Archive for May, 2011

Truth Be Told About Spoleto Festival USA – Straight from the Horse’s Mouth

Tuesday, May 31st, 2011

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I found these two quotes from Nigel Redden in an interview from the Reuters News Service about funding cuts to the arts on the internet. They are the first quotes I’ve seen with some truth told about the festival mixed in with a little wishful thinking.

The first quote is the wishful thinking on the financial impact of the festival: “Those cuts have come despite the fact that the Spoleto Festival brings between $55 million and $70 million to South Carolina each year,” Redden said.

$55 to $70 million – that’s quite a spread there. But, if this was true, the hotels, restaurants, and airlines should put up most of the $7.5 million budget for the festival – they’re the ones that would benefit the most. But those numbers come from economic formulas – not hard numbers. It’s economic guessing.

The second quote was the truth part: “The festival draws 25,000 to 35,000 people to the coastal city, and they buy 73,000 performance tickets and spend money on hotels, food, merchandise and tourist attractions,” he said.

Finally, we get the truth about how many people the festival attracts each year. They used to repeat this phrase until every reporter had it ingrained in their vocabulary when talking about Spoleto. “The Spoleto Festival attracts 100,000 people each year to Charleston and generates $70 million in economic impact”.

One year I called the box office after the festival was over and asked how many tickets they sold. The answer was around 70,000. Very interesting.

Unless 30,000 people were getting free admission, that was a long way from 100,000. There are a lot of folks who get given free tickets, but you have to be someone of fame, power, or at least have influence over funding. I knew there were very few people who come to Charleston to just attend one event. I also knew that a lot of locals go to Spoleto events. So, it wasn’t hard to figure that the real number was closer to 25,000 people coming to Charleston for the festival and it could even be less than that. It could be as little as 10,000 people coming from out of town to attend Spoleto events and if you start thinking about how many people come from towns and cities not too far from Charleston, but are in-State residents – the number could even get smaller.

There is a good reason Spoleto starts its festival every year during the Memorial Day Weekend. Charleston will be full of people that weekend and it makes it look like they’re all here for Spoleto, but if you ask people on the streets if they are here for Spoleto, 9 out of 10 won’t be and 7 of those won’t even know what Spoleto is. The festival has contracted the College of Charleston to do surveys, but what that means is positioning students in front of Spoleto venues before performances and asking folks going in the doors if they’re here for Spoleto – it’s very scientific.

Don’t get me wrong, we’re lucky to have the Spoleto Festival, but it has been over-sold for years as far as its impact on the economy and the city of Charleston. And, 10,000 well-off folks spending money in Charleston is nothing to throw away. But the Southeastern Wildlife Exposition, a visual art event, says they attract the same number of people, if not more, and have the same economic impact, if not more – and it’s an extended weekend compared to the three weeks of Spoleto. Of course its audience might be considered a little less refined. But they spend big bucks all the same.

Frankly, all events like this embellish the numbers on attendance and economic impact – they have to in order to attract donations and sponsorships. It’s the American way. We can’t be happy with reality – we have to be BIGGER than life.

It was refreshing to see the truth said for once – even if it was in an interview not seen in any local or regional papers. They’re all still repeating the original phrase of 100,000 visitors/$70 million impact.

Of course Spoleto could improve those numbers – if they actually put a visual art component back into the festival. But because they have no place they can present such visual arts and charge admission – they’re not interested. But it would attract more donations, more press coverage, and more people interested in visual art events.

Of course without the Spoleto Festival USA there would be no Piccolo Spoleto Festival – the “little” festival with its overkill of 700 plus events. And, without Piccolo there would be no cover for the City of Charleston to inject more funding into local performing art groups – who are paid to participate – here, there, and everywhere.

Talk about affirmative action and art welfare – Piccolo Spoleto is the poster child for propping up art groups who operate in the red constantly. And after June 11 – they will disappear until September when and if they can afford to present a “season” once more. I think of them as the part-time arts community, but with benefits. Except for the underpaid musicians of the Charleston Symphony who have to be the cheapest professionals on the planet – I’m not sure you should be able to call yourself a professional when your income is way below the poverty level.

So what’s my point in all this? It’s very simple.

The visual art community in Charleston is the real economic engine in this area and they get very little support or respect from the local, state, and national government sectors. They’re offering the arts all year long – in most cases for free. There is no “season” for the visual arts community. Sure, some times of the year are busier than others, but the show goes on no matter what.

So, maybe it’s time to concentrate on giving the visual art community some support, which will deliver a bigger economic payoff for the community, instead of pouring money down a black hole in trying to support arts groups who will always be a drain on the resources of the community.

But, then again, when I think that we have the same leadership in the arts community that we’ve had for the last 20-30 years – I know nothing is going to change.

Piccolo Spoleto Outdoor Art Exhibit Begins This Friday in Marion Square in Charleston, SC – May 27, 2011

Tuesday, May 24th, 2011

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That’s right – it all begins again Friday – the Iron Man/Iron Woman competition of the arts. Seventeen days of whatever Mother Nature can dish out; the daily set up and take down; a marathon of questions from visitors; the overheard comments meant to be heard about your art; and the endless wait for some thief to do their thing during the night – so the show can get some publicity in the daily paper.

Why? Yes, indeed, why would people put themselves through such a test of will? Simply said – they are visual artists – they can’t help themselves. Plus – if things go right – you can make a lot of money in seventeen days. But it won’t happen to everyone and there is always the chance that it won’t happen for anyone. But they keep lining up every year to do it again – some for the first time, some for their 20th time, and for a few – they can’t remember when they didn’t do this show. So, what does that tell you? There must be something about doing this show.

Oh, I’ve heard about the wild parties that go on, the mistaken sales of works that were had for 1/2 off, just because an artist got confused in marking their works. One year it was said that an artist did really well in sales, but lost all their profits in a game of Hearts. Another year a female artist refused to miss the show and a doctor from Atlanta passing by their tent ended up delivering twins on the spot. He also purchased a fairly large painting. I’ve even heard that Charleston’s SWAT team does it’s nighttime training in Marion Square during the run of the show.

