Archive for July, 2008

City of Spartanburg, SC, Helps People Be Creative??

Thursday, July 31st, 2008

Not too long ago I received a press release about a new website in Spartanburg, SC, which announced a new initiative by the City of Spartanburg to showcase the area’s creative community. At least I guess that’s what it was all about.

My first impression was that the site wasn’t that creative itself nor did I find a lot of info about creative issues. There was a blog – which I have learned is typical of government blogs – just a new place to dump press releases.

Here’s what the website posted to describe its mission:

“Welcome to the Spartanburg Creative Energy Website!

Bold . . . innovative . . cutting-edge . . . not words you usually associate with a City-initiated campaign. A community-wide recognition of a creative renaissance that surrounds us.

With the local support of more than 100 Partner organizations that have joined together to harness this energy into a focused campaign that celebrates existing creativity AND encourages continued creativity, especially as it relates to planning and problem-solving – to promote the creative process as one that supports collaborative partnerships and continuous learning.

This website highlights just a few of the many examples of outstanding local creativity in the fields of science, technology, architecture, education and medicine . . . just to name a few.”

That’s how they describe themselves.

While I was recently checking this site out again I came across an example of what they call “celebrating creativity”. There was an entry on the blog about Spartanburg sculptor Doug McAbee and his two sculptures being displayed near the clock tower in downtown Spartanburg. There was a link to an article in the local newspaper about the installation of the sculptures which McAbee was doing with the help – of his wife and parents?

Here’s part of the article, “The city, as part of the Creative Energy campaign, has partnered with Hub-Bub to identify Spartanburg artists to install sculptures or other pieces suitable for displaying outside. The artist is responsible for identifying places on the site to install the art, actual installation, insuring and maintaining the art and restoring the site after the art is removed.”

Wow, with help like that – creative people in Spartanburg will be going crazy with – being creative.

There was no mention of a stipend, usually provided to artists for free public sculpture displays. There were no city workers provided for help with labor. The city wasn’t even going to be responsible for insurance. And after the display is over, McAbee will have to dig up the concrete support (he laid) and restore the grass.

Here’s a quote from the artist from the article, “It’s a heck of a lot of trouble and a heck of a lot of work, but it’s worthwhile,” McAbee said. “It’s the whole reason why crazy artists like me do what we do.”

Oh come on. This is ridiculous. The City of Spartanburg sits back and thinks up creative ways to get artists to provide them cost-free art displays and they even have to partner with another group to do that. Give me a break.

Now down the road this “opportunity” may benefit McAbee. Maybe some individual or corporation will see the work and it will lead to a sale or a commission, but that’s depending on someone at the city making an effort to take a call and pass it on to the artist. I wouldn’t count on that by all the effort they are making. It more likely will lead to another city giving McAbee a call to see if they can get some free sculpture to decorate one of their parks or a town center.

McAbee has done installations of his art in other cities in both North and South Carolina. He’s got some works in the SC State Museum’s 20th Anniversary Juried Art Exhibition – on view through Sept. 7, 2008. But, I can’t imagine he’s gotten less help than he did in Spartanburg. If he did – he is crazy.

I’m not an official spokesman for artists, and I’m not speaking for McAbee, but I would think artists don’t need help like this in being creative. They could use some real help.

I guess in the end, McAbee will be lucky if the City of Spartanburg doesn’t turn around and ask him to make a donation of one of his sculptures to be auctioned off to help fund their new initiative. That would be really creative. Might even win them one of those Verner awards from the SC Arts Commission.

NC Pottery Center Tightens Budget

Thursday, July 31st, 2008

Not just waiting on the kindness of strangers and friends, the Board of the North Carolina Pottery Center in Seagrove, NC, has cut the full-time position of its director, Denny Mecham, to a part-time position. Mecham has agreed to stay on until she finds another job.

Tim Blackburn, who is head of the Center’s board of directors said the position cut is not a reflection on Mecham’s performance as Director, but one of the only ways they can cut expenses.

Board members are trying to raise $100,000 in an effort to keep the Pottery Center open this year, hoping that the state of North Carolina will soon take over operation of the Center (Saving NC Pottery Center).

