Archive for October, 2009

Shepard Fairey – Hopes – His Cover-up Attempt Doesn’t Cost Him Millions

Saturday, October 31st, 2009

Here’s a trick or treat for you.

It seems that Shepard Fairey, the creator of the Barack Obama “Hope” poster, says he was mistaken about which Associated Press photograph he used to create the image in a statement submitted in his “fair use” court case.

Fairey submitted this new statement to the court: “In an attempt to conceal my mistake, I submitted false images and deleted other images,” he said. “I sincerely apologize for my lapse in judgment, and I take full responsibility for my actions, which were mine alone.”

Fairey is being seen in a different light as to how much work he really did to transform the AP photo into his Obama poster.

I just hope we don’t see Fairey glorified in an exhibit anytime soon at the Gibbes Museum of Art or the Halsey Institute at the College of Charleston in Charleston, SC. Wishful thinking on some people’s part, but Fairey’s artwork is headed to much larger venues – as the art world’s current bad boy. But, before that ever happens, if it ever does, I’d like to see the artist clean up Charleston’s graffiti mess – which he is directly and indirectly responsible for.

Fairey placed graphic stickers all over the Charleston area and then he and his followers proceeded to place them everywhere making him a cult figure as a creative artist making a name for himself. He was finally arrested for doing the same thing in Boston, MA, earlier this year.

But the genie is out of the bottle. Young artists unfortunately now see Fairey as a role model – a road map to quick fame and success. Fairey’s past and present is catching up with him and in the future he might not be remembered – the way he had hoped. I’ll always think of him as a vandal first – artist second.

It is said that, “Bad men do what good men dream.” Maybe so, but the good men keep it in their dreams and the bad men take it to the streets. I’m not saying Fairey is a bad man, but in these, “I’m sorry I got caught doing what I knew was wrong” times – I don’t see him as someone Charleston should feel proud of – at least not at this time.

Hey, I’m sure that’s the same thought that Fairey’s fans think about me, as well as many others, but such is life – I’m not waiting for any accolades – those bridges were burned the day I decided to express my opinions in public.

So, do – bad men say what good men think? – maybe so.

What We Have Here Is A Failure To Communicate!

Friday, October 30th, 2009

For today’s posting or should I say – rant – I’m going to focus on the non-profit visual arts lack of communication skills. The commercial art galleries are scrambling for every inch of publicity they can get in these times. Example – I had already received more info about exhibits taking place at commercial galleries in November than we would have room for (under the current level of paid advertising) – before our deadline for the October issue. The commercial folks don’t have as big a problem with promoting their exhibitions. It’s the non-profits who have my goat lately. And, we can exclude a few of the major institutions – I have some of their press releases stored for as far in advance as March 2010.

Earlier in October and during the end of September (09) I was delivering our Oct. 09 issue of Carolina Arts and a tour booklet for the Greenville Open Studios tour – taking place Nov. 7 & 8, 2009, in and around the Greenville, SC, area. They pay me to do this so I give it my extra effort – going to places we don’t usually go to every month. It’s a reminder of what I used to do – how far I was traveling to spread the news about the visual arts in SC – between 1995 – 1997 when we were called South Carolina Arts. I was going everywhere – like I was an arts missionary. I gave up on that and for good reason. I was reminded of some of those reasons during the last couple of days while working on our massive gallery listings.

Since I had been reminded of some of the visual arts spaces spread throughout the hinterland of SC, I decided that I would do some extra research on the Internet this month and try to find out what these gallery spaces were presenting in November, so we could add them to our online version of the paper – which carries much more info than is found in the printed version of the paper. This was almost as frustrating as being a Carolina Panther fan.

I have to do this research online as these groups don’t send us info about their exhibits – some because they figure if they are not going to be in the printed paper – why bother, and some – because they haven’t figured out how to yet or just don’t send PR outside their town limits.

Some of these organization’s websites are not worth the space they take up on the Internet. Lucky for the rest of us, the info they provide doesn’t take up much cyber-space, as most can barely tell you what’s on exhibit – any day you pull their site up – much less tell you what they will be showing a month from now. Some can only tell you – in as few words as possible – that they are having an exhibit in a certain month. Some don’t even provide the beginning and ending dates of the exhibit. Without that info it’s totally useless to us and our readers. Who wants to travel any distance taking a chance that since one month has 31 days in it that the exhibit they want to see will really be available any day of that month – I know I won’t. I don’t have time and gas money to burn to do that.

In some cases you just can’t be sure of what year they are talking about since they don’t post the year anywhere on the site and since some sites haven’t been updated since the day they were launched – you can’t take a chance that the info is for this year or 2002.

Yet, in the year 2009 – this is how many non-profit organizations operate – with as little info provided to the public – the same public they are supposed to be serving or in some cases – too much unrelated info.

Arts Councils seem to be some of the worst at communicating info about their visual art offerings – mostly in my opinion – because they don’t make any money off of exhibits. These arts councils bombard me with info about art classes and programs targeting children, while at the same time they can’t make the effort to provide info about exhibits – which are offered for free. They seem to be more interested in baby-sitting children for a fee than anything else.

