Posts Tagged ‘Carolina Arts’

The April 2017 Issue of “Carolina Arts” is Now Ready to Download

Friday, March 31st, 2017

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The April 2017 issue of Carolina Arts is up on our website at (http://www.carolinaarts.com/417/417carolinaarts.html) – all 71 pages of it. We’re launching a little early as we have a day away from our computers on Apr. 1st – no fooling.

Our cover art features works by four different abstract artists who will have works on view in exhibits around the Carolinas. William Halsey’s estate is presenting his exhibit in Charleston, SC. We never miss an opportunity to promote his work and we’re also presenting work by one of his former students – Eileen Blyth.

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. And, don’t forget to find a way to thank our advertisers – they make the paper possible.

And help us spread the paper around by sending this link to your friends.

If you want to get something in the May 2017 issue – send it now or as soon as you can. Don’t wait till the Apr. 24th deadline.

Thanks – Tom and Linda Starland
Carolina Arts
843/693-1306
info@carolinaarts.com

A Visit to the Ever Changing Charleston, SC, 3/11/17

Sunday, March 12th, 2017

I needed some postcards to send to someone in Washington, DC, that I hoped would be soon taking an extended vacation from politics, and what better place to get postcards but the tourist city of Charleston, SC. The city that seems to add a new construction crane every time I visit. So I figured to also make that trip a short business trip and visit a few galleries.

I’ve been wanting to visit Fabulon, A Center for Art and Education, located at 1017 Wappoo Road, in the West Ashley area of Charleston – between Hwy. 61 and Hwy. 17. They had just opened a new exhibit, “We The People”, an exhibit of artwork that makes you think, something not seen that often in Charleston. They had the opening a day before, but I don’t like seeing art in a crowd, so the day after was good for me.

This was a great show with art from local artists and many from outside the area. As usual I took a few images with my iPhone (I guess that’s less health insurance for me), but these works are best seen up close and personal. And as always works I include are not always the best or ones I want to talk about – they are the works I can get a decent image of. But I also like the ones I’m including.

First up is a photograph by Winston-Salem, NC, artist, Owens Daniels, who offered some images poking fun at the NC House Bill (HB2). This image titled “Citizen” was created in the style of American Gothic.

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Next is “Life is A OK” by local artist, Caroline Self, who was/is Artist-in-Residence for The City of North Charleston Cultural Arts Department. Loved this work for it’s color and texture. I just can’t pass by a well executed abstract work.

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Kelly Burke, from the Baltimore, MD, area offered a couple of works from her ‘Reimagined American Flags” series. This work is titled “Don’t Lives Matter?” highlighting lives lost due to gun violence.

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Susan Irish, owner and manager of Fabulon, also had an interesting work in the exhibit that made a statement about Charleston, that only an outsider would understand – which I got right away, but I couldn’t get a good shot of it without my shadow all over it.

There are lots of interesting works in this exhibit, which will give you lots of reasons to think, but don’t miss the artistic skill in thinking of the message offered.

This last work wasn’t part of the “We The People” exhibit, but it caught my attention and of course it’s an abstract. It’s a work by Laura McRae-Hitchcock , who has recently moved from Charlotte, NC, to our community. So, besides the works in the show, there are also good works to see – and buy, on view by resident artists.

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Fabulon may not be one of those high-end Charleston galleries, but it’s an example of all things good don’t always come in shiny packages, it’s also a working studio, classroom, and gathering center – there was a group of fiber artists on hand working away while I viewed the exhibit.

Well it was time to get my postcards which I found at Brittlebank Park on the Ashley River – not your usual place to get postcards, but I’m hoping you’ll be reading about and hearing about these special postcards on about March 16 or 17.

Next I stopped by Surface Craft Gallery, located at 49 John Street in downtown Charleston, my old stomping grounds when Linda (my better half) and I operated a custom photo processing lab on John Street and a short lived photography gallery – many years ago. I wanted to talk with Liv Antonecchia, owner, and get caught up on how the new group, Lowcountry Ceramic Artists, was coming along and see what new things they had in the shop.

