Archive for April, 2011

The May 2011 Issue of Carolina Arts is Now Ready

Saturday, April 30th, 2011

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The May 2011 issue of Carolina Arts is up on our website at (www.carolinaarts.com) – all 71 pages of it. We had over 32,000 downloads of the April 2011 issue – a drop of almost 12,000 downloads from March. So you folks will have to work very hard to get us back up into the 40,000 numbers. But, spreading the link around to  your e-mail lists and posting it on your Facebook page is what it will take. Once people see all that is going on in the visual art community of the Carolinas they will spread it around to their lists and on their Facebook page.

So download that PDF and dig in – it’s going to take a while to get through this issue. And, don’t forget to find a way to thank our advertisers – they make the paper possible.

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

Wednesday, April 27th, 2011

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

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

Info about visual art offerings:

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

411nchas-kim-keatsWork by Kim Keats

9th Annual South Carolina Palmetto Hands Fine Craft Competition & Exhibition (Apr. 30 – May 7, 2011) – Charleston Area Convention Center, 5001 Coliseum Drive, North Charleston. Fine craft artists from across the state will display inspiring objects in the media of clay, fiber, glass, metal, wood, and three-dimensional mixed media in this 9th annual juried competition and exhibition. Juror: Denise Butler, co-founder and former Executive Director and Board member of the South Carolina Artisans Center in Walterboro, SC. Hours: April 30 & May 1, 9am-6pm; May 2-6, 9am-5pm; & May 7, 9am-noon.

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Strings by Pedro Rodriguez

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

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Work by Jenn Garrett

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

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Work by Madeline Dukes

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

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

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

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Work by Timothy Pakron

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

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

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

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

Info about visual art installation:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Info on other visual art related events:

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

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

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

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

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

Close Call in Seagrove, NC, While Attending Celebration of Seagrove Potters’ 3rd Annual Spring Kiln Openings

Monday, April 18th, 2011

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Being close only counts in a game of horseshoes. I was in Seagrove, NC, yesterday, April 16, 2011, for the 3rd Annual Celebration of Seagrove Potter’s Spring Kiln Openings, but besides a little rain, wind and thunder – at times, you wouldn’t have known that the deadliest storm system of the year was passing overhead and all around. A system that killed nearly 50 people and left millions of dollars in damage from Oklahoma to North Carolina – including an area just 10 miles from the headquarters ofCarolina Arts in Bonneau, SC, where a tornado destroyed a church.

Such is life. It reminds me of a time when some high school friends and I decided to make a trip to Montreal, Canada for a weekend visit in 1969. When we got home we learned that the Woodstock Festival had taken place just 100 miles to the south in New York. Timing is everything, and I guess I had good timing yesterday as I traveled 200 miles to Seagrove and 200 miles back home and saw very little of what I would call nasty weather.

My day started at 4am. It almost felt like the old days when I delivered Carolina Arts. I had prepared food and drink, I had my pack of CD’s of the greatest music every made from the 1960′s and a full tank of gas. It’s a good thing the Honda is getting 42.5 mpg these days.

Linda, my better half, had been hoping to make this trip with me, but she still had a bad cold that had her confined to the house.

Within 45 minutes of leaving the homestead I was on I-95 heading towards Florence, SC, where I would pick up Hwy. 52 to head north to Rockingham, NC, where I would pick up Hwy. 220, the future I-74, I-73, which would take me right to Seagrove. I can’t wait for the day I don’t have to use the word “future” when I’m saying I-74 or I-73.

The first thing I noticed was that there was a steady stream of traffic on I-95 heading South. What was that all about? Then it hit me. It’s been awhile since our boy – who is now a man (with a job) was in school – this was the Disney World migration – Easter break for schools. I was glad I was heading North. For a few seconds I wondered if the forecast of the storm had turned for the worst overnight and folks were evacuating from NC.

And, where was that storm anyway? It had rained for a few moments when I was shaving, around 4:15am, but it didn’t even sprinkle again until I reached the NC border on US 1, between Cheraw, SC, and Rockingham, the worst part of my travels this day – a narrow single lane road. But 5 minutes out of Seagrove on Hwy. 220, it seemed that the skies had opened up, but again for less than a few minutes. So, a little rain for a few minutes every hour wasn’t too bad.

The trip to Seagrove took 3 1/2 hours including two stops along the way. And, I don’t ever speed.

My first stop, after a visit to one of the new Rest Areas outside of Seagrove on Hwy 220, was Bulldog Pottery. I was the first visitor of the day, just after 9am.

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Works inside Bulldog Pottery

I was first greeted by Bruce Gholson at the shop and then we walked back down to the house where I was soon greeted by Samantha Henneke and of course Mighty Max, their bulldog. Max always looks smaller in pictures. In about a half hour he finally settled down.

I always enjoy my early morning visits to Bulldog Pottery, as it means conversations about marketing, social media, and what’s going on in Seagrove. The only disappointment on this day was that Ed and Gloria Henneke, Samantha’s parents were gone on a trip to Florida. They always add some good insights into any conversation. But, before long the electronic warning system was going off telling them someone was driving up to the shop. The day was beginning.

Bruce went up to the shop to deal with the visitors and Samantha and I talked a bit more about Facebook, blogging, and Twitter. She’s trying to sell me on Twitter and I’m being a hard sell. During the conversation a few more warning signals went off and before long there was a knock at the door and it was a couple who were collectors of Bulldog Pottery’s wares. They wanted to say hello to Samantha and let her know they had purchased one of her wall hangings – which apparently someone else had expressed an interest in.

This brought up a conversation about putting off the purchase of something you fall in love with at first sight and sometimes losing out when you finally decide you can’t live without it – but then have to learn to do just that as someone else decided it had to be their’s sooner than later.

About 30 minutes later at the shop, Samantha and I watched a visitor from the New England area do just that, but this guy was going to be in bigger trouble as I think it was his wife who really wanted to buy a piece and he wanted to wait and see what the day would bring. He’ll probably be hearing about that decision all the way back to New England.

