Posts Tagged ‘One Eared Cow Glass’

The Annual Trip to One Eared Cow Glass in Columbia, SC, for Holiday Shopping

Friday, December 11th, 2015

oneeardcowglasslogo

Linda and I made a quick trip to One Eared Cow Glass in Columbia, SC, to pick out some Christmas gifts and a few others that have backed up – house warming and birthday gifts included. Of course it felt more like being transported for Linda. She drove home after a 12 hour shift at 911 and I jumped in the car and drove us to Columbia. She seems to be on the wrong side of our traveling anywhere, She can sleep some in the car, but it’s not the best place to catch a few winks after 12 hours of emergency calls. I-26 is not the best place to chill after the nightly battle.

It’s a short two hours for me – compared to my past driving experience, but there’s not much in between except public radio or Christmas music. And these days only one SC Rest Stop due to construction in the Columbia area.

This was our first trip back to Columbia since the big flood. We didn’t see any signs of flood damage on the route we usually take, but the rivers were higher than normal. The thing to remember when you hear about a disaster somewhere – media reports show you the worse of things, big cities recover very quickly and businesses need customers to keep a disaster from becoming a real disaster. Don’t not go to Columbia as you think you’ll have a hard time getting around. Most major roads are all open. And businesses not damaged really need your business.

One Eared Cow Glass was full of great gifts for family and friends and yourself – if you’ve been good. Prices seem to start at $30 and go everywhere in between $5,000 or $6,000 for a big glass bug that was in a display at the SC State Fair a few years ago. But I saw a lot of $50-$70 pieces that would make a great one-of-a-kind gift – from Christmas balls, jewelry, small jars, drinking glasses, wine bottle stoppers, etc.

1115one-eared-cow1

1115one-eared-cow2

1115one-eared-cow3

1115one-eared-cow4

I went and talked shop with the Cowboys, Tom Lockart and Mark Woodham, while they worked. That saved me from having to give opinions about things that Linda was checking out. I was in the work studio part of One Eared Cow Glass for about 45 minutes to an hour. We talked about a number of things, but one of the interesting subjects was funding of demos of the process of creating glass, something these two guys have been doing for several decades. In fact on most days you can go there and sit down and watch them work. It’s something I’ve done hundreds of times. They have chairs there just for that purpose.

1115one-eared-cow5

1115one-eared-cow6

1115one-eared-cow7

1115one-eared-cow8

Recently another glass studio in SC received a couple of grants from the SC Arts Commission for putting on demos and something called “theatre”. This was funding for a commercial business – something the Arts Commission has said can’t be done for commercial businesses in the arts. I’ve never figured why it can’t be done – at least any logical reason, but that’s what they always have said, but here they were doing it. My experience is that for every rule the Arts Commission has for not doing something to help some people always finds an exception for people they want to help. There’s a longer story behind this discrepancy, but I’m not going into that now, but the point of mentioning it is that all kinds of people have been doing free art demos for years and now some folks are getting paid to do it – even folks who have regularly been doing it for free, but have now found a way to get paid. What’s their incentive to do them for free again?

1115one-eared-cow9

1115one-eared-cow10

1115one-eared-cow11

1115one-eared-cow12

So I eventually went into the gallery and it took me five minutes to select several gifts including one for myself. It doesn’t take me long to make selections – I know what I like and I usually pick what I like for others.

I took about 150 photos while there, but I selected just 16 to give you a good idea of what you’ll find there. If you want to see more visit (www.oneearedcow.com).

1115one-eared-cow13

1115one-eared-cow14

1115one-eared-cow15

1115one-eared-cow16

If you’re looking for an unusual gift – think art glass, but if you go to Columbia, there are a lot of other art galleries there – just check out our Commercial Gallery listings in the latest issue of Carolina Arts at (www.carolinaarts.com). And if you live in Columbia – these folks will be happy to see you come through their doors too. A gift of art is always the best gift for any occasion.

Another Quick Trip to Columbia, SC, for Some Art Viewing During the Crazy Winter of 2013

Sunday, February 3rd, 2013

I don’t know why the good folks in Columbia, SC, think that Thursday evenings is the day to have art openings and art walks, but it seems that’s their day. Maybe it has to do something with early preparations for Saturday morning tailgating, but once again I was making a trip up I-26 from the Charleston, SC, area to see art in Columbia – something I don’t think a lot of folks in the Charleston area ever consider doing. Believe me – it’s their loss.

Charleston has an excellent visual art community, but so does Columbia and other parts of South Carolina and the Carolinas as a whole. But I’m not sure many folks in Charleston know that.

So on a day when our crazy Winter was turning from an Eskimo’s Summer to a Carolina Winter, I traveled to Columbia to see several exhibitions. When I first arrived in Columbia it was a wonderful 80 degree day. Within hours the temps had dropped 30-40 degrees and rain was blowing horizontally. It kind of reminded me of Michigan.

My first stop was the Goodall Gallery at Columbia College to see the exhibit,South Carolina Governor’s School for the Arts and Humanities Faculty Exhibition, featuring works by Marty Epp-Carter, Ben Gilliam, Elaine Quave, Joseph Thompson, Carolyn Tucker, and Paul Yanko. The exhibit will be on view through Feb. 16, 2013.

I usually don’t know what’s going on at the Goodall Gallery as we don’t ever seem to receive info about their exhibits, but somehow info reached me this month. So, I was interested in seeing the work created by the folks teaching our lucky high school students in SC who get the opportunity to attend the Governor’s School for the Arts in Greenville, SC.

I’ve been told that we will be better informed about exhibits at Columbia College. As Martha Stewart says, “That’s a good thing.”

As I drove to Columbia College I was experiencing a feeling of auto-pilot – the Goodall Gallery was my first stop when delivering papers to Columbia (years ago now). The only difference now was that it was the middle of the day instead of being at 1 or 2am at night. And, being daytime I had to take some faculty member’s parking space, but I figured at that time of the day they had probably left for home already – otherwise I created a parking domino effect. Sorry about that.

213col-cc-view
A view of one corner of the gallery.

The Goodall Gallery is not a large space, but it isn’t small either. It has two levels, but today’s exhibit only took up the lower level. The only artist whose works I was familiar with were those by Paul Yanko, an abstract artist – go figure. I like his work and if you’ve seen it before you can spot it in a second – as long as he keeps to his current style.

213col-cc-paul-yanko-368x450
Bridge Frame Wing by Paul Yanko, 2009-10, acrylic on canvas

213col-cc-paul-yanko-detail
Bridge Frame Wing by Paul Yanko, 2009-10, acrylic on canvas – detail

After a look at everything on display my first impression was that the visual art students at the Governor’s School for the Arts would do well in following what these instructors had to offer. All of the work I saw could actually sell in the Carolinas – which is not often the case when it comes to college or university professors. I liked all the work I saw, but beyond Yanko’s abstracts I focused in on the earthenware clay works by Elaine Quave and a series of photographs by Carlyn Tucker.

213col-cc-elaine-quave-319x450
Hercules Beetle, by Elaine Quave, 2012, earthenware clay

213col-cc-carlyn-tucker
Economic Indicator Series, by Carlyn Tucker, 2005-2011, digital color print

Quave’s works were large platters mounted as wall hangings and Tucker’s photographs told a timelapse story on how well our economy has been doing since 2005. One set of photographs showed one small building in transition from openings to closings of five different businesses in a span of time from 2005 to 2011. It was very interesting – something probably only noticed by people who drive by the building on a daily basis or its landlord. Having been someone who has failed at business in the past, I felt the pain and loss in these images.

