Posts Tagged ‘City of North Charleston’

A Trip to the 2012 North Charleston Arts Festival in North Charleston, SC

Monday, May 7th, 2012


I started off my trip to the 2012 North Charleston Arts Festival with a trip to the 7th Annual National Outdoor Sculpture Competition and Exhibitionat the North Charleston River Front Park at the old Navy Base on the Cooper River where I think I gave a pint of blood. No, there wasn’t a Red Cross blood drive going on, but the mosquitoes where taking their fair share of blood from me. I don’t know if it was that I got there so early, about 9am, before the sun made them run for the shadows, but they were out in force, so you might want to take some spray if you go there – just in case. But this show will be up for a year – so no hurry.

I completely missed last year’s event so I wanted to make sure I photographed this year’s event, but I think the exhibit was still being set up so we’ll wait for that posting a little later, but here’s a little tease. I don’t have names and info yet.



I next headed over to the Charleston Area Convention Center for the Festival’s Main Event which is the site of many of the Festival’s exhibitions and competitions. I’ve never arrived at the Main Event when it was opening and I was amazed at the river of people flowing into the Convention Center to get their first look at the Festival’s offerings. This place was wall to wall art offerings – performances of all types and visual arts in every area of the facility, including the exhibits and artists’ booths selling their creations. Music could be heard just outside in the courtyard between the Convention Center and the Coliseum where area graduations were being held. I heard many a folk headed to the graduation say the festival was their next stop.

I started out at the Judged Fine Art & Photography Competitions and Exhibitions to see who the big winners were this year. I was really curious to see if Denise L. Greer was dominating the competition again this year. She’s been all over the place and even has a big solo exhibit at the Sumter County Gallery of Art through July 6, 2012.

The artworks were marked better this year, but for this 60 + guy I wish they would put the ID tags at the top of the works instead of at the bottom. I really had to test my ability to bend over to see who some of the artists were. My apologies to those folks who got a way too close look at my rear during this process. The lighting here is not so good, so in fairness I didn’t take any photos of these works.

Denise L. Greer didn’t do as well this year as she did last year. She won two Honorable Mention ribbons in Mixed Media and Watercolor. But I think she might have been robbed of a higher award in the Oils category due to some bad placement. But, that’s just my opinion. She had a small work in a very dark area of the Center – with almost no light on her work. The work itself was also very dark which didn’t help. From what I could see the work could have been very interesting, but hard to tell and I don’t see how any judge could tell either, but that’s the luck of placement – a factor in any competition. But I have to tell you there is a certain lure to an image you can’t see very well. I spent three hours looking at art that day and I kept going back to see if the lighting got any better, but it was always the same. Pretty soon I was getting the feeling that someone was trying to keep something good from me and that this work might be the best work of art in the world and I was being denied a look at it. That’s kind of crazy, but it’s how I felt.

Bob Graham, another dominating force at this show from year to year had won 1st Place in Drawing and 2nd Place in Watercolor. But Best of Show this year went to Shelia Thompson, an artist I do not know of, but the work was very good – so I’ll keep an eye out for that name in the future.

There were a number of new people with works in the show this year and a lot of the same people. I was glad to see Peter Scala had work in the Oils category. He won 2nd Place in Oils. His style does stand out from a lot of artists and I was glad to see that the judge agreed with my taste in art.

After a couple of turns around this exhibit to make sure I saw everything, I went to look at the Youth Art Competition and Exhibition next, which got a better placement than the Adult works did – lighting wise. This was a massive display of student art in three groupings, 1-5 grades, 6-8 grades, and 9-12 grades, from various schools in North Charleston, which includes the Charleston County School of the Arts.

A lot of people who come to see the art exhibits seem to dismiss the Youth Art, especially if they don’t have a child of their own whose work is on display, but I like looking at it to get a glimpse into the future of our art community and I saw some strong signs that things are doing well there despite cutbacks in school art funding.

My favorite work in the 1-5 group was by Jose DeLa Cruz, a student of Peggy Bennett at Howe Hall AIMS. This photo stood out from all the works I saw – there was nothing else like it.

Work by Jose DeLa Cruz

Another favorite was in the 9-12 group by Allic Alcerno, a student of B. Moore at the School of the Arts for a haunting portrait. (Not sure about the spelling of names here as tags were hand written.)