That’s right, Seagrove has much more pull than regionally in NC, my 200 mile trip was nothing compared to how far some people travel to get their fix of Seagrove pottery. They draw people from all over the world. It’s not like having an art gallery in Charleston, SC, where you can see walk ins from around the world – people visiting Charleston. The city of Seagrove, with all it’s charms – is no Charleston. Most people you find there are there for the pottery. And, I think the folks who live in Seagrove like it that way.

Speaking of downtown Seagrove, my next stop was the newly opened Co-op of Seagrove Potters, at 128 East Main, at the corner of North Street. A group of ten or so of the local potters have joined together to open this new shop. You might call it a visitor’s center for their potteries.

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The participating potteries include: Bulldog Pottery, Dover Pottery, Latham’s Pottery, Lufkin Pottery, Michelle Hastings & Jeff Brown Pottery, Nelda French Pottery, Old Gap Pottery, Ole Fish House Pottery, Seagrove Stoneware, and Tom Gray Pottery. Nelda French, who was maintaining the shop this day told me she was the only potter of the group who didn’t have another pottery shop – yet. All the others can be found throughout the Seagrove area – one was just a block away.

The Co-op will be open seven days a week so it will serve as a good ambassador to all the member potteries. There’s not a website yet, but you can reach them at 336/873-7713. The shop is centrally located in the heart of downtown Seagrove – you can’t miss them.

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A few blocks away was the NC Pottery Center (www.ncpotterycenter.org), always a must stop when visiting Seagrove. They have a great display of works from all the potteries, along with maps to help you find the potteries. They always have an interesting exhibit of pottery from some area of NC or an interesting theme, they have a great display dealing with the history of pottery in NC, and they have rest rooms. The two dollar donation is well worth any of those factors and after you’re finished taking in all it has to offer you’ll feel like you would have paid much more to get in the door – guess what – they’ll accept any other amount of donation you feel like making. In these days of reduced public funding – they’ll need it.

The exhibit I wanted to see was Tea Time: Series I (Teapots and Tea cups), on view through Apr. 30, 2011, so you better hurry if you want to see it. This exhibit features functional teapots and tea cups, handmade by over 70 potters from across NC – some from the Seagrove area. And, what a show it is. Unfortunately, some of the works were presented under Plexiglas, but I got a few good photos of some of the works that were not covered.

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Searching Heart Teapot by Richard Montgomery

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Works by John Garland (L) and works by Marty Paul (R)

I was familiar with a good number of the potters represented, like Samantha Henneke and Bruce Gholson (Bulldog Pottery), Mark and Meredith Heywood (Whynot Pottery), Susan Filley (who was in Charleston, SC, for a while but is now in Durham, NC, at Claymakers Gallery), Ronan Kyle Peterson (Nine Toes Pottery in Chapel Hill, NC), and Michael Kline (in Bakersville, NC).

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Works by Stanley Mace Anderson

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Works by Molly Lithgo

Two potters I wish I could have gotten photos of their work were Betsy Vaden, who had a wonderful set called, Possum Tea Party, and a group of a teapot, cups with saucers by Jenny Lou Sherburn. But it’s impossible to get a decent photo through Plexiglas. I wish I could be showing them to you as no words I could say will do justice in describing them.

I know I would drink a lot more tea if I owned a teapot and cups like any of these creations, but then I’d also be afraid to use them on any regular basis. They all may be functional, but they were really fine works of art to me. But I might bring them out every once in a while to show off or if the Queen stopped by one day to discuss one of my commentaries.

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Work by Susan Farrar Parrish

On the drive to Whynot pottery, beside thinking of cookies, I was wondering where this big storm was. It really wasn’t showing signs of any impending doom. I was passing potteries that had cars parked outside and was passing cars going here and there, but no rain, no big wind, no thunder. I wasn’t the only one who didn’t let a weather forecast spoil my plans.

As I drove into the parking area at Whynot I was greeted by Meredith Heywood – her cookie alarm must have gone off. I was soon escorted to their studio where they had set up this year’s Mud and Suds offerings, inside due to the forecasted storm. That’s also where the cookies were.

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Tile by Laura Weant Johnson

Inside I found Laurie Abela from Abela Soaps, Laura Weant Johnson from Snow Hill Tileworks, Anne Raven Jorgensen from Raven Pottery and platters of cookies. Not just one kind of cookie, but about six to eight different kinds of cookies – all homemade. I can tell you this. I made a respectable tour of all the art offerings before one cookie touched my lips.

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Handmade soap by Laurie Abela

You can read an earlier blog posting about Mud and Suds at this link. I took a few photos, but then what was that? It started raining and there was a few claps of thunder, was this finally the storm? But again, nothing lasted very long and  people were still driving up to take a look.

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Some works by Anne Raven Jorgensen

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A detail of a work by Anne Raven Jorgensen

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I shot this one for Linda, but you can see my focus is on the pottery

At one point I went with Mark Heywood out to their shop when another group of folks drove up. While we were inside the shop a burst of wind came up, a little rain and then a few big claps of thunder (which shook the building) and we were wondering if this was it – the storm had arrived. But, in a few minutes, it was all gone. We talked a while about work he’s been doing with Wet Dog Glass, LLC, over at Starworks in Star, NC, just down the road. They make equipment for hot glass studios, but that’s another story.

It was getting late, so we headed back to the studio once the visitors cleared out and it seemed that the storm had also cleared out – for good this time. I got a few cookies for the road and said my good-byes. As I was getting in the car, a few more people drove up and I grabbed my camera for a parting shot – it looked great outside – there were even patches of blue sky coming through the gray. Little did we know – about this same time tornadoes were touching down just East of Seagrove, beginning their paths of destruction toward Raleigh, NC, and beyond.
Does this look like stormy weather?

