Archive for December, 2013

Hurry to the Franklin G. Burroughs-Simeon B. Chapin Art Museum in Myrtle Beach, SC, to See the Exhibit “The Opulent Object” – on View Through Jan. 5, 2014

Thursday, December 19th, 2013


Back in the Fall, Linda and I traveled to Myrtle Beach, SC, Linda’s hometown to visit the Franklin G. Burroughs-Simeon B. Chapin Art Museum, which was showing an exhibit I had come across when it was showing at other exhibit venues in the Carolinas, but never got a chance to see. The exhibition is, The Opulent Object: Tapestries by Jon Riis with Sculpture by Richard Mafong and Mike Harrison. I’m sorry for this late write-up, but somehow this trip had fallen through the cracks in my daily struggles to keep up with all that we’re doing here at Shoestring Publishing. But, this is a show you should make a point to try and see before it ends on Jan. 5, 2014. It’s my bad for giving you such a short heads up.

Although in the past Linda and I made many trips to Myrtle Beach when her mother still lived there we don’t get back there that often these days. It’s not like its on the way to other destinations. Well, it is if you’re traveling up and down the Atlantic coast, but we don’t make it that way much. Our beach days are over. We’re always amazed at how much Myrtle Beach has changed each time we make it back there, but all you have to do is go to the Gay Dolphin to see that in some ways it never changes. We discovered the new boardwalk on this trip.

The Art Museum is practically right on the beach, but far enough back to keep sand from blowing in the door. That’s a little inside joke. Years ago I sat in on a SC Arts Commission grant-funding meeting and one of the out-of-state panel members was shocked to hear that the Museum was on the beach. She was reluctant to approve funding for a facility that would, in her mind, spent most of its time sweeping sand out the doors. It was explained to her that the Museum wasn’t a Teke Hut on the beach – it was a modern facility. That’s a memory that comes up every time I’m dealing with the Franklin G. Burroughs-Simeon B. Chapin Art Museum, besides it having the longest name for a museum in the Carolinas. And, as we walked through it viewing the exhibits I was amazed at how good a shape it was in. There was no look of wear and tear that you’ll see in some urban facilities. The folks there must keep the facility well maintained.

One of the other exhibits on view that day was Passionate Collectors, featuring works from the collection of husband and wife Barbara Burgess and John Dinkelspiel, which was donated to the Museum. The collection includes works in a wide range of styles, subjects and media all focused on Southern art. Represented in the collection are 21 pieces from South Carolinian Jonathan Green, along with works by noted African-American artists William H. Clarke, James Denmark, Cassandra Gillens and others.

Work by Corrie Parker McCallum

Some of the others in this collection were artists like Corrie Parker McCallum, Chris Ritsch, and Lynda R. Karl, an artist from Moncks Corner, SC, our backyard, and I’ve never seen any of her work before. But, I liked what I saw. I also saw the first work by Jonathan Green that I liked. Don’t get me wrong I admire what Green does, but that style has never appealed to me. I’d like to see more works by Green like the work included here.

Ambassador, 1984, by Jonathan Green

The third exhibit on view that day was, Celia Pearson: Glass Transformed, A Photographer Explores Sea Glass. Nationally known photographer Celia Pearson was commissioned to produce 150 images of the sea glass in the collection of Marylanders Richard and Nancy LaMotte. The photographs were not that impressive, adequate for the purpose, but the glass objects found on the world’s beaches was very interesting.

Works by Celia Pearson

The main show to me was the works of Jon Riis. His work was amazing and staggering to think of how much time went into each piece and there were so many – each equally impressive, if not more than the next. The images I took won’t do these works justice as you have to see them up close to realize the details.

Works by Jon Riis

Work by Jon Riis

Works by Jon Riis

You can get a better feel for this artist’s work by reading a blog entry (Feb. 17, 2012) by Susan Lenz, a fiber artist from Columbia, SC, who saw works by Riis at the Sumter County Gallery of Art in Sumter, SC, at her blog Art In Stitches at ( Lenz, a talented artist who works in fiber, among other mediums has a better feel for describing Riis’ works. We also had an article about this exhibition in our March 2012 issue of Caro1013bur-chapin-richard-mafong-mike-harrison-450x286lina Arts.

The works in this exhibit by Richard Mafong and Mike Harrison are impressive too. They’re a good match for Riis’ works. But, I have to admit that I was blown away by Riis’ works – even those that had subject matter I didn’t care for. Riis has a darker side to him which undoubtably will be the works others find more impressive. Different strokes for different folks.
Work by Richard Mafong and Mike Harrison

I took a picture of a class that was going on at the Museum – it’s the bread and butter of most visual art facilities these days. The children looked like they were having a good time with art. They weren’t making art – not yet, but they were having fun and maybe preparing for a future in the arts. Hopefully they’ll grow up to be art patrons. We’ve got enough artists.


Again, I’m sorry for the lateness of this blog post, but this show may pop up somewhere else in the Carolinas and if it does, I’ll give a holler. Hey, and you never know – this year could be like my first year in South Carolina where Christmas day and New Years day were 75 degrees back in 1974 – beach weather for a guy from Michigan. I got sunburned on Folly Beach on New Years day back in 1974. Called the folks back in Michigan and it was 20 degrees and the snow was blowing horizontally. Ya gotta love the winters here.

For further information call the Museum at 843/238-2510 or visit (

Last Chance to See the Works of Florence, SC, Native, William H. Johnson, on View at the Jones-Carter Gallery in Lake City, SC

Thursday, December 5th, 2013


Not too long ago I did another Pee Dee Two Fer trip where I went to the Artisan Outpost in Johnsonville, SC, held the first Saturday of the month and the Jones-Carter Gallery in Lake City, SC, which is now open on Saturdays. The Artisan Outpost will be hosting another great gathering of artworks on Dec. 7, 2013, from 10am-6pm. This gathering is so popular – Santa is going to show up at this next event. But, for now I want to tell you about the exhibit at the Jones-Carter Gallery – time is running out to see it.