Since sending out a fundraising letter, several weeks ago, the Center has received almost $19,500 and another $12,000 has been pledged, but more is needed soon.

The reduction of the Director’s position from full-time to part-time is an example of the willingness of the Board to do whatever it takes to keep the Center’s doors open.

It’s a heck of a way to celebrate the Center’s ten year anniversary, but sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do to stay alive.

Hopefully others who read about the Center’s problems will do what they can do to help them stay alive a little longer – at least until the cavalry arrives.

You could be part of the scouting party with early relief in the form of a donation (NC Pottery Center).

Greg Schmitt’s Exhibit at Charleston Co. Library

Monday, July 28th, 2008

The day we went to Apple Store heaven in downtown Charleston, SC, Linda and I also stopped at the Charleston County Public Library’s Main Branch to restock. Linda headed for the novels and I headed to the selection of books on CD. I’d be hitting the delivery trail again soon so I needed to find some books I haven’t listened to before – which is getting to be a challenge. Not that the Library doesn’t have lots of books on CD to choose from. I just don’t care to listen to many of the subjects. I need authors who can keep me awake in the wee hours of the night and morning.

I picked up a few new Elmore Leonard books there, so it looks like Leonard and James Lee Burke will be doing the job of keeping me awake this month – along with NPR and the BBC.

If I’m at the Library in downtown Charleston, I’m going to be visiting the current exhibit up in the Saul Alexander Foundation Gallery and this time it was an abstract photography exhibition by Greg Schmitt.

I thought I knew who this artist was, but I wasn’t sure as there wasn’t much information being offered on the handout left in the gallery for visitors. It contained three paragraphs – sort of an artist’s statement about the works in the exhibit, a request for visitors to sign the book left in the gallery and tell the artist what you thought of his work, and the name of the artist. There was nothing offered as to how you might get in contact with the artist – if you had a question or might want to purchase a work.

Most of the exhibits shown at this gallery space are always accompanied by lots of info on how to get a hold of the artist for further info or transactions. No one wants to take the chance that someone would try and find someone at the Library for further info – not that you couldn’t get that information – it’s more of how impulsive people are or how much in a hurry they often are.

I got the impression that this artist was offering these works for viewing only and was looking for people’s reactions – almost as an experiment. There were no titles on the images offered, no price list for possible purchases, and the artist didn’t even sign the images. This was not your usual exhibition.

I later learned that this was the photographer who I thought it was and he is a professor of communications at the College of Charleston. So was there more going on here than what this picture of a gallery exhibit presented? I don’t know, but part of the artist’s statement might give a clue.

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Schmitt wrote, “I want you to have the opportunity to study the images without being influenced by what they are. Recognition forces you to think of the images as particular objects rather than nameless ones. Even naming these images attempts to force you to see in a particular way. I don’t want that. I want you to enjoy, for instance, the hues just for themselves.”

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And, that’s what you get with these 18 images – all about 8″ x 10″ in size. You get extraordinary colors in all kinds of shades and hues – in patterns and textures run wild. I didn’t find myself looking for objects to figure out what the images photographed might have been at all. Digital photography is one of the new wonders of the ever-changing medium of photography in the art world.

Less than 200 years old, photography, unlike other mediums used to create art has never stopped evolving. Technology is wonderful and the possibilities in the hands of a creative person are unlimited. They don’t do me any good. The digital camera and today’s computers with fantastic software can only take a person with no talent into the realm of being creative – so far. These innovations are just tools to the real artists.

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Like other abstract works of art there has to be something that grabs the viewer and demands their attention and hold it long enough to keep them looking – just color and patterns won’t always do it. And, I’ve always wondered what it is that attracts me to some abstract works and not others – even works created by the same artist.

I found that many of Schmitt’s works did it for me, but without titles I’m lost in my limited descriptive abilities to tell you which works did. Unfortunately this is another exhibit which I ran into near or at the end of its life.

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The exhibit, A State of Mind, which I found on the Library’s website will end on July 30, 2008. Having not known that title until I sat down to write this entry, I’d have to say that maybe the experiment worked – if there was an experiment at hand here, as I was put in a certain state of mind in viewing these images – a state of wonder.