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Next I headed to Jugtown Pottery, I was hoping to run into Jennie Lorette Keatts at JLK Jewelry at Jugtown. As it turned out, she wasn’t there when I arrived. But I got to check out the goods at Jugtown and when some ladies finally surrendered the case of jewelry, I took my turn and made a few ladies wait on me. I’m sure they were wondering why I was taking it all in – for so long, but it’s always nice to see works up close that you have only seen in photos. Linda was really missing out.  Of course if she had come along, we might still be there.

Soon I was back on Hwy. 220 heading back South and the weather was improving, more sun, more blue skies. About 20 minutes into the drive Linda called telling me a tornado had hit Raleigh and was wondering if I was OK. No sign of storms or tornadoes on my radar. About an hour later she called again and said there was a report of a church being hit by a tornado in St. Stephen, SC, a town about 10 miles from Bonneau where we live on Hwy. 52. I said I guess I’ll see – as I had to drive past that area on the way home. Our power was also out at home.

By the time I got back to Florence – back to I-95, it was just another spring day in SC – clear blue skies on one side of the Interstate and a bank of clouds far off near the coast on the other side. When I got to St. Stephen I could tell they had a big downpour, as the streets we littered with leaves and pinecones, but as I made the big turn in the middle of town, I could see down the road a line of cars, and many vehicles with flashing lights. The closer I got, it looked as if every emergency vehicle in the county was there and half of St. Stephen was there looking at what used to be a building used as a church.

The building was demolished. The path of destruction was about as wide as a football field and not as long as one. It was as if a giant had put his foot down and smashed everything. Across the four lanes of the highway there was no damage at all. This was a very specific hit – very weird. Luckily, no one was killed.

All day Sunday we received e-mails and calls from friends who had seen the news stories on the major networks and The Weather Channel who wondered if we were OK. It was about ten miles away. Here I had driven 400 miles through an area that was in the watch and warning area – seeing nothing and ten miles from our home gets hit. It just goes to show that Mother Nature is unpredictable – she’s gonna do what she’s gonna do.

I was happy to see reports on Facebook and in a few pottery blogs that many more people showed up in Seagrove on Sunday. I guess you could say – they and I were lucky.

Chasing Tornados in Seagrove, NC

Saturday, April 16th, 2011

Real hard core pottery lovers don’t let reports of the deadliest storm system of the year stop them from attending the Celebration of Seagrove Potters Spring Kiln Openings in Seagrove, NC. And for all those who stayed home in fear of what they might run into in Seagrove, we see more rain, thunder and lightening on any given afternoon – all summer long, here at the lake and FYI – a tornado struck a church about 10 miles from our home today.

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Photo from Post & Courier newspaper in Charleston, SC

So tomorrow when the weather is great, all you fair-weather pottery lovers will be able to safely follow in the foot prints of the more adventuresome travelers. The potters in Seagrove still have plenty of fine pots waiting for you. Go get some.

More about my day later.

Could the Charleston Art Auction One Day Top $15 Million in Sales?

Wednesday, April 13th, 2011

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Work by Elizabeth O’Neill Verner

A few weeks ago I posted an entry here about our day on April 1, April Fool’s day and I mentioned that one of the professionals at Morris & Whiteside Galleries on Hilton Head Island, SC, had called to remind me it was April Fools day – while in the middle of an art auction in Scottsdale, AZ, which ended up selling over 15 million dollars of art. I was amazed that they could find such time to call me, but later was honored to have them pull my leg in the middle of such an event.

A reader e-mailed asking if they could move that auction here. I replied that they are already here, but have not reached the 15 million mark here – yet. This e-mail prompted me to ask Jack A. Morris, Jr. with the Charleston Art Auction and Scottsdale Art Auction to send us some info about what’s going on with these auctions. And he did.

I just want to add one point to the info Morris sent. Although the Charleston Art Auction takes place in Charleston, SC, this auction is a Southern event and an East of the Mississippi event. If you have some significant artworks that you would like to turn into cash and you’re reading this from North Carolina, Georgia, Virginia, or even Rhode Island – give these folks a call. If you have works by Will Henry Stevens, George Biddle, Alfred Herber Hutty, Elizabeth O’Neill Verner, William Aiken Walker, – just to name a few – give them a call. You might also have works by regional artists still living that could bring you a nice return on your investment – who knows – give them a call.

One final point about Jack A, Morris. When you read that he was once head of the SC Arts Commission, that was the board and it was back in the 1970′s when the commission was more concerned with the arts in SC, not their image among other state arts agencies.

Charleston Art Auction

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Work by Alfred Herber Hutty

A licensed auctioneer for over twenty-five years, Morris has organized sales in Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and South Carolina.  He is the organizing partner of Scottsdale Art Auction that recently sold over fifteen million dollars of American western, wildlife and sporting art on April 2, 2011. His roots, however, are in the South.  He was born in Macon, GA, educated at the University of South Carolina, is a former chairman of the South Carolina Arts Commission and author of the book, Contemporary Art of South Carolina.

For Morris, it is about creating an active secondary market to support collectors, galleries and others who need a trading center for fine art in Charleston similar to Sothebys, Christies and other auction houses scattered throughout the country. His partners, Ben Whiteside, Joe Sylvan and David Leahy have over fifty years combined experience in the auction business.

The plan is to establish Charleston Art Auction in the East to complement western auctions such as Scottsdale Art Auction, Coeur d’Alene Art Auction and Jackson Hole Art Auction. “We want to become an effective clearing house for those who need to sell paintings and sculpture by established artists,” said Sylvan “and most professional retail galleries are not set up to provide that service.”

“It is a building process that takes several years,” added Whiteside “and, as we enter our seventh year, we are confident we have the essentials in place to provide that service.” Conducted on the same weekend that Charleston Fine Art Dealers hold their Charleston Fine Art Annual, the auction draws collectors from throughout the United States and those buyers also help stimulate the local gallery economy.  The event has been sold out every year with standing room only and the auction this year will be held in a new, larger location at the Double Tree Hotel on Church Street on Saturday, November 5, 2011.