Work by Allic Alcerno

But I have to say the most impressive thing I saw in the Youth Art show was a group of works by students of J. Carol Gardner at Hanahan High School in the 9-12 group. Works by Eliza Westbrook, Tristen Mincey, Anthony Gabrish, Cody Dawson, Katie Hancock, Alyssa Black, Kaytlin Clack, Frances Fisher, and Ashley Seiderman were outstanding. Other students from that school had good works too. And the types and styles of the works were all over the spectrum of media. It showed that students don’t have to go to a school especially set up for the arts to get good training and guidance. This was the sign of a good art teacher. But that name seemed familiar.

I went back to the Adult competition and found that this teacher practiced what she preached. J. Carol Gardner had won an Honorable Mention in Oils and Mixed Media and a 3rd Place in Mixed Media. And, it was also good to see that the teacher wasn’t turning out clones of the teacher. The student work was very different from what the teacher was presenting. That’s not always the case in the student/teacher relationship.

I hate to say it but some of the works in the Youth Art display were better than some of the works in the Adult Art exhibit. But, again – all this is just my opinion. Others would see things totally different and neither of us would have the final right opinion. After all it’s just an opinion or how you feel at the moment – educated opinion or not – that’s how juried shows are.

I next went into the room the SC Palmetto Hands Fine Craft Competition and Exhibition was in and the first thing I noticed was that it seemed to be much brighter and it was a lot easier taking photos. This may just be another opinion, but I think my photos were better.

This show is always interesting, showing some of the best craft work being done in SC, but I know there are many others out there that don’t enter, but the works presented show viewers a good sample of the quality being done in our state. And, selected works from this show will travel throughout the state for a year.

The good thing here is that I can let photos do most of my talking.

Pearl Fryar’s Glorious Garden, clay by Patz Fowle

High Chair Driver, mixed media by Dennis Vernon

Cleo Car, mixed media by Dennis Vernon

Spool Cradle, mixed media by Susan Lenz

Close up of spools in Spool Cradle, mixed media by Susan Lenz

Mark Leaving Series #2, mixed media by Fran Gardner

Some of My Very Best Friends, clay by Pamela L. Steele

Brown Jug, clay by Pamela L. Steele

Time Signature, mixed media by Susan Lenz – back

Time Signature, mixed media by Susan Lenz – front

Tone: 31, mixed media by Doni Jordan

Container, clay by Tuula Ihamaki-Widdifield

Lidded Jar, clay by John Johnson

Handed Down, mixed media by Susan Lenz – Best of Show

My last art viewing of this day was the Photography Competition and Exhibition which included works by professional and amateur photographers. This year’s offerings included another outstanding group of images. I’m an old photographer myself (in a time – far, far away) and for some reason I feel funny about taking photos of photographs – so I didn’t.

There was a time when I would recognize many of the names of the photographers in this display, but I don’t think I recognized one. But, that’s not unusual in that I’ve been out of the local photography scene for several decades and many of the people I know no longer submit their images to be displayed in a way that anyone could reach out and handle their images – including children with sticky fingers. So, I admire those who had excellent images, yet still participated in this competition. What they get back after a couple of weeks may be very different than the prints they submitted.

About this time that massive art viewing headache was coming on strong. It’s one of the side effects of viewing too much art in a short period of time.

What was my lasting impressions of these shows?

First off, my favorite work might have been that work by Denise L. Greer hidden in the shadows, but today Fran Gardner took the prize. It might be because it’s been so long since I’ve seen her work, but it was such a surprise and joy to see what she was up to these days. And, I liked it. I’d like to see an exhibit of her works in a gallery setting and I think a lot of other folks would enjoy it too.

Mark Leaving Series #3 by Fran Gardner

Second, the works by Hanahan High School students and their teacher left me with a positive impression that an individual art teacher can still make a big impact on children to express themselves through art – despite funding cuts. And, it makes you think what could they do with proper funding?

Except for the Youth Art show, the other shows will be on view through May 12, 2012. Viewing times include May 7-11, 9am-5pm and May 12, 9am-noon, with free admission and parking.

The 2012 North Charleston Arts Festival offers a lot more exhibits throughout North Charleston during the festival. You can find out about them in our May 2012 issue of Carolina Arts. You can download a copy at ( or you can check out the info by visiting the festival’s website at (

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

Wednesday, April 27th, 2011


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

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

Info about visual art offerings:

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

411nchas-kim-keatsWork by Kim Keats

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

Strings by Pedro Rodriguez

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

Work by Jenn Garrett

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

Work by Madeline Dukes

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

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

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

Work by Timothy Pakron

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

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

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

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

Info about visual art installation:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Info on other visual art related events:

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

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


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

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

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