213col-cc-ben-gilliam
(left) Vespa, by Ben Gilliam, 2010, alabaster, copper (right) Erosion Vessel, by Ben Gilliam, 2010, bronze, copper

We have an article about this exhibit on Page 14 of our February 2013 issue of Carolina Arts (www.carolinaarts.com). Go see this exhibit.

My next stop was Tapp’s Art Center on Main Street. It’s been awhile since I’ve been there – way before they got city funding, but by the time I got from Columbia College to where Tapp’s is on Main Street – the skies had opened up and rain was coming down in buckets – horizontally. After driving around the area a few times and finding only one parking space that would have meant I would spend the rest of my time in Columbia soaked to the bone – I went to plan B, which is mostly plan A every time I’m in Columbia. I drove over to One Eared Cow Glass to see what the cowboys were up to. Besides I had orders from Linda, my better half, to get one of those glass snowflakes from the display of the Four Seasons (in glass) that One Eared Cow Glass did at the recent SC State Fair.

I found a space at OECG right next to the front door, but judging by how wet I got just getting out of the car and through that door – not going to Tapp’s was a good decision. Hopefully I’ll get to visit on my next trip to Columbia.

The cowboys on this day were working on a commission piece for the town of Blythewood, SC. They were making leaves to create a chandelier for the new Doko Manor community center in Blythewood. When I asked what that was going to look like they said picture the Dale Chihuly chandelier over at the Columbia Museum of Art, but made of colorful leaves. That’s some kind of picture. I’m sure we’ll be bringing you more about this project in the future.

213col-dale-chil
Dale Chihuly chandelier at Columbia Museum of Art

I watched about a dozen leaves get made while looking to see if the rain was letting up, which it wasn’t, and kept checking at my phone for the time. That’s right, I don’t wear a watch anymore. It’s just another thing a smart phone has replaced. I was keeping track of the time as the main reason I had come to Columbia was for the opening of an exhibit at City Art Gallery, Selected Work from the 30 Year Retrospective: Made in America -1983- 2013, featuring works by artist Marge Loudon Moody, an art professor at Winthrop University in Rock Hill, SC, on view through Mar. 2, 2013. (We have an article about this exhibit on Page 16 of our Jan. 2013 issue of Carolina Arts).

213col-oecg-tommy-stem
Tom Lockart making the stem for a leaf.

213col-oecg-mark-rollin
Mark Woodham rolling out a leaf from a big glob of molten glass.

213col-oecg-tommy-merge
Lockart merging the leaf and the stem.

213col-oecg-tommy-shape
Lockart shaping the leaf.

So while the rain continued, I took some photos (with my phone) and picked out a snow flake, talked with the cowboys and looked at all the wonderful works in the gallery, until it was time to venture back into the car to head over to City Art. I always want to get there early to get a good parking space – especially on that day, due to the downpour.

I got a fairly good spot considering, but the rain was still relentless. I had come ready to be dressed for a reception, at least dressed up for me (dress pants, shirt and sport jacket), but ended up deciding that at my age, it was better to wear my old reliable rain coat and Carolina Panther’s hat to stay as dry as I could. My normal dress is shorts and T-shirt or in Winter – T-shirt and lounge pants or jeans – 24/7 (Panther hat when going outside).

The 100 yard dash to the door was an event. As I reached the door and got inside I can remember letting out a whew! and realizing I was the first person there. The only folks in the gallery were staff members and they were all staring at me. Once I walked up the stairs to the gallery Wendy Wells , the gallery director, walked over to me and asked, “What are you doing here?”. Taking that as a sort of comment based on the weather and distance from Bonneau to Columbia, I replied. “I came for the opening.” She still looked a little surprised, I usually only show up in Columbia for maximum effect – Artista Vista, Vista Lights or even a First Thursday on Main, but I think she understood why I had come for the opening. She also said the artist was still “swimming” upstream on I-77 coming through the rain from Rock Hill.

You need a little background at this point. You see, we have to go back to an exhibit the SC State Museum presented a year or so ago, Abstract Art in South Carolina 1949-2012, which is where I first saw works by Marge Moody. This was my favorite exhibition in some time in SC and I was familiar with the name Marge Moody, but had never seen any of her work before that exhibit. I was more familiar with her husband’s photography – Phil Moody, who also teaches at Winthrop University. Marge Moody’s works in that show made a big impression with me – as did many of the works in that show. It was a spectacular exhibition. You can read about this exhibit and see some images in a blog I did about another trip to Columbia at thisLink.

Wendy Wells had also liked that exhibit and in a discussion about the exhibit Moody’s works came up and she said she was going to have a solo exhibit of her works at City Art Gallery. My response was – when you do we’ll feature her work on the cover of Carolina Arts, and we did in our Jan. 2013 issue.

113carolinaarts-cover

So, you see, I couldn’t wait to see a whole exhibit of Moody’s works and I said so on Facebook, but I guess some people just think comments on Facebook are just superficial comments. Not with me. So, Wells shouldn’t have been too surprised to see me there – slightly wet. But, due to the weather, I think she was surprised anyone would show up that evening. Linda wanted to come too, but just couldn’t get off work to come, so we’ll probably see it again before Mar. 2.

The SC State Museum in Columbia has just received the 2012 Certificate of Excellence for the exhibit, Abstract Art in South Carolina 1949-2012, from the Southeastern Museums Conference (SEMC). So, I guess I stand in good company in liking that exhibition.

Shortly after the reception started the rain stopped and a little sunlight came through the skies so I was able to dash back to my car and change back into my better looking duds – which meant ditch the hat and rain coat and put on the sport coat.

Moody and her husband soon arrived and I got a chance to talk with her about how she had managed to stay off my “abstract” radar, but the good news is that there are other exhibits in the works coming in the future. Hopefully we’ll have more about that in the future.

First off, this exhibit was not really a retrospective – most of the works were recent. I guess it was my mistake in thinking I was going to be seeing a wide range of works over a period of time – by not reading the exhibit title – literally (“Selected Workfrom the 30 Year Retrospective: Made in America -1983- 2013). These works were on the more recent end of those 30 years. Perhaps one of those future exhibits will offer a wider view of those 30 years.

The only way I can describe Moody’s work is to show some of my favorites with photos provided by City Art Gallery. My phone’s camera doesn’t do such a good job in that space for some reason or it’s the fact that at a reception I do more talking than taking photos.

213col-MM-Blue-Chicago-Series-Blue-Chicago-60x72-6000
Blue Chicago Series: Blue Chicago, by Marge Loudon Moody, 60″ x 70″

213col-MM-Field-Lines-Series-Terrain-60x72-60001
Field Lines Series: Terrain, by Marge Loudon Moody, 60″ x 70″

213col-MM-Moon-12x12-800
Moon, by Marge Loudon Moody, 12″ x 12″

213col-MM-Studio-Series-Sunset-and-Still-Life-18x18-1350
Studio Series: Sunset and Stilllife, by Marge Loudon Moody, 18″ x 18″

213col-MM-Thin-Places-Series-Field-I-54x54-4500-426x450
Thin Places Series: Field I, by Marge Loudon Moody, 54″ x 54″

You have lots of time to go see this show, but don’t put it off and then miss it. And, it will be some time – too long for me – before the SC State Museum mounts another view of abstract art in SC. So for people who love and understand abstract works – you have to get out and see these shows when they happen as they don’t happen that often – especially at commercial galleries.

Why is that? Well, those who like abstract art and would consider buying it are in a minority in SC. Commercial galleries are in business to sell art, so my hat goes off to someone like Wendy Wells and City Art Gallery for presenting a show like this one. In this case the public could prove me wrong. I hope so. Yes, City Art Gallery is a supporter of Carolina Arts, but that doesn’t change the facts and supporter or not, they deserve credit for their efforts.