The Jones-Carter Gallery, located at 105 Henry Street in Lake City, next to The Bean Market, just a block off Main Street is presenting an exhibition from the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service (SITES), featuring rare paintings by Florence, South Carolina-native, William H. Johnson, from the collection of the James E. Lewis Museum at Morgan State University. An essential figure in modern American art, William H. Johnson (1901-1970) was a virtuoso skilled in various media and techniques, and produced thousands of works over a career that spanned decades, continents and genres.

Ring Around the Rosey, by William H. Johnson, courtesy of Morgan State University.

William H. Johnson: An American Modern is on view at the Jones-Carter Gallery, a branch of the Community Museum Society, Inc., in Lake City, through Dec. 29, 2013. The Jones-Carter Gallery is the only South Carolina venue on the tour.  Developed by Morgan State University and SITES, the exhibition is made possible through the generous support of the National Endowment for the Arts, the Henry Luce Foundation and Morgan State University Foundation Inc. Additional support is provided by Ford Motor Company Fund.

Jitterbug, by William H. Johnson, courtesy of Morgan State University.

The pivotal stages of Johnson’s career as a modernist painter are assembled in this group of rarely seen paintings. Every step of his artistic development is conveyed – from his post-impressionist and expressionist works of the 1920s, to vibrant vernacular paintings from the end of his career in the 1940s, in which Johnson articulated his distinctive, unforgettable vision as an American modern artist.

Usually I’d be offering lots of photos of the exhibition, but there were so many restrictions on photography that all I have to show of the exhibit is the one shot I was allowed to take. I may have pushed the button on my iPhone, but I was placed in the only position allowed by the gallery staff. I could have taken more on the sly, but I know the restrictions are from the Smithsonian and I didn’t want to get the gallery in trouble or prevent future shows from the Smithsonian coming to Lake City. I’ve got two images from the press kit and I took several more of the surrounding area outside – which I think is just as important to Lake City’s progress in becoming a cultural destination.

This photo doesn’t show you much of the exhibit, but it at least shows you there were others there viewing the exhibit while I was there.

The works in the exhibit and provided text tell an interesting story of this artist’s history. And being from the North originally – that’s right I’m one of those transplanted Yankees, I had to think when viewing these images how many other talented black artists had to leave the South to have a creative life and how many never made it out and just had to put that creativity aside. Frankly I’m not sure how easy it is to be an African American artist today. In some ways it seems that you can get more attention if you’re considered a folk-artist or visionary artist (untrained) than if you have a Masters degree in art. But like I always say to my old Yankee friends in describing what it’s like in good olde South Carolina – it’s 400 years of history – 20 years of progress, and it seems like the Tea Baggers are dragging us further back in time every day.

But then again, when you think about it Jasper Johns had to leave SC before he made it big in New York City. In this case Johnson left the United States to find fame and respect.

Go see this exhibit before it leaves South Carolina and if you haven’t been before you’ll be amazed that such a facility as the Jones-Carter Gallery is located in Lake City. Most other small towns in SC will have exhibit space in an old house or a converted bank – if they have any at all. This space is as good as any in bigger cities.

Now, lets talk about Lake City. Since my last trip to the Jones-Carter Gallery, SCDOT has placed many new signs directing you to the Jones-Carter Gallery making it easy to find coming into Lake City from any direction. I bet there are more signs in Lake City directing you to this gallery than there are in Charleston, SC, directing you to the Gibbes Museum of Art.

View from across The Green

The front door of the gallery

The gallery is located next to The Bean Market, another great facility for cultural events in Lake City and across from The Green, an open green space with a performance stage. There’s a sculpture by Alex Palkovich, from Florence, SC, there and this unique drinking fountain – designed for humans of all sizes and pets. Banners were up promoting the Johnson exhibit and new ones will probably flap in the wind for other exhibits and events in the future. The city is really serious about becoming a cultural destination and small details like this fountain will make the difference.

A pet friendly drinking fountain

Lake City has big plans for transforming their city, but none of it will happen very fast unless people get up off their back sides and travel there to see and enjoy it all. It’s not a big trip from Charleston, Columbia, Florence and Myrtle Beach, and for those folks traveling further – they do have hotels and motels – like the ones people use to travel to your city.

A view of The Green

Gallery hours are Tue. through Fri., from 10am to 6pm and Sat., from 11am to 5pm. Large groups are encouraged to call ahead.

And, don’t forget – ArtFields will return to Lake City from April 25 through May 4, 2014.

For additional information about William H. Johnson: An American Modern call the gallery at 843/374-1505 or visit (

The December 2013 Issue of Carolina Arts is Now Ready to Download

Sunday, December 1st, 2013


The December 2013 issue of Carolina Arts is up on our website at ( – all 66 pages of it.

Winter has been showing its face already, so when you’re huddled in your home we hope you’ll spend some time downloading our paper, read through it, and send the link to download it to your e-mail, Facebook and Twitter friends.

We’re asking the Internet spirits and you for a bunch of new “Likes” on our Facebook page – we’d like to reach the 2,000 mark by the end of the year.

The link is: (

So download that PDF and dig in – it makes for good reading and shows that you have lots of opportunities to enjoy the visual arts in the Carolinas in December before the holiday take over our lives -like last month. And, don’t forget to find a way to thank our advertisers – they make the paper possible.

Thanks – Tom and Linda Starland
Carolina Arts