Posts Tagged ‘Riverbanks Zoo’

A Trip to Visit Riverbanks Zoo in Columbia, SC, and See Some Art Too

Tuesday, March 5th, 2013

Our grandchild turned three at the end of February and after we finished the launch of the March 2013 issue of Carolina Arts, which can be downloaded at (http://www.carolinaarts.com/313/313carolinaarts.pdf), the family “packed” themselves into our car and headed to the Riverbanks Zoo in Columbia, SC. I was also hoping to see a few exhibits there – if we finished the zoo in time to see anything. I was hopeful.

The zoo experience finished around 4pm and once we got “packed” back into the car, Linda checked her copy of Carolina Arts on her iPhone and we headed to 701 Center for Contemporary Art which was open on Saturdays until 5pm.

It’s not too far from the zoo over to Whaley Street so we arrived about 4:20pm, but when we got there the gallery was closed. The current exhibit, Stephen Hayes: Cash Crop, has been extended to Mar. 31, 2013, so there is still a chance we might see it. The good thing was that a good part of the entrance to the gallery is glass – so those in our party got to see a good bit of the exhibit and it might have been a good thing since we had a 3 year old with us that we couldn’t get closer. There’s a lot of stuff to touch in this exhibit and that could have been a disaster.

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detail of one of the works in Cash Crop

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. The sculptures represent, Hayes says, “the 15 million human beings kidnapped and transported by sea during the Trans-Atlantic slave trade.”

I’ve seen the exhibit before at Guilford College in Greensboro, NC, but each presentation of the exhibit is different depending on the venue it is being presented in, plus no matter where it is presented it’s a powerful and moving presentation of a slice of our country’s history that shouldn’t be forgotten.

We did get to see an exhibit of works by Jame Lathren, entitled the space between time, in the Hallway Gallery at 701. The exhibit of wax paintings will be up through Mar. 15. I’m not sure why we don’t get notice of these exhibits in this space from 701, but I hope they start coming to us so we can let people know what they might get to see there too.

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Work by Jame Lathren

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Work by Jame Lathren

So now what? Our check of Columbia galleries had told us most everywhere else we wanted to go was already closed. Except there might be a chance that someone was still over at Vista Studios keeping the doors open for the exhibit at Gallery 80808, New Work…The Natural Evolution of Six Artists and a Mountain Retreat, on view through Mar. 11, 2013. Exhibits that are presented by renters of the space are often manned longer than posted times.

It’s a good thing Vista Studios is not far from 701 Center for Contemporary Art. We got there just before 5pm. I saw the sandwich board still out front and lights were still on so we got inside and Jan Swanson, who was still on duty, was gracious enough to stay a little longer to give us a quick look at the exhibit.

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The exhibit is just one of the results of Eileen Blyth, Brucie Holler, Louanne LaRoche, Laurie McIntosh, Lynn Parrott and Jan Swanson, three artists from the Columbia area and three from the Hilton Head area, spending a week in the mountains of North Carolina creating and sharing their love of art. They’ve done this for eight years and are still talking to each other – just kidding.

Some of the works were created during those trips. I did a quick look around and snapped a few photos with my iPhone and the others in our party ran interference with the 3 year old. We didn’t stay long, I didn’t want to hold anyone up with their plans for a Saturday night, but it doesn’t take me long, after all these years, to see this was a fantastic show offering quite a variety of works in various media from a talented group of artists. I knew the work of some of the artists, but there were many surprises.

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Folks in the Columbia area need to get out and see this exhibit – it’s going to be up through Mar. 11, giving you another weekend opportunity and for folks in the Hilton Head area, the exhibit will soon be on view at Camellia Art gallery on Hilton Head Island, from Mar. 22 – Apr. 13, 2013.

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A sculpture by Eileen Blyth. I’ve seen her paintings but this was the first time I’ve seen her sculptures.

I can’t go into too much about individual works, but I have one last thing to say about our visit there. I was just about ready to leave as I knew everyone was ready to go home after a long day and still with two hours to go in the “packed” car, I saw my son chasing the wild boy down the entrance hallway to the gallery yelling Grandpa! Grandpa! When they reached me I asked the young man which piece of art he liked best.

After a few moments of registering what I was asking him – he ran around the corner from where we were standing and pointed to works by Jan Swanson. I was amazed and very pleased and thought – have I found my successor to the helm of Carolina Arts? Instead of just pointing to the art in front of him he returned to a place he had stood in front of a good 15 minutes ago and pointed out the work of the artist standing with us. Now that’s a future editor of an arts newspaper. It might of had something to do with the fact that 15 minutes earlier we had to haul him off from touching those same works, but we’ll never know. It was a special moment.

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Four works by Jan Swanson on the right – the favorite of a 3 year old on this day.

You can read all about this exhibit and the history of the group on Page 12 & 13 of our February 2013 issue of Carolina Arts, which you can download at this link (http://www.carolinaarts.com/213/213carolinaarts.pdf).

