Archive for April, 2010

North Charleston Arts Festival Offers Many Visual Art Offerings and More in North Charleston, SC

Thursday, April 29th, 2010

This info is in our May issue of Carolina Arts, but we wanted readers to have a jump – as distribution of the paper does take time and some of these events are time sensitive.

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The North Charleston Arts Festival in North Charleston, SC, starting on Apr. 30 and continuing through May 8, 2010, is organized and presented by the City of North Charleston Cultural Arts Department and numerous volunteers. The festival was launched as a one day community celebration at Park Circle in 1982 and has evolved with the addition of new facilities throughout the City. The festival moved to the North Charleston Coliseum in 1995 and expanded to two days. In 2000, the opening of the Charleston Area Convention Center, North Charleston Performing Arts Center, and other new venues, provided the springboard for the festival to expand to nine full days of performances and activities for residents and visitors throughout the City. In 2008, the Arts Festival was recognized by the Southeast Tourism Society as a Top 20 Event.

Today, the festival maintains the spirit of a community celebration with the mission of presenting a comprehensive, multidiscipline event schedule that provides an array of performing, visual, media, and literary arts events for people of all ages and backgrounds. The festival is accessible to all with numerous free and moderately priced events.

The Festival’s Main Event, takes place May 1 (10am-4pm) & 2 (2pm-5pm), 2010, at the North Charleston Performing Arts Center & Charleston Area Convention Center. Bring the whole family to enjoy over 40 stage performances on 4 separate stages and many of the following exhibits. Check out the details at this link. The event is free with free parking.

The North Charleston Arts Festival offers many visual art exhibits and installations including:

The annual North Charleston Arts Festival Fine Art and Photography Exhibits will take place at the Charleston Area Convention Center, located at 5001 Coliseum Drive in North Charleston, from May 1–2, 9am–6pm; May 3–7, 9am–5pm & May 8, 9am–noon. View entries in Fine Art and Professional & Amateur Photography.

The annual SC Palmetto Hands Fine Craft Competition & Exhibition takes place at the Charleston Area Convention Center, located at 5001 Coliseum Drive, from May 1-2, 9am-6pm; May 3-7, 9am-5pm & May 8, 2010, 9am-noon. The state’s only juried fine craft competition and exhibition includes works in clay, fiber, glass, metal, wood, and 3-D mixed media. The competition was juried by Brian Lang, Associate Curator of Decorative Arts at the Columbia Museum of Art.

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Colors of the Wind by Muriel Lanciault

An exhibit of works by Muriel Lanciault will be on view at the North Charleston City Gallery, at the Charleston Area Convention Center, located at 5001 Coliseum Drive, from May 1-2, 9am-6pm and May 3-26, 2010, Mon.-Sat., 9am-5pm. Muriel Lanciault, winner of the 2010 North Charleston Arts Festival Design Competition, will display a variety of subjects in watercolors and oils, including the winning design, Colors of the Wind. Meet the artist at the gallery during the Main Event, May 1 & 2.

The 5th National Outdoor Sculpture Competition & Exhibition takes place at the North Charleston Riverfront Park, located at 1001 Everglades Avenue (on the former Charleston Naval Base) from May 2010 through March 2011. The public park is open daily. Selected pieces from this annual juried competition are installed throughout the picturesque grounds of Riverfront Park. The competition was juried by Stuart Horodner, Artistic Director of the Atlanta Contemporary Art Center.

The Art & Fine Craft Co-op Gallery & Sale will take place at The Meeting Place, located at 1077 East Montague Avenue through May 29, 2010, Fri.–Sat., 11am–7pm. This venue presents paintings, prints, sculpture, fine crafts, and jewelry by local artists – all available for sale.

The exhibit, Honoring Zora: Stitching Wise Words, Art Quotes and Art Quilts, will take place at 10 Storehouse Row (Noisette Blvd), at the Navy Yard at Noisette (former Chas, Naval Base) through June 13, 2010, Mon.–Fri., 8am–8pm and Sat., 10am–7pm. The quilts and fiber art works in this unique exhibition explore and depict themes and images of the Harlem Renaissance, garnering inspiration from quotes by Zora Neale Hurston, considered one of the pre-eminent writers of twentieth-century African-American literature. A short film about local African-American quilters will be presented during the exhibition. Co-presented with the City of Charleston Office of Cultural Affairs & the Piccolo Spoleto Festival.