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Work by Shannon Smith

The nationally advertised sale already holds auction records for Jonathan Green, Mary Whyte, Pino and Ray Ellis, among others. Charleston galleries have also found the venue a great opportunity to showcase some of their emerging artists and begin to establish sale records on internet sites such as AskArt and ArtNet.

The auction has a website, (www.charlestonartauction.com) and live bidding is available on the internet and through a phone bank of six operators at the sale. The auction is conducted by nationally acclaimed auctioneer, Gerald Bowie and attendees have described the evening event as “exciting and entertaining.” Bidders have learned that they have to be on their toes with lots selling at the rate on one per minute, Bowie doesn’t waste any time. Consignments are now being accepted for the 2011 auction. For more information, visit the Charleston Art Auction offices at 171 King Street, Charleston, SC, or call 843/842-4433 or 843/722-2172.

Scottsdale Art Auction

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Work by Thomas Moran

There was standing room only for an eager crowd of Western art collectors in the Scottsdale Art Auction sales room on Saturday, April 2, 2011, in Scottsdale, AZ. When the hammer fell on the last of 411 items offered, sales totaled over $15,250,000.00.

Top lot for the auction was Thomas Moran’s oil, Indian Summer, Green River, WY (estimated at $3,500,000 to $5,500,000) that was fiercely contested by two telephone bidders before it fetched $4,159,000 to a buyer in the room. Other lots of special interest included Frederic Remington’s 27 inches by 40 inches oils, Pretty Mother of the Night-White Otter is No Longer a Boy, (estimated at $1,500,000 to $ 2,500,000) that brought $1,583,000 and The Wolves Sniffed Along the Trail but Came No Nearer, (estimated at $800,000 to $1,200,000) that reached $1,471,000; Charles M. Russell’s 20 ¼ inches by 30 inches watercolor, Turning the Leader, (estimated at $150,000 to $250,000) hammered down for $460,000.

The morning session was highlighted by G. Harvey’s cover painting,Mountain Mist, oil, 38 inches by 30 inches (estimated at $50,000 to $75,000) that brought $103,500 and Wet Weather Morning, oil, 20 inches by 16 inches (estimated at $15,000 to $20,000) that sold for $27,600.  With 90% of the first session lots selling to an enthusiastic crowd the stage was set for an afternoon featuring works by the Taos Founders, Cowboy Artists of America and legendary paintings and sculpture by Russell, Remington and Moran.

Notable achievements included Bert Phillips’ 24 inches by 20 inches oil,Song of the Yellow Flower, (estimated at $250,000 to $350,000) that sold for $322,000; Ernest Blumenschein’s White Sun, 20 inches by 16 inches, oil (estimated at $250,000 – $350,000) that brought $287,500 and a small, 10 inches by 7 inches oil by William Gollings (estimated at $40,000 – $60,000) that fetched $80,500.

Among contemporary Western masters, Tom Lovell stunned the crowd with Bad Face Strategy, oil, 24 inches by 36 inches (estimated at $125,000 – $175,000) that sold for $402,500 and Lewis and Clark Keep Their Journals, a 20 inches by 36 inches oil (estimated at $100,000 – $150,000) that brought $253,000. Other contemporary paintings of note included Howard Terpning’s Blackfeet Among the Aspens, oil, 46 inches by 26 inches (estimated at $225,000 $325,000) that hammered for $281,750; Robert Griffing’s Into the Unknown, oil, 30 inches by 50 inches (estimated at $60,000 – $90,000) that hit $161,000 and Melvin Warren’sA Cold Day on the North Bosque, oil, 36 inches by 60 inches (estimated at $70,000 – $90,000) that brought $149,500. John Coleman led all sculptors when his Explorer Artist Series, complete set of ten bronzes (estimated at $225,000 to $275,000) reached $299,000 and Frederic Remington’s iconic Bronco Buster, (estimated at $75,000 to $125,000) sold for $138,000.

With 86% of the 411 items sold, seventy-five lots exceeded the high estimate and the total sale exceeded the total low estimates by 18%. Over 400 potential bidders in the room and a telephone bank of 10 operators keep auctioneer Troy Black on his toes for over six hours.  Scottsdale Art Auction has clearly emerged the leader among auction houses for American Western, sporting and wildlife art.

For a complete list of all sales results visit (www.scottsdaleartauction.com). Sale date for 2012 has been set for Saturday, March 31, 2012.

Tracking the Number of Downloads of the PDF of the April 2011 Issue of Carolina Arts

Monday, April 11th, 2011

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Just the other day I was telling someone that the number of downloads for the April issue of Carolina Arts were coming in higher than they were in March, and they were at the time. Then lightening struck or it was a bolt from the Greek god Hubris. Well, there may not be a Greek god named Hubris, but it was my arrogance or excessive pride that burned me in the end.

As it turns out there is Hybris, a Greek goddess or spirit (daimon) of insolence, violence, wantonness, reckless pride, arrogance and outrageous behaviour in general – a real valley girl.

By the time the first ten days had gone by, the end result was that the numbers were down dramatically. By ten days in March there had been 35,867 downloads of that issue, but by ten days in April, there were only 27,002. I was amazed at how quickly the numbers fell off. Had I cursed myself?

On the first day in March, 10,291 people downloaded the March 2011 issue. On the first day in April, 14,450 people downloaded the April 2011 issue. And for the next few days the numbers increased, but then they just fell off. Was this my readers playing an April fools joke on me?

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What can we learn from this?

For one thing, the download numbers for the PDF don’t tell the full story. My nemesis during this whole numbers thing is the category called (other) which out-paces all numbers on our stats list. (other) is identified as representing no particular page on the website, but is balled in as a group – according to our server. As of ten days in March the (other) number was 25,382 and in April it was 39,417. So, it took a big jump while downloads took a fall. Those (other)s are out to get my goat.

Another factor which will be more evident by the end of the month is the “issue factor” itself. Each issue of the paper contains articles which appeal to different blocks of readers, mostly about events taking place in their area. We’re seeing an increase in folks downloading the March issue in April. By ten days in March, 1,538 people downloaded the previous month’s issue. By ten days in April, 2,812 people downloaded the March issue. So, maybe there was something in that March issue that really appealed to readers and still does as the word spreads. The numbers are also up for people looking back at the February and January issues.