I think these stories are just a bunch of lies, rumors and urban myths – but I’ve heard some things that I know are true, but I’m sworn to secrecy. It’s one of those things that you have to experience for yourself before you’ll believe it.

I’ve got the “official” press release here, but I wanted you to get a look see – behind the curtain and tell you to read between the lines. There’s much more going on here than the “official” word. They want you to think that just because it’s free you can afford to pass this show up out of the hundreds of events being offered during the two festivals. But, I ask, “Can you?” (wink, wink)

Don’t say I didn’t give you a heads up.

Piccolo Spoleto Outdoor Art Exhibit Begins This Friday in Marion Square in Charleston, SC – May 27, 2011

The 2011 Piccolo Spoleto Outdoor Art Exhibit will take place once again in Marion Square Park in historic downtown Charleston, SC, from May 27 through June 11, 2011, 10am-6pm.

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The event is an official program of The City of Charleston’s Office of Cultural Affairs, under the direction of Ellen Dressler Moryl. The show is coordinated by Billie Sumner and Victoria Platt Ellis. Over 100 of South Carolina’s best visual artists will set up tents filled with art in a variety of media in the park which can be found between King and Meeting Streets at the intersection of Calhoun Street.

This annual outdoor art exhibition is one of the most popular free events taking place during Piccolo Spoleto Festival and Spoleto Festival USA, visited by thousands of art lovers and art collectors. The exhibit offers something for everyone’s artistic flavor, along with the opportunity to meet and talk with the artists.

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The event begins at 10am on the morning of May 27, 2011, but the artists will be in anticipation of the 4:30pm Awards Presentation, where Charleston’s Mayor Joe Riley and Ellen Dressler Moryl will announce the winners selected by this year’s juror, Juan Logan of Chapel Hill, NC.

Daily art demonstrations will take place at 11am and 2:30pm, May 29 – June 10, with the exception of the first demo which starts at 1pm on May 29.

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The schedule includes:
Sunday, May 29 at 1pm – Steven Jordan (Portrait)
Monday, May 30 at 11am – Bette Lu Bentley-Layne (Acrylic) and at 2:30pm – Alice Stewart Grimsley (Watercolor)
Tuesday, May 31 at 11am – Scott Henderson (Photography) and at 2:30pm – Kent Ambler (Woodcut Carving)
Wednesday, June 1 at 11am – Alvin B. Glen (Mixed Media) and at 2:30pm – Rick Reinert (Oil)
Thursday, June 2 at 11am – Deborah Meyer (Oil) and at 2:30pm – Detta Zimmerman (Acrylic)
Friday, June 3 at 11am – Joyce Hall (Oil) and at 2:30pm – Russell Buskirk (Pastel)
Saturday, June 4 at 11am – Laurie Meyer (Oil) and at 2:30pm – J. Carol Gardner (Mixed Media)
Sunday, June 5 at 11am – Madeline Dukes (Oil Sticks) and at 2:30pm – Kevin LePrince (Oil)
Monday, June 6 at 11am – Sherry Browne (Paper Cuts) and at 2:30pm – Michael Nocher (Photography)
Tuesday, June 7 at 11am – Steve Jacobs (Watercolor Basics with Paper Stretching) and at 2:30pm – Joanna Jackson (Oil)
Wednesday, June 8 at 11am – Nancy Davidson (Pastel) and at 2:30pm – Carl Crawford (Collage Illusions)
Thursday, June 9 at 11am – Hilarie Lambert (Oil) and at 2:30pm – Lynne Hardwick (Mixed Media)
Friday, June 10 at 11am – Amelia Whaley (Watercolor).

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Work by Amelia “Mimi” Whaley

This year, social media will have a major impact on the Outdoor Art Exhibit. For years Amelia (Mimi) Whaley has been blogging daily from the park on her personal blog (http://www.mimispaintingaday.blogspot.com/) starting after the first day of the festival. This year she is setting up a Piccolo Spoleto Outdoor Art Exhibit group blog (http://psoaeblog.blogspot.com/) where several people will be adding their observations from the park. You can even log onto the Outdoor Art Exhibit’s Facebook page at this link (http://www.facebook.com/pages/Piccolo-Spoleto-Outdoor-Art-Exhibit-2011/154715674583540).

For further information contact the Office of Cultural Affairs at 843/724-7305 or visit (http://www.charlestonarts.sc/) or (www.piccolospoleto.com).

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Piccolo Spoleto Outdoor Art Exhibitors by Space # &    Name:

1 – Danny O’Driscoll
2 – Steve Jacobs
3 – Sandra Phillips
4 – Dianne Munkittrick
5 – Deborah Meyer
6 – Thomas Greaves
7 – Stephanie Shuler Hamlet
8 – Ron Anton Rocz
9 – J.Carol Gardner
10 – Peggy Howe
11 – Sarah Kargol
12 – Karen Hewitt Hagan
13 – Sabine Avcalade
14 – Nancy W. Rushing
15 – Colleen Critcher
16 – Amelia Rose Smith
17 – Elizabeth R. Middour
18 – Alana M. Knuff
19 – Michael Nocher
20 – Carl Crawford
21 – Pat Forsberg
22 – Joyce Hall
23 – Marie Scott
24 – Kathy Clark

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Work by Andrea “Dre” Neff

25 – Andrea “Dre” Neff
26 – Jim Victor
27 – Bob Graham
28 – Guy Stevens
29 – Kaye Penegar
30 – Honor Marks
31 – Steven Jordan
32 – Judith Chamberlin
33 – Elaine Berlin
34 – Susan H. Colwell
35 – Helen Duckworth
36 – Alice Stewart Grimsley
37 – Lynne N. Hardwick
38 – Jane Jackson
39 – Melinda Lewin
40 – Kellie Jacobs
41 – Christine Crosby
42 – Madison Latimer
43 – Suzanne Sasser
44 – Tate Nation
45 – Daryl Knox
46 – Vicki Gates
47 – Nancy Davidson
48 – Anita Blewer
49 – Sandra Baggette
50 – Alicia Leeke