I do want to mention another exhibit that opened that same evening in Columbia over at 701 Center for Contemporary Art, Stephen Hayes: Cash Crop, on view through Mar. 3, 2013. This is another “must see” exhibit that probably won’t be coming to Charleston any time soon – although it should have originated there.

213col-stephen-hayes
A detail of one of Hayes’ pieces in the exhibit.

At the core of the exhibit are 15 life-size sculptures of shackled people placed in boat- or coffin-like structures, with diagrams of captive, warehoused humans in Trans-Atlantic slave ships carved in wood on the back. Hayes says the sculptures represent, “the 15 million human beings kidnapped and transported by sea during the Trans-Atlantic slave trade.”

Most of those slaves probably arrived in Charleston first in coming to America.

This exhibition has been shown several times in North Carolina and I got to see it at Guilford College in Greensboro, NC. If I get another chance I’ll see it at 701, but with a two hour drive back home, my visits to Columbia are always limited. One of these days I’m going to stay overnight and enjoy Columbia’s art scene like a local.

Hayes is doing a residency at 701 CCA, so he may be adding new pieces to this exhibit.

So, if you travel to Columbia before Feb. 16, you can see all these exhibits and maybe get a peek at the chandelier that One Eared Cow Glass is creating.

A Trip to the 2012 South Carolina State Fair in Columbia, SC

Saturday, October 20th, 2012

Linda and I decided to make a quick trip to Columbia, SC, to the SC State Fair to see the display the cowboys at One Eared Cow Glass had created. It’s being called the largest display of blown glass in South Carolina. If you like glass works and we both love the works of One Eared Cow Glass – how could you not go? Plus we’d get to see the Fine Art Show there.

We’ve been on a tight budget and several factors came into play making it possible for us to go. Linda was off work from her second job on Thursday (Oct. 18) mid-week a good day to go to the Fair. The Fair was offering a Lunch Time deal where you paid $5 to get in at noon and if you left by 2pm you got your $5 back. So we went to the Fair free. And, we could take advantage of cheaper gas in Columbia and by taking advantage of Wal-Mart’s Murphy USA 10 cents off deal by using Wal-Mart gift cards to get gas – we paid $3.28 to fill up. It all adds up.

When we got to the Columbia fairgrounds it seemed that half of the local population was also taking advantage of the Lunch Time special. It’s a good deal.

The Ellison Building where the glass display was housed was not too far from the gate we entered and the Canty Building was right across it where the art exhibit was. So except for the what seemed like five mile walk across the parking lot, we didn’t have to walk too far to the exhibits.

I’ve always been amazed at what the cowboys at One Eared Cow Glass can make out of glass, but this display of the Four Seasons was beyond my imagination. The big warehouse style building was not the greatest place to take photos, but that wasn’t stopping the hundreds of folks who were taking shots with their cameras and phones. I myself was very frustrated by the large ceiling lights that caused flairs every time you tilted your camera or phone upward. I imagine that there are a lot of images of this display floating around Facebook and e-mails. Again, except for a lack of zoom my iPhone took the best images.

Works were offered to represent the four seasons of South Carolina – including an amazing Winter snow scene with falling snow flakes, snowmen in a snowball fight, and a giant Christmas tree covered with colorful glass balls.

1012fair-tree-352x450
They’ll be no shortage of Christmas balls this year.

1012fair-snowman-450x337
A fallen snowball fight victim.

Summer and Spring included many flowers, outdoor yard lights, and a host of creatures including a giant spider on a web, a larger than life green praying mantis, and a bug that looked more like a throwback to Jurassic Park.

1012fair-flowers-450x337

1012fair-mantis-450x337

Fall offered a sky full of colorful falling leaves and a bountiful harvest of fruits and vegetables of all kinds and colors – so real looking most people were fooled as to which were glass and some real items sprinkled in with the fake.

1012oecg-fair1-450x335

1012oecg-fair3-450x337

1012oecg-fair2-450x337

In the middle of all this was a pond with water spraying into the sky with three “contemporary” glass palmetto trees which once stood in front of the Columbia Museum of Art for an event.

1012fair-palmettos-374x450

It all involved hundreds and hundreds of glass objects – some amazing for their ability to clone real objects and others for their color and shape.

I know this posting will be too late to generate traffic for this display, but the good news is that a lot of the works will be put on display right after the Fair at One Eared Cow Glass’ display room at 1001 Huger Street.

While there we ran into Tom Lockart, one of the cowboys, who actually had to warn me off getting too close to a display to get a good picture. You know the press – they ignore most boundaries. In talking with him I found out that they could make just about anything you could think of – out of glass – as long as you could afford it. After adding up a few comments about the cost of several of the objects it wasn’t hard to figure that there was about, if not well over, $250,000 worth of glass art on display.

There was a TV set up showing a video of how many of the objects were made in their studio. The cowboys have gotten good at creating videos showing off the glass making process. Lockart told me they took a lot of images setting up the display under better lighting conditions which I think will be posted on their website. Videos will probably be added to their other YouTube offerings.

If you didn’t see this display, I’m not sure if you’ll ever get a chance again. Of course some corporation could afford to make most of this display available to the public, but then I remember we’re in South Carolina and Columbia is not quite like Charlotte, NC, when it comes to supporting the arts with public art displays.

The 2012 Fine Arts Juried Professional & Amateur Show

I think it has been at least 15 years since I last went to see the Fine Art Show at the SC State Fair in Columbia, SC. It was a monster show back then and is still that today with 495 entries in the Professional categories and 625 entries in the Amateur categories, totaling 1120 works of art to look at. That’s not counting the Youth Art display.

I felt sorry for the juror this year, Hank T. Forman, Associate Vice Chancellor and Director of the Turchin Center for the Visual Arts at Appalachian State University in Boone, NC. That’s a lot of art to look at and then come up with winners.

This is not your typical fair art show. At least it’s better than any I’ve seen. Back 15 years ago I was pretty impressed at who they got to enter a fair art show and I was still impressed today. I remember back then that I usually had a migraine headache after making one pass. And on the second turn I saw works I didn’t even notice the first time. This time, I seemed to me able to look and enjoy the massive display of works a lot better. I also kept notes of works that jumped out to me.

I’ll state up front that I’m not going to say anything about the Amateur show as I feel it is somewhat a fraud. When you look at some of the works entered as amateur and they are equal or better than the professional works – something’s wrong with that. These folks may be amateurs in a technical sense, but it’s a shame they refuse to compete with the big boys and gals. Some of them would win awards in the pro categories, but they are sure to win awards with an amateur status.

The lighting is not good for photographing in this building either and many works are behind glass. I was lucky to get a decent shot of the Best in Show winner. I’m offering these comments as just my opinions of what struck my fancy and as an FYI – you should make an effort to go see this show next year and every year. And, as a shout out to some of the artists to give them some recognition. It’s the largest collection of really good art from around the state – excluding a major representation by academic artists, who most wouldn’t be caught dead entering a fair show. I applaud those who did and there were a few. But most of these academic artists don’t want common folk to see their art – they wouldn’t understand most of it without a catalogue of text explaining it anyway.

1012SC-fair-bob-graham-338x450
Little Girl in Braids by Bob Graham – Best in Show

The Best of Show was a work by Bob Graham, of the Charleston area, for a work titled, “Little Girl in Braids”. Graham is always a top contender in juried shows he enters. Did I think it was the best work there? It could have been, but I saw dozens of works that could have been Best of Show winners. Graham should feel good as Foreman sees a lot of great art hanging on the walls of the Turchin Center.