Works by Robert Maniscalco will be on view on the 2nd floor of the North Charleston City Hall, located at 2500 City Hall Lane in North Charleston, through May 8, 2010, from 8am-8pm. The City’s 2010 Artist-In-Residence and nationally known portrait artist, Robert Maniscalco, will display classical portraiture in the tradition of Rembrandt, Velazquez, and Sargent.

An exhibit of collage works by Sriharsha and Siddhartha Sukla will be on view on the 2nd floor at the North Charleston City Hall, located at 2500 City Hall Lane through May 8, 2010, from 8am-8pm. Sriharsha and Siddhartha Sukla, are hearing impaired artists from Orissa, India. They will display intricate portraits and landscapes in paper collage.

The Festival will also be presenting a number of art installations including:

Family Tree, an indoor installation presented in the lobby at the North Charleston City Hall, 2500 City Hall Lane, through May 8, from 8am-8pm. Artist Julie Klapper, owner of Artistic Spirit Gallery, located at 10 Storehouse Row, at the Navy Yard at Noisette, explores the parallels of her feelings on family and nature in this installation of photographs and fabric wrapped tree branches.

Confluence: Mary Edna & Rocket, an indoor installation will be presented on the 3rd floor at the North Charleston City Hall, 2500 City Hall Lane, through May 17, 2010, 8am-8pm. Mary Edna Fraser’s large scale batiks on silk and Rebecca Rocket’s fabric and found-object jellyfish transform North Charleston City Hall. This installation features Fraser’s 21′ x 9′ adaptation of Buckminster Fuller’s 1930s Dymaxion Map, as well as aerial and underwater batiks. Fraser’s dreamy monotypes surround Rocket’s floating jellies. Viewed from above and below, the combination is a confluent dance of surface design.

Ant, an outdoor installation by Lauren Rackley will be presented on the grounds of the North Charleston & American Lafrance Fire Museum and Education Center, located at 2975 Centre Pointe Drive, in North Charleston, through May 8, 2010, on view daily. This interactive installation is a whimsical interpretation of an often overlooked creature. Created by College of Charleston sculpture student, Lauren Rackley.

An untitled outdoor installation by Hudson Hamrick will be presented inside the traffic circle at Wescott & Oak Forest Boulevards in North Charleston, through May 8, 2010, on view daily. The four metal figures in this piece represent the stages of life, from childhood to wizened old age, with the tallest figure reaching 10 feet high. Created by College of Charleston sculpture student, Hudson Hamrick.

The Luminous Forest, an outdoor installation by Corey Anna Moore will be presented at Palmetto Gardens Park, located on East Montague Avenue in North Charleston, through May 8, 2010, on view daily. Constructed of 7 foot tall pipe “stems” topped with acrylic orbs, this forest glows with solar lighting at dusk. Created by College of Charleston sculpture student, Corey Anna Moore.

What is a Garden?, is an outdoor installation by JR Kramer, located at the intersection of East Montague & Spruill Avenues, in North Charleston, on view daily through May 8, 2010. This plant-based installation will explore our perception of ‘Greenwashing’ in a culture where buzzwords trump reality. Created by landscape architect JR Kramer, with assistance from Southern Lumber & Mill Work Corp., Green Acres Landscaping, Todd Brazell Painting, Fieldstone Center, Fisher Recycling, Cottage Garden, and Stone Casting.

Check the Festival’s weekly schedule for related events offered in conjunction with these exhibits and installations.

For further information contact the North Charleston Cultural Arts Department at 843/745-1087 or at (www.northcharleston.org).

Arthur Rose Museum in Orangeburg, SC, Celebrates 140th Anniversary of Claflin University with Exhibition

Thursday, April 29th, 2010

It seems that the folks in the art department at Claflin University in Orangeburg, SC, have discovered Carolina Arts and at the same time discovered they were not being included in it. They soon found out all you have to do to be included is to send us info about exhibitions, but it will take them some time getting used to our deadlines – a problem for many visual art venues across the Carolinas.