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Work by Michel McNinch

51 – Michel McNinch

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Work by Steve Neff

52 – Steve Neff
53 – Dwain Ray
54 – Mary Segers
55 – Carole Carberry
56 – Colleen Wiessmann
57 – Scott Henderson
58 – Floyd Gordon
59 – Joanne Evans
60 – Kathy Crowther

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Work by Tami Cardnella

61 – Tami Cardnella
62 – Robin Brizard
63 – Kent Ambler
64 – Chris Rutigliano
65 – Judy Clark
66 – Craig Williams
67 – Jan Sasser
68 – Diane Odachowski
69 – John Michiels
70 – Alvin B. Glen
71 – Bette Lu Bentley-Layne
72 – Richard A. Johnson
73 – Sharon Fowler
74 – William Davies
75 – Jan Genosi
76 – Julie Lawrence
77 – Alison Weick
78 – Bonnie M. Stabler
79 – Fred Jamar
80 – Sherry Browne
81 – Joanna Jackson
82 – Amelia Whaley
83 – Katherine Dutremble
84 – Sheryl Stalnaker
85 – Cat Wondergem
86 – Vicki Robinson
87 – Kevin LePrince
88 – Rana Jordahl
89 – KC Collins
90 – Jennifer Black & Madeline Dukes
91 – J. Michael Kennedy
92 – Caryn Smith
93 – Danita Cole
94 – Rick Reinert
95 – Tammy Papa
96 – Jack Thames, Sr.
97 – Russell Buskirk
98 – Diane Dean
99 – Tiffany Maser
100 – Betty Condon
101 – Laurie Meyer
102 – Scott Penegar
103 – Detta Cutting Zimmerman
104 – Hilarie Lambert
105 – Nance Lee Sneddon
and of course Vicki Ellis will have a tent which is the show’s headquarters near the corner of Meeting and Calhoun Streets and another tent in the same location will feature works by Monnie Johnson, the husband of Vicki’s assistant, Lesley Johnson.

Upstate Heritage Quilt Trail in South Carolina Reaches 44 Stops

Thursday, May 19th, 2011

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For the last year and a half, I’ve been bringing you news about South Carolina’s only component of the National Quilt Trail – the Upstate Heritage Quilt Trail, which started out as the Oconee Heritage Quilt Trail, but had grown to cover a much larger area of the Upsptate – now with 44 individual stops.

I’ve had a couple of articles waiting in the wings for photos of the quilt blocks or squares, but I recently checked the group’s website and found that everything I was waiting to tell you can be found there.

The Upstate Heritage Quilt Trail’s new website, found at (www.upstateheritagequilttrail.com) was made possible in part by a grant from the Mountain Lakes R810guiltfest1egion of the South Carolina National Heritage Corridor.

 

On the site you can read about the groups history in South Carolina and about the origins of the National Quilt Trail. There is also images of all 44 quilts and descriptions of the quilt patterns and their history. There is also an interactive Google map showing all the locations. You can even print out maps of locations from the website, so you can hit the road and do a scavenger hunt for the quilt blocks.

The locations are now spread throughout Anderson, Oconee, and Pickens counties – from the SC Welcome Center on I-85 in Fair Play, where travelers enter into SC from Georgia – to new locations in Central, Pendleton, Salem, Long Creek, Liberty, and Tamassee. Everyone is jumping on the quilt trail bandwagon – in at least one corner of the Upstate.

One thing I can’t figure out is what’s up with the rest of SC? There are a lot of quilt organizations and groups all over South Carolina, but I haven’t heard a peep out of anyone else about starting a quilt trail in their area of the state.

It’s International Museum Day? And a Look Over the Hump Toward the Weekend

Wednesday, May 18th, 2011

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I’ve been seeing some chatter on Facebook about International Museum Day – a day where apparently museums around the world are celebrating with reduced or free admission, but not many in the Carolinas. From what I’ve seen, about a handful of NC museums are offering free or reduced admission, but I haven’t seen any notices by museums in SC about this day.

I don’t blame them – it’s not much of a celebration when you’re giving up some of your revenue – even if it’s just for a day. Times are hard in the Carolinas as far as arts funding goes – especially in SC. Our Governor would like to cut all funding from the state budget for our museums. Shame on her.

We at Carolina Arts support our art museums in the Carolinas – every month. Our May 2011 issue of Carolina Arts (www.carolinaarts.com) features 10 articles about exhibits at Carolina museums. We listed info for 37 museums in our gallery listings and about a dozen more for facilities which just didn’t have museum in their name. Yet, we had one paid ad in that issue from the Spartanburg Art Museum.

In better times we had a lot more ads from these museums and we hope if better times return they’ll be supportive again, but we’re not going to leave them hanging in between.

Maybe International Museum Day should be a day when the public goes out of it’s way to visit museums – and pay full price admission. Now that would be something for the museums to celebrate.

Coming This Weekend

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The inaugural Celadon Fine Arts Festival presents the highest caliber of fine art and crafts, for the knowledgeable and discriminating audience that resides, visits, and revels in the Lowcountry creative experience. Entry is $5 per car, and Saturday the 21st is Family Day, complete with entertainment and food.

The festival is located in the beautiful Celadon Community on Lady’s Island, across the bridge from historic Beaufort, SC. Artists, collectors, and visitors will be surrounded by oak trees, ponds, and the distinguished architecture that is Celadon, while enjoying concerts and other delights during the three-day event, May 20-22, 2011.

The Celadon Fine Arts Festival is produced by the Celadon Community Arts Trust Association and ARTworks, the Arts Council of Beaufort, Port Royal & the Sea Islands of South Carolina.

For more info or to view a full list of participants visit (http://www.beaufortcountyarts.com/celadon1.htm#gallery); call 843-379-2787; visit (www.ArtWorksInBeaufort.org) or visit (www.CeladonFineArtsFestival.org).

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The 701 Center for Contemporary Art in Columbia, SC, is presenting a free tour of Columbia area artist’s studios with the 701 CCA Columbia Open Studios weekend, Saturday, May 21, 10am-6pm and Sunday, May 22, noon-6pm, throughout Richland and Lexington Counties.