Yes, these classes and programs may be a needed source of income, for artists and the arts councils, but these same groups receive funding from taxpayer funded agencies for providing services to the public – including art exhibits. Any group that receives public funding should be required to provide the public with info about what and where that money is going. If you get money from the state – you should do statewide publicity. They should have to prove it in their application process. But then again, the SC’s Arts Commission is not that good at communicating themselves, so I’m not surprised at the condition the recipients of their funding are in – as far as their communication skills go. We seem to have fallen off the list of who gets press release from the Arts Commission. Is Carolina Arts now considered an affiliate of FOX News?

Another factor is that many of these arts councils are run by – at best – one or two paid staff people with help from volunteers – if they are lucky. Many are overburdened with the task of running a multi-cultural organization and some are under-qualified to do the job to begin with. Most board members of these organizations just think their duty is making decisions – not performing tasks.

Artists’ Guilds present a different problem – with the same results. They have a very bad habit of changing all its organization’s officers – every year. By the time most learn how to do their duties – the year is over and they just hand it off to the next person and the circle continues. Every time a good publicity person comes along – it just makes things worse when their term is over – it’s a crash and burn situation and you have to get someone used to the process all over again. If you get a good publicity person – you should do whatever you can to keep them in that position – even if you have to pay them. And, before they retire from that position they should train their replacement for six months – so there is not a fall off when the transition is made.

City run arts agencies are some of the worst at communicating. The City of Charleston (SC) Office of Cultural Affairs has just discovered the Internet and up to a few years ago – wouldn’t, couldn’t (not sure which it was) – send info by e-mail. They were still mailing (snail mail) info to people and most of the time it arrived late – if it arrived at all – because it was mailed with non-profit postage – which doesn’t even have to be delivered. The postman can just dump it if they feel like it.

The other day I received a postcard from the City of Raleigh Arts Commission in Raleigh, NC. The front of the card says “Celebrate Downtown Raleigh Public Art” and it shows four windows naming what I guess is four programs (Art-On-The-Move, Art on City Plaza, Horizon Line, and Zoom Raleigh). At the bottom of the card it says, “Transforming our City of Oaks into a City of the Arts!”.

On the back of the card it has a mailing address for the Raleigh Art Commission, an invitation to a reception on the eve for something called Raleigh Wide Open (no explanation of what that is) to celebrate four public art programs – the date and time – the location of the event – a list of supporters – a phone number and a web address. Not a lot of information about what this is about, but then who doesn’t like being invited to a reception – if you have the time?


I checked the website. I don’t want to make a long-distance call and explain to several people what info I’m looking for – racking up the charges or using cell time. The website doesn’t really offer any further info, but I did learn something about this organization’s communicating skills. The phrase on the postcard I received doesn’t match the phrase on the city’s website – “Transforming the City of Oaks into the Creative Capital of the South!”. The card says, “Transforming the City of Oaks into the Arts!” – which doesn’t make sense – so it might be that the official phrase is too long for the card or too long to remember. But then again, Winston-Salem, NC, claims to be the City of the Arts.

On Oct. 18th – weeks after I received the postcard from the Raleigh Arts Commission, I found this story by Craig Jarvis of the Raleigh News & Observer, which explained Raleigh Wide Open and the four public art projects.

Although I would applaud any city for putting money into art projects and works that will remain on display – it really didn’t sound that exciting, unusual, or like something that would transform the city of oaks into the arts or the creative capital of the South.

The fact that I had to come across this article about Raleigh Wide Open in random searches for info about the visual arts taking place in the Carolinas – shows a lack of communication skills by this city organization.

You ask if the burden shouldn’t be on the media to keep up with such information? Stick with that line of thinking and you’ll always be left out. The media is getting barraged by arts organizations with requests for coverage – not just in the visual arts. And, the visual arts is way behind the performing arts in capturing most media attention. So the burden is on the presenters to reach out as much as they can and in an effective way.

A small postcard in this case might have fit into the Raleigh Arts Commission’s budget, but an informative e-mail would have been more effective, timely, and free.

Of course the real fad these days is the use of Constant Contact – another “wonderful” product from Microsoft. It is the worst form of communicating to the media. It may be OK for your general mailing list, but not the media. For one thing – I have never received an answer to any reply I make after receiving one in time to make a difference or at all. It’s as if you were dropping flyers from a plane – you don’t care who gets the info or where it goes – you did your job by sending it – BS!

Constant Contact is just a prepackaged form of the old – let’s see how many different fonts I can use, in a variety of colors, and how many useless graphics I can throw in to fill the space.

It looks pretty – it looks almost professional – it looks like a family holiday newsletter. And, it is totally useless to people who just want the facts in a form that is easy for them to copy and paste into the format their media uses. Stop using it for the media.

Once again – if you are a PR person for an artist, a gallery, an arts council, artists guild, visual arts organization, art museum, university or college gallery – contact the person who processes the info you want to get in their media – ask them how they would like to receive it (not what’s the easiest for you) and when they would like to receive it for their deadlines. This is an individual thing – case by case – there is no one way to satisfy all the media’s needs.

And by the way – you might want to check out that media outlet to see if they might even use the info you are about to send. I spend a lot of my day deleting e-mail and tossing regular mail by folks who have sent us a press release about something we have never included in our paper – even from groups outside the Carolinas. I guess that Carolina Arts name just goes over their head.