So here’s a slightly late press release about an exhibit they are offering through the month of May:

Exhibit Showcases the Diverse Artistic Talent of Claflin University

The rich artistic tradition established at Claflin University 120 years ago is showing no signs of losing its vitality. A visit to the Arthur Rose Museum will reveal that heritage is alive and well as exhibited by the works of alumni, faculty, staff and students.

The museum’s current exhibit of artwork comes from all sections of the Claflin Family.

Assistant Professor of Art, Jelania Thomas, proudly announced the diverse array of art, featuring paintings, photography and sculptures, among others.

“This exhibit will demonstrate to visitors to the museum the artistic intellect our students possess and how they are continuing the legacy of the Art Department,” Thomas said.

One of the more unique exhibits is students’ construction of animal-themed spaceships using Popsicle sticks and toothpicks. Antoine McCray, a freshman digital design major from Kingstree, SC, built a spaceship in the image of a hammerhead shark.

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Work by Antoine McCray

He credits his professors for inspiring his vision to design such an original piece. “They always give words of advice and encourage us to look beyond the obvious,” McCray said.

Terrance Robinson, assistant professor of art, says the exhibit is truly balanced in terms of genres. “This is for the 140th anniversary of our illustrious institution. It was an exhilarating process to cull all areas of our art curriculum into one exhibit.”

Not to be left out of the celebration of art, Robinson contributed a sculpture called “African Cubism” adding to the considerable list of conversation pieces in the Museum. The sculpture is a twist of planes and cylinders, in an art form known as cubism. His work is harmoniously coupled with African overtones. Robinson said he drew inspiration from both the timeless pieces of Pablo Picasso and Western African tribes in crafting the piece.

Director of the Museum and Assistant Professor of Art, Herman Keith noted that the exhibit also displays the works of Claflin’s most prominent alumni artists. From the iconic photography of Cecil Williams, 1960, to the visionary batik paintings of Dr. Leo Twiggs, 1956, Keith pointed out that this exhibit represents a complete history of the University’s art legacy.

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Work by Professor Herman Keith

In the 1950′s, the Art Department reputation was firmly establish under the direction of the late Arthur Rose. He is credited with elevating the Art Department and led it for nearly four decades with an eye toward cultivating a generation of visionary artists. The momentum of this resurgence is still being felt today.

While the mediums with which past generations of Claflinites used to create art is far different from the advanced digital imaging of today, the results of both avenues are equally brilliant.

For example, Manuel Loera is an aspiring video game designer. To reach that goal, his professors encouraged him to master all facets of the art world from photography to digital painting. Loera is now using programs to render three-dimensional characters.

However, he still has a firm appreciation for drawing with pencil and paper. On display at the Museum is an Anime portrait of a female character he saw in a Japanese film.  Anime is a form of Japanese art used to create cartoons.

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Work by Manuel Loera

The junior digital design major from Ciduad Juarez, Mexico, said the comprehensive art education he is receiving at Claflin will be invaluable in achieving his career goal.

“The professors here help students focus and find what they want to do for a career. They give you the tools to succeed,” Juarez said.

The art exhibit commemorating the University’s 140th Anniversary will run through May 31, 2010, at the Arthur Rose Museum on campus. The Museum is open Monday through Friday, 9am to 5pm.

For further information contact Herman Keith at 803/535-5337.

Let’s Hope the Musical Chairs Name Game is Over in Charlotte, NC

Monday, April 26th, 2010

We’ve been reporting on the new complex of art facilities in Uptown Charlotte, NC, ever since we started this blog – almost two years ago. The complex which includes the new Harvey B. Gantt Center for African American Arts + Culture (formerly the Afro-American Cultural Center); the new Bechtler Museum of Modern Art; and the new Mint Museum Uptown(scheduled to open this October) was first called the Wachovia Cultural Campus. But then Wachovia was purchased by Wells Fargo, the name changed to the Wells Fargo Cultural Campus. From now on, the complex will be known as the Levine Center for the Arts – and for good reason.

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In an article offered by the Charlotte Observer on April 21, 2010, we learned that a contribution of $15 million from the Leon Levine Foundation and a second $5 million contribution from Duke Energy, topped off an $83 million arts-endowment drive launched by the Arts & Science Council in November 2006.