Participating on the tour are the following artists: Alicia Leeke, Amanda Ladymon, B. Alex Smith, Becky Hyatt Rickenbaker, Beth West, Cindy Alpert Saad, Clark Ellefson, David H. Yaghjian, Diane Gilbert, Eileen Blyth, Gail Cunningham, Grace L. Rockafellow, Howard Hunt, Jan Swanson, Jeff Donovan, Jefferson Jay Hubbell, Judy Bolton Jarrett, K. Page Morris, Karen Langley, Kathryn Van Aernum, Laura Spong, Letitia “Tish” Lowe, Linda Coleman, Lucinda Howe, Mallory Phillips, Mary Bentz Gilkerson, Mary Elliott Williams, Michel McNinch, Nini Ward, One Eared Cow Glass, Pamm Collins, Patrick Parise, Peggy Nunn, Porter O’Brien Dodd, Regina Moody, Richard Lund, Rob Shaw, Robert Clark, Suzy Shealy, Sylvia Ady-Potts, Tam Hicks, Tim Floyd, Tyrone Geter, Vicki Corley, and Whitney LeJeune.

For further info call 701 CCA at 803/238-2351 or visit (http://www.columbiaopenstudios.org).

And, of course if you’re heading to the Mountains or need an excuse to head to the hills, you could take in Michael Kline Pottery’s 3rd Annual Spring Kiln Opening on May 21 & 22, 9am-5pm, in Bakersville, NC.

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Kline is one of the hottest potters in the Carolinas this month with several shows going on and he and his pottery are even being imported to Seagrove for an event next weekend. Imagine that – Seagrove bringing in a potter from the outside for an event.

Michael Klein Pottery is located at 4062 Snow Creek Road in Bakersville, NC. For info or directions call 828/675-4097 or e-mail to (michael@klinepottery.com). Or to get the latest update tune into (http://michaelklinepottery.blogspot.com/).

If none of these events tickle your fancy, check out our May issue ofCarolina Arts at (www.carolinaarts.com) – there are 71 pages about exhibits and events going on throughout the Carolinas.

Sculpture in the South Takes Place in Summerville, SC, May 13-15, 2011

Friday, May 13th, 2011

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The 13th Annual Sculpture in the South Show and Sale event takes place again in Azalea Park, in Summerville, SC, on Saturday, May 14, 10am- 6pm and Sunday, May 15, 10am-5pm. A “Meet the Sculptors Reception” will take place on Friday, May 13, 2011, from 7-10pm. Patrons, Sponsors and Sustainers have the opportunity to personally meet the sculptors and take a sneak peek at newly released sculptures before the general public. A $150 Patron Package for two includes: Sculptors Reception, Early Bird Preview, Weekend Passes and Membership. For more information on becoming a Patron, Sponsor or Sustainer call 843/851-7800.

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Celebrating the arts through sculpture has become the trademark of Sculpture in the South. For more than twelve years, the Sculpture in the South Show and Sale has received recognition as one of South Carolina’s premier outdoor arts events and is fast being hailed nationally. Held in beautiful Azalea Park, this event is fueled with tradition and layered with exceptional world-class sculpture.

This is a one-of-a-kind event offering collectors and first time art enthusiasts a chance to mingle and chat with thirty-five leading fine art sculptors, representing a wide range of original artworks. All artwork is available for purchase with proceeds benefiting Summerville’s Permanent Public Sculpture Program. We are pleased that 20 pieces of bronze sculpture have been purchased and installed since 1999 through the efforts of this organization.

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Work by Alex Palkovich

Participating sculptors include: Robert M. Allison, Danae Bennett-Miller, Susie Chisholm, Glo Coalson, Sharon Collings Licata, Joe Collins, B.J. Coughlin, Allen Ferg, J. Gail Geer, Jim Goshorn, Lou Greiner, Jack Hill, Leslie Hutto, Gregory Johnson, Julia Knight, William Kolok, Matt Lewis, Roger Martin, Shirley McWhorter-Moss, Royal Richardson Miree, George Nock, James Oleson, Gert Olsen, Alex Palkovich, Scott Penegar, Josephine Pratt, Patricia Romero, Karla Runquist, Wayne A. Salge, Valerie Jean Shafer, John Sewell, Roger Smith, David Springer, Mary Tanner, and Garland A. Weeks.

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Sharon Collings Licata working on a piece

Daily admission to the Sculpture in the South Show and Sale is $5. A Weekend Pass is available for $7. There is free admission for students of any age with adult admission.

Sculpture in the South Show and Sale will take place in Azalea Park, at the corner of South Main St. (Hwy. 17A) and West Fifth Street South in Summerville.

For further information call 843/851-7800 or visit (http://www.sculptureinthesouth.com/).

A Visit to Downtown Charleston, SC’s Art Walks – May 6, 2011

Thursday, May 12th, 2011

Even though I haven’t been to many art walks in Charleston lately, it’s still our backyard as far as art communities go. I don’t know everyone there now and many don’t know me, but for a lot of the folks who have been there more than a few years, it’s hard for Linda and I to just slip into a gallery and not be spotted. Gallery owners and artists seem to gravitate to us – one because we’re friends with a lot of these folks – at least we feel we are, and two, we haven’t seen most of these folks – face to face in a long time. So we’re like a blast for the past.

It would be nice to do an art walk and not be working, but the nature of these events is always social/working. I want to write the trip up for our blog and they hope I’ll write it up – everyone needs publicity. The problem in Charleston is we know and meet so many people we want to talk to that I end up doing more talking than taking photos. So, I have some images to not make this blog all words, but in no way all that I should have. I’m sorry for that. We got some from the galleries or their websites.

I’ll refresh people’s memory of the weather on May 6, 2011, in the Charleston area. A forecast called for scattered showers, but it seem to be raining most of the day up here in Bonneau, the headquarters of Shoestring Publishing Company on the shore of Lake Moultrie. And just as it was about time to leave, the rain came down hard, but the weather wizards said the system would clear out of the area by 6pm. This time I was hoping they were right. It rained pretty hard all the way to Charleston’s borders, but as we crossed that border the rain stopped and the sky opened up.