A Trip to Columbia, SC, for One Special Gift and to See the Ansel Adams Exhibit

Monday, December 14th, 2009

On Friday, Dec. 11, 2009, the family made the two hour journey to Columbia, SC, to select a gift from One Eared Cow Glass. We have a trade agreement and we wanted to get something special, but at a reasonable price, for one Christmas gift. Of course we could have gotten a special gift of art just about anywhere in the Carolinas, but the word “trade” is key in this instance.

A trip to One Eared Cow Glass is always a delight, but getting three people to agree on a gift is always a challenge – and with so much to choose from – it can take awhile. I tend to spend more time watching the glass makers at work as I have a fast eye and it only takes me one trip around the gallery.

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On this day, Mark Woodham, Tom Lockart, Ryan Crabtree, and a  fourth person, whose name I forgot to get, were working on making 50 ornamental balls – during this time of year – Christmas ornaments. What a dance of movement – dipping in the vat of 2300 degrees F molten glass, spinning the rod, adding color crystals, remelting, blowing out the ball shape, spinning and more spinning, more blowing and bingo – another Christmas ornament – at least after it cools down.

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Who in Columbia won’t wake up to a handmade glass ornament from One Eared Cow Glass on Christmas morning? Maybe a few naughty folks. And, the really good folks will get maybe a glass bowl, a glass vase, or a colorful glass garden ornament.

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If you haven’t gotten your glass gifts there yet – don’t worry – they’re making more everyday, right up to Christmas. That is when they’re not making more videos for YouTube. The latest video is about the making of a lighted glass and copper sculpture commissioned by the Riverbanks Zoo’s Botanical Gardens in Columbia in memory of Margot Rochester. The new video can be found at this link.

After viewing the new video check out This Is How We Roll on the same page if you haven’t already seen it, but do not pay any attention to the one made by someone associated with the Columbia Museum of Art. There is nothing wrong with the video – it’s the soundtrack from Appalachia that kills me – as if this studio in the heart of Columbia’s Upscale Vista area (our Capital City) was in some hollow, back around the bend – up over that there hill. The Museum, or who ever put that thing up on YouTube needs to take it down – for the Museum’s image alone and for the guys at One Eared Cow Glass. I’m not saying I want to hear ballet music instead, but listen to the music on the videos One Eared Cow has made and that’s more like it. Maybe someone thought they were doing these folks a favor in producing this video, but they’d be doing a bigger favor by taking it down and hiding it somewhere.

Check out the metal sculpture of a deer by Greg Fitzpatrick. I’m told he is an artist who is working under the radar in Columbia, yet so busy with commissions that he doesn’t have to worry about people knowing who he is and about the wonderful works he creates. That’s a nice problem to have, but being in the media – I’m telling. Find out what you can about this guy – he’s a wizard with metal.

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metal sculpture by Greg Fitzpatrick

After all three of us finally made a decision on the gift, we were off to the Columbia Museum of Art to see the best Ansel Adams photographs – at least his favorites in the exhibit, Ansel Adams: Masterworks From the Collection of the Turtle Bay Exploration Center, Redding, CA, on view through Jan. 17, 2009.

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This collection of 47 gelatin silver prints by Ansel Adams (1902 -1984) represents a selection Adams made late in his life to serve as a representation of his life’s work and what he felt were his best images. Called “The Museum Set,” the full selection of 75 images reveals the importance Adams placed on the drama and splendor of natural environments. Included in Ansel Adams: Masterworks are many of Adams’ most famous and best-loved photographs that encompass the full scope of his work: elegant details of nature, architectural studies, portraits, and the breathtaking landscapes for which he is revered.

You can read an article about the exhibit at Carolina Arts Online at this link.

At one time in my life I wanted to be a photographer. At the time I couldn’t think of anything better to do than travel to some of our country’s most exotic natural landscapes and spend time trying to capture them in photographic images that would move folks to want to go see these places up close and personal – like Ansel Adams did. Adams was the man and he still is in many ways in my view.

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I’ve been lucky enough to have traveled to many of our western National Parks – pre-arts newspaper and its monthly deadlines. Nothing can replace the act of being there, but Adams’ photographs come darn close – even in black and white.

There is no use trying to describe the images presented. If I could write that well, I wouldn’t be doing this blog. You just have to go see the exhibit for yourself. And, this exhibit is an excellent opportunity to drag a friend with you who might not normally go to an art museum – as no one would not enjoy seeing these photographs.

The Museum Shop also has an excellent selection of Ansel Adams related items – great for holiday giving or for giving yourself – so you can have a little bit of Ansel Adams’ imagery with you on a daily basis.

We had a late lunch and headed back home arriving in time to still have some daylight left – although that Friday was one of the most wintery days in South Carolina – as was the whole weekend – wet, cold and gray. It was a perfect day for looking at glass and Ansel Adams photographs.

Oh yeah – what happened to my career as a nature photographer? Well, I came to Charleston and ran into a group of nature photographers who changed my mind – Tom Blagden, Jr., T.R. Richardson, John M. Moore, and Luke Platt. After hanging with them a few years and seeing the work they were producing made me think my future was in photo processing. But, that’s another story of a time long gone.