Of course in the future – down the road – once the $85 million endowment isn’t producing enough money to keep the complex going – if someone wanted to contribute $200 million in our name, I’m sure they would change it to the Carolina Arts Unleashed Cultural Outlet Mall.

Like I’ve always said – money is the Mother’s milk of the arts and money talks.

You go girl – Charlotte! $85 million for an endowment for the arts. Who else can do that in the Carolinas? Who?

UNC Asheville Holds Spring Ceramic and Art Sale – Apr. 30 & May 30, 2010, in Asheville, NC

Sunday, April 25th, 2010

Here’s another event that came across our radar at Carolina Arts:

UNC Asheville’s Art Department will hold its annual Spring Ceramic and Art Sale from 4-7 p.m. Friday, April 30, and 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday, May 1, 2010, in UNC Asheville’s S. Tucker Cooke Gallery, located on the ground floor of Owen Hall. The sale is free and open to the public.
A wide variety of functional and decorative pottery, drawings, prints, photography, glass and sculpture crafted by UNC Asheville students will be on sale with pieces beginning at $5. A portion of the proceeds will benefit the Art Department.

For more information, call UNC Asheville’s Art Department at 828/251-6559.

White Oak Pottery Spring Show & Sale Takes Place May 1, 2010, in Durham, NC

Sunday, April 25th, 2010

Carolina Arts received some more news about Spring pottery events – this time in Durham, NC.

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On Saturday, May , 2010, from 9am to 4pm, White Oak Pottery located at 3915 Rivermont Road in Durham will host its Spring Show & Sale, featuring works by Julie Olson of White Oak Pottery, pottery by Bruce Gholson and Samantha Henneke of Bulldog Pottery of Seagrove, NC, mixed media by Addison and Eric Paige of Raven Rock Artworks of Holly Springs, NC, baskets by Bev Nagy of Charlotte, NC, and pottery by Terry Gess of Bakersville, NC.

They will be raffling off pieces of “art”, one from each participant, to benefit the Independent Animal Rescue of Durham, NC. The Rescue staff will be on hand with a variety of pets available for adoption!

Raffle tickets will be for $5 each (with a limit of 50 tickets sold per piece of art) Tickets will be sold during the show with the drawing to be held at 4pm. You need not be present to win.

Artist Demonstrations include:
Julie Olson will be demonstrating throwing from 10am-11am.
Bev Nagy will be demonstrating basketry from 1pm-2pm.
Lisa Brown will be demonstrating throwing from 2pm-3pm.

For further information call White Oak Pottery at 919/309-4747.

Michael Kline’s Spring Kiln Opening Takes Place Saturday, May 8, 2010

Friday, April 23rd, 2010

Yes, Michael Kline’s Spring kiln opening takes place Saturday, May 8, 2010, from 9am – 5pm, at Kline Pottery located at 4062 Snow Creek Road in Bakersville, NC. But, before we get to that…

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I first met Michael Kline through his blog, Sawdust & Dirt, News from the pottery shop of Michael Kline, during the effort to save the NC Pottery Center in Seagrove, NC. Kline was one of the blogging potters helping to spread the news about the effort to save the NCPC. And, then I met him, in person, during the first “Cousins in Clay” event held last year and again this year, at Bulldog Pottery in Seagrove. He is a model of a socially networking artist, talented potter, skillful teacher through his blog, and nice guy – an important factor in my book.

Our first conversation centered on two basic themes: how do we turn this blogging thing into something that is financially beneficial – for him selling more pottery and for me gaining new audiences for our supporters (advertisers), as well as the paper in general, and second, expanding my coverage of the effort to save the NC Pottery Center and highlighting Seagrove pottery to other pottery areas around the Carolinas. That conversation was the inspiration for our Blog Category – Not About Seagrove Pottery – a sort of inside joke about my focus on Seagrove.

As of today, the count for entries for the Not About Seagrove Pottery is (25 including this one) and the count for About Seagrove Pottery is (27), but it should be noted that some of those 27 also share the Not About Seagrove Pottery category, so we might be closer to even. But I’ll take this moment to say that we need to hear from those folks in the greater pottery community of the Carolinas outside of Seagrove and I don’t want anyone to take their eyes and ears off the NC Pottery Center – it still needs all our support to keep the doors open and expand its offerings. They are not out of the woods yet and may never be in this economic climate.

