. They do filming all over the former naval base and shipyard.

Cube (corten steel) by Dana Gingras

Fools Buoy (steel and concrete) by Roger Halligan

It’s been a year since I was in this park and a lot has changed. The landscaping is further developed giving the park a not so new feeling – which is a good thing. There are some new additions – a covered picnic area and a children’s playground next to it. There were also some new additions to the memorial to the Charleston Naval Yard – which I think is finally finished. It also looks like a new restaurant is in the works, which will be good – especially if you can get drinks there.

La Fleur da Vie (steel) by Teresa Howachyn

Boat Nest, Elevation of Divergence (steel) by Corrina Mensoff

End of Time (recycled metal) by Jim Shultz

There was a nice breeze at the park and it wasn’t until I finished and returned to my car that I felt hot – really hot without the breeze.

I hope you enjoy the photos. It seems that this year’s primary color is – rusted brown.

Between Hope and Despair (steel and stone) by Philip Smith

Ball Joint (cast iron and bronze) by Kristy Summers

Inside the Vee (steel and recycled materials) by Bob Turan

The results of the competition are as follows: Division I – Best in Show went to Two Headed Ass (steel) by George Long of Roswell, GA; and 2nd Place went to Mass Murder Machine (steel, iron, and aluminum) by Doug Barton of Athens, GA. Honorable Mention awards were given to: Prism Arc SC (painted steel) by Carl Billingsly of Ayden, NC; Fools Buoy (steel and concrete) by Roger Halligan of Chattanooga, TN; and Ball Joint (cast iron and bronze) by Kristy Summers of Carbondale, IL. Other works in this division include: Cube (corten steel) by Dana Gingras of Moorseville, NC;Boat Nest, Elevation of Divergence (steel) by Corrina Mensoff of Atlanta, GA; Between Hope and Despair (steel and stone) by Philip Smith of Columbia, MD; La Fleur da Vie (steel) by Teresa Howachyn (TEKLA) of Black Mountain, NC; and Inside the Vee (steel and recycled materials) by Bob Turan of Earlton, NY. Division II – End of Time (recycled metal) by Jim Shultz of North Charleston, SC.

I’ve also included some wide views of the park and a few images of the shipyard memorial, which includes a lot of art also.




You can see last year’s entry about this exhibit at this link.








For further information contact the City of North Charleston Cultural Arts Department at 843/740-5854 or visit (