So, as I started looking at the works offered I started writing down the names of artists who produced abstract works I liked. Go figure – right. And, then I started writing down names of artists who’s works I liked in a few categories. Finally, I went through the display again and wrote down the names of artists and the titles of works I thought were standouts. I know I skipped a few categories, but after all it was 495 works. Again, I’m just offering my opinion of what I liked with no technical considerations. But for those mentioned I might add, although I have no degrees in art – I’ve spent 25 years looking at a lot of not so good art, really good art and great art – so I feel my tastes are a little refined at this point.

I hope I didn’t copy anyone’s name down wrong. If I did, I apologize and you can get in touch (info@carolinaarts.com) and I’ll correct it.

Abstract Works

Christian Guerrero, Ann Lemay, Van Martin, Dawn Faber, Wendyth Wells, Heather Noe, Ann Peake, Vickie Jourdan, and Toni M. Elkins. Full disclosure – Wells and Noe are supporters of the paper, but I think they know that I wouldn’t say I like their works – if I didn’t. And, after 25 years I’m not looking to make brownie points with supporters – at least not when it comes to art. I can also add that there might be a name or two included of folks I don’t really care for. I’m just saying there might. I am capable of liking a person’s art and not liking them.

Drawing

Zachary Jenkins, Patty Guerry, Kellie Jacobs, Bob Graham, and Stephen Nevitt.

Mixed Media

Wayney Thornley, Laura Spong, and Stephen Nevitt.

Crafts

Patz Fowle, Tuula Ihamaki-Widdifield, Georgette Sanders, and Bryan Burgin.

Open Media – Sculpture

Susan Lenz, Susan Tondreau-Dwyer, Doni Jordan, James Davis, Janet Kozachek, and Margret Bass.

Photography

John Deas, Margaret Lindler, and Kristen Matthews.

Works I Thought Were Outstanding

Bob Graham – “Waiting for the Bus” and “Little Girl with Braids”

Frank McCauley – “Wolf House”

Patz Fowle – “Calling All Cats”

Vickie Jourdan – “Painters Block” and “Out of Bounds”

Kellie Jacobs – “Lowcountry Treasure”

Regina Moody – “Warmth of Other Suns”

Toni M. Elkins – “Black Swan”

Anne Peake – “Unnamed”

Van Martin – “Ambiguity”

Ann Lemay – “Hydrangeas by Creek”

Dawn Faber – Untitled”

Daryl Knox – “Freshfields”

James Davis – “Puck”

Susan Lenz – “My Bluegrass Roots II”

I couldn’t really come up with my own best or favorite over all others. I don’t know how jurors do it.

If you’re a SC artists and have never heard of this show opportunity – I’m not surprised. I think a few years back they stopped advertising it – they don’t have any more room.

A Trip to Columbia, SC, the Famously Hot City, to See Some Art and Attend a High Noon Event

Thursday, June 28th, 2012

ColumbiaSChotlogo

Last Saturday (June 23, 2012), before I was knee deep in our July 2012 issue of Carolina Arts I headed to Columbia, SC, to catch up on a few things going on there. I wanted to attend one of the Nigh Noon series that City Art was offering – Mary Gilkerson was giving a demo on how to start a painting. I wanted to see the exhibit, Abstract Art in South Carolina: 1949-2012, which offers the first inclusive look at the evolution and influences of abstract painting and sculpture in South Carolina, on view at the SC State Museum through Aug. 26, 2012. And, for me, no trip to Columbia is complete without a stop at One Eared Cow Glass to see what the cowboys, Tom Lockart and Mark Woodham, are up to.

Hitting the road these days is less painful. I filled up the car in Moncks Corner, SC, with $2.91 a gallon gas – thanks to my BiLo Fuel Perks card. Any day under $3 is a good day. I saw on the Weather Channel the other day that Greenville, SC, has the cheapest gas in the nation at $2.69. Our car, a Honda Civic Hybrid, is getting between 42 – 44mpg these days, but we still like lower gas prices.

As usual, I arrived at City Art in Columbia’s Congaree Vista area within two hours of leaving home. A short trip compared to my paper delivery driving days where I would spend 16 -18 hours a day in the car. Thank you Al Gore for inventing the Internet – ha, ha.

I checked out the exhibit of works by Michael Fowler which were still on display, before the big SC Watermedia Society exhibit comes to City Art (beginning July 7). I like abstract works and Fowler offers some good ones. Unfortunately, this day also confirmed that my pocket camera just wasn’t cutting it. I have been disappointed in how it acts in low-light situations. And, on this day I was running a test with my new iPhone’s camera – which after inspection showed it did much better, but it’s going to take some practice getting used to using it – especially keeping my fingers out of the way. In good daylight – the pocket camera is OK.

612columbia-michael-fowler1
Here’s a photo I took with my camera

612columbia-michael-fowler1A
Here’s the same painting off the City Art website

612columbia-michael-fowler2
A view of a few more paintings

612columbia-michael-fowler3
a few more

While at City Art I also checked out some of their other art offerings, but I never got upstairs. I also went downstairs and looked over the art supplies. Not being an artist, I’ve never had much need for art supplies. There was a time when Linda and I did some silkscreening of T-shirts and a few Spoleto Posters with some friends. But this was in relationship to the photography we once did. And, back in the day when we had to physically layout the pages of the paper we used some spray adhesive. When I got to tubes of oil paints I instantly started trying to add up how much the paint might cost an artist like Brian Rutenberg who puts gallons of paint on his paintings – sometimes sticking an inch or two off the canvas. That’s got to cost a pretty penny. I’d learn some tricks about stretching out paint at Mary Gilkerson’s demo.

612columbia-harriet-marshall-goode
A view of some of Harriet Goode’s tall women – from a previous exhibit at City Art

612columbia-jo-dean-bauknight
A colorful painting by Jo Dean Bauknight with a lot of texture

So, close to noon I headed back upstairs and people were beginning to flow in for the demo. At first ten, then twenty, and thirty to eventually forty people and about a handful of staff from City Art. Gilkerson, being an art professor at Columbia College in Columbia came well prepared for this demo – no winging it here, and as I’m sure she’s used to after all her years of teaching – the hour moved on a steady path and I was amazed at how much material she covered with her ten point system in such a short period of time. And it wasn’t all lecture – there was plenty of show and tell, opportunity for questions, and at the end – opportunity to try out some of the materials – on the spot. The show and tell is good for people like me who need people to draw a picture for them to understand a concept sometimes. Words alone don’t always bring up the clearest picture for me.

612columbia-high-noon1
High Noon with Mary Gilkerson

612columbia-high-noon2
A view of the whole group

The bonus of this kind of learning event taking place at City Art is the staff being able to add info about materials, brands, and availability of items mentioned. (Which is no surprise – I’m sure they are offering these events in hope that what people learn will lead to sales of products and early reports were that this was the case.) Just like Carolina Arts, City Art is doing what they are doing because they like the arts, but they are in business too. Gilkerson was handing out info about upcoming workshops. She’s also hoping for some return on her efforts.

612columbia-high-noon3
Folks trying out materials from the demo and collecting sample goodies

612columbia-high-noon4
Pushing paint with painting knives – easier to clean

Gilkerson, being an active painter has her habits, but she was flexible to offer alternative ways of doing things. But, at the same time she made her pitch to work safe (some toxic materials are involved in painting) and working green. She explained that she knew artists who have gotten sick and a few who died due to their careless handling of some of these materials.

I have no intention of becoming a painter, but I learned a few things while listening. The number one point was – cheap materials usually result in cheap results, but in some cases – cheap is useful. Gilkerson finds suitable brushes at dollar stores for prepping canvases, but when laying paint on the canvas – the best is best. She also advised that sometimes you have to do bad work to learn from it – just don’t show off your learning experiences. That’s a trick of a real pro.