Now that could mean good and bad things, but I would think that this would be a worthy accomplishment for any artist. To have the viewer walk away wondering about what they just viewed. I think I’d be a little concerned if I was an artist and someone saw my works in an exhibit and it left them the minute they walked away – out of sight, out of mind. That does happen at times.

I’ve contacted the artist to see if we can get some of these images to show here. If we don’t, I’m sorry I wasn’t prepared with my digital camera – again.

Other Business Pertaining to the Saul Alexander Foundation Gallery

Back on June 25, 2008, I posted a blog entry about the Library’s call for exhibit proposals for the Dec. 08 through Dec. 09 season. It was called “An Overlooked Opportunity”. I included their call to artists in my entry and it can be found on our Carolina Arts website under the heading Art News – then Dated Opportunities. When I called to inquire about this exhibit and the artist, I also asked if they were getting many proposals and I’m disappointed to say that they are not, at this date. The deadline is Sept. 5, 2008, and I know how artists like to wait until the last minute to respond to such opportunities, but don’t wait too long. If artists act like this space isn’t useful as an exhibition space – I’m sure the Library can find a use for it. Like filling it up with more books on CD for me. I could live with that, but I’d rather see it continue to show art. It’s up to you artists out there.

Keenan Fountain at the Columbia Museum of Art

Sunday, July 27th, 2008

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A few months back I stopped to take some early morning photographs of the new fountain in front of the Columbia Museum of Art in Columbia, SC. Well, it’s not so new, but new enough.

I hope you enjoy some different views of this fountain, named Apollo’s Cascade. The fountain was created by Rodney Carroll in 2007.

While there checking out different views and angles, I stopped to read the plaque posted about the fountain and the people who gave money to make it possible. There were three groups of names (contributors) that made me start thinking. There were lots of other names – businesses, people I don’t know, and corporations.

One was – Mr. and Mrs. Guy Fleming Lipscomb. Here are truly some visual art patrons. The main art gallery space at the SC State Museum in Columbia is named the Lipscomb Gallery, as is the exhibit space at the South Carolina Governor’s School for the Arts and Humanities in Greenville, SC. There are also Lipscomb funded awards in juried exhibitions. You don’t get these kinds of honors without giving some money along the way.

Another name on the plaque was that of the Cultural Council of Richland & Lexington Counties. I was wondering if their contribution came from funds raised from the Palmetto Trees Project auction. Money raised from that effort was supposed to go to sculpture projects in Columbia. I hope this was one.

The third names were of Wendyth and Warner Wells. Wendy Wells is the owner of City Art, an art gallery located at 1224 Lincoln Street in Columbia. That is also the home of Art Express, an art supply store serving artists’ needs locally, regionally and nationally (there’s a plug). Wells is one of the owners of that business too.

My mind was flashing back to a photograph I had seen in one of the Mint Museum’s newsletters – from a year or so ago. It was a picture of Wells standing, looking at a painting by Amy Fichter, that she and her husband had donated to the Mint’s contemporary collection. Fichter earned her MFA in Drawing at the University of South Carolina in Columbia.

I have to say I was a little surprised to see that picture in the Mint newsletter – not to say I was surprised in that I didn’t believe it – more like unexpected seeing someone from SC giving to the Mint collection. I’ve seen a lot of these newsletters and this was new. I’ve also learned that Wells and her husband have donated works by Fichter to the Columbia Museum of Art and to the Birmingham Museum in Alabama. The Birmingham Museum is a surprise too, but I didn’t ask the why question. It didn’t matter.

How interesting.

What am I getting at? Well here was another example of a commercial gallery owner giving back to non-profits. It happens all the time. It probably happens everyday somewhere in the Carolinas. Whether it’s donating artwork for a fundraiser, framing some work for free to be displayed, or making a major contribution for a fountain or a work for a museum collection – people in the commercial side of the art world are always giving, but are often treated as just greedy capitalists – by the same people they are giving to – or at least some of them.