By the time we found the same parking space I used in visiting the April art walk, the sun was shinning. Thanks to whoever saved it for us. The rain had cleared the air and cooled it down to a very pleasant 75 degrees. We’ve had some great weather as far as temps go lately – although dangerous at times.  At least there weren’t any tornado warnings on May 6.

Our first stop, due to location, was Nina Liu and Friends, at 24 State Street. The gallery is celebrating its 25th Anniversary this year. The exhibit being presented that evening was Defining Moments, featuring works by Susie Miller Simon of Colorado, on view through June 30, 2011. Simon couldn’t be there for this opening, but will come in a few weeks.

Nina Liu’s gallery is spread throughout three levels in her home – which is still up for sale – if anyone is interested in living in the heart of Charleston’s French Quarter district and wants to also have a gallery – or not. She’ll sell – either way. Liu is hopping to retire one day to the home she has waiting in Mexico – someday. But, we’re not in any hurry to see her go.

We noticed something strange going on. People were coming into the gallery, saying hi as they passed by, heading upstairs. Liu noticed the strange look on our faces and explained that they were regulars to her openings and they know the food and drink is upstairs. I rolled my eyes, thinking to myself that they could have at least glanced at the works in the exhibit before – running upstairs, but it doesn’t seem to bother her as another group zoomed by. Her food is very popular.

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Work by Susie Miller Simon

Simon’s works give reference to imagery of the Southwestern United States – a million miles from Lowcountry art, which is refreshing at times and I’m sure a reason why her works are so popular here. I’ve included an image, that I’m sure wasn’t in this exhibit. I got it off the Internet just to give you an idea of what the work is like. But you’ll see some images like this and some very different, but you’ll be able to tell it came from Simon.

It was reassuring to see some of those folks who rushed upstairs eventually filtered down to see the exhibit, one even asking about the price of a work found upstairs. A good time for us to move on.

For the second month in a row, I was focused on going to Smith-Killian Fine Art, at 9 Queen Street, at the corner of Queen & State Streets. Last month it was to see an exhibit by Shannon Smith and this month to see “abstract” works by her mother, Betty Anglin Smith, as well as works by a very strong group of SC’s contemporary artists including: Carl Blair, Eva Carter, Matt Overend, Laura Spong, Leo Twiggs and Scott Upton. The exhibit, Contemporary Carolinas – an Invitational Exhibition, will be on view through June 12, 2011.

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Works by Laura Spong (L) and Leo Twiggs (R)

The week before we had talked with Laura Spong at Vista Studios in Columbia, SC, during Artista Vista (read about it at this link) and knew she would be there. And, I was hoping to see and talk with Carl Blair, whom I haven’t seen in a while. Blair, was the one and only member of the Commission of the SC Arts Commission who listened to my complaints and tried to do something about them. The one and only! A true arts leader in SC – a rare exception. Unfortunately he didn’t make the trip from Greenville, SC.

That’s OK – I’ll take the hugs from Betty, Eva, and Laura any day.

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Work by Eva Carter

In my opinion, the day William Halsey passed on, Eva Carter became Charleston’s top “abstract” artist, if not one of the best in SC. After closing up her gallery a few years ago, this was the first of her work in an exhibit in Charleston. Although she has now opened a studio just around the corner from her old gallery, at 16 Gillon Street, we haven’t been able to catch her there when we were in Charleston – so we were also looking forward to seeing and talking with her and seeing what she was painting these days.

But, the real kicker in this show was to see more “abstract” paintings by Betty Anglin Smith. I mentioned in my write up of the April 2011 art walk in Charleston that we saw an unexpected work – an abstract painting by Betty at Shannon Smith’s show. We loved the work and I wanted to see if it was a one hit wonder or if we have a new abstract artists in town. Folks – we weren’t disappointed.

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Work by Betty Anglin Smith

Of course as Betty put it – she’s not quitting her day job of painting landscapes – just yet. We all know there’s a smaller audience for “abstract” art in the Carolinas. But, every day we see more of it all the time – and that means more people are buying it. I tip my hat to Smith Killian Fine Art for taking the risk to present such a show – during the Spoleto Festival season in Charleston. I hope it pays off for them – so they can do it again. I know I could have spent a good bit of my lottery winnings there that evening. Now all I have to do is win one.

This was a great show of works from some of SC’s best artists, not painting what most people expect to see when they go to Charleston to see or buy art. But, I’ve always said there is a lot of this kind of art being made in Charleston – you just have to work a little to find it.

What a good time to transition over to Corrigan Gallery, located at 62 Queen Street – one of those places you won’t find what some people call “Charleston” art. But, you will find plenty of art made by Charleston artists. The exhibit, Egg Meditations, the continuation of a ten year exploration by Yvette Dede, was being presented. The exhibit will be on view through May 31, 2011. I swear it’s been that long – ten years since I’ve seen work by Dede on view in Charleston. At one time she ran Print Studio South, which eventually turned into the Redux Contemporary Arts Center (which hasn’t sent a press release about its May/June exhibit yet). But, that’s what happens when you become an adjunct college professor. You spend more time teaching than exhibiting.

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Works by Yvette Dede

For regular readers of my views on art – presentation is a big factor with me and this exhibit was a top notch example of how to present a cohesive group of works – in this case based on the egg shape. Dede made special frames for her small works and in the intimate space at Corrigan Gallery they looked fantastic. I’m talking about the presentation of the art. I really don’t care what the wall looks like or the floor – as long as they don’t distract the viewer from the art, and in that case – that’s a bigger problem for the artist. There’s nothing wrong with the wall or floors at Corrigan Gallery – I’m just saying well presented art can look good in someone’s cluttered basement.

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Works by Yvette Dede

After checking out all the variations Dede presented, we checked out some of the other works being displayed at the gallery and I came across a work which really fooled me at first in an alcove between the two main rooms of the gallery.  There was a large abstract work on one wall – blue and red. You know how I like abstracts. When I got close enough to see who the artist was,  I was, well not totally surprised, but embarrassed that it was by a good friend of ours –  John Moore. I’ve seen a lot of Moore’s abstract photographs, but for some reason this image didn’t click, I was seeing it from the side and I had just looked through some of his works in a stack and this just fooled me at first.