One last point directed at artists. I don’t mind you letting me know you’re going to be in an exhibit (in the Carolinas) as a heads up, but we like to receive press releases about these exhibits from the folks hosting them. Nine times out of ten we find that press releases from individual artists tend to leave out the other artists showing works in that exhibit. They made it read like they were the only artist in the show – as if it was a solo show. We’re not going to let you leave them out, so don’t bother sending such incomplete information. Shame on you anyway. And, if you can’t get the name right of the institution you claim to have had an exhibit at in your listed credits – we’re taking it out – so make sure you give your gallery updated and correct info. It’s like all the local artists who claim to have had a show or be in a show during the Spoleto Festival, when they were in the Piccolo Spoleto Festival. Some local artists have been featured at Spoleto – but it’s just a few. It’s a big difference between the two festivals.

Why bother with all this? Yes, I’m trying to make my life a little better – OK maybe a whole lot better, but I’m also trying to make people and organizations better communicators too.

It is also a WARNING. I am at the point where I will no longer spend my time trying to get clarification on bad or incomplete info sent to us. Meaning it will just disappear and it will never be considered for inclusion in our paper or on our website. We will continue to help our advertisers get info to us – after all they make Carolina Arts possible, but no one else.

If you’re not seeing info you sent us in Carolina Arts or on Carolina Arts Online – there is probably a good reason for it. You didn’t communicate very well or you didn’t know that we only cover the visual arts, mainly exhibitions, taking place in North and South Carolina. Maybe you should send your info to the New Yorker – I’m sure they would be interested to receive it.

Columbia Museum of Art in Columbia, SC, Offers Holiday Artisans’ Fair and Sale – Nov. 15, 2009

Wednesday, October 28th, 2009

The Columbia Museum of Art’s Museum Shop will hosts its largest ever annual Holiday Artisans’ Fair and Sale Sunday, Nov. 15, 2009, from noon until 3pm. Twenty participating South Carolina artisans, including six new artists, showcase their latest work for sale in the Museum’s DuBose-Poston Reception Hall and Garden Terrace. Featured handcrafted offerings include jewelry, mosaic stones, pine needle baskets, woven scarves, sugar doll fairies, colorful art glass and more.


Admission is free to the Artisans’ Fair and Sale and museum galleries, including the exhibition, Ansel Adams: Masterworks, on view through Jan. 17, 2010. Galleries are open until 5pm.

Participating artists include: Vera Anderson, John Benton, Becky Blair, Clay Burnette, Libby Coynor, Melissa Crook, Karen Dickey, MaryAnne Ehasz, Steve Harrell, Patty Hatch, Caroline Hatchell, Toni Kelly, Alicia Leeke, Erin-Margaret Moize, Paul Moore, Cynthia Norton, Bohumila Owensby, Cindy Saad, Sabine Snykers and Kelly Wenner. For a list of artisans’ wares for sale during the fair, visit (

Complimentary gift-wrapping is available, and this year, shoppers have the convenience of a second checkout station for quick and easy purchasing.

Museum members receive an additional five percent off their regular Museum Shop discounts during the event and all purchases support the exhibitions and education programs at the Columbia Museum of Art. Memberships can be purchased online at (

For more information, call the Museum Shop at 803/343-2159 or you can always visit Carolina Arts Online where we have gallery listings and feature articles about the Columbia Museum of Art.

Greenville, SC’s Open Studio Tour is a BIG Event – Taking Place on Nov. 7 & 8, 2009

Friday, October 23rd, 2009

At times I find myself in a conflict when I’m promoting several events taking place at the same time. Such is the case with the Greenville Open Studios tour in Greenville, SC, and the Charleston Art Auction taking place on Nov. 7, 2009, in Charleston, SC, during the Charleston Fine Arts Annual weekend. Both the tour and the auction are big supporters of Carolina Arts. People could really attend both, but human nature for most is just to chose one. I just hope I’ll be finished delivering our Nov. issue and have that opportunity. But, then again – with every issue of Carolina Arts or Carolina Arts Online were promoting dozens of events that take place at the same time – even in the same city or town.

Carl R. Blair

In this posting I’m plugging the Greenville Open Studios tour – taking place Nov. 7 & 8, 2009, 10am-6pm Saturday and noon-6pm Sunday. The event is organized by the Metropolitan Arts Council in Greenville. This is the biggest or at least one of the biggest studio tours in the Carolinas. And, Alan M. Ethridge, executive director of MAC, would just love it if I would plug the events two major sponsors – Wachovia and SEW Eurodrive, so I guess I will.

Wachovia Bank, N.A. and SEW Eurodrive are proud to be the presenting sponsors of the eighth annual Greenville Open Studios and congratulate the 124 participating artists.

Hopefully some of you got a copy of the tour booklet I helped distribute during the delivery of our Oct. issue of Carolina Arts. It’s a great resource about the studio tour and the Greenville area visual art community. With 124 participants, it doesn’t represent the entire visual art community but it does feature a lot of the area’s heavy hitters – at least a lot of folks I like. Alice Ballard, Carl R Blair, Jane Todd Butcher, Bob Chance, Lynn Greer, Diane Hopkins-Hughs, Glen Miller, Susan Sorrell, Barbara Stitt, Enid Williams, are just a few I’ll mention. Of course there are just as many that I like who are not on the tour, but out of 124 – anyone should find plenty to like.