You know, Guy Lipscomb is an artist too. I checked and I didn’t see his name included in the SC Arts Commission’s State Art Collection. Not that giving money to the arts qualifies you to be included in a state collection, but neither is a work by Elizabeth O’Neill Verner and the Arts Commission co-opted her name to be used as an award for SC’s top art award. She was a commercial artist. She sold postcards of her works to early Charleston tourists for pennies. Her artwork isn’t good enough for the State Art Collection, but her name is for an award. In fact, I bet the Arts Commission now wishes they could afford a Verner – just to say they had one.

It’s the double standard. Commercial people – good enough to give, but not worthy enough to receive.

This double standard almost – almost spoiled my viewing of this wonderful fountain. This is what can happen when you know too much about the arts. Your head is filled with the good, but the bad is lurking inside too.

OMG An Apple Store Opens in Charleston, SC

Saturday, July 26th, 2008

Saturday (7/26/08) was looking to be a near perfect day. Temps were in the 70s in the morning when I had to cut the grass, the sky remained overcast making this late July day seem mild. The Carolina Panthers were starting training camp today in Spartanburg, SC, one of the local TV channels was going to air an hour-long program on the Panther’s training camp (thanks to Tivo I will be able to view it later), and the NFL cable network was going to be re-airing the 2004 double overtime playoff game between the Carolina Panthers and the St. Louis Rams – a game the Panthers won.

On top of that, Linda (my better half and the brains of the outfit) and I were headed down to Charleston to resupply the Visitor Center with copies of Carolina Arts (they had run out) and just stop in to see the new Apple Store opening this day on King Street in historic downtown Charleston.

If I win the Power Ball lottery tonight – it just might be a perfect day, except for the fact that I still can’t adjust to the fact that you have to buy a lottery ticket to win the lottery. When are they going to fix that?

Did I mention Apple Inc. opened a retail store in Charleston. Oh, happy day!

We purchased our first Apple Computer in 1983 – an Apple IIe. It was a dinosaur compared to the Apples we use today – all five of them. We’ve been in Apple Stores before – in Florida and North Carolina, but never in our own state of South Carolina. I really never thought we would get that chance until a newspaper article hinted that Apple was checking out a space on King Street in Charleston.

Like all Apple things, the store was a simple design – typical all glass front and filled with wonder – iPhones, iPods, 24″ iMacs, laptops and an army of Apple staff answering every question thrown at them by the wide-eyed hoard of people sucked in the doorway by Apple’s magic.

I spent most of the time in the store bookmarking Carolina Arts on every computer I could get my hands on and dreaming of how I could do the paper so much better if I had one of these new computers, except for the fact that I’ve had a fairly new Apple iMac for some time and haven’t made the transition to it yet. As I’ve said before – I’m computer challenged – slow to learn new programs. But, Linda could do her job so much better and so much faster if she had one of these new Apples.

We also got to hold an iPhone in our hands and play with it some, but alas until Apple contracts with other phone companies with better coverage in rural South Carolina – no iPhone for us.

One good sign is that one of the functions of an Apple Store is that they offer One On One training. I might get to go to Apple school and learn some new tricks.

On a sad note I did verify a rumor that my tech friends in Greensboro, NC, heard about their Apple Store which was announced before the possibility of a store in Charleston that a decision was made to open a store in South Carolina before opening North Carolina’s fourth Apple Store. That’s really bad that Greensboro had to make a sacrifice for Charleston, but I can live with that. I really can.

An Apple Store in Charleston is a great sign for Charleston. This is usually the kind of thing where new stores, innovations, or new services begin in Greenville, SC, or Columbia, SC, before they come to Charleston. And, sometimes they never come to Charleston. This time we came first.

Now when they open a store in Bonneau, SC – it will be a perfect day, or I’ll settle for winning that lottery.

Saving the NC Pottery Center

Thursday, July 24th, 2008

About the same time we were posting my blog entry about a recent visit to the North Carolina Pottery Center in Seagrove, NC, Martha Waggoner, an Associated Press writer was releasing a story about the financial problems of the Pottery Center. The headline hitting papers throughout the Carolinas was, “Supporters: NC Pottery Center needs $100,000″.