OK, here’s a bit of info about the kiln opening I found on Kline’s FaceBook page:

Please join us in our first annual Spring kiln opening with over 400 new pots from the kiln to add to your collection!

Get away to the mountains where the landscape will be bursting with the bright colors of fresh flowers, green leaves and the thick carpet of new grass! Take a deep breath of the clean mountain air and take in the beautiful vistas from the front porch steps of the pottery. The lawn will be filled with new pots!

There will be a preview on the evening of May 7, 2010, where you can browse the entire collection and enjoy the company of other collectors with refreshments.

On Saturday morning the sale begins at 9am and continues until 5pm or until the pots last. Come early to get the pots you like!

Visit the website to join the mailing list and receive announcements via e-mail or regular post.

Back to me – Kline is also a member of the Potters of the Roan group. I found this description on that website which also highlights and makes links to the other members.

Roan Mountain is one of the highest and most beautiful portions of the Appalachian Mountains. It is also home to the Potters of the Roan, a guild of nationally recognized as well as emerging professional potters who have formed a guild to share resources and promote our work. Connected by geography, creative commonalities, and friendship, the Potters of the Roan represent a rich diversity of styles and talents. Our studios are open to the public year round and surrounded by the breathtaking natural beauty of Roan Mountain – famous for its vast views, extensive balds, and natural rhododendron gardens. We invite you to travel the scenic roads of Roan Mountain, visit our studios, and experience the unique landscape that inspires our work.

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Go to Kline’s kiln opening, but if you can’t make it, visit his blog – you can buy his works there and if you’re ever in that area of North Carolina – pay him a visit and sit on that porch and find out for yourself that he was telling the truth about those beautiful vistas.

Photos of One Eared Cow Glass Sculpture at Columbia Museum of Art Celebration of Chihuly Chandelier

Thursday, April 22nd, 2010

We now have photos of the finished piece by One Eared Cow Glass installed outside the Columbia Museum of Art during the Museum’s Red Hot…Cool! 60 Years of Color gala on the evening of Apr. 17, 2010.

Here’s a link to my earlier comments on that.

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I have to say, it looks pretty spectacular!

Like I said – give Tommy Lockart, Mark Woodham, and their assistant, Ryan Crabtree, $360,000 and see what you get – considering they made this work on speculation just for this one event – for one evening.

Now we’ll see if someone is smart enough to purchase this work. I wish I could.

Columbia Museum of Art in Columbia, SC, Features Great Ceramic Works

Sunday, April 18th, 2010

In our continuing effort to bring CAU readers news about events taking place in the Carolina pottery community, I’m scooping Carolina Arts in bringing you this article about an exhibit now on view at the Columbia Museum of Art in Columbia.

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The Columbia Museum of Art in Columbia, SC, will present the exhibit,Innovation and Change: Great Ceramics from the Ceramics Research Center, on view from May 28 through Sept. 5, 2010.

The exhibition highlights 79 masterworks by many of the leading international ceramic artists of our day, offering a panoramic survey of the potential of clay as an expressive art form. The Ceramics Research Center in Arizona contains one of the most exceptional collections of contemporary ceramics in the United States.

The art objects on view range from functional ware for everyday use to more expressive sculptural forms. The exhibition includes featured works by 70 prominent artists including: Rudy Autio (American, 1926-2007), whose highly sculptural works decorated with brightly colored figures earned him the nickname, “the Matisse of ceramics”; Peter Voulkos (American, 1924-2002), one of the early founders of the American ceramic movement, whose ceramic sculptures are famous for their visual weight, their freely formed construction, and their aggressive and energetic decoration; Robert Arneson (American, 1930-1992) – “father of the ceramic Funk Movement” – who in the early 1960s abandoned the traditional manufacture of functional ceramic objects in favor of using everyday objects to make confrontational statements; and Betty Woodman (American, born  1930), who integrates color and form into complex sculpture based on the historical traditions of pottery making, most notably that of ancient China and Italian majolica. One of the most influential ceramic artists of the 20th century, Woodman was recognized for her outstanding contributions to the field and honored as the first living woman artist to have a solo exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in 2006.