Hits on the website are up, close to half the totals for last month, but I take no pride in that – hoping to avoid another bolt from my friend Hybris.

There are still 20 more days to go in April, so who knows what the end results will be. I sure don’t. Maybe someone will read this and realize they forgot to send the link out to their list, maybe it will snow in the Carolinas driving people back inside to their computers and the Internet, or maybe the numbers will be lower in the end.

If you haven’t checked out our April issue of Carolina Arts yet, check it out at (http://www.carolinaarts.com/411/411carolinaarts.html). If you like what you see, send the link out to your friends.

Personally, I think there was a lot of great info in the April 2011 issue from areas of the Carolinas our regular readers haven’t heard about in Eastern North Carolina, not only East of I-95 to the coast, but in areas like the Triangle, including Chapel Hill, Durham and Raleigh, as well as more news from South Carolina’s Pee Dee area.

You can read about some of the exhibits in the Pee Dee area on this blog in our entries, A March Through SC’s Pee Dee Area – Viewing Exhibits Here, There, and Everywhere – Part One & Part Two, found to the right under Recent Posts. And then you can read what’s going on there in April in the April issue of Carolina Arts.

Columbia, SC’s Spring Arts Festival – Artista Vista – Celebrates 20 Years – Apr. 28-30, 2011

Saturday, April 9th, 2011

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Artista Vista, the Columbia, SC’s, Congaree Vista’s annual gallery crawl, will once again usher in spring in the Midlands from Thursday, Apr. 28 through Saturday, Apr. 30, 2011. The event features special exhibits at each of the participating galleries from 5-9pm on Thursday night and from 11am-5pm on Friday and Saturday.

In celebration of Artista Vista’s 20th anniversary this year, well-known arts writer and critic Jeffrey Day will curate a variety of installation art exhibits, original poetry readings, music performances and more in the streets of the Congaree Vista Thursday evening.

Artista Vista’s founding grew out of the rise of installation art in the 1990s, so we wanted to embrace art outside the gallery to honor the 20th anniversary while recognizing that many of Artista Vista’s founding galleries are still thriving twenty years later,” said Day.

The three-day event will encompass all forms of art from visual to performing arts.

Thursday, Apr. 28, (5-9pm): Installation pieces by an assortment of artists will be on display at 927 to 929 Gervais Street and the fire-training tower on Park Street.

Fiber artist, Susan Lenz will unveil her public art project, Looking for a Mate. Lenz collected mate-less socks from the public during Vista Lights, last Fall, and used them to create an art quilt.

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Barry Wheeler and Heather Bauer will present a photography piece at Lewis + Clark, which will share the history of the Vista through photos. Dr. Sketchy’s anti-art group will perform at Ellen Taylor Interiors and Design’s storefront window from 7:15-8:30pm.

Friday, Apr. 29 (11am-7pm): Installations will be on display at 927-929 Gervais Street.

Saturday, Apr. 30 (11am-7pm): Installations will be on display at 927-929 Gervais Street.

There will be a special performance by the USC percussion ensemble at 1pm at City Art Gallery.

From noon to 1:30pm, One-Eared Cow Glass artists will be collaborating with artists from the About Face art group at One-Eared Cow (1001 Huger Street).

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USC’s art department painting studios (located in the Vista at the corner of Devine Street and Gadsden Street) will have an open house and the department’s new wood-fired kiln will be up and running from 11am to 4pm. Participants include: Kara Gunter, Susan Lenz, Amanda Ladymon, George Fenter, Billy Guess, Marius Valdes, Eileen Blyth, Barry Wheeler, and Heather Bauer.

As a special part of its 20th anniversary, Artista Vista is offering a social media contest at this year’s event with the chance to win a limited-edition, silk screened, signed 2011 Artista Vista poster and a $50 gift certificate to Motor Supply Company Bistro. All you have to do is search “Artista Vista” as the venue on Foursquare and check in as you come to each gallery during the event. Whoever becomes the mayor of Artista Vista by checking in at the most galleries the most often over the course of the three-day event wins the poster and gift certificate.

Artista Vista 2011 participating galleries include: Carol Saunders Gallery, 300 Senate, Vista Studios/Gallery 80808, The Gallery at Nonnah’s, Paul D. Sloan Interiors, if ART Gallery, Lewis + Clark, Gallery at DuPre, SC State Museum, SC Contemporary Dance Company, City Art Gallery, and One Eared Cow Glass.

Free parking will be available in the Vista’s parking decks located on Lincoln Street near Lady, Park Street near Pendleton, and Lady Street near Wayne Street. Many galleries will offer complimentary hors d’oeuvres and wine.

To learn more about the Congaree Vista, Columbia’s arts and entertainment district, visit (www.vistacolumbia.com) or follow the Vista on Twitter: (@vistaguild).

The Annual Spring Kiln Opening at Whynot Pottery in Seagrove, NC, Takes Place – Apr. 16 and 17, 2011

Wednesday, April 6th, 2011

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The annual Spring Kiln Opening at Whynot Pottery in Seagrove, NC, will take place on April 16, 10am-5pm and April 17, from 10am-4pm. I know there will be other kiln openings in Seagrove during this time and we’ll get to that, but these folks sent us info and they are good supporters of Carolina Arts. We don’t have any gold stars to put in their notebook so this is the best we can do to ask you to support them by going and buying everything they have. I might even show up to encourage folks along – I’ll be the one dancin’ a jig for gas money.

Joining Meredith and Mark Heywood at Whynot Pottery this year will be:

Laurie Abela from Abela Soaps. “I’m a soap maker, massage therapist & cardiac nurse. I grow food, flowers & herbs, some of which I use in my soaps.” Check her out at (http://abelabodycare.blogspot.com/).