Here are some works by Margaret K. Weinberg, who is part of the Cone 10 Studios in Charleston, which may be closing soon.

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Next are works by Batton Clayworks in Asheville, NC. They are the works with the carved texture. I love these unusual shapes.

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Here are a couple of fused glass works by Tanya Craig. These are incense holders, but I don’t remember seeing any that were so colorful – back in my days of burning incense. The last time I bought incense was about ten years ago just outside of Disney World in Florida, but when we got home – I couldn’t find them and to this day never have.

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This last shot is of a jar by Fred Prudhomme, another Cone 10 Studios artist. I shared a Facebook post that Surface Craft had made earlier in the week which attracted a lot of remarks about how beautiful the jar was but it would be much better if it was full of cookies and then milk got involved and than more comments about food were added, but when I saw this piece in person, it was much smaller than we all thought. It was about half the size of a cookie jar. I still like the jar, but man I was really disappointed that you wouldn’t be able to fit many cookies in it. Again – here was a case where art had effected my life once more – beauty and disappointment offered in the same object. Darn you artists.

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Surface Craft Gallery had become one of my favorite spots to see fine art crafts in Charleston. If you haven’t been there check it out.

Surface Craft Gallery will be opening a new exhibit, “Spring!”, a ceramics renewal show featuring local and national clay artisans in both functional and sculptural work, with an opening reception on Mar. 23, from 5-8pm. The show continues through Apr. 13, 2017. Work by Kelly Thiel will be featured in the show. She left us to live in Bend, OR, but now her work is returning to Charleston.

Well, it was time to head back home to Bonneau and as I drove out of Charleston down Meeting Street I just couldn’t believe how they are changing the skyline of Charleston – pretty soon you won’t be able to see the sky. So sad. I still love you Charleston, but now I know how the old timers felt and talked of their “lost” Charleston when I first got here in the mid 70s.

The March 2017 Issue of “Carolina Arts” is Now Ready to Download

Wednesday, March 1st, 2017

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The March 2017 issue of Carolina Arts is up on our website at (http://www.carolinaarts.com/317/317carolinaarts.html) – all 70 pages of it – ten more than last month.

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. And, don’t forget to find a way to thank our advertisers – they make the paper possible.

And help us spread the paper around by sending this link to your friends.

If you want to get something in the April 2017 issue – send it now or as soon as you can. Don’t wait till the Mar. 24th deadline. I warned people last month about the short month and that they should get their info in early as we would have to move at a break-neck speed to get the March issue done. Unfortunately a few didn’t listen or didn’t read my commentary and they got left behind on the – after deadline e-mail pile. Don’t ever wait for the last minute to participate. Time waits for no one.

Thanks – Tom and Linda Starland
Carolina Arts
843/693-1306
info@carolinaarts.com

The February 2017 Issue of “Carolina Arts” is Now Ready to Download

Wednesday, February 1st, 2017

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The February 2017 issue of Carolina Arts is up on our website at (http://www.carolinaarts.com/217/217carolinaarts.html) – all 60 pages of it – a few more than last month.

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. And, don’t forget to find a way to thank our advertisers – they make the paper possible.

And help us spread the paper around by sending this link to your friends.

If you want to get something in the March 2017 issue – send it now or as soon as you can. Don’t wait till the Feb. 24th deadline. It’s a short month so our deadline is very important this month. Please get your info to us well before the deadline of Feb. 24 so we have time to get our March issue produced in time. We’ll be moving at break-neck speed so don’t be late or you’ll be left behind.

Thanks – Tom and Linda Starland
Carolina Arts
843/693-1306
info@carolinaarts.com

The January 2017 Issue of “Carolina Arts” is Now Ready to Download

Sunday, January 1st, 2017

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The January 2017 issue of Carolina Arts is up on our website at (http://www.carolinaarts.com/117/117carolinaarts.html) – all 56 pages of it – a few less than last month. It’s a new year and some people are never ready for it. Our cover image is by Yvette L. Cummings of Conway, SC.