Barbara Stitt

The booklet offers one image by the artists, contact info, including website addresses to see more work, a short description – even info on wheelchair accessibility. If also offers maps that can be very helpful in figuring out your driving route from studio to studio. The booklet also offers info about other programs by the Metropolitan Arts Council and an arts calendar of other events taking place in the area during the months of Nov. and Dec. It also gives a complete list of sponsors – of which there are many. So even if you don’t go to the tour – the booklet is a great resource to have.

I took these booklets to a lot of places we don’t go to every month distributing Carolina Arts.

Why don’t we distribute Carolina Arts to every inch of South Carolina, much less every inch of the greater Carolinas? Come on – we’re a business, not a non-profit charity. Besides, anyone with access to the Internet can see every page of Carolina Arts every month. If you have a library in your community – you can most like get access to the Internet. The address is (

I guess there are some who would make a game out of the tour by trying to go to all 124 studios in the two-day time frame, but that’s no way to look at art. The tour is a great opportunity to see the environment in which these talented artists create, talk with them, see their latest creations, and – wait for it – buy art. That’s right – they’re going to let you buy art during the tour. So don’t let this opportunity go by.

Now, if you think this is something you might be interested in and you’re making plans to go – here’s a tip. Plan to go to Greenville on Friday, Nov. 6, 2009, so you can also enjoy the First Fridays event (6-9pm) – a gallery crawl of many of Greenville’s art galleries and some of the folks on the tour will be open that evening too – giving you a few extra hours to see more of the 124. The booklet tells you who is doing the First Friday and who is not.

Man, this booklet reminds me of another great resource of the visual art community in the Carolinas. It’s on the tip of my tongue.

Well, anyway I’ve made my plug – it won’t be the last and you may just run into me there – you never know. It seems to be a surprise for anyone who does see me at an event as they are always saying – “What are you doing here?” which I hope refers to the distance the event is away from homebase Bonneau, SC – because I do actually show up at a lot of events. Not as many as we report on – but a lot. It seems such a funny question to ask – considering what I do.

4th Charleston Art Auction Takes Place Nov. 7, 2009, in Charleston, SC

Sunday, October 18th, 2009

The 4th Charleston Art Auction will start at 7:15pm on Nov. 7, 2009, at the Renaissance Charleston Hotel, located at 68 Wentworth Street, in historic downtown Charleston, SC. If you want to be in on one of the most exciting events taking place in Charleston’s visual art community – you better get cracking right away to make sure you have a seat with your name on it.

Reservations are highly recommended as seating is limited. Tickets are $50 (contributed to the Charleston County High School Art Programs, this includes a fully illustrated sales catalogue) per person. For ticket reservations call 843/722-0128 or 843/842-4433. The Renaissance Charleston Hotel offers a special group rate for the weekend. Call 800/605-1498 and ask for the Charleston Art Auction group rate.

The Charleston Art Auction was founded in 2006 by Morris & Whiteside Galleries located in Hilton Head Island, SC, and The Sylvan Gallery located in Charleston, as the premier Southern art auction. Auction principals Jack A. Morris, Jr., J. Ben Whiteside and David G. Leahy have over twenty-five years experience presenting fine art to collectors throughout the United States.

Mark Horton

Artists presented will include Bobby Bagley, William Berra, Joe Bowler, Armand Cabrera, James Calk, Marc Chatov, Elaine Coffee, Jim Daly, John Carroll Doyle, Ray Ellis, Ted Ellis, Dan Gerhartz, Cassandra Gillens, Glenna Goodacre, Lindsay Goodwin, Russell Gordon, Jonathan Green, Chris Groves, Michael Harrell, Betsy Havens, Nancy Hoerter, Mark Horton, Mandy Johnson, Karin Jurick, Michael B. Karas, Milt Kobayashi, Jeff Legg, Joseph Lorusso, Dan McCaw, Danny McCaw, Dean Mitchell, Joseph Orr, George Pate, Pino, Joan Potter, Laura Robb, Jennifer Smith Rogers, Helen Rundell, Shannon Runquist, Marilyn Simandle, Betty Anglin Smith, Linda Kyser Smith, Shannon Smith, Loran Speck, Linda St. Clair, Sue Stewart, John Stobart, Rhett Thurman, Michelle Torrez, Karen Larson Turner, William Whitaker, Mary Whyte, Mickey Williams and Stephen Scott Young.

Mary Whyte

This year there will also be an expanded offering of important works by deceased Southern masters including: John J. Audubon, J. Stewart Barney, Wenonah Day Bell, Virginia Fouché Bolton, Richard J. Bryan, Valeria Chisolm, Eliot Clark, Bette Lee Coburn, Jesse Conklin, George Cress, Edward von S. Dingle, Frank Galsworthy, William Halsey, Alfred Hutty, Joseph Jackson, Minnie Mikell Katherine Huger Middleton, Augusta Oelschig, May Paine, Hobson Pittman, Antoinette Rhett, Hattie Saussy, William Posey Silva, Alice Ravenel Huger Smith, Warren F. Snow, Stanley Sobossek, George W. Sully, David Thimgan, Eugene White and George Hand Wright, among others.