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Anne Raven Jorgensen from Raven Pottery. “My pots are all either thrown on the wheel and then altered or made from slabs of clay. I spend a lot of time decorating my pieces with wax-resist in intricate geometric designs. I also do a lot of decorating with slips in floral designs.” Check her works out at (http://www.ravenpottery.com/index.htm).

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Laura Weant Johnson from Snow Hill Tileworks. Laura is well know for her fabulous tiles and jewelry. See her works at (http://snowhilltileworks.blogspot.com/).

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Meredith and Mark are always willing to share opportunities with other artists and at the same time are willing to share the good talents of good friends with their visitors. That’s how they roll.

Whynot Pottery is located at 1013 Fork Creek Mill Road in Seagrove. You can find it if I could – just don’t drive too fast around those curves. If your GPS is broken or you can’t follow the map you picked up at the NC Pottery Center (don’t forget to see the Teapots exhibit) in downtown Seagrove – call 336/873-9276 – they’ll guide you in. But long before the dates roll up on you, check out their website, blog and Facebook page at these links: (www.whynotpottery.com), (http://whynotpotteryblog.blogspot.com/) or (http://www.facebook.com/whynotpotterywhynotnc). Get a good feel for what you’ll be taking home and who you can give that special gift to. Every mom could use a little pot on their special day – and that day is right around the corner. Get your head out of the clouds – I meant teapot.

To learn more about other kiln openings taking place in Seagrove at these same dates see our article on Page 36 of our April 2011 issue of Carolina Arts at (www.carolinaarts.com) or visit (www.DiscoverSeagrove.com).

You see, I wasn’t going to leave anyone out.

The Day of April Fools and the Broad Street Art Walk in Charleston, SC

Tuesday, April 5th, 2011

April 1st for us started on March 31, 2011, at about 10:15pm when we loaded up the April 2011 issue of Carolina Arts on our website at (www.carolinaarts.com) – all 71 pages of it. By midnight I had sent out an e-mail message to our growing list, posted notices on both our blogs,Carolina Arts Unleashed and Carolina Arts News, as well as making posts on our Facebook pages. At that point our job was done for another month and it was off to the races for May’s issue.

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Well, we actually got to go to bed for a few hours. The morning was spent dealing with all the return e-mails, with comments, a few problems, and some congratulations. The day soon turned to the normal operating procedures – more e-mail, processing press releases and photos, and answering a few people’s questions who are already thinking about the May issue.

Unlike some publications that throw a party every time they produce an issue – we go back to work.

In the old days, I would be heading for bed by 4pm to get up about 10 or 11pm to head out on one of my delivery routes – driving all night from city to town to city, dropping off papers at the door fronts of galleries, museums, art centers and tourism welcome centers. By the afternoon I would be back at home – reload the car, pack my breakfast and lunch, head back to bed to start the cycle all over again for four days. But, these days, once the paper is finished and launched it’s just another day at the computer. I miss my trips, but I’m finding other ways to get my road miles in – like actually going to galleries, museums and art centers – while they are open and writing blog entries about what I saw there.

And one of the benefits of this change is that Linda and I were going to be able to go to our first First Friday art walk on Broad Street in downtown Charleston, SC. In the past, once every blue moon a first Friday might fall on the 6th or 7th of the month, but depending on when we got the printed paper – I could still be on the road, so we were not getting to many art walks. Which was a shame as we, through Charleston Arts, our first version of our arts newspaper helped start the thing off in Charleston.

Just before we were about to leave the house to head for Charleston I got a call from our biggest supporter, Morris Whiteside Galleries on Hilton Head Island, SC, which was strange as we knew they were in Scottsdale, AZ, for their annual art auction in that city. I can’t go into the call’s details, but it was about a BIG problem with the April issue and they weren’t too happy. I could see my biggest supporter slipping away, but within a few sentences I stopped my caller and asked if he wasn’t making a fool of me and he couldn’t hold it back. Unfortunately for him and fortunately for me I had read an e-mail earlier in the day which usually goes to Linda from one of the other partners and everything was fine. It also helped that they have tried these crank calls a few times before and after all it was April 1st – the foolin’ didn’t last too long.

He had me for a few seconds, but I’m a natural born skeptic and as my old priest said a long time ago – I was named well – after the apostle known as “Doubting Thomas”. He always said I asked too many questions.

The good news today as I’m writing this is that the Scottsdale auction did over $15 million in sales. That’s no joke. But, I have to say, it’s nice that everyone in the art world is not always so serious. People can be professional and serious and have fun too.

But getting back to Apr. 1st, after my heart rate returned to normal, we got in the car and headed toward Charleston, which is usually a little more than an hour’s ride from the headquarters of Carolina Arts on the shores of Lake Moultrie.

I was giving us an hour and a half for good measure and once we hit I-26 around North Charleston we soon realized we were going to be late. It was the Cooper River Bridge Run weekend – cars were stacked up flowing into downtown Charleston. We were trapped in the slow moving parking lot until we got to a spot where I could turn off the main roads – East Bay, Meeting, and King Streets (in this case King Street). But having lived in Charleston for a third of our lives in this area we soon got to the Broad Street area – 30-40 minutes before most other cars in those lines would weaving through the back streets. And, we found a good parking space to boot.

The first place I wanted to stop at was Smith Killian Fine Art, which is not on Broad Street and not part of the Broad Street art walk, but I knew they were having an opening for the exhibit, Intersections: Figurative Works by Shannon Smith, featuring a solo exhibition by gallery artist Shannon Smith, on view through Apr. 30, 2011. She is one of my favorite artists. I love the way she paints light.

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Work by Shannon Smith from the exhibit.

But on the way, I noticed that the door was still open over at Nina Liu and Friends, a few doors down State Street from Smith Killian, so we stuck our heads in the door and as usual Nina Liu was showing off her new exhibit,Icons for Meditation, featuring works by papermaker Arthur McDonald, which wouldn’t officially open until Sunday, and would be on view through Apr. 30, 2011.