I remember back in my photography days learning that a National Geographic photographer might shoot 1,000 images for every one that is used in the magazine. This makes it look like they only take fantastic images – they just don’t show you all the misses. It’s a good practice for any artist. I see too much work not ready for public viewing.

From what I saw, I liked this High Noon series and it seemed others there did too. I understand that City Art already has programs scheduled for every Saturday at High Noon through the fall. I don’t think they expected the reaction to their offerings to be so good right off the bat. But, the art community always needs to remember that education and involvement is the key to success and development. It can’t always be about begging for funding.

And, here’s where I ask the usual question. Why couldn’t programs like this get funding from public resources? Not that anyone’s asking – I’m just saying… What makes programs that are hosted by non-profits more worthy – when many times they are not and many times they are not free? The business part of the arts community understands our role in the arts and many of the non-profits look to us for help, but it makes no sense to me why it’s an absolute that for-profits can never share in public funding. Isn’t the point of public funding to help people do good things they would not be able to afford otherwise – for the benefit of the public. And what business couldn’t do better things without a little help? It’s funny that the government doesn’t seem to have any problem helping out big farm operations, oil companies, and other big corporations with public funding – why not in the arts?

I feel a headache coming on – so on to the SC State Museum where there is something better to talk about. Regular readers know I like my abstract art and the show at the State Museum was like Christmas in July, although it was still June. To me there is nothing better than wall to wall abstracts and this exhibit offered many treats from artists who are already some of my favorites and some by folks I had not seen much of before this visit.

Thanks to Paul Matheny, the curator of art at the State Museum, I can offer you great shots of the gallery space. I handled the individual works – as best I could between camera and iPhone, but the lighting is always better for viewing than for taking photos at the Museum.

612abstracts-gallery1

612abstracts-gallery2

612abstracts-gallery3

612abstracts-gallery4

612abstracts-gallery5

For anyone who loves abstract works as I do this show is a must see. I mean it – you have until Aug. 26 to see this show and then you’ll probably never see such an assemblage again – in my lifetime. And, for those who say – I don’t get it – when they view abstracts – this is also an opportunity to give abstracts a chance to see if you’ll ever like abstracts. Because after viewing this show – if you still don’t see the beauty in these works – you probably never will and you can cross them off your bucket list. I didn’t get them at first – many a year ago. One day looking at works by Eva Carter and William Halsey – the lightblub in my head went off.

612abstracts-gallery6

612abstracts-gallery7

612abstracts-gallery8

612abstracts-gallery10

612abstracts-gallery11

The exhibit seems to be organized by area of influence or around universities. You have the Charleston/College of Charleston group; Columbia/University of South Carolina group; Rock Hill/Winthrop University group; Upstate/Clemson University group and so on.

You have works by artists who were born as far back as 1897 with Faith Murry being the oldest and Hollis Brown Thornton the youngest born in 1976. In this exhibit – being in your 50′s and 60′s might still make you a young upstart.

612columbia-abstracts-eva-carter
A slightly fuzzy photo of a work by Eva Carter

612columbia-abstracts-bill-buggle
A work by William “Bill” Buggel

612columbia-abstracts-brian-rutenberg
A work by Brian Rutenberg

It’s hard enough being an abstract artist today, but I can only imagine how hard it was for some of these folks who were working in the 50′s and 60′s in South Carolina. No problem if you were in New York City, but in SC – folks like to be able to tell what they are looking at – an old house, marsh scene, mountain stream or people. Many of these artists had to make their living by teaching art and trying to convert a few students – over to the dark side when they could. And, the exhibit probably has a number of teacher/student groupings – if not even a third generation of influence. Others had to show and sell their works – out of state.

612columbia-abstracts-gene-speer
A work by Gene Speer

612columbia-abstracts-marge-moody
A work by Marge Moody

612columbia-abstracts-tom-flowers
A work by Tom Flowers

Sculpture was represented with some excellent works, but the majority of the works are paintings – large paintings. Not many would fit in my car for a ride home – not that I’m saying I’d try something like that, but I wouldn’t mind seeing a lot of these works on my walls – if I had walls big enough to hold any of these works.

612columbia-abstracts-john-acorn1
A work by John Acorn who will have an exhibit at 701 Center for Contemporary Art in July

612columbia-abstracts-john-acorn-detail
A close in detail of that same work by John Acorn

After seeing all this great work, I still felt like I wanted more. This was a pretty big exhibition in one of our state’s largest galleries, but I would have liked to see more works by some of these artists and more works by others not included. In fact I told several folks at the State Museum that I can hardly wait for the follow-up exhibit, Abstract Works in South Carolina: Today, which I don’t think is being planned any time soon – too bad.

The Museum produced a very nice catalogue for this exhibition and SCETV produced an informative video which plays just outside the entrance to the exhibit. Don’t leave without viewing it. I suggest the State Museum place a few chairs out there for us older folks.

Thank you Paul Matheny for organizing this exhibition.

Like I said before – no trip to Columbia is complete without a visit to One Eared Cow Glass and I used my iPhone to show some new works from the cowboys – Tom Lockart and Mark Woodham. They’re working on a special display for this year’s SC State Fair – which is going to be BIG. We’ll have details about that later.

612columbia-oecg1
A group of works at One Eared Cow Glass

612columbia-oecg2
All these images are from the iPhone

612columbia-oecg3
My favorite photo from the day’s trip – love that iPhone

612columbia-oecg4
Not sure what these are – might be for the State Fair exhibit

I didn’t stay there long – probably because they were not working their magic – turning melted sand into art, but while there, Lockart said I was brave to come to Columbia on one of the first hot days of summer. I mean for the city that calls itself Famously Hot! I didn’t think it was that hot. I don’t think I spent more than ten minutes going from my car to a well cooled space, but when I left it was 98 degrees and by the time I got back to Bonneau – two hours later, but still the hot part of the day – it was only 91 degrees – so I guess they are hot there, but not too hot to view art or learn something about the arts.

So you folks in the Upstate with $2.69 gas – you have no excuse not to travel to Columbia and you won’t melt and by the time you get back to the Upstate – it will feel so much nicer. For the folks on the coast – stop in Columbia on your way to the mountains – you’re driving right by anyway. Beside there’s cheap gas in the Upstate – go get yourself some.

Linda and I Went to a Great American Monument and Saved $40

Wednesday, July 27th, 2011

oneearedcowglassheading

Back on June 2, 2011, we received an e-mail from One Eared Cow Glass(OECG) in Columbia, SC, about one of their 20th Anniversary events or specials – a sort of take our T-shirt on vacation with you offer. The deal was that if you took a One Eared Cow Glass T-shirt on vacation with you and took a picture of someone wearing it at a monument, sign, or place, that is clearly recognizable – you would get $40 in “cow bucks” off your next purchase at OECG – just for showing your “cow pride” and letting them use the picture on Facebook and in the gallery.

oneeardcowglasslogo

For Linda and I, this was a deal we couldn’t pass up. We have three weddings to attend in the next four months and OECG is our official wedding gift retailer. And, believe me – no wedding takes place in our extended family without an invitation coming to us – whether we can attend or not as word has gotten around what kind of gift you will receive.

Of course the catch is that these e-mails telling about these great offers were only going to folks on OECG’s e-mail list and you had to own a OECG T-shirt, but how hard is it to get on someone’s e-mail list and Tommy Lockart (one of the cowboys) told me – any OECG T-shirt will do and they have sold plenty of them throughout their 20 years in business. And, they have plenty of new ones in stock. They say they can even mail you one or a dozen (803/254-2444).

oneeardcowglasst-shirt

This deal runs through Aug. 31, 2011, but it’s not the only deal they have in the works. But, I’m not telling you to do anything. I’m not suggesting that you do anything. I’m just telling you there is a deal out there – this is what it takes to complete the deal – I know it works – we got our $40 discount and here’s what they call in the biz – the money shot or shots in this case.