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Work by John Moore

The real joke here is that Moore and I have talked a million times about the fact that it’s too bad he presents his work as photographs – more people would buy them if they were presented as paintings. A sad fact but true. And, the real tragedy is that many people think they are Photoshopped, but these are the real deal. He finds these outrageous colors – in man-made materials touched by nature. And, to top it off – Moore is color blind. Figure that one out and you can help me pick lottery numbers.

Moore is a purest, he doesn’t manipulate his images and he doesn’t want to fool people into thinking these are not photos just for the sake of sales. He just has a good eye, takes his time before he clicks the shutter and knows how to get the best out of his equipment and when the light is right. That’s the real art of photography.

After Linda coaxed me off the soapbox, our next stop was Horton Hayes Fine Art, at 30 State Street. We wanted to see what Mark Horton was painting these days. The gallery also shows works by Nancy Hoerter, Shannon Runquist, Bjorn Runquist and Chris Groves – all skilled painters. Now, I guess these works don’t fit the classic description of “Charleston” art in that although they are landscapes of the Lowcountry and still lifes – I just think of them as master works. You just want to be in these places put on canvas. You can feel them – smell them. We didn’t talk to anyone here – it was too crowded.

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Work by Mark Horton

Seeing the works at Horton Hayes made me want to go check out Mickey Williams Studio-Gallery, the next street over at 132 E. Bay Street, at the corner of East Bay and Broad Street. This was our old hangout, once the office for IF Labs, then for Carolina Arts newspaper and Carolina Arts Gallery. I spent many a day and night in that space. It survived Hurricane Hugo as if it was just a thunder storm. This was also Eva Carter’s old gallery space.

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Work by Mickey Williams

Williams paints some incredible Lowcountry landscapes. I wanted to go by and see his works and talk to him about facebook. Sometimes I get on facebook by 7am and most days by then Williams has been on for several hours – talking about the birds in his back yard, his garden or the colors in the morning sky. He’s like the good morning guy in the Charleston facebook family – which is funny – as he, like me, is technology challenged. But, he’s got facebook down to a science. I called him and asked him to send me a photo – he had to check with his wife. Sound familiar? We’re two peas in an iPod. We embrace technology – we just don’t know how to make it work.

Our last stop was at Lowcountry Artists Ltd, at 148 E. Bay Street. Their next exhibit is The Power of Glass, featuring blown glass  by Robbie Clair and etched and fused glass by Steve Hazard which will be on view from May 28 through June 11, 2011. This gallery has almost doubled in size since the last time I was in it. As a co-op gallery it has also seen many changes in the group of artists currently showing on the walls.

Another space where we could slip in and get a good look at the art first. Of course we knew some of the artists by name or work and there were a few surprises – like seeing works by Patsy Tidwell on the wall. Her gallery was one of the mainstays of the Charleston art community, but she sold it a few years ago and now it’s closed. I’m sure she is enjoying life now creating artwork vs. trying to sell other artists’ works. It’s not easy running a gallery as an artist – even when you’re doing it as a co-op of artists.

Another surprise was seeing works by Jason Luck, a Seagrove potter who has moved to Charleston. Those Seagrove potters are everywhere. Well they’re not really – but their work seems to be getting everywhere. But, you really have to go to Seagrove, NC, for Seagrove pottery. The chamber of commerce pays me to say that.

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Work by Jackie Wukela

Because we didn’t have to answer a million questions as to how the paper is doing we finally got to eat some of the goodies being offered during the art walk. But, our anonymity could only last so long as I had questions I wanted to ask so we went up front and introduced ourselves to – who I felt sure was Jackie Wukela (due to facebook). She is typical of most of the folks we “know” through the paper. We’ve talked on the phone and e-mailed back and forth, but never met – face to face.

The minute we did this, Carolyn Epperly, who I’ve talked to many times at Tidwell’s Art Gallery, but not in a while, said “I thought you looked familiar.” Jackie Wukela and Lynda English, who are members of Lowcountry Artists Ltd. are also part of the visual art community in Florence, SC, where they live and have a gallery. So this was a twofer – we got to talk about Charleston and Florence’s art communities.

Before long the end of the art walk was on us and it was time to head back to Bonneau. On the ride home a few things struck me. We’ve been to two art walks in two months in Charleston and the art walks have changed – as have the galleries and artists who fill them with works since the days when we went to every one of them.

Charleston’s visual art community is moving away from what many people have tagged it as being for years, a city of artists who are in love with the city, a bad rap in my opinion. Sure there is lots of “tourist” art here to be had – it’s what most tourists want and Charleston is a tourist town, but the artists have moved on to creating what they want – hoping that the more discriminating visitors will want to take that art home. And, a good number of the artworks are being made by artists who live elsewhere – all over the US. The so called “Charleston” art is no longer a novelty – it’s now moved into the realm of novelties – souvenirs.

And, the art walks as I knew them have also changed. There was a time when an art walk in the French Quarter was a near festival – one big party event. I used to equate them to going to the Mall during Christmas – you’d run into everyone you haven’t seen since the last one there, but not so these days. There is an art walk every month in Charleston and most galleries stay open whether they’re in the group hosting it or not. So, it’s not such a special occasion any more. Still, lots of people go to them and enjoy them, but if it rains a little it’s easy to say – I’ll just go to the next one.

Of course my memories are from the 1990′s – what I call the golden age of the visual arts in the Carolinas. It might not be fair to make comparisons to current times – an age where many people are attacking the arts to gain political points and the economy has suffered one blow after another.

I for one am glad to be able to go to them again, but it might be some time before I go to the next one. We’re a little exhausted at this point and there’s so much going on all over the Carolinas. If you don’t believe me – just check our paper out at (www.carolinaarts.com). See how long it takes you to get through it all – end to end.