I had no idea where my little impulsive visit to the Pottery Center was going to lead me. First, I didn’t know about the dueling pottery festivals until I left Seagrove and arrived in Greensboro, NC, and now days later I’ve learned that the Center could close in a few months if $100,000 isn’t raised soon.

Golly Dark Knight – what’s a blogger to do?

I also saw the latest Batman movie while I was in Greensboro. The Caped Crusader and the Joker have come along way since their TV days, but that’s another dark tale, for another day.

This AP report was spawned by a letter signed by board members of the NC Pottery Center stating the Center’s current financial situation – which was not good, but not hopeless.

It seems that the board of the Pottery Center entered into an agreement in 2007 with the NC Department of Cultural Resources to transfer the Center’s assets to the State and operate the Center through the North Carolina Arts Council, but the funding was cut from the latest NC State Budget. The letter to hopeful supporters is a plea for donations which will help the Pottery Center hang on until that funding can be reinstated into the State Budget – hopefully in the next legislative session.

My only indication of financial need when I was at the Pottery Center was when I asked if they had a handout on the exhibitions – so I didn’t have to write down artist’s names for correct spelling. The person I asked laughed and said they just didn’t have money for any printed materials. I didn’t think much of it – that’s the story all over the art community. But otherwise, the Center was in tip-top condition – no signs of lacking on the upkeep of the facility – even after ten years.

I guess the State of NC didn’t think it could handle taking on two visual art institutions in the same year, in that the State of North Carolina just took over operations of the Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art in Winston-Salem, NC. It is now a state-run facility operated in conjunction with the NC Museum of Art.

These are tough times for the arts. It’s tough times for everyone – except a few – about 1% of our population. They have been tough times since the year 2000. I wonder what happened that year and has continued through today? I wonder.

Well, the North Carolina Pottery Center needs help. For ten years it has been serving the traditions of Seagrove potters and potteries, NC’s pottery heritage, and the story of handmade pottery. It’s too important to lose now. The letter mentions how you can make a donation in increments of $25 on the Center’s website and it also mentions other forms of fund-raising which will be announced in coming weeks – if not sooner. But, there is nothing like cold hard cash to cure financial problems.

I know how tough it is to think about making a donation to another part of the arts while we’re all hurting – we’re hurting too, but it just seems like we can’t keep going backwards losing all that has been accomplished – just because times are bad. This is when the art community has to stand together and those who enjoy the fruits of that art community to step up and be counted.

If you can’t give money, maybe you can give art that can be used to raise money. Perhaps you can organize a fundraiser in your town or city. One of the Center’s problems is that Seagrove is such a small community – it can only give so much. A fundraiser there can just draw a limited amount of people. They really need money to be raised from and generated in communities – elsewhere.

You can even help by spreading the word that the NC Pottery Center needs help – help now. You never know who will and can respond to this plea, but they just don’t know of the need. A few folks from that 1% could solve this problem themselves, but it may take a lot of folks like you and me. They need an Obama type internet fundraiser – lots of little donations – all at the same time.

The Pottery Center’s website has the posted letter, a link to make electronic donations, info on how and where you can send checks, and a lot of info about what they have been doing in the last ten years – which gives you a snapshot of what this Center could continue to do in the future – with our support.

Finally, when I do these visits I usually go unannounced – it’s easier that way. The next time I just might ask – How you doing? Got any problems worth mentioning? It might save me some time.

Native American Pottery at NC Pottery Center

Tuesday, July 22nd, 2008

I was on the road to Greensboro, NC, for some technical help for this blog. When I crossed the SC state line into Rockingham, NC, and got on the newly repaved 220 (part of the future I-73), I realized that I had an opportunity to stop in at the North Carolina Pottery Center in Seagrove, NC. This opportunity was possible in part because it wasn’t 3am or 4am in the morning and I wasn’t doing one of my regular delivery runs.

I remembered processing a press release for our website version of the paper for the NC Pottery Center on an exhibit of native American pottery. There were actually two exhibitions including: Contemporary Pottery from North Carolina’s American Indian Communities, and Contemporary Catawba Indian Pottery (the Catawba Indians are from the Rock Hill, SC, area). Both exhibits are on view through Aug. 23, 2008.