You see in Charleston, traditionally – things are done differently than anywhere else. Galleries are so condensed throughout the downtown area and parking is spread out throughout the downtown area that even if one area is having an art walk – all galleries in town may have their doors open and even when they are not open – people will knock on your door or ring your doorbell until you do open. If you’re downtown and you find a good parking space – you want to see all that you can.

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Work by Arthur McDonald

In Nina Liu’s case – her gallery is officially open until 5pm on a Friday and at 6pm – she still wasn’t able to close her door as people just kept coming and going. Just when you think the last person was going – another couple or group would stick their head in the door – “Are you open?” As a veteran of 25 years of managing an art gallery in Charleston, Liu knew she had no choice and was even gracious enough to be running up and down her stairs to bring a glass of wine to unexpected visitors. This was an opportunity for people who might not come back to Charleston for a Sunday reception to see Arthur McDonald’s show and Liu has a reputation of going all out for her artists.

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Work by Arthur McDonald

In fact, Liu actually retired two years ago and has been trying to sell her gallery/home in this historic district of Charleston, but in this housing market downturn has had no luck. Frankly, we don’t want her to leave, but if you would like to live in historic Charleston or would like to have a ready-made art gallery you could live in – give her a call at 843/722-2724. She’s had another home waiting for her for two years South of the Border. Perhaps you can help her leave, but like this evening – she just doesn’t seem to be able to close the door on this chapter of her life.

Soon we head back to the plan – Smith Killian Fine Art, the home to the most talented family in Charleston – Betty Anglin Smith, and her grown triplets – Jennifer Smith Rogers, Tripp Smith, and Shannon Smith. Tonight the spotlight was on Shannon. This exhibit was the first time an entire collection of oil paintings exploring the figure was being presented by this artist. And, with most of her works – it’s the glow of the lighting she paints which draws people to what might be considered ordinary scenes and subjects.

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Before our stay at the gallery is finished I made the mistake which has probably been made a thousand times in addressing Jennifer as if she was Shannon. After all they are two of triplets, but it’s no big deal to them at this point in their lives. They’re both very attractive, talented and poised. Their mother taught them well. Tripp Smith – he’s easy to spot – he has a beard.

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This is Jennifer Smith Rogers, not Shannon – notice her name tags – I didn’t.

It’s been a while since we’ve had the opportunity to socialize in Charleston’s gallery community so I was surprised to see a very abstract painting by Betty Anglin Smith. It seems mom still has a few tricks left to show us and if you’ve followed my writings you know how much I like abstract art. Betty does what might be called abstracted realism paintings – works with loose strokes, but plain enough to see what the work is, (Shannon’s works in this exhibit were like this too – abstracted realism) but in this case she had let loose and gone totally abstract.

Both Linda and I really liked this work, Currents III. My photo doesn’t do it justice. If you like abstracts, go see this fast before Linda and I find a way to put a second mortgage on the house.

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Currents III by Betty Anglin Smith

I’m not trying to take any of the spotlight away from Shannon’s show – her works are fantastic and they’ll be moving out the door pretty fast too, but I just get excited when I see well done abstracts. Most people can’t see the beauty of abstracts – they want them to mean something or represent something – like the public expects from all art. They just can’t see and enjoy the combination of colors and strokes placed on a canvas. They’re always looking for something in what you might call missing the forest to see a tree. So, I admire an artist who ventures into the world of abstracts, knowing that the potential for sales is much lower and when they are done well – I can’t keep my eyes off them. I call it the curse of William Halsey, but I thank William every time I see a good abstract – his works opened my mind.

I might be getting off track here – what else is new, but I think this is a good time to say – Eva’s back! I’m referring to Eva Carter, another great abstract painter who closed her gallery in Charleston a few years ago to settle into painting at her Wadmalaw Island home and studio. I don’t blame her one bit, but she recently opened a small studio at 6 Gillon Street, just around the corner from where her gallery was on East Bay street – now the home of Mickey Williams Studio-Gallery. I haven’t been able to catch her there yet, but I will. Yes I will.

OK – Broad Street Art Walk. Broad Street, once the home to Charleston’s lawyer community has become the home of a dozen or so art galleries. The lawyers, who make too much money in my opinion, but thank your lucky stars if you know a good one when you need one, have grown out of most of the smaller Broad Street spaces and have moved to towering palaces throughout Charleston. These Broad Street galleries, most members of the French Quarter Gallery Association (started 18 years ago), decided that four art walks a year were not enough so they started presenting art walks every first Friday of the month, so that during some months the French Quarter Gallery Association and Broad Street Gallery Row art walks are happening at the same time and during the month of November, it’s the Gallery Row and the Charleston Fine Art Dealer’s Association sharing a first Friday art walk. It’s quite a gallery community that can host three gallery groups – all in a four square block area.

I see another side track ahead. I almost forgot to mention this, but when I was at Nina Liu and Friends, Liu handed me an old copy of Charleston Arts, Vol. 5, No. 11, our Mar. 1993 issue. I know the copy well. The headline is – “French Quarter Gallery Association Forms”. The article goes on to talk about how the group came together and that their first art walk would take place on May 14 and 15, 1993 (not a first Friday). I say I know it well like I know the history of the FQ. You see we helped the group get started, I designed it’s first logo, I used to layout their invitations and got them printed and distributed them to the galleries and around Charleston. We even ran free ads to promote the art walks for years. So some of you might be a little confused when I said in the previous paragraph that the FQ was only 18 years old.

You see, some folks decided to celebrate the FQ’s 2Oth anniversary a few years back. I didn’t make a big fuss about it then and I won’t now, but I wouldn’t take any part in it. The economy was crashing and they felt they needed a little boost to celebrate – hoping to bring people into the galleries. I wonder if they’ll do it again in 2013 or will they shoot for a 25th anniversary? I’ve told you before – running a gallery and keeping the doors open – is a tough business. And most art communities don’t have to deal with someone who has been around as long as I have and has an archive of accurate records of what took place – and when it took place. Most people writing about the arts today weren’t even here five or ten years ago. Most were still watching the Smurfs 20 years ago. That’s right, I’m old.