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. And, don’t forget to find a way to thank our advertisers – they make the paper possible.

And help us spread the paper around by sending this link to your friends.

If you want to get something in the February 2017 issue – send it now or as soon as you can. Don’t wait till the Jan. 24th deadline. You do know you can be early. Some folks are already several months ahead of the deadline when their press release would be due.

Thanks – Tom and Linda Starland
Carolina Arts
843/693-1306
info@carolinaarts.com

The December 2016 Issue of “Carolina Arts” is Now Ready to Download

Thursday, December 1st, 2016

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The December 2016 issue of Carolina Arts is up on our website at (http://www.carolinaarts.com/1216/1216carolinaarts.html) – all 62 pages of it – a few less than last month.

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. And, don’t forget to find a way to thank our advertisers – they make the paper possible.

And help us spread the paper around by sending this link to your friends.

If you want to get something in the January 2017 issue – send it now or as soon as you can. Don’t wait till Christmas Eve, Dec. 24th deadline. You do know you can be early. Some folks are already several months ahead of the deadline when their press release would be due.

Thanks – Tom and Linda Starland
Carolina Arts
843/693-1306
info@carolinaarts.com

My Not So Annual Trip to the Celebration of Seagrove Potters in Seagrove, NC

Monday, November 28th, 2016

I didn’t get to go to the first Celebration of Seagrove Potters in 2008, but I’ve been writing about it way before then, since I got myself in the middle of a heated battle going on in Seagrove, NC, the center of pottery in North Carolina. There was a fight going on between a slick festival promoter, his Seagrove sidekick, and a group of long term potters from the Seagrove area – potters who’s families have been throwing pots in the area for generations. And I think time has proven that I took the right side way back when – now nine Celebrations ago.

I’m not going to rehash the problem or even name names – mostly because no one can hardly remember the other two dudes. That’s what happens when a new idea becomes an annual success. And, that’s what the Celebration of Seagrove Potters is – a resounding success. 2017 will be its 10th anniversary – our 30th in doing an arts publication and the 20th for Carolina Arts. How time flies.

When we got our tickets in the mail from the good folks at the Celebration, Linda had to do some horse trading to get a few days off from her 911 job and we booked a room in a hotel in Asheboro, NC, where everyone else there is either going to the Celebration or the NC Zoo.

It’s about a five hour trip from Bonneau Beach, SC, the headquarters of PSMG, Inc. to Seagrove – depending on how many stops we have to make. The older we get the more stops it seems to take. Maybe with all that infrastructure building our new President has promised the I-74/73 highway will get finished and it will be down to a four hour trip, but we won’t hold our breath.

When we got to the hotel we got a surprise – the woman who checked us in was the sister of Rhonda McCanless, who used to write a column about Seagrove for us before she went to work for the STARworks Center for Creative Enterprise in Star, NC. Rhonda is married to Eck McCanless, one of the overly talented McCanless clan of potters and musicians in the Seagrove area. You might say that in Seagrove potters grow on trees – family trees that is.

Next stop was the Friday night Gala at the Celebration at the historic Luck’s Cannery just outside of downtown Seagrove. That’s an inside joke for anyone who has been to Seagrove. There’s not much of a town there, but it is the capital of pottery in North Carolina – pretty much the Southeast. And on the weekend before Thanksgiving every year the Celebration of Seagrove Potters takes place featuring over 75 local potters. This town might be small but it goes big when it comes to pottery events in that – believe it or not – there’s another big pottery festival which takes place that same weekend in another location. So little old Seagrove offers two major pottery events on the same weekend. It’s pottery madness.

The Gala is a special event made for serious collectors, who pay $45 to get a first chance to buy the latest works right out of the kiln and a chance at owning special collaborative works, created by two area potters, offered at a live auction. These one-of-a-kind works are fought over by collectors who want something no one else can own. It’s a fundraiser, so when the bidding gets hot – the winner does a lot of good for the pottery community. One of these works, a pot created by Ben Owen III of Ben Owen Pottery and Takura Shibata of Studio Touya went for over $1,450+. This was a sort of East meets West creation since Takura and his wife Hitomi, also a gifted potter, moved from Japan to USA and then Seagrove. But some bidders got some real bargains.