People interested in seeing some contemporary pottery by native American artists from North and South Carolina have a unique opportunity, plus the Center is an excellent location of learning about the history of pottery – not just in the Seagrove area, but pottery in general. They have great displays covering the process, materials, tools and techniques used in the creation of pottery objects and many a wonderful example of pottery being made by North Carolina artists.

The temporary exhibitions are just an extra bonus to what is offered every day at the Pottery Center. It’s a wonderful facility and a great resource center, not only for the Seagrove area but pottery in general. It was hard not to wish that we had a facility like this in South Carolina, but then that would turn this whole blog entry in another direction.

The admission at the Center was $2 – again a bargain in terms of most things you can spend your money on these days. And, it offers free parking.

I started looking at some of the works as I entered and quickly began to realize that I was going to be seeing works – some like I expected and many that if seen in any exhibit would never have me thinking that a native American would have created them. I eventually found myself in front of a display on early native American pottery techniques and tools used.

This display showed the coil technique of building up the sides of a pot by rolling clay into rope-like pieces and then coiling these ropes of clay on top of each other in longer sizes to expand the size of the eventual pot. The display showed materials added to the clay to make it more pliable, tools used to bind the coils together, other tools used to burnish the outside of the pot, and the firing of the pots. A few examples were given showing the ongoing process and finished product. But most works displayed in this exhibit were way beyond the techniques used to make early native American pottery. After all, this was an exhibition of contemporary works – contemporary in the meaning of – made by living artists and contemporary in the meaning – fancy and beyond functional.

I was drawn to the works of a few artists right off. Harold Long and Joel Queen are both from the Eastern band of the Cherokee tribe, in Cherokee, NC. These two artists’ works fell into the contemporary (beyond functional area). Some of the works were very large and others very fancy as far as the coatings added to the outside of the pieces – including designs, glazes, and other added materials. These works fell into the category of – I’d love to take one of you home with me, but you’re a little beyond my price range. My taste always seem to be beyond my means.

At this point I’ll mention that many of the works in these two exhibits had red dots on their tags – meaning works had been purchased right from the exhibit. A fact many people don’t seem to know – that works often presented in exhibits in non-profit institutions – can be purchased. All you have to do is ask. You might be surprised. In this exhibit the tags also included the sales price of the works.

Raleigh and Clandese Lynch displayed what would seem like more traditional native American pottery, but that might be a misconception on my part and I’ll be the first to admit that I really didn’t know what to expect – not having seen much native American pottery before now. Their works were traditional bowls of red clay covered with white designs – some of animals and some of symbols associated with native Americans. But it was simple white designs on the reddish-brown background.

Another artist working in this same technique was Senora Lynch (I didn’t find any mention of a family relationship in the exhibit resource book). Her piece The Gift, was a bowl of red clay with white designs – corn, tobacco, and turtle – representing the gifts of life for early native Americans.

These bowls might not seem so fancy or contemporary in today’s standards, but once you compare them to older traditional native American pottery – you’ll see that they are.

You get a better idea of this once you visit the other exhibit, Contemporary Catawba Indian Pottery. The works in this exhibition, although contemporary in the sense that these are works made by living artists, they would seem to me much closer to traditional native American pottery made the same way and with the same style and designs as was made 100s of years ago.

Again, I don’t want to make this posting a substitute for a visit to see these exhibitions. We also don’t have any photographs of any of the works. The point is to get you to go see the exhibit. I’ve already enjoyed the visual experience and I’m only willing to share just so much. Go get your own experience.

I later learned once I got to Greensboro, that there seems to be some controversy about two competing pottery festivals which will take place at the same time in Seagrove – Nov. 22 & 23, 2008. One group is associated with the Museum of NC Traditional Pottery, which has been doing a pottery festival for 26 years, the other group has formed to highlight just Seagrove area potters with a new festival.

I don’t see how two festivals taking place the same weekend can be a bad thing – especially for visitors looking to buy pottery, but I guess too much of a good thing can be bad in some instances. I understand that the original festival might suffer from a loss of booth rentals, but there are a lot of potters out there who would probably like access to the Seagrove festival audience.