Nina Liu wants me to write a book about Carleston’s art community – more like a history of what was going on during the years we’ve been publishing an arts newspaper here. It would make for some interesting reading. A few chapters would be revealing, to say the least, and I might do it – when I retire.  But, until them – a few of you still have time to leave town before the truth is told. If you think I don’t pull any of my punches now – just wait. In Charleston, the truth is stranger than fiction.

Back on the main track. A few months back when we were making the transition from a printed newspaper to an electronic paper I was talking with Jerry Spencer of Spencer Art Galleries on Broad Street. He mentioned that it had been some time since he had seen me or Linda in their gallery, which was true – for good reasons as I have explained, so we definitely wanted to change that. He and his wife Catherine have two gallery spaces, next to each other on Broad – actually South of Broad – it’s a big difference being South of Broad, just read Pat Conroy’s book. They are both gallery owner/artists – which is a trick.

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Outside one of their galleries was a musician playing a guitar. Music has become one of the differences between Gallery Row art walks and FQ art walks. It’s a nice way to stop people walking the sidewalks and get them to wonder what’s going on inside the galleries – if they didn’t know about the event ahead of time. In a tourist town – that happens a lot. People can be out just enjoying walking around the city – the next thing they know – they’re in a discussion about art and maybe having a glass of wine. But not at Spencer Art Gallery. They have made the decision to return the arts walks to – all about art – not tasting wine from gallery to gallery. And, I agree on that. The art walks were becoming an event where the art galleries were throwing a party for Charleston and College of Charleston students. It was becoming less about art and more about a party. That’s changing.

As usual, when viewing lots of art all in a short span of time, I’m drawn to what is different and unusual. It might be a disservice to all the good art I see along the way, but it’s just the way I am and at Spencer Art Gallery I found two artists who’s works stood out. It’s not that they were better than others. All art is subjective to the beholder, but some items catch your attention more than others for one reason or another. The first was a display of fine art prints by Pat Van de Graff. I just don’t see fine art prints much in galleries. You see lots of paintings, crafts, and sculptures, but not that many prints. At least I don’t see them that often. I’m not talking about reproduction prints of original paintings, I’m talking about images made by fine art printing processes. Van de Graff was showing some very nice works and some other folks were in agreement with me as some were being sold – right in front of me.

The other artist who caught my eye was Uriv Petrov, a Russian immigrant who now lives in Myrtle Beach, SC. I’d swear I’ve seen his work before, but I can’t put my finger on it. It will come to me next week in the middle of doing something else.

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My photos again don’t do justice, but the works are very colorful and the imagery and patterns of the works just seem to jump off the canvas into your eyes. They demand attention and the style and technique is different – something hard to pull off in a region full of talented, creative artists. Perhaps his edge is coming from a different environment – a different school of thought when it comes to art. But, this artist was untrained – maybe that was the key.

Anyway, it was a long eventful day, capping off a very long work week for us and we were headed to Myrtle Beach, early the next day, so we headed back to Bonneau.

If Linda and I could break away from our busy schedules to go see some art – so can you. You don’t have to wait for an art walk.

The End of the Month Wrap-Up on the March 2011 Issue of Carolina Arts

Friday, April 1st, 2011

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Well, it goes without saying that Carolina Arts had a good month in March – as far as viewers go. We had 45,298 downloads of the PDF of the entire paper. Thank you to all who helped spread the paper around.

Of course the big unknown is the (other) category on our statistics final report for March. If you haven’t read this before, we have a category of visitors to our website at (www.carolinaarts.com) that is identified as (other). It was explained to us by our server that this group represents a variety of pages that were called up from different points – not directly from our web page, but can not be broken down as individual page counts. “What?” My same thought. Anyway, it amounted to 94,274 in March. What it comes down to is this – there could be another 45,000 visitors to the March issue in that group – or not. It could be 90,000 or not. It could be 2, but we don’t know for sure and neither does our server and getting info out of Google seems to be a life long wish. Google now owns the stat counter we use.

That’s why we are sticking with the 45,298 number. Which is great. Having just launched the April 2011 issue of Carolina Arts (www.carolinaarts.com) it makes me wonder – will we double the downloads again this month? Is that possible?

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Of course it should also be noted that many people access the paper from their browsers and never download the PDF. So we think we can be safe in saying the many more than the download number are seeing the paper.

It’s like in the old days when we printed the paper back in 2010 – three months ago -someone would pick up a copy of the paper somewhere and take it home and look it over and put it down on a table. Someone else in the house might see it and pick it up and read a few articles. Eventually someone may take it over to a neighbor to show them something and they ask if they can bring it back later after showing their spouse something in the paper. We have four viewers but even if someone where the original person picked it up saw them do it – they only saw one person connected to picking up the paper. Of course in the same reasoning, that person could have picked it up because it was raining and held it over their head until they reached the next place and dumped it in the trash – never looking inside and to top it off – no one saw them pick it up. It works both ways. Circulation, viewership – whatever you call it is a guessing game. No one can be sure of anything.

The only number that counts to advertisers is the one where someone says they saw their ad or comes in because they read an article about their show. Or better yet, buys something – a work they saw in Carolina Arts.

Other numbers that have some meaning include: the Feb. 2011 issue was downloaded 2,312 times and the Jan. issue was downloaded 1,106 times – which is down from last month. But it is still nice to know that over a thousand people visited the Jan. issue to take a look. But, again the funny thing there is on March 31st – 83 people downloaded the Jan. issue while only 12 downloaded the Mar. issue. That’s twice that at the very end of the month – there was an increased interest in the Jan. issue over the current issue.

Our visitor sessions were up from an average of 60,000 to 68,513 – which is good, but really tells us that the PDF link is being spread around by others. But, these others are the good others – our friends – unlike those (other)s who hide information from us.

Hits on the website for the month of March were 723,940. I can remember a few years back when I was excited about reaching a million in one year. With April’s issue being 71 pages that number should jump drastically.

That’s the facts, Jack!