If you don’t know much about these artists, you can always go to Google and type in a name and then Carolina Arts, and most likely you’ll find an article we have posted sometime since 1999 about the artist. You can see images from the catalogue at ( Of course the best thing is to register and get your hands on the auction catalogue – which has images, info, price estimates, and other info about how the auction operates.

I’m interested in Lot #64, a lithograph by Alfred Hutty which is very similar to one we own. And, I found the etchings by Antoinette Rhett very interesting – I haven’t seen a lot of her works before. She took lessons from Hutty in Charleston and you can see it. There are six prints by this artist in Lot #77. These prints could go for as little as $250 each – that is if you are the high bidder and it goes for the high end of the estimate ($1,200 – $1,500), plus the 15% premium. Don’t forget about the buyer’s premium. It will be added to the final high bid. So when you figure what you are willing to pay for one of the Lots, don’t forget to add 15% to that figure to get the final price you will pay. If you go prepared – you won’t be surprised during the auction.

Alfred Hutty

Antoinette Rhett

These images were scanned from the auction catalogue, so they are not the best reproductions.

Also be aware that the bidding goes up in different increments depending on the estimate of the work up for bidding. Like if you we making a bid on Lot #28 an oil painting by John Stobart – estimate ($30,000 – $50,000) the auctioneer will raise the bids in increments of $2,500 a pop. You’re not going to hear the auctioneer asking for a bid of $30,100 – it will be $32,500. Research!, Research!, Research! Of course most of the evening it will be increments of $100 and $250.

Another bonus to the auction will be the offering of works created during the ever-popular plein air event, Painting in the Park. The event takes place at Washington Park in Charleston on the Saturday morning of the auction as part of the Charleston Fine Arts Annual, hosted by the Charleston Fine Arts Dealer’s Association. These works created by artists represented by the CFADA member galleries will be auctioned off at the Charleston Art Auction to benefit the Charleston County High Schools’ art programs. Which to this date has raised $140,000 for those art programs.

Wow, that’s a lot of art – a lot of opportunity to be the highest bidder on one of these contemporary works or those by a now famous deceased Southern master.

The thrill of victory, the agony of defeat – the auction will run like a fast paced sporting event where if you take your eye off the ball – someone else will walk away with the prize of the day. Yes, there will be intoxicating libations, scrumptious morsels, and gossip, to distract you, but if you are serious about grabbing that brass ring – be in your seat, be focused, and raise your bidding number high – for tomorrow you can rest – knowing you brought home the bacon. And, tomorrow the gossip will be about you.

How can you not be there?

Well, collectors who are unable to attend the sale in person should contact Charleston Art Auction to make arrangements for absentee and telephone bidding prior to 5pm on Nov. 6, 2009. Call 843/722-0128 or 843/842-4433.

The sale results will be posted at ( the week following the sale.

Lakeside Artists Offer Studio Tour in Mooresville, NC – Nov. 7 & 8, 2009

Friday, October 16th, 2009

Fifteen award winning artists from the Lake Norman area around Mooresville, NC, will be exhibiting together in five home studios for the first (they hope annual) Lakeside Artists Studio Tour on Friday, Nov. 6, 2009, from 5-9pm and Saturday Nov. 7, 2009, from 10am-6pm. The public is invited, and it should be a fun, casual event. It is an opportunity to meet with the artists and in many cases actually see them at work and talk about their inspiration, their processes, and any other questions. There is no charge, and light refreshments will be served at each location.

There will be a variety of one of a kind pieces and a wide range of prices at each studio location. Mediums include oil painting, watercolor, acrylic, egg tempera, wood turnings, wood carvings, wood furniture, jewelry, ceramics, pottery, mixed media, and applique.

Studio locations and artists involved are:

Studio A – located at 126 Harborcrest Lane, Mooresville, NC, will feature Cheri Simmons, Bonnie Boardman, and Darla Earnhardt Hudson.

Studio B – located at 124 Larkhaven Lane, Mooresville, NC, will feature Theresa Leatherwood and Clint Brown.

Studio C – located at 111 South Longfellow Lane, Mooresville, NC, will feature Angela Van Every Johnston, Dene Smith, Kae B. Wright, and Donald Olsen.

Studio D – located at 388 Stonemarker Road, Mooresville, NC, will feature L. C. Neill, Brian Neill, and Barbara Ballesty.

Studio E – located at 143 Washam Road, Mooresville, NC, will feature Sandie Bell, Penny Overcash, and John Melius.

A Map, images and additional information is available at (

Carolina Renaissance Festival near Huntersville, NC, Sets Attendance Record in its First Weekend

Wednesday, October 14th, 2009

I got an e-mail at Carolina Arts from the management of the Carolina Renaissance Festival, located near Huntersville, NC, that nearly 20,000 attendees enjoyed the magic, mirth, and merriment at the 16th Annual Carolina Renaissance Festival this past weekend (Oct. 10 & 11, 2009). This comes as a pleasant surprise to Renaissance Festival management – who were prepared to experience a decline due to the tough economic climate.