611oecg-francis-marion2

611oecg-francis-marion1

Now Linda and I are not taking a vacation this year – we had one last year. But we do live down the road from a very important SC monument – the grave of Francis Marion – the Swamp Fox – a true American Revolutionary hero. It’s one of the most important monuments in South Carolina. There is also a special prize for the T-shirt that travels the greatest distance, but I don’t think we’ll be winning that, but 40 “cow bucks” is $40 bucks. I’m just saying.

P.S. Get on “the” e-mail list, get “a” T-shirt, take a “picture” near a monument, get it to “them” before Aug. 31, 2011, and save $40.

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

Saturday, April 9th, 2011

411artista-vista2011

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

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

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

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

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

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

411susanlenzmate

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

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

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

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

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

411oecgartista-vista

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

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

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

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

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

A Trip to Columbia, SC’s First Thursday on Main – Feb. 3, 2011

Saturday, February 5th, 2011

TappsArtsCenterlogo

On a cold Thursday afternoon when the weather people were calling for 80% rain, Linda and I headed to Columbia, SC, to visit One Eared Cow Glass and the First Thursday on Main event.

One Eared Cow Glass was having one of their 20th Anniversary celebration events introducing a new line of glass jewelry – just in time for Valentines’ day. That’s when Linda signed on for the trip to Columbia. I can’t say too much more about the One Eared Cow Glass anniversary events – all I can say is you need to go there and sign up to be on their e-mail list.

I’ve been wanting to go to one of the First Thursday on Main events for some time as it seemed like it was becoming quite an art event. I also wanted to see the inside of the Tapp’s Center for the Arts project and hopefully meet up with Susan Lenz, who had another window display there.

Activities on Main Street in downtown Columbia started a few years ago when Mark Plessinger of Frame of Mind started displaying area artists’ work in his shop on Main Street across from the Columbia Museum of Art. Info about those events kind of came and then fizzled. During that time other art related groups moved to Main Street and then by last fall we began to receive info about the First Thursday on Main events which seemed to be organized by the City Center Partnership, Inc., but we’re not hearing from them on a regular basis either. The only person I’m hearing from on a regular basis is Brenda Schwarz Miller who is spearheading up the effort to turn the old Tapp’s on Main department store at 1644 Main Street, at the corner of Main and Blanding, into the Tapp’s Center for the Arts.

I guess the City Center Partnership is interested more in having all parties on Main participate in trying to get folks in the Columbia area to come back to Main Street during the evening hours with the First Thursday events, but I’m more interested in the visual art groups there which now include Frame of Mind, S&S Art Supply, FreeTimes, Anastasia & Friends, Columbia Museum of Art, the Arcade Artists, and Tapp’s Center for the Arts.

From our front door at the headquarters of Shoestring Publishing in Bonneau, SC, we can be in downtown Columbia in two hours. It takes an hour to drive to Charleston, SC, so it’s not much of an effort to go to Columbia, but the two hour return trip does determine how long you can stay.

We spent almost two hours at One Eared Cow Glass, and again, all I’ll say besides I love watching the cowboys work, is that Linda and I got our 20th Anniversary T-Shirts while there, which will pay off throughout the year’s celebrations. My lips are sealed.

Once we weaved our way over to Main Street during Columbia’s rush hour traffic, we arrived at the Tapp’s building just about 5pm. We looked at a few of the outside window displays, but it didn’t take long for the damp 40 degree temps to rush us inside. No real rain yet.

As we entered a side door on Blanding, right off we see a little window display of jewelry by Susan Shrader, which stops Linda in her tracks. We’ve dealt with Shrader throughout the years as she was helping to promote a Columbia gem show. She’s one of the hundreds of people we have talked to over the years but never met.

211tapps-shrader
Jewelry and fused glass works by Susan Shrader

We got to scratch her off our never met list once we set foot inside the massive Tapp’s building. Right away I was reminded of my recent visit to the Art Trail Gallery in Florence, SC, which was another massive building in a city which is now used to show off art – helping to revise a once thriving downtown shopping district.

Linda said she used to come to Tapp’s when she was visiting her older sister who attended USC – a long time ago, back when her family would travel from small Myrtle Beach to SC’s capital city.

While Linda talked with Shrader and looked at jewelry, I looked around the building’s maze of rooms on two levels. Downstairs I saw John Sharpe giving a demonstration on a pottery wheel. The building has a lot of potential for many things.

211tapps-interior1

Once upstairs again, Linda and I enjoyed a bit of food and drink, I took a few photos and then we asked someone to point out Brenda Schwarz Miller. She is another person we have talked on the phone with and exchanged many e-mails with over activities and events of the Artist Round Table group in Columbia and now Tapp’s.

211tapps-SCarr1
Listening by Sandra Carr

211tapps-SCarr2a
Inside Out by Sandra Carr

211tapps-SCarr2b
Detail of Inside Out by Sandra Carr

It is my experience that projects like this are usually the dream of one dynamic individual with the help of a few others. Tapp’s is definitely Miller’s baby. Again, I was reminded of the Art Trail Gallery in Florence where Jane Madden has made the project happen by sheer will and persistence in dealing with red tape – in both cases, business and city leaders.

Columbia has already had some experience with similar projects like Vista Studios and 701 Center for the Arts, but it has also had experience with fellows like Jack Gerstner – who first had a strangle hold on the 701 building and used it for personal gain. Miller is 180 degrees on the opposite end of Gerstner. So, I hope city leaders in Columbia soon help her make her dream and that of many artists in Columbia – come true. It will be good for Main Street in the long run.

211tapps-interior2

Miller told us she has received lots of help from the building’s owner who also hopes for success of the Tapp’s project as he owns other buildings in downtown Columbia. There’s no problem in working in your own self interest while benefiting others. Too bad the SC Arts Commission doesn’t see that – unless they are dealing with folks shopping for Verner Awards through donations to the SC Arts Foundation. Otherwise we’re all greedy commercial enterprises – unworthy of a seat at the big arts table. They prefer creating a system of art welfare where arts groups become dependent on them for continued existence. How’s that working?

211tapps-KMGunter1
Burnt Offerings by Kara M. Gunter

211tapps-KMGunter2
Detail of Burnt Offerings by Kara M. Gunter

211tapps-KMGunter3
A real close detail of Burnt Offerings by Kara M. Gunter

I was hoping to run into Susan Lenz at Tapp’s but she never showed while we were there so we decided to go explore some of the other locations.

Outside we got a look at the window displays at the front of the building – which are very interesting, but hard to photograph as there was still some daylight lingering causing reflections.

One complaint or suggestion I have for First Thursday on Main organizers – whoever they are or will be is – they need a map of participating locations on Main Street available at all locations. If you’re hoping to attract people back to a downtown area they haven’t been to in years – don’t expect them to know where everything is – especially if they’re coming from out of town. I know the area pretty well, but not everything.

We went up Main toward the Capital building looking for a parking space – apparently the event was working. We saw where a few of the participating places were (except the Arcade), but no parking spaces were opening up – so we did the Charleston shuffle – driving around and around hoping someone would leave their space. On one of the rounds I spotted Susan Lenz in the window talking with folks at FreeTimes. And as luck would have it after a few trips around the block a space opened up.