A few years back we (Carolina Arts) did an article about the Seagrove area, the annual pottery festival, and the new North Carolina Pottery Center – everything seemed Jim Dandy then, but not now.

After reviewing some articles written about this dust-up between the two competing pottery festivals I think I have a clearer picture of what’s going on. The old group is more concerned with a one-weekend sales event and the new group like the NC Pottery Center in concerned with Seagrove’s pottery traditions – on an everyday basis. The people aligned with the Museum seem to think the Pottery Center is not promoting the area well enough, but on this visit I saw nothing but promotion of local potters. In fact, they had promotional materials for artists and art groups from all over NC, including a publication I picked up on Winston-Salem, NC, and a guide map of galleries and studios in Mitchell and Yancey Counties in Western North Carolina.

Believe me – I have no problem recognizing when a non-profit art facility promotes the local commercial art community. It doesn’t happen that often.

In retrospect, I picked up a flyer for the new festival thinking that the old festival had changed locations. I don’t remember seeing anything about the original festival, but then after reading some of the things said about the NC Pottery Center by some of the folks associated with the old festival – I understand why they may not be promoting the old festival. But, I did pick up materials that included the info about the Museum of NC Traditional Pottery.

The biggest voice of opposition seems to be coming from potters in Sanford, NC, almost 50 miles away from Seagrove and folks on the board of the Museum of NC Traditional Pottery – which now runs the original pottery festival. The festival’s founder has died. This controversy might be more a battle between two cities.

I’m behind the NC Pottery Center – a real showcase and resource for NC and Seagrove pottery and the new group presenting the Celebration of Seagrove Potters, taking place at the historic Lucks Bean Cannery in Seagrove. But if I was going to Seagrove that weekend – I’d visit both festivals. Somehow Charleston, SC, has been able to deal with two festivals in the same place at the same time – Spoleto Festival USA and Piccolo Spoleto Festival – both festivals compliment and compete at the same time.

The bottom line is – if you’re interested in pottery – a visit to the North Carolina Pottery Center in Seagrove is really worth the effort. And, once you’re there – you’ll have over 100 opportunities to visit pottery galleries, studios, shops, etc. The festivals only take place once a year. With all the fuss they are making about them – they may get people thinking that they only need to visit Seagrove once a year and that can’t be good for anyone there.

SC Fellowship Hopefuls Mark Your Calendars

Monday, July 21st, 2008

South Carolina’s individual artists working in visual arts or crafts, who wish to receive an award of $5,000, can apply for the 2009-2010 Fellowships. The deadline to enter the Fellowship sweepstakes or to apply for this award is Oct. 1, 2008. Applications can be found at the South Carolina Arts Commission’s website at (www.southcarolinaarts.com) – look under the heading “For Artists”.

The application may seem like a lot of trouble to go through, but it’s cheaper than buying lottery tickets and the odds are better – especially in the crafts category. But, you can’t win if you don’t fill out an application and send it in by deadline.

For a related point of view check out our posting on June 28, 2008 – “Oh the Difference”.

Bank of America Gives Free Admission

Thursday, July 17th, 2008

Bank of America’s Museums on US program has come to Charlotte, NC. Charlotte residents and any holder of a Bank of America ATM, credit or debit card can receive free admission to the Mint Museum of Art, Mint Museum of Craft + Design, and the Levine Museum of the New South, during the first Sat. & Sun. of the month – each and every month.

BOA is giving free admission to museums (70) all across the US. Sorry, South Carolina is not included yet. But anyone in South Carolina who has a BOA card can visit Charlotte for a free admission. So it’s not all bad for those who don’t live in the states with this program. Free admission helps pay for more gas.

For more information about Museums on US, visit (www.bankofamerica.com/museums/).

Unleashed Kicked Off Carolina Blogger Directory

Tuesday, July 15th, 2008

I was doing some surfing of blog directories and came across Carolina Blogger Directory, a site which is run by The State.com. It had a category for the arts and a registration form to be included.

I registered to be included with their art blogs and they put us there, but shortly – after a few days – they took us off. I figured it wouldn’t take long. Someone must have started reading it and noticed that The State and one of their staff members was being featured – on a regular basis.