“The Renaissance Festival has always been a place where people can go to set aside their daily cares while experiencing unique entertainments, shopping, and food. The turnout this past weekend shows that at the Renaissance Festival – escapism reigns!” says Matt Siegel, marketing and entertainment director for the Festival.

I wish I was going to the Festival this year – not with those 20,000 during the first weekend, but sometime this fall, but alas – I’ll not be able to attend. I need an escape – back a few centuries.

Rengarr the happy Germanic

Our family and some friends have attended the Festival many times – in costume – costumes so good, visitors thought we were part of the Festival staff – so good, some asked to take our pictures. At least I hope it was because of the costumes.

Rengarr in full gear

The Carolina Renaissance Festival is a medieval amusement park, a 10-stage theater, a twenty two acre circus, an arts and crafts fair, a jousting tournament and a feast – all rolled into one, non-stop day long adventure.

The Carolina Renaissance Festival is open every Saturday and Sunday, now through Nov. 22, 2009. Festival hours are from 10am-5:30pm – rain or shine.

The Festival Park is located just north of Charlotte, NC, between Concord and Huntersville on Highway 73 at Poplar Tent Road (between I-77 and I-85). Exit 25 on I-77 or exits 52 or 55 on I-85.

Parking is free courtesy of Harris Teeter. Thank you Harris Teeter!

Advance discount tickets are available at Harris Teeter stores region wide. They are $18 for adults, $7 for kids ages 5-12, children under 5 are always free. Tickets purchased at the gate are $1 more. Print your own tickets on-line. Senior discount tickets (60 and over) are $17 at the gate.

For more information visitors should call 704/896-5544 or toll free at 877/896-5544. Visit the Festival website at (

Go escape for a few hours to a land – far, far away from today’s troubles, but don’t forget to take some money. The Festival also features a village of artisans offering a wide variety of hand-crafted items from hand-blown glass, pottery, and metalworks. Even way back when – money was the mother’s milk of a good time. And, don’t forget to taste the King’s nuts – they’re good!

Don’t Miss Brian Rutenberg’s Lecture & Book Signing at the Gibbes Museum of Art in Charleston, SC – Oct. 21, 2009

Friday, October 9th, 2009

It should be no secret to any follower of Carolina Arts that I’m a big fan of Brian Rutenberg – we have featured his work on our cover twice – in full color and I have tried to make sure people always know when he has an exhibit in the Carolinas. I’m also a big fan of abstract art and Rutenberg’s work sings to my soul.

Blue Point

A few months ago on one of my daily trips to the post office to get the mail a large package was there and I wasn’t expecting a thing that large in the mail. When I opened it – it was an amazing book of Rutenberg’s work – I was blown away by it, but the big news came a few days later when I attended a gathering of folks involved in the visual arts at the Gibbes Museum of Art in downtown Charleston. Someone from the Gibbes was handing out a little flyer of upcoming exhibits planned for the Gibbes – interesting news as they don’t seem to release much info about upcoming exhibits – at least to me. As I scanned down the list I saw that Rutenberg was having an exhibit there in Oct. 09. It was hard to concentrate on the meeting after that.

Fading #6

So why all the excitement for Rutenberg? Well, first I think he is very good and second, he is a SC native who has made it big and it’s my opinion that he will get even bigger as time goes by. I said in my editorial commentary in the Oct. 09 issue of Carolina Arts – he could be SC’s next Jasper Johns. The other thing I like about Rutenberg is that although he has made it big in bigger places – he still brings his work home to SC and the Carolinas.

Fading #2

So I hope – if you can – you’ll go hear the lecture, buy the book and later visit the exhibition. See if I have good taste.


Here’s a press release about the event:

The Gibbes Museum of Art in Charleston, SC, will offer an artist talk and book signing by Brian Rutenberg on Oct. 21, 2009, at 6pm. Abstract artist Brian Rutenberg will host a discussion about his upcoming solo exhibitionBrian Rutenberg: Tidesong on view from Oct. 23, 2009 through Jan. 10, 2010. Rutenberg will talk about his process and inspiration and will welcome questions from the audience.

A book signing of Brian Rutenberg, the first ever major monograph on the artist’s paintings and drawings, will be held immediately following the lecture. The artist talk and book signing is free for museum members and $10 for non-members. Tickets can be purchased at the door or online at (

The exhibition was organized by the Jerald Melberg Gallery in Charlotte, NC. Inspired by the landscape and waterways of his home state, Rutenberg’s work combines brilliant color with expressive brushwork to create visually stunning abstract paintings. Tidesong includes recent paintings on canvas and works on paper that explore the artist’s fascination with the landscape and quality of light along the South Carolina coast.

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Reflecting on his work, Rutenberg has said, “My imagination was in large part formed by my childhood experience growing up in the Lowcountry of South Carolina from Myrtle Beach down to Charleston and to this day I still use that sense of light and that geography as kind of a springboard, as a starting point for the work even though the work does not end up being about the Lowcountry or anything down there. There’s a certain kind of light down there when you’re around a lot of water. It’s like a silvery, blue light that permeates everything. It can be melancholic. It can be joyful. It can be many, many different facets, and I try to get that feeling of light.”