Once we squeezed into the building and got close to Lenz we had managed to scratch another person off our never-met list. The place was packed with the who’s who of Columbia’s art community, very noisy, but there wasn’t really that many people there compared to the folks at the Tapp’s building. The illusion of a small packed room can throw you off, but it was a case of who was there. And as in many situations like this I saw folks I would have liked to say hey to, but never got the chance. Toni Elkins was working the room like a humming bird, and Jeffrey Day was there – not sure what that conversation would have been like. But, I did have a few friendly words with Ken May – head of the SC Arts Commission.

May called me his nemesis – which I thought was a little over-blown. He might have meant it as a compliment, but I later thought it didn’t really fit. It would be like calling Cuba America’s nemesis. A nemesis is usually an unbeatable rival or a source of harm or destruction. I don’t think I’m having that effect and his label gives me too much credit. I fit the description of a gadfly – which I was called once by an Arts Commission supporter. As May asked – “what would I write about without the Arts Commission?” I flashed back to a scene from Richard Nixon stating that we (the media) wouldn’t have him to kick around anymore. But then there was George W. Bush, Sarah Palin and Fox News. There’s always someone being unfair or doing and saying silly things. So I’m not worried about losing the Arts Commission – one way or another. It may be a case of the last man standing in both our cases.

211tapps-DGilbert
Ding on a Dong by Diane Gilbert – shot from the hip at FreeTimes

But, all in all, I was happy to talk with Susan Lenz, a human dynamo of the art world about a few of her current projects and past issues. But before long she needed to move on to Tapp’s  and said she still had work to do that night. We made a slow circle of the room – not able to see much of the art and headed for the door. It was now raining. (It hasn’t stopped raining since.)

Back at Tapp’s Linda had heard a few folks talking about sleet and not knowing what the temps were going down to we decided to get out of Columbia while the getting was good. Besides, this is an event which is taking place every month and is just picking up steam. We can always come back.

I highly recommend the trip, especially for folks from the Lowcountry. Columbia’s visual art community is much different from that of Charleston’s. I’ve always enjoyed going to Columbia to visit Artista Vista orVista Lights to get a different view of what artists are creating in South Carolina.

But, I think Columbia planners have a basic problem in attracting out of town visitors to come on Thursday evenings. It asks travelers to take a day off of work or make extended return travel plans. A four hour round trip is nothing for me, but others don’t see that as attractive. If these events were moved to a Friday or even a Saturday – they might attract more out of town visitors even though it would compete with other cities which present first Friday art walks, but what’s wrong with a little competition?

But, if the plan is to just attract locals to the downtown on a weekday – this just might work and before long it could include the Vista and Five Points area too. Why not have all of the city’s artists putting on a show. That’s what happened in Charleston.

As far as the Tapp’s Center for the Arts goes – here’s some of the plans. The space could supply 16 juried studios on the main level and 20 non-juried single and shared studios in the lower level. There are plans for three galleries, including a Cafe Gallery in the lower level. The facility would also include a frame shop, photography studio, print shop, wood workshop and clay studio. And, the good  part of the plan is that it is planned to be self-supporting. All they need is some start-up support to get the project going. If you would like more info about this project contact Brenda Schwarz Miller at 803/609-3479 or e-mail her at (brenda@realworldartisans.com).

After looking at the photos I took – at least those usable – I seemed to be interested in sculptural works at the First Thursday event.

Big Art Events Taking Place in the Carolinas – Nov. 18 – 21, 2010

Monday, November 15th, 2010

Starting this Thursday evening with Columbia, SC’s 25th Annual Vista Lights celebration and ending with Seagrove, NC’s 3rd Annual Celebration of Seagrove Potters – this week offers some great visual art events – for both viewing and buying. Make your plans now.

Columbia, SC’s 25th Annual Vista Lights celebration, sponsored by the Vista Guild, will take place on Thursday, Nov. 18, 2010, from 5-10pm in Columbia’s Congaree Vista area along the Congaree River. Click on the name of the event to read an article from Carolina Arts newspaper).

Some of the highlights include:

Fabric artist Susan Lenz will be collecting socks for her art project called, Looking For a Mate, a community based art quilt. The public is invited to bring their “mate less” socks to River Runner, at 905 Gervais Street, as donations to the project. Lenz will be hand stitching these “found objects” onto recycled acrylic felt in order to create a unique art quilt. The felt was formerly packaging material for canoes and kayaks being shipped by distributors to retail shops like River Runner. If you bring a sock – children or adult; serious or comic – you may discover it in the final quilt, which will be unveiled at Artista Vista in Apr. 2011. Here’s a link to a blog entry I wrote about this project.

1110VistaStudioscard1
Poster image by Jeff Donovan

Vista Studios, one of the first art venues to locate in Columbia’s Vista area is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year with a special 20th Anniversary Show which will be on display from Nov. 16-30, 2010. The show will open on Nov. 18 in connection with this year’s Vista Lightscelebration. At Vista Studios, more than 30 artists (current and past members) will be exhibiting paintings, drawings, mixed media, and sculpture in Gallery 80808. For further info call the gallery at 803/252-6143 or visit (www.vistastudios80808.com). Here’s a link to a blog entry I wrote about this exhibit.

1110BNellsmith
Work by Bruce Nellsmith

Homeland, a collection of new paintings by Bruce Nellsmith, is another highlight of the Vista Lights celebration in the main gallery at City Art Gallery. This exhibition will be on view from Nov. 18 through Dec. 30, 2010. Various other types of art including textiles and jewelry will be featured at City Art Gallery during the celebration. For further info contact Wendyth Wells at 803/252-3613 or visit (www.cityartonline.com). Here’s a link to an article we presented in Carolina Arts. A collection of handmade jewelry by Cindy Saad will also be featured during the Vista Lightscelebration.

1209oecg1-450x398

And, no Vista event is complete without stopping by One Eared Cow Glasswhere Tommy Lockart, Mark Woodham, and their assistant, Ryan Crabtree will be doing the dance of glass blowing for everyone to see. They’ll have plenty of wonderful glass objects – just right for holiday gift giving and some pretty spectacular fine art objects for collectors. Here’s a link to a blog entry I’ve done in the past showing you just a peek at what you’ll be able to witness during Vista Lights.

1209oecg4-337x450

To learn more about the Vista Guild, call 803/269-5946, e-mail to (staff@vistacolumbia.com) or visit (www.vistacolumbia.com).

The 3rd Annual Celebration of Seagrove Potters will open on Friday evening, Nov. 19, 2010, at 6pm with a Gala Preview Party at the historic Luck’s Cannery in Seagrove, NC. Meet the artists and enjoy the opening night festivities of this fabulous event as visitors have the first opportunity to browse and purchase from the thousands of pieces, sip a favorite beverage and enjoy hors d’oeuvres, while listening to the jazz band of Joe Robinson. In addition, attendees will have the opportunity to preview a select collection of unique collaborative pieces to be auctioned. This highly successful venture, teaming Seagrove artists, to produce highly collectable one-of-a-kind pieces was very popular in prior years. This artwork will be auctioned at 8pm on Friday evening.

1010CelBenOwen
Ben Owen III holds a pot created by himself and Will McCanless

Tickets are limited and must be purchased in advance. They may be purchased on-line at (www.CelebrationOfSeagrovePotters.com). Gala ticket price includes admission to the event on Saturday and Sunday as well. Here’s a link to an article we offered in Carolina Arts newspaper.

Saturday, Nov. 20, 2010, the show is open from 9am to 6pm and from 10am to 4pm on Sunday, Nov. 21, 2010. For further information visit their website at (www.celebrationofseagrovepotters.com).

1010CelSydLuck
Jug made by Sid & Matt Luck

But here’s a link to a blog entry we posted at Carolina Arts Unleashed.