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This was a work created by Zeke McCanless of Dover Pottery and Frank Neef of Pottery by Frank Neef – it’s high bid almost reached $1,000.

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This is the pot by Ben Owen III of Ben Owen Pottery and Takura Shibata of Studio Touya

But the Gala is much more than buying pottery – it’s good food and drink with live entertainment, good conversation with the folks who create all these wonderful pots, and an opportunity to learn about this pottery community as several organizations are also involved – the NC Pottery Center and STARworks Center for Creative Enterprise, which is not only involved in promoting pottery, pottery supplies, glass making, glass making equipment, teaching classes, and much more.

Of course you can get a lot of this during the sales event Sat. and Sun., but you’ll miss out on the collaborative works. Admission is only $5 these days and parking is free.

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For me – it’s mostly about conversations and some adding to our pottery collection. And that’s why I don’t have hundreds of images of pottery to show you. I talk too much and forget to take photos, but then again I want you to go experience this event yourself not just look at my pictures of the event.

If you have never been to Seagrove and you like pottery, going will be an experience you’ll never forget. Some folks make going there a regular habit. Many do their holiday shopping during the Celebration. Oh the lucky folks on their lists. If you have been there but it was some time ago – new potters are moving there and setting up shop all the time. And, of course there are always new generations of historic pottery families coming on line.

The 10th Annual Celebration of Seagrove Potters will take place Nov. 17-19, 2017. For more information about that and other events taking place in Seagrove visit (www.DiscoverSeagrove.com).

So here’s some more images of our visit this year.

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Our first stop is always the Whynot Pottery booth, the folks who first got me to Seagrove. These art tiles being shown are being offered through Acacia Art Tile at Whynot and are made by Meredith Heywood.

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Our next stop is usually to the Bulldog Pottery booth, where we’ll meet up with Samantha Henneke and Bruce Gholson and their crew Gloria and Ed Henneke, Samantha’s parents.

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This clay dog is guarding the booth for Johnston & Gentithes Art Pottery. He was created by Carol Gentithes.

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Here’s a face jug by Sid Luck of Luck’s Ware, Sid is a cultural treasure in North Carolina.

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Here’s a view of the booth of Dean & Martin Pottery (love that name). They incorporate images from the 60’s in their work. I knew most of the people I saw on their pots – how is that possible – oh yeah – I’m old.

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This little bear is having fun with a butterfly at the Crystal King Pottery booth.

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Here’s a view of works at the Ben Owen Pottery booth.

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Always a favorite stop for Linda is the JLK Jewelry booth. I finally got Linda to stop looking and buy something.

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OK – you’re wondering what this jewelry has to do with a pottery event. All the stones you see in these works are made of clay.

There were lots of other booths we visited who had wonderful works, but as I said I talk to much and forgot to take photos.

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Now speaking about talking too much – it has it cost. Last year I had my eye on adding a work to our collection from Ray Pottery. I love red in artwork, but I spent too much time talking last year and by the time I got back to their booth – the pieces I had my eye on were gone. So it was a first order of business this year and their booth was across from Whynot Pottery’s booth, but no one was there. That was frustrating as I knew I’d get talking again. Mark Heywood said to pick what I wanted and he’d hold it for me until the Ray Pottery booth was open for business. Now that’s service and a reflection of this community.

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Here’s a side view of this piece. There’s lot of details to enjoy.

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I also got this mug from Whynot Pottery to match a little pot we found while visiting Whynot’s studio last year. It was a glaze that they had used in the past but had trouble getting it to come out right in the kiln process – so it was a real find. Well they have worked out that process and had lots of works with this glaze available this year. Oh, you didn’t know that most of the potters at the Celebration also opened their studio/galleries during that weekend so you can see even more of their works – well they do.