A South Carolina native, Rutenberg received a BFA from the College of Charleston and an MFA from the School of Visual Arts in New York City. Since 1985, Rutenberg has been honored with over 100 gallery and museum exhibitions across the United States, including a retrospective in 2006 at the South Carolina State Museum in Columbia, SC. The artist lives in New York City with his wife and two children.

Established as the Carolina Art Association in 1858, the Gibbes Museum of Art opened its doors to the public in 1905. Located in Charleston’s historic district, the Gibbes houses a premier collection of over 10,000 works, principally American with a Charleston or Southern connection, and presents special exhibitions throughout the year. In addition, the museum offers an extensive complement of public programming and educational outreach initiatives that serve the community by stimulating creative expression and improving the region’s superb quality of life.

For further info call the Museum at 843/722-2706 or visit (

Friends of the Charleston County Public Library Present THAT Big Book Sale in Charleston, SC – Oct. 8-11, 2009

Thursday, October 8th, 2009

I love libraries and I need my Charleston County Library. Without it’s selections of books on CD and tape I couldn’t get through my monthly deliveries of Carolina Arts. They’re good for a lot of other stuff too, but I’m keeping this short so more will read it.

Great bargains, good books and family fun are part of the Friends of the Charleston County Library’s ‘THAT Big Book Sale’ set for Oct. 8 – 11, 2009, at the Gaillard Municipal Auditorium, 77 Calhoun Street, in downtown Charleston, SC.

More than 60,000 “gently used” books, CDs, DVDs, cassettes, videotapes and rare collectibles will be on sale during the 27th annual THAT Big Book Sale. With prices starting at just $1, the event is expected to draw nearly 10,000 book lovers from throughout the area.

The Friends of the Charleston County Public Library, a non-profit volunteer organization, raises money through book sales to help fund Library services, equipment, training, materials and public programming. The Friends collect and sort donated books for resale to raise money.

Prices starting at $1 for paperbacks and $3 for hardbacks. Items include mysteries, romances, classics, children’s books, local histories, biographies, cookbooks, travel books and collectibles about art, pets, travel, religion, philosophy and just about any topic imaginable. Items will be restocked throughout the weekend.

Thursday night, on Oct. 8, 2009, from 5:30 – 8pm, a Celebrating Friends preview event will be held for Friends members with hors d’oeuvres, wine and music by Shrimp City Slim. Non-members are encouraged to attend and join at the door. The Friends are asking patrons to BYOB – Bring Your Own Bag to conserve resources. All books were donated and have been sorted and selected for good quality. Member admission price is $15. Non-members can join at the door and attend for $35. For the Celebrating Friends event, please RSVP by Oct. 1st to 843/805-6882.

The event continues on Friday, Oct. 9 and Saturday, Oct. 10, 2009, from 9am – 7pm and Sunday, Oct 11, 2009, from 10am – 3pm with items at half price. Admission is free Friday through Sunday.

For more information on THAT Big Book Sale, please visit ( or get daily updates on Facebook: ( or Twitter: (

News From Sumter, SC, Takes Time to Arrive in Bonneau, SC Tuesday, October 6th, 2009

Tuesday, October 6th, 2009

I’ve noticed that the Internet does not work as fast from some places in the Carolinas. It might be because of electromagnetic fields the government has set up near secret military installations or… it could be due to swamp gas, but news about events taking place in some places seems to be a last minute idea. Nonetheless, we try to distribute it as soon as we can – even after a few follow-ups for further info.

Don’t look for any info about this event at Carolina Arts Online – as this info came in way after our deadlines. So here it is:

Accessibility 2009 Takes Place in Sumter, SC – Oct. 16, 2009

Jarod Charzewski

Accessibility 2009: Cross Currents is Sumter, SC’s eleventh annual exhibition of public installation art. The annual Accessibility exhibitions feature contemporary art that is installed in and around Main Street businesses, alleyways, unoccupied buildings, sidewalks and other “public” areas of Sumter’s historic downtown area. This highly regarded contemporary art exhibition is considered by many to be one of the most important art events in South Carolina and aims to cultivate dynamic interest in the Sumter and regional art scenes. Accessibility 2009: Cross Currents will focus on New Media, Film and Video art installations as well as site-specific art installations of varying mediums. Featured installation artist Jarod Charzewski will be creating monumental pieces in two central locations in downtown Sumter. He will be working in a public forum in the Sumter community, providing many unique opportunities for the public to gain insight into the ‘process’ of installation and for social interaction with the visiting artist. In addition to these works there will 8 new media, film and video installations by nationally and internationally recognized artists from Taiwan to Israel, Buenos Aires to Winnepeg and from New York to California. In addition to this melting pot of artists there will also be an exhibition of local and emerging artists including Tarrence McDow and Jamie Caplinger, as well as a number of works from local high school students in the McDuffie Furniture building on S. Main. This yearsAccessibility is curated by Frank McCauley, Assistant Director and Curator for the Sumter County Gallery of Art.

Beginning at 6pm and running through 9pm Sumter Cruisers will be presenting a Classic Car Display on South Main while Second Nature will be performing some of the “best Beach Music in the south.” Food and refreshments will be available.