And, finally, this is the last weekend to see the South Carolina Watermedia Society’s 33rd Annual Exhibition, on view at the Center for the Arts in Rock Hill, SC, through Nov. 21, 2010. Here’s an article we offered at Carolina Arts newspaper (http://www.carolinaarts.com/1110centerforthearts.html) and a link to a blog entry we posted on this exhibit, with more images.

1010SCWSSteveGarner-343x450
Work by Steve Garner

The gallery at the Center for the Arts is open Fridays, 9am-5pm; Saturdays, 10am-2pm; and Sundays, 2-4pm. For further info call 803/328-2787 or visit (www.rockhillarts.org).

There, that’s three good possibilities to fill your weekend.

Photos of One Eared Cow Glass Sculpture at Columbia Museum of Art Celebration of Chihuly Chandelier

Thursday, April 22nd, 2010

We now have photos of the finished piece by One Eared Cow Glass installed outside the Columbia Museum of Art during the Museum’s Red Hot…Cool! 60 Years of Color gala on the evening of Apr. 17, 2010.

Here’s a link to my earlier comments on that.

totems001

totems004-286x450

totems002

totems003

totems005-318x450

I have to say, it looks pretty spectacular!

Like I said – give Tommy Lockart, Mark Woodham, and their assistant, Ryan Crabtree, $360,000 and see what you get – considering they made this work on speculation just for this one event – for one evening.

Now we’ll see if someone is smart enough to purchase this work. I wish I could.

“Artista Vista 2009″ in Columbia, SC, Time Well Spent

Monday, April 27th, 2009

Even though the event takes place on a Thursday night, all the planets seemed to be in alignment – so Linda and I made a run for it. Columbia is a two hour drive from our front door and Artista Vista starts at 5pm. Linda had to start a three day work weekend of 12 hr. shifts on Friday and I was picking up our May 2009 issue from the printer on Friday, which takes two trips to North Charleston, but we wanted to do Artista Vista – this would be Linda’s first time. I had been to two previous Artista Vistas, two Vista Lights and one Congaree Arts Festival over the last 14 years. It would be a quick visit considering the two hour drive back home and the fact that Linda would be back in the car headed for work shortly after 6am the next morning. So we left early to get there early.

Our first stop was One Eared Cow Glass where they were getting things ready for the 5pm opening. We figured this would be a good opportunity to see the work without fighting the crowd and see what was being offered before anyone else. As usual, there were plenty of new items on the shelves. They are always up to something new. We got a good look and would come back when the show was going on – the magic of seeing molten glass being turned into art objects.

After that we headed to Lincoln Street to find a parking space – again before the crowd. We stuck our heads in the door at Blue Marlin which didn’t start serving until 5pm, but the bartender served us up a drink so we could sit outside and wait for the event to begin. It was nice sitting outside watching all the parking spaces fill up and people scrambling around – getting ready for the crowd.

You see, unlike art communities that have art walks every month or even quarterly, the Vista only does it twice a year and Artista Vista is the only totally art event. Vista Lights includes all businesses in the Vista. So, this is a pretty big event for Columbia and the surrounding area. We wouldn’t be able to see it all given our limited timeframe and knowledge of what was ahead of us (physically) for the next week, so we planned to do the best we could in a small area of the Vista.

At 5pm we walked over to City Art Gallery where they were presenting,Perceptual Painters: The Collective, on view through June 27, 2009. This exhibit featured the works of a group of painters who all had a connection with the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. And, you could see it in the works. There is something about the painters who go through that school. I’ve seen it in other painters’ works who went to school there – like Linda Fantuzzo in Charleston, SC. City Art always seems to bring in something different for Artista Vista – whether it be emerging artists from universities around the region or a seasoned group like this one. The artists being featured were: Dave Campbell, Matt Klos, John Lee, Aaron Lubrick, Scott Noel, Brian Rego, and Andrew Patterson-Tutschka.

While at City Art we ran into Mary Gilkerson, who at one time used to write reviews for Carolina Arts (www.carolinaarts.com) – way back when. She’s also written for The New Art Examiner, The State, and is currently writing for FreeTimes in Columbia. But the big news here was – she has started a blog which will give her much more opportunity to write about the art scene and other things in South Carolina called SCARTblog (http://scartblog.com/). Her first contribution is about an exhibit of works by Carl Blair, Flora and Fauna, on view at ifART Gallery in Columbia through May 9, 2009. Add Mary’s blog to your bookmark list.

It’s great that more people are starting blogs about the arts in the Carolinas – they need all the coverage they can get considering the cuts being made at daily newspapers. And, don’t forget about Jeffrey Day’s new blog, Carolina Culture (http://www.carolinaculturebyjeffreyday.blogspot.com/). Jean Bourque (http://artsails1.blogspot.com/) also gives out a lot of info about what’s going on at her blog.

Next we went over to ifArts. I was hoping to see Carl Blair there, but he wasn’t there. I wanted to let him know the reason we didn’t have anything in our April issue about his show was because no one sent us the info in time for our deadline. I’ve seen a lot of his paintings and sculptures in other galleries throughout the Carolinas before – this was the first showing of his animal sculptures in Columbia – so you readers in the Columbia area need to go by and see the show if you already haven’t before May 9. No excuses.

We then headed to Vista Studios to see View from the Studios, on view through May 12, 2009. Gallery 80808 was filled with art as was every inch of the place – including the studios of Susan Lenz, Stephen Chesley, Don Zurlo, Robert Kennedy, Laura Spong, Pat Gilmartin, Sharon Collings Licata, Pat Callahan, Ethel Brody, David Yaghjian, Michel McNinch, and Jeff Donovan. As usual, the studio door of Heidi Darr Hope was closed. I wonder why she is part of this facility. I don’t think she participates in many of their events. No problem – there’s plenty of art to feast your eyes on.

While there, I got to catch up with some artists I used to chat with on a monthly basis when I was delivering papers to Columbia during the day – Laura Spong and Ethel Brody – who always seemed to be working in their studios. I was hoping to talk with Susan Lenz (http://artbysusanlenz.blogspot.com/) – the Queen of blogging, but she was always tied up with someone and I hate to get in the way when customers might be buying art. In fact, this place was full of folks.

509patgilmartin

OK, here’s something that I probably shouldn’t do, but you know me – what the heck. My favorite work of the evening was Pat Gilmartin’sBlooming Arms. You can see it here. I liked lots of other works I saw this evening, but this was my favorite – don’t shoot me.

509patgilmartin-detail

This is a testament of my taste in art. As we left Vista Studios I was thinking to myself – I didn’t even look to see how much that piece cost. I need more art like a hole in my head, but you can’t help but think of things you would love to have. And, after our trip to SEE pottery in Seagrove, NC, the week before – I was on a tight leash. Imagine that,Carolina Arts Unleashed on a tight leash. Believe it.

Anyway, I at least got a photo of the work to share with you all from Gilmartin. She let me know that the work had sold later that evening. At least I have the photo to remind me that recessions are hell, and the knowledge that someone else out there has good taste in art.

We got back to One Eared Cow Glass to see them at work. Someone was leaving as we arrived so we got a parking space. They were in the groove and we watched two works from beginning to – I’d say end, but that’s not possible. We got to see two works they finished working on, but because it will take them 15-16 hours to cool down in a slow cooler – we might never see what the finished piece looks like. The final colors wouldn’t show until they totally cooled. And, by that time – they will be sold. But, we can all imagine what they would look like to us. Hey, that’s multi-media art.

Our witching hour came at 8pm and we headed back to Bonneau – ETA 2 hours. We were tired, but it was worth it. We had a good time. You just can’t do and see everything.