Hey folks, stick with me and I’ll let you know all the things I’m learning. In fact, I’m thinking of organizing a tour bus to the 10th Celebration from the Charleston, SC, area next year. Stay tuned for details.

The November 2016 Issue of “Carolina Arts” is Now Ready to Download

Tuesday, November 1st, 2016

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The November 2016 issue of Carolina Arts is up on our website at (http://www.carolinaarts.com/1116/1116carolinaarts.html) – all 69 pages of it – a few less than last month.

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. And, don’t forget to find a way to thank our advertisers – they make the paper possible.
And help us spread the paper around by sending this link to your friends.

If you want to get something in the December 2016 issue – send it now or as soon as you can. Don’t be a “turkey” and wait till the November 24th deadline. You do know you can be early. Some folks are already several months ahead of the deadline when their press release would be due.

Thanks – Tom and Linda Starland
Carolina Arts
843/693-1306
info@carolinaarts.com

The October 2016 Issue of “Carolina Arts” is Now Ready to Download

Saturday, October 1st, 2016

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The October 2016 issue of Carolina Arts is up on our website at (http://www.carolinaarts.com/1016/1016carolinaarts.html) – all 80 pages of it – a few more than last month.
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. And, don’t forget to find a way to thank our advertisers – they make the paper possible.
And help us spread the paper around by sending this link to your friends.
If you want to get something in the November 2016 issue – send it now or as soon as you can. Don’t wait till the October 24th deadline. You do know you can be early. Some folks are already several months ahead of the deadline when their press release would be due.

Thanks – Tom and Linda Starland
Carolina Arts
843/693-1306 (a new number)
info@carolinaarts.com

ArtFields in Lake City, SC, Loses Opportunity To Be Something Great

Wednesday, September 7th, 2016

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It might be just my opinion and you can take it or leave it, but ArtFields is in sorry shape and in inexperienced hands. I’ve been putting off writing this commentary as I know you shouldn’t write something when you’re angry, but time is passing by and people have been waiting to see what I’d say about what happened at the end of ArtFields 2016. Four months have gone by and ArtFields has said nothing about the fact that now for the second year in a row it doesn’t have a director. What does it mean when your director resigns each year at the end of the event before a replacement can be trained as to what’s what? It’s not good.

Maybe ArtFields does have a new director but no announcement has been made. In fact in four months they have offered very little on their website or social media about what’s going on except that they will be doing it again in 2017. But they’re not alone – there has been little if any press in any media about ArtFields 2016. It’s a bad habit of theirs – going silent after the event is over, but maybe they have their reasons. No news might be the only good news they have.

I guess I could call them and see what’s up but I feel it would end up in a shouting match and I no longer trust anything they say anyway. Anything they have to say I want to see in writing or in official accounts. And, they have yet to answer the questions I had about the number of people who registered to vote in 2016 and the number of people who did vote. That was asked four months ago.

So here’s what I have to say for now and some photos of works I enjoyed seeing at ArtFields 2016.

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816artfields-farvan3“Bread and Circus,” by Diana Farfan Valente, Greenville, SC, ceramic & mixed media, $20,000/$2,000 each

My History With ArtFields

Sometime in the Spring of 2012, Karen Fowler, the first director of ArtFields contacted me to get my support for a new event they were going to be offering in Lake City, SC – a competition and exhibition of artworks from 12 Southeastern states in Lake City venues – in converted warehouses and local businesses, with $100,000 in cash awards that would be determined by voting by people who attended the event and a panel of qualified jurors. The top prize would be $50,000. The event was modeled after ArtPrize which takes place in Grand Rapids, MI.

My first reaction was how are you going to get artists to enter a competition/exhibition in Lake City, SC, and who will come see this exhibit? Lake City was in the middle of nowhere and I knew what nowhere is like because I live in Bonneau Beach, SC, just 52 miles from Lake City off Hwy. 52, which is in the middle of nowhere between Florence, SC, and Charleston, SC. A $100,000 in cash prizes will get the attention of artists – at first they’ll think it’s a typo – which many did, but it’s still going to be Lake City. Grand Rapids has 350,000 people living near by and it’s between Chicago and Detroit. Lake City on a good day has almost 7,000 residents.