Bulldog Pottery in Seagrove, NC, Offers 3rd Cousins in Clay Event – May 28 & 29, 2011

Wednesday, May 11th, 2011

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Work by Peter Lenzo

We ran this article in our May 2011 issue of Carolina Arts, but we’ve learned that everyone doesn’t bother with publications these days. Many people’s attention span is just too short for publications. They like blog entries, Facebook status updates or even tweets.

But, I wanted to make sure people interested in pottery would see this – one way or another. I’m hoping I can make another trip to Seagrove (hold the tornadoes this time – please), but it’s a rough time of the month for us to be gone – unless we’ve finished our June issue early. We’ll have our fingers crossed.

Last year I missed meeting up with Peter Lenzo, who was on his way to the 2nd Clay Cousins, as a visitor, and I had to get back home by that time of the day. We probably passed each other on Hwy. 220. I really admire Lenzo and his work. We have a couple of his crazy head pieces – which are pretty strange. But, I like strange – as do a lot of other folks. And, of course there’s always Max – the bulldog who just keeps on ticking.

I also enjoy talking with Michael Kline, and it’s always a plus when you get all these good and talented folks together. I might even be able to go over to Whynot Pottery and get some cake and see the new exhibit at the NC Pottery Center.

A lot of our friends are beginning to figure out that there must be something going on in Seagrove to keep drawing us back. When they ask – I just smile and say – it’s OK. But they know me and they figure I’m holding something back.

Hey, haven’t I been telling folks to go to Seagrove for years now. Duh!

Here’s that article:

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Work by Jack Troy

Come meet the “Clay Cousins” who are devoted to making pottery as a way of life. On May 28, from 9am-4pm and May 29, from 10am-4pm, Seagrove, NC, potters Bruce Gholson and Samantha Henneke of Bulldog Pottery hold their 3rd annual “Cousins in Clay” event. Once again they will bring a line up of renowned potters to their rural pottery community of Seagrove in central North Carolina. Three nationally known studio art potters, Jack Troy, Michael Kline, and Peter Lenzo will bring their ceramic art to Bulldog Pottery for the special two day event. This will be a wonderful opportunity to meet with the artists and add to your pottery collection or begin one. Bulldog Pottery is located five miles south of Seagrove’s single stop light on Alternate Highway 220.

Creative energy is clearly unlimited for Pennsylvanian potter Jack Troy, who weaves his productive life around his passion for ceramics. He began teaching young artists in 1967 at Juniata College, has taught over 185 workshops, written 2 books about clay, a book of original poems titled Calling the Planet Home, published over 60 articles and book reviews, all while producing a constant stream of pottery at his Pennsylvania studio. Troy gives homage to our state of North Carolina in his Wood-fired Stoneware and Porcelain book (1995), by saying, “If North America has a pottery state it must be North Carolina”.

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Work by Samantha Henneke

Like a writer creating his autobiography, South Carolinian artist Peter Lenzo sculpts head vessels that are symbolic representations of his personal story.  Intrigued by the 19th century southern pottery face jug tradition, Lenzo has created self-portrait face jugs that are clearly unique to his own personal interpretation of this long-standing southern folk art tradition.

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Work by Michael Kline

Michael Kline, a studio potter from the mountains of North Carolina, creates inspired traditional forms that are graced with his elegant floral brushwork giving a botanical theme to his wood-fired pottery jugs and jar forms. Sometimes his pots are covered with a honey amber color glaze that is as appetizing as maple syrup. Kline will be presenting brushwork demonstrations on both Saturday (2pm) and Sunday (1:30pm) during the event.

Bruce Gholson and Samantha Henneke have created a collaborative environment at their Bulldog Pottery studio that provides them the support to express their independent voices, more than they would be able to achieve individually. Their art pottery has become known for an eclectic mix of form, imagery, texture, pattern, and graceful design all integrated by their rich and distinctive glazes.

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Work by Bruce Gholson

Both Bulldog Pottery and Michael Kline share their personal journeys of the day-to-day life of being full time studio potters through their clay blogs. Join them to find out what is happening next in their studio at Micheal Kline’s “Sawdust and Dirt” blog (www.michaelklinepottery.blogspot.com) and Bruce and Samantha’s blog, “Around and About with Bulldog Pottery” (www.bulldogpottery.blogspot.com).

Come out for the day or spend the weekend in the “Seagrove pottery community”, where three North Carolina rural Piedmont counties come together: Randolph (known for the NC Zoo), Moore (known for Pinehurst Golf), and Montgomery (known for the beautiful Uwharrie Mountains). Bulldog Pottery’s “Cousins in Clay” brings together a rich diversity of contemporary ceramics for this two day event. “Cousins in Clay” is a kinship based on shared appreciation for the pursuit of excellence within the diverse language of clay. Visit their website (www.cousinsinclay.com) for more details and information on accommodations in the area or call 336/302-3469.

Where did the “Cousins in Clay” name come from?

The event’s name, ‘Cousins in Clay”, is attributed to fellow potter Michael Kline who referred euphemistically on his blog Sawdust and Dirt to a “visit to his clay cousins in Seagrove”, Bruce and Samantha decided to invite Michael to participate in their first Bulldog Pottery Studio Art sale, and titled it “Cousins in Clay”.  This is now an annual event.

For further information call Bulldog at 910/428-9728 or visit (www.bulldogpottery.com).

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

Wednesday, May 11th, 2011

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Well this month I feel a bit like Alice down the rabbit hole – things just get curiouser and curiouser. So we’ll cut to the chase and tell you that in the first ten days of May, there have been 41,731 downloads of our May 2011 issue of Carolina Arts. That’s already 10,000 more downloads than the monthly total for our April 2011 issue. So, we’ve crested the second hump of this roller coaster ride.

Here’s the basic numbers:
downloads of the May issue – 41,731
(other) – 13,239
downloads of the March issue – 7,752
downloads of the April issue – 349
downloads of the January issue – 165
downloads of the February issue – 101

The big surprises here is that, one, the May issue is ahead of the pace the March issue set in ten days (35,867), but I will in no way predict that the May issue will exceed the March issue by the end of the month. I’ve learned my lesson on that one.