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“The Abstract Expressionist”, 1985
Robert Arneson (1930-1992)

Karen Brosius, the Museum’s executive director says, “The museum is delighted to present this comprehensive exhibition of talented artists that provides the community and our visitors a satisfying discovery and enjoyment of the world of ceramics.”

Some of the artists started their careers when the studio movement in America was in its infancy. After World War II, there was renewed interest in the craft movement, with many universities establishing programs and more museums presenting their work. Influenced by European modernist design, as well as Asian pottery traditions, emerging ceramic pioneers created a new American aesthetic.

During the 1960s, the craft field matured and prospered. Bernard Leach and Shoji Hamada were influential figures in the field, promulgating the value of functional pottery in everyday life. But an American revolution in clay began under the charismatic leadership of Peter Voulkos, who embraced and redefined the potential of clay as an innovative form of contemporary art, which embraced individual expression rather than following the crowd. Rules were broken and a new ceramic frontier was born.

The figure became a prominent foil for artistic expression in clay and witnessed a resurgence of interest in the 1960s, primarily from West Coast artists, including Robert Arneson and Viola Frey. During the 1970s and 1980s, another sea change took place. Many artists began using the vessel format to express painterly concerns or to convey personal stories, either as painted narration on the surface or as fully integrated form and design. With each successive generation, emerging artists have forged a new voice within the ceramic idiom. Borrowing freely from different time epochs and cultures, as well as being more fluid between art mediums, they are not limited by past traditions.

The showing in Columbia is part of a 10-city national tour over a three year period containing 79 ceramic vessels and sculptures from the collection of the Ceramics Research Center, Arizona State University Art Museum. The exhibition was curated by Peter Held, Curator of Ceramics and was developed and managed by Smith Kramer Fine Art Services, an exhibition tour development company in Kansas City, Missouri.

Innovation and Change: Great Ceramics from the Ceramics Research Center has been organized by the Arizona State University Art Museum located near Phoenix in Tempe, AZ.

From June 16 throu September 19,  2010, the Museum will also present,SC6: Six South Carolina Innovators in Clay.

Drawn from public and private collections, six innovative ceramic artists who are, or have been active in South Carolina are featured in this Gallery 15 installation. The works illustrate a diverse range of technique, glazes and forms for which the artists are best known. Featured artists include: Russell Biles, from Greenville, whose figural sculptures are deeply laden with social and political commentary; Jim Connell, whose sinuous vessels are decorated with elaborate glazes, many of which are inspired by ancient Chinese ceramics; Georgia Henrietta Harris, a member of the Catawba Nation, who is largely credited with reviving the Catawba pottery tradition; Peter Lenzo, whose technically complex sculptures recall the 19th century Southern “face jug” tradition yet remain completely unique; Ron Meyers, whose functional ceramics are brightly slip-painted in a gestural, expressionistic style that can be both provocative and confrontational; and Virginia Scotchie, current chair of the ceramics department at USC, who incorporates familiar shapes when creating her vessels that possess complex and luminous glazes.

For further information check our SC Institutional Gallery listings, call the Museum at  803/799-2810 or visit (www.columbiamuseum.org).

SC Arts Commission’s Canvas of the People Grand Tour is Over – Now What?

Thursday, April 15th, 2010

OK, the seven public gatherings of the Canvas of the People 2010 have taken place – plus one special, unannounced, gathering at the recent Arts Alliance Board meeting, and the private gatherings held with community and business leaders in several, if not all the original seven locations – before the general public gathered. Why some folks couldn’t participate like the rest of us in a public forum – I don’t know, but it fits the pattern of secrecy conducted by the Arts Commission. It’s always about not telling the whole story – holding back information.

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We’ve had our say on what’s working in the arts, what our challenges are, and what opportunities lie ahead, but what now?

Of course if you didn’t show up, you can probably still participate by doing the online Canvas survey. Here’s the link (http://www.southcarolinaarts.com/canvas2010/index.shtml). You can also see what others said throughout SC at this link as well – see listings on the left of the page. Of course you won’t see any comments from the private gathering.