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816artfields-joe-knotts5“Unarmed African-Americans Altered Portrait Heads,” by Joe Knotts, Shelby, NC, terra-cotta, slip & encaustic, $1,000 each (there were 26 heads)

I had traveled through Lake City hundreds of times while delivering our publication (back when it was printed) to areas in SC and NC. But, I never stopped to eat there or get gas and I never, ever wondered what was down Main Street in Lake City. I just never heard anything about it. I knew there was no visual art venue there so why should I be interested in stopping there.

I first mentioned ArtFields in my commentary in our July 2012 issue of Carolina Arts, ArtFields had also taken out a full page ad in that issue. From that day on I mentioned ArtFields a lot – more than any other event covered in our publication – in my commentary, on our blogs and social media. Over the next four years I spent more time in Lake City attending ArtFields events and exhibits at the Jones-Carter Gallery, which opened in Lake City with the beginning of ArtFields, than any other event. I invested a lot of time and money in ArtFields because I was hopeful that this event had potential. Carolina Arts started donating ads to the Jones-Carter Gallery to help draw attention to its exhibitions. By Sept. 2014 Carolina Arts was donating a 1/4 page ad to ArtFields every month in order to keep the event’s name out there all year long. We asked for nothing in return.

So, in May of 2016, just after the fourth ArtFields ended when I called to get some information from Hannah Davis, ArtFields’ current director about some results from that year and was told she resigned – I was shocked. I soon learned she was asked to resign with no other reason than that the event would be going in a different direction. What that direction was – no one seems to know, but for me, my anger has yet to subside and all I know is that I wouldn’t be going in what ever direction they were.

In my opinion, the fact that they put Hannah Davis, who was the director of the Jones-Carter Gallery and involved in every ArtFields, in charge, just months before the 2016 event was to take place – was finally a move in the right direction. The future was bright. So the fact that they would force her to resign after the 2016 event meant that the folks in Lake City were never going to make a go of this event other than it being an over-priced juried show of mostly local (SC) works.

That’s still good for SC’s artists, but too bad it will never be anything more than that. It all comes down to small town politics and a few very big egos.

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“Personal Universe,” by Helaine Schneider, Orlando, FL, clay, wood & speakers, $30,000

I’m not going to ask artists not to enter this event or tell people not to go see it, but I’m not going to be the event’s cheerleader anymore and I’m not going to help them justify or explain some of their mistakes or missteps. From now on let the folks in Lake City, who are so good at saying nothing, explain their actions. But I will point out some of their BS and there is a lot of it.

For example let’s take a look at a statement ArtFields offers on their website today. In my opinion they have a problem with “words”.

The South’s Most Engaging Art Festival and Competition

ArtFields® started in 2013 with a simple goal: honor the artists of the Southeast with a week’s worth of celebration and competition in the heart of a traditional Southern small town. With over $100,000 up for grabs, awarded based on the input of every visitor to ArtFields and a panel of judges made up of acclaimed artists and educators, the competition offers life-changing amounts of money to all artists in all media who live in the twelve Southeastern states. Over 400 masterpieces will be displayed in locally-owned venues, from renovated warehouses from the 1920’s to Smithsonian-qualified art galleries to upscale restaurants and start-up boutiques, in a mutual celebration of art and community. What was once one of South Carolina’s most prosperous agricultural communities now becomes a living art gallery as we continue to demonstrate the best of the Southeast and recognize the incredible talent we have to offer.

816artfields-lauren-woods“Maiden Voyage,” by Lauren Woods, Mobile, AL, oil on canvas, $15,000

I don’t know who writes this stuff but they have a real problem with numbers and words. It’s all over the top in describing the event. Making it hard for the event to live up to its promotion.

First – a nine day event is more than a week. Do they only want people to come for a week or do they think people will think nine days is too long?