At 7:30pm, Sapphire Moon Dance Company from Columbia, SC, will perform, “dazzling the audience with sounds, words, movements and shapes while creating a very Kafkaesque modern criticism of our overly-wired society.”

Due to the nature of the spaces and the amount of equipment needed and staffing issues, a number of spaces will not be available to the public after opening night. However the major installations by Jarod Charzewski will be up for six weeks and can be viewed by appointment.

Featured Installation, New Media, Film & Video artists:

Jarod Charzewski’s art examines landscapes and people, man-made structures among nature, the sometimes static, and often-fluid designs that rise from dual environments. Space motivates his concepts. The visual characteristics of bridges and railroad tracks, tunnels, urban communities at large, cast against the strength of natural landscapes, reflect the relationship between viewer and the work. He enhances this relationship through accessible installations, monuments to nature, to man, and to our cohabitation. The art reveals the mystery of individual perceptions and develops a platform where ideas gain scope.

Yaron Lapid is an Israeli artist currently living in London who’s work, The New Zero, plays on the nature of photography and its ability to assemble and disassemble layers of history. In 1999, Lapid found on the floor of a recently demolished area in Jerusalem, several envelopes containing hundreds of black and white photographs and negatives, which were probably the leftovers of a former photographic studio. Lapid has reprocessed the found material to create an atypical “family album” composed of moving portraits that fluidly fade into black before revealing their main features. By reversing the conventions of documentary editing, the video focuses on marginal details such as body posture, clothes and accessories to suggest the habits and costumes of Jerusalem in the 70s, providing hints of the atmosphere of that time.

Clint Enns resides in Winnipeg, Manitoba, and is currently a masters student in mathematics at the University of Manitoba. His interests include cinema, model theory of rings and modules, natural language as a biological phenomenon and the logical vocabulary of natural language. Clint has been an avid cinephile for many years, and has only recently started making films. Sacrificial Memories, is an experimental film made from discarded film footage found in thrift shops and flea markets in Winnipeg.

Blu is a graffiti artist and muralist from Bologna, Italy, and is known for his very large, often surreal and aggressive but always-breathtaking pictures in the public space. His playful and comic-style works often carry an ethnic, political or moral message, yet without being patronizing. What is unique about Blu’s work is that it is very process oriented. He creates large-scale drawings on walls all the while taking photographs of its evolution and then uses these pictures to create mesmerizing animated/ stop motion films.

Robert Fraher’s New Media work, No Horse In Particular, explores the concept of meaning in visual imagery. No Horse is a mixed media piece combining photography, digital illustration, interactivity, and custom software development. The composition utilizes shape simplification, quantitative reduction, and software aided simplification as modes of abstraction. Through interaction, viewers are able to explore the continuum of representation, from depiction to abstraction. The purpose of this exploration is for people to develop a more acute mode of interpretation in light of the complexity of today’s New Modern imagery.

Robert Fraher

Jen-Kuang Chang work, OM, is an audiovisual piece, which explores the universal sacred syllable found in various Eastern religions. Both sampled and computer generated sounds are incorporated in order to achieve the intended variety of sonic landscapes to match the vivid, but delicate visualization.

Jen-Kuang Chang

Magsamen & Hillerbrand, a collaborative husband and wife team, work with video and installation while investigating ideas about relationships, perception and our daily interactions with each other. Using abstraction and illusion to create a new lens or way of looking at the world they create visceral works of which include everyday visual vocabulary of our lives such as bubble gum, a kiss or a cup of coffee. They show the familiar to us in an unfamiliar and cinematic way.

Bill Domonkos’ The Ambient Medium, is a beautifully nuanced fusion of manipulated archive film footage, special effects and animation. The Ambient Medium is a testament to the powers we may not see but can certainly feel. This work takes inspiration from 19th century spirit photography, the experiments of Nikola Tesla, science fiction and paranormal phenomena

The overall goal of the Accessibility 2009: Cross Currents is to enrich the lives of the Sumter-area community through an ongoing series of very public art projects that will include the visual, performing, and media arts. Accessibility 2009 public art events will include art education projects in order to give Sumter-area teachers and student’s insight into the process of the art forms being featured during the various exhibitions. Regional schools, colleges and universities will be encouraged to participate in the event as well. The Sumter County Gallery of Art will play a major role in the education component by conducting site tours and conducting discussions about the art forms being featured during each exhibition.

Accessibility 2009: Cross Currents takes place on Sumter’s “Main Street Corridor” and will promote collaboration with Main Street businesses, organizations and agencies. The focus on the Main Street Corridor will, hopefully, provide increased pedestrian traffic along Main Street’s sidewalks encouraging area commercial businesses to participate in and promote ongoing revitalization through future projects. Accessibility 2009 plans to use the art and the increased pedestrian traffic to showcase the architecture and beauty of the historic buildings located along the Main Street Corridor.

For further information about this event contact: Frank McCauley, Asst. Director, SCGA by calling 803/775-0543 or e-mail at (; Booth Chilcutt, Exec. Director, Sumter County Cultural Commission by calling 803/468-2389 or e-mail at (; and Ray Reich, City of Sumter Downtown Development Manager by calling 803/436-2535. You can also find more info at (