Two, the (other) numbers have dropped dramatically. As of ten days in March the (other) number was 25,382 and in April it was 39,417. So instead of increasing this month – it has decreased – so far. The (other) number is nondescript. Our server doesn’t know what they are – could be downloads, but also could be lots of different stuff, but each month it represents the highest number of activity on our site. In April it was 92,110. It’s a number that makes you scratch your head.

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And, three, that March issue just keeps building steam. In ten days it has been downloaded 7,752 times. In all of April, it was downloaded 7,776 times – which means that issue has been downloaded 60,826 times since the day we launched it on March 1st. Now there is some value for you if you advertised in that issue.

From here on until the end of the month the numbers come in much slower, although there can be good days when 1,000 downloads will take place, but it’s really hard – impossible to predict what will happen. And, at this point I’m beyond that point of trying to figure things out or make any sense of what happens. I’m just taking the roller coaster ride with you all. Isn’t that what’s fun about a roller coaster – the ups and downs?

Anyway, we know there are a lot of folks out there that are making this all possible by spreading the word about each issue as it comes out to their e-mail lists and on the social networks. We hope they’ll keep doing that and others will join in with them. We’re all in this together.

Another nice event that has been going on in the last month or so is that many of our old readers are finding us and they are amazed at where we have gone as a paper in a few months – as Linda and I are. We may be dragging them into the 21st century – kicking and screaming, but once they get here, they’re finding like we did – it’s not so bad.

If you haven’t downloaded a copy of our May 2011 issue of Carolina Artsyet – go to (www.carolinaarts.com) to get your own copy.

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

Friday, May 6th, 2011

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Bird of Prey, Best in Show by Matt Wilson

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Fiber piece by Judith Heyward

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

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

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A closer look at Susan Lenz’s work.

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

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

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An up close look at a basket by Mary Jefferson

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Work by Kelly Thiel, showing at Village Hall

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Work by Liv Antonecchia, also showing at Village Hall

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

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

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

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

The Visual Arts Scene is Exploding in May in South Carolina

Wednesday, May 4th, 2011

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Long before the BIG events start in Charleston, SC – Spoleto Festival USA and Piccolo Spoleto Festival, there are events going on all over – too many to mention, so we’re focusing on few in SC right now.

Up first – TONIGHT – is the 2011 North Charleston Arts Festival Art Walk, May 4, from 5-8pm, in the Olde Village on E. Montague Avenue in North Charleston. Art galleries, businesses, pubs, small cafes, and salons, will display works from local artists. For further info contact North Charleston Cultural Arts Department at 843/740-5854 or visit (www.northcharleston.org).

On May 5, 2011, 5-9pm – First Thursday at Tapp’s at the Tapp’s Arts Center, 1644 Main Street in Columbia, SC, part of the First Thursdays on Main events in Columbia, SC, will be offering a full evening of art. For more information on this contact Brenda Schwarz Miller at 803/609-3479 or e-mail (brenda@realworldartisans.com). Check for the latest news at Facebook – Tapp’s Arts Center Project!

In Florence, SC, the FDDC Art Trail Gallery, located at 135 S. Dargan Street, will offer an opening reception on May 5, starting at 6pm for the exhibit, Pompe’s Protégés, featuring an exhibit which celebrates the legacy of Kathleen Pompe’s tenure as a professor of photography at Francis Marion University. The exhibit will be on view through May 27, 2011. On May 6, starting at 6pm a reception will be held for the exhibit, Cultivating Creativity: The Children’s Exhibit, on view through May 27, 2011. For further info call Jane Madden at 843/673-0729 or visit (www.art-trail-gallery.com).

Of course the First Friday is usually when dozens of art walks are held all over the Carolinas. Just check our paper Carolina Arts(www.carolinaarts.com) that’s why I spend weeks working on the gallery listings.

In Charleston, SC, it will be the French Quarter Gallery Association’s ART WALK, May 6, 2011, from 5-8pm and the First Fridays on Broad, from 5-8pm. In fact, I think it would be hard to find an art gallery in Charleston that won’t be open Friday evening whether they are part of one of these groups or not – except The Sylvan Gallery, who already had a reception for their current show. I hope Joe and Janie Sylvan and their crew will be out enjoying the art walk for once – as Linda and I will. For info visit (www.FrenchQuarterArts.com)  or (http://www.charlestongalleryrow.com/).

Later, the next week you can focus on Summerville, SC, for the 13th Annual Sculpture in the South Show & Sale, May 7 – 15, 2011. They have expanded this annual Show & Sale to include Arts Education Week, May 7 – 13. This week offers Internationally to regionally known instructors who will present workshops, after-school programs and an evening lecture series. The Show & Sale takes place May 14 & 15, at Azalea Park, Main Street and West Fifth Street South, and features works by 35 world-class sculptors, children’s activities and great barbeque. For more info call 843/851-7800 or visit (www.sculptureinthesouth.com).

Then jumping over to the Columbia, SC, area, you can take in the 2011 701 CCA Columbia Open Studios, a free tour of area artist’s studios on May 21 & 22, 2011, but before that you can attend the 701 CCA Columbia Open Studios Preview Party at 701 CCA, on May 12, from 7-9pm. For info about tickets to the Preview Party visit (http://www.columbiaopenstudios.org). The tour is free. You can probable still see some of the exhibits presented for Artista Vista at some of the galleries.

Another choice that weekend is the first Celadon Fine Arts Festival, May 20-22, 2011, at Celadon, Sams Point Road, Hwy. 802, Lady’s Island, just across the bridge from Beaufort, SC. This 3-day National Juried Fine Arts & Craft Festival will be held on the beautiful property at Celadon. Artists from around the country will be competing for $3,000 worth of cash prizes and all work will be available for sale. There will also be musicians and food vendors. Hours: May 20, 4-9pm; May 21, 10am-7pm; and May 22, noon-5pm. For further info call 866/525-9995 or visit
(www.CeladonFineArtsFestival.org).

If you look through our paper you’ll find many more opportunities for an art adventure. Like I said before – it’s why we do it – so you’ll know what going on.