Second – the $100,000 figure – they seem to always short change The Citizens Bank, a local bank which gives $10,000 for 10 awards of $1,000 for what are sometimes called Honorable Mention awards or Merit Awards depending on where you look on their website. Believe me artists feel differently about what they are called. And they always seem to forget they give another $1,000 to the winner of their Portrait Competition. So this figure should always be $111,000 in cash awards.

Third – ArtFields has yet to have very good participation from all 12 states. The bulk of the artists entering and on view are coming from South Carolina.

Fourth – “awarded based on the input of every visitor to ArtFields” ArtFields says about 20,000 go to their event but less than 7,000 register to vote and about half of them actually vote – so it is not based on the input of every visitor or is it. Maybe 7,000 is closer to the actual attendance. They can’t have it both ways.

Fifth – “the competition offers life-changing amounts of money to all artists”. This kind of statement could only come from small town folks who know little about the arts. $50,000 might seem like a lot of money to some folks, but many of the works on display have a price tag of $10,000, $20,000, $30,000 and more – artists who sell their works for that amount of money will be happy to win a $50,000 award, but I doubt it will change their lives. I’ve begged ArtFields to drop this statement, but they refuse. A $25,000 award would barely buy an artist a new van to drive their works to other exhibitions.

Sixth – “Over 400 masterpieces will be displayed” I don’t think there have ever been 400 works on display at any of the events in the past four years, much less “over” 400 and although many of the works are excellent, few are what most in the art world would call masterpieces. Masterpieces end up in Museums.

Seventh – “best of the Southeast”. This is a statement that many in the art world are guilty of stating. How can any event say this? In a juried show setting, all you can say is that these are the works our jury panel selected out of the entries we received. How do you get to saying it is a collection of the best of the Southeast without seeing all the other works produced in the Southeast? I’m sure when other artists hear that statement they just shake their heads – especially those who didn’t enter the competition.

I don’t know why people who organize these kinds of events always feel they have to overstate the facts. I don’t know why people can’t say – in this case – that we have a pretty big exhibit in a small town with works from artists from 12 states with big cash prizes. I’m sure a wordsmith can come up with a fancy way of saying that without overstating the facts. Cause people get mad when something doesn’t live up to its statements.

ArtFields has another problem with how they come up with their attendance figures. After the 2013 event ArtFields announced the results that a consulting firm in Columbia, SC, came up with: 22,000 visitors visited the festival, spending an average of $33. I don’t know how they could come up with that figure as attendance was free for most of the events. The Jones-Carter Gallery counts its visitors and they never saw over 7,000 during any ArtFields event. And, each year organizers would say that they saw an increase over the last year’s numbers, but numbers stated fluxuated from 22,000 to 20,000 from year to year. My bet would be it’s closer to 10,000, which is a good number for a small town like Lake City. The competition is based on the viewers voting for the works they like, but I don’t think too many more than 5,000 – 7,000 have ever registered to vote and less than half actually vote. The organizers have never offered exact numbers on how many votes the top winners received. It’s all a big secret.

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“A Sense of Community,” by Kathy Moore, Belton, SC, encaustic, found objects, ink, wire, & oil, $3,500

And, the big problem in getting this event to grow is that most of the people voting are from the region or South Carolina. That’s why most of the winners, not all, are from this same region or South Carolina. There is nothing wrong with that but it won’t help artists from the other 11 states enter when they don’t think they have a chance at winning. Entering ArtFields, delivering work there and coming to the event is not cheap for artists from outside the state.

And, I want it on record that if in 2017 they come up with a prize given in a drawing from the people who register to vote and actually vote – that was my idea as an incentive to get more people to vote. If they don’t do that – it’s just one of many suggestions I’ve offered to make the event better that are just ignored.

Artists also don’t like that the jurors selecting who will be in the competition and then the final jury panel deciding the cash awards are mostly from those 12 states. They want all jurors to come from outside those 12 states.