We’re not told much about what happens now, but my guess is someone will sort through all the comments in the three categories and pull them together in some kind of report and then distribute that report or at least make it available as a download on the Arts Commission’s website. There you go – problems solved.

Of course we were told at each of the gatherings that this plan for the next ten years was a plan for us – not the Arts Commission – they’ll be doing that later, on their own – behind closed doors.

My guess is that this plan will look a lot like the previous plans – except for the pleas for more funding from somewhere – which doesn’t exist.

So all the calls for working together will fade and the dog eat dog scramble for a bigger slice of the funding pie will resume amongst the non-profits and not much will change.

We’re already seeing the “too big to fail” factor being floated by the Charleston Symphony Orchestra and its supporters (a shrinking number), which has been in financial trouble for ten years, and continues to rob funding from the greater Charleston art community. Giving money to the Orchestra is like stealing funding from the fiscally responsible to give it to the fiscally irresponsible. But the cry to save the “artistic soul of Charleston” drones on at the expense of the other worthy art groups.

From all my years of experience and attending the Canvas of the People process – my advice to the people who attended these meetings is to forget about having the Arts Commission lead you around by the nose and schedule more gatherings of the art community in your area, on a regular basis, for a longer period of time, and work on your own challenges and opportunities. Follow through on what you come up with and you’ll get a lot further along than worrying about the size of the pie you’ll get from the Arts Commission. Who knows your community and its resources better than you?

In my opinion, more would be accomplished if members of the art community gathered at a local watering hole on a regular basis and discussed issues over a few drinks than attending these Canvas gatherings – there will be more pressure to monitor the follow-through on ideas and plans – more accountability. Our art communities don’t need more art walks – they need art talks once a month.

I went to a few of the Canvas gatherings to observe and make a plea for the non-profits to work with the commercial side of the art community – not just look at us as a source for funding and handouts. I also asked why commercial businesses in the arts, who support individual artists, help build audiences, promote the arts, and support the community with taxes – can’t share in applying for funding from the Arts Commission. Some of our ideas might be better that those proposed by some non-profits and might pay off better for the overall art community and community in general. Most of us live in a world where if you can’t pay your bills, you’re out of business – not begging the community for another chance to get your act together. Reality for us is the bottom line and we don’t enter into risky ventures, knowing there is always another funding cycle around the corner. Yet, in our case, when Carolina Arts got into financial troubles when the economy collapsed, we made cuts to the bone, took on personal debt, and we reached out to followers and people responded and helped us survive, but there was no chance for public support – none at all.

So, I hope there are not a lot of folks out there waiting for this final report from the Canvas of the People 2010 to solve their problems. There will be a few who do that, but they are going to be disappointed. Waiting for funding, much less more funding from the SC Arts Commission is futile as long as the State of South Carolina continues to have budget shortfalls. At some point, someone in the SC Legislature is going to be asking – do we need to pay for this big fat bureaucracy of a state agency – why don’t we give our money directly to the counties to decide where it should go in their art communities? At that point, non-profits will discover a pie that is not already half eaten by the time they get to it.

USC’s McMaster Gallery in Columbia, SC, to present 55th Annual Art Auction – Apr. 21, 2010

Wednesday, April 14th, 2010

Here’s another example of late arriving news which we received at Carolina Arts today (no photos or links supplied):

Sculpture, photography, paintings and ceramics created by faculty and students at the University of South Carolina will go to the highest bidders April 21, 2010, at McMaster Gallery’s 55th Annual Art Auction.

The popular event will be held in the Campus Room of Capstone House, at USC in Columbia, SC, beginning with a preview party at 6pm followed by the auction from 7 – 10pm. The art will be on display beginning at 1pm that day for public viewing. The event is free and open to the public, and light refreshments will be provided.

The auction is sponsored by the department of art in the university’s College of Arts and Sciences. Proceeds will be divided between the artists and the university’s art scholarship and gallery fund. Credit cards and checks will be accepted.

For more information, contact Mana Hewitt, gallery director and organizer of this year’s event, at 803/777-7480, 803/777-4236 or e-mail to (mana@sc.edu).