Staff members also seem to be challenged when it comes to working social media or any media for the matter. They can’t seem to fix the Jones-Carter Gallery website. It’s been broken for four months now. In the last four months they have posted very little on Facebook or on the blog on the ArtFields’ website. What’s the problem? Do they have nothing to say to encourage new artists to enter the competition or visitors to come see the exhibition or Lake City for that matter. I thought the idea behind ArtFields was to make Lake City an arts destination. If there is any art to see in Lake City when ArtFields isn’t taking place – who would know about it? The whole organization seems to only be active during ArtFields and then after that – they are either exhausted or don’t know what to do – and without someone at the helm who knows what they are doing – can you blame them.

Recruiting artists to participate is a real problem and the event’s retention rate (getting an artist to return to the competition year after year is terrible – except for SC artists). Having a poor retention rate doesn’t encourage other artists to enter.

Making sales of art during the event would make a lot of artists feel better about not winning an award, but ArtFields can’t seem to make that happen. They think letting the public know they can buy works would interfere with the jurors selection process. If the viewing public knew people were putting their names on a list to buy certain works it would encourage more sales. Works should be marked to let viewers know someone is interested in buyng it.

Artists would also like to see more of those “Merit Awards” of $1,000 to offset expenses in entering the competition. Hannah Davis was going to try and get more sponsors for these kind of awards, but I’m sure if ArtFields keeps ignoring The Citizens Bank and the money they have been putting up, they’ll have a hard time keeping them invested in ArtFields. Or would that detract from the idea that Darla Moore, the event’s patron saint, is putting up most of the money for this event?

OK, enough bad news. One of the highlights of ArtFields is the merchants who display most of the works in their shops, restaurants and boutiques. With a few exceptions, most of these folks go out of their way welcoming visitors, showing off the works they have on display, and working for votes for their artists. I wish the organizers of this event were as welcoming and truthful as these merchants are. The event would be a lot better off. I know some of the artists don’t like being in these venues, but they have a better chance at collecting votes in these venues compared to the more gallery like venues.

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816artfields-colin-quashie3“French Toile-Negro Toil,” by Colin Quashie, Charleston, SC, print on satin, $110/panel

Most of the folks in Lake City are friendly and helpful and I have always thought that one of the biggest selling points of getting people to ArtFields and Lake City would be using social media to tell their stories. I always enjoyed my visits there. But, I’m not sure they are as happy as some folks make them out to be as to how ArtFields is working.

There are a lot more things I could complain about and I probably will in time, but I’m sick of all the politics and lost potential. I had planned to take a broad look at ArtFields 2016 – which I thought was a pretty good event – as far as the art on display goes. It’s just too bad they had to ruin it all.

I think in 2016 participating artists were beginning to think about what they would enter in ArtFields instead of just entering anything the first couple of years. Top tier artists were beginning to enter and under the leadership of Hannah Davis many artists were looking forward to changes she knew needed to be made that were more artists friendly. Davis had dealt with a lot of these artists, people in the art community and she knew what their complaints were. We talked about a lot of changes she would like to make – if they ever let her really run things, but that was doubtful considering they didn’t make her the director until many things were set in stone and after pulling the event off in just three months – they ask her to resign.

The photos I’m including are just a few of the works I enjoyed seeing in the 2016 event. I took hundreds of photos and would have found a way to post them throughout the year leading up to 2017, but that won’t be happening. I apologize to the artists for that, but doing so would lend support to ArtFields and as I’ve said – I’m going in a different direction than they are. When someone discovers what that direction is – give me a call.

In the end, if ArtFields doesn’t like what I’m saying about their event and organization – you can thank Karen Fowler for inviting me in the door and now her husband Marion Fowler for his recent actions. When you have people who are “so” experienced in the arts as these two are at running things it’s no wonder ArtFields is just spinning its wheels. Back in 2012 if she didn’t know who I was and that I wouldn’t lie for them – shame on her. People who follow Carolina Arts know I’m going to say what I mean and not sugar coat it. Maybe one day I’ll hear from artists that ArtFields has gotten better and I should take another look. But, I understand Darla Moore is bored with ArtFields so I’m not sure it has much time left for that to happen.