Posts Tagged ‘Visiting Columbia SC’

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

Friday, December 11th, 2015

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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.

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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.

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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?

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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).

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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.

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).

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.

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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.

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Bridge Frame Wing by Paul Yanko, 2009-10, acrylic on canvas

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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.

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Hercules Beetle, by Elaine Quave, 2012, earthenware clay

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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.

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(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.

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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).

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Tom Lockart making the stem for a leaf.

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Mark Woodham rolling out a leaf from a big glob of molten glass.

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Lockart merging the leaf and the stem.

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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.

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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.

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Blue Chicago Series: Blue Chicago, by Marge Loudon Moody, 60″ x 70″

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Field Lines Series: Terrain, by Marge Loudon Moody, 60″ x 70″

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Moon, by Marge Loudon Moody, 12″ x 12″

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Studio Series: Sunset and Stilllife, by Marge Loudon Moody, 18″ x 18″

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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.

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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.

Some Events I Wish I Were Going to This Week in the Carolinas

Wednesday, November 14th, 2012

Unfortunately travel is not in my plans this week, which means I’m going to miss some of my favorite happenings including: Vista Lights in Columbia, SC; the Celebration of Seagrove Potters in Seagrove, NC; and the opening of the new Art Trail Gallery in Florence, SC.

I would have racked up some miles, but I have done such a trip in the past many times. Gas prices are down and lower in some of these areas, but even though I can’t make any of these three favorites – you can. You don’t have to be a road warrior like me in doing all three, but there are many combinations that can be very satisfying – any one would be well worth your effort.

First up is the 27th Vista Lights celebration in the Congaree Vista area of Columbia, SC, on Thursday, Nov. 15, 2012, from 5-9pm. Kick off your holiday shopping and fun at this annual holiday street party! The entire Vista community will take part, with Gervais Street closed to traffic from Gadsden to Assembly streets, and Park and Lincoln closed from Lady to Senate.

Everyone loves a tree lighting and the Vista tree lighting promises to kick off the season! The traditional tree-lighting ceremony, will be held at 7pm. This year’s spectacular lighting will be hosted my Mayor Steve Benjamin. You will find the tree located on the corner of Lincoln and Gervais Street outside of the River Runner shop. There are many performances planned, but for me, it’s the visual art offerings that usually brings me to Vista Lights.

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Work by Wanda Steppe

City Art at 1224 Lincoln Street, just behind the River Runner where the tree is located, will offer the exhibit, Sticks and Stones, featuring an exhibit of works by artist/painter Wanda Steppe, on view through Dec. 23, 2012. See more info about more events taking place this evening by visiting (www.cityartonline.com).

if ART Gallery at 1223 Lincoln Street is offering the exhibit, 18/100 SOUTHERN ARTISTS: The if ART Contingency, on view through Nov. 17, 2012. The exhibit features works by 18 if ART artists included in the new book “100 Southern Artists”.

One Eared Cow Glass Gallery & Studio at 1001 Huger St., (just up the street from the old location) is a little ways from the center of activities, but worth the visit. The cowboys will be demonstrating glass blowing and you can pick from works that were featured this year at the “Four Seasons” display at the SC State Fair while items last. This is your opportunity to have an item associated with the largest display of hand-blown glass in SC or the Southeast. You can see that display on their website at (www.oneearedcow.com).

The Gallery at Nonnah’s at 928 Gervais Street will be offering the exhibit,Altered Cities: Melding Cityscapes with Landscapes, featuring works by Alicia Leeke, on view through Dec. 31, 2012. For more info visit (www.nonnahs.com).

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Work by Jeff Donavan and Susan Lenz of Vista Studios

Vista Studios/Gallery 80808 at 808 Lady Street, will present the exhibit,Season’s Harvest, featuring recent works by Vista Studios’ artists, on view through Nov. 27, 2012. Many of the artists will have their studios open so you can see where and how these artists create. See more about the activities there at (www.vistastudios80808.com).

Other art galleries in the area will be open, as well as many of the shops and businesses in the area. Vista Lights is free to the public and offers a great way to kick-off the holiday Season! Visitors are encouraged to arrive early, shop up an appetite and stay late. Just because the official celebration ends at 9pm doesn’t mean you can’t stay for some late-night entertainment and a nightcap. For more info visit (http://www.vistalightssc.com/about.aspx).

The 5th Annual Celebration of Seagrove Potters will be held indoors at the historic Luck’s Cannery, on NC 705, Pottery Highway, one half-mile south of the traffic light in Seagrove, NC, from Nov. 16 – 18, 2012. The weekend begins with the Celebration Gala on Friday, Nov. 16, from 6-9pm, which includes a catered reception, live music, and the collaborative works auction. The Celebration continues on Saturday, Nov. 17, from 9am-6pm, with a silent auction, from 1-3pm, and again opens on Sunday, Nov. 18, from 10am-4pm.

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Collaborative piece by Jugtown Pottery and JLK Jewelry

The Celebration is distinctive; it is a showcase of the pottery artists of Seagrove, an area that covers the three county corner region of Randolph, Moore and Montgomery counties in North Carolina. Over 100 Seagrove potters, from 64 shops, are participating this year.

Now a trip to Seagrove is always an adventure in that there is hardly a road that you can drive down where you won’t run into several potteries. The gently rolling hills and farms make a picturesque journey while finding the next shop on the map you picked up at the NC Pottery Center in downtown Seagrove. But, if you’re a die hard shopper who feels more at home in the local Mall – the Celebration is made for you. Many of the area’s potters will be found under one roof.

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Collaborative piece by Peder Wilhelm McCanless and Michael Mahan

And, if you’re a hard core pottery collector, the Friday Night Gala is where you want to be for the collaborative works auction, matching different potters in the area to work on a one-of-a-kind item.

Admission to the Friday night Gala is $40 in advance. Gala tickets and more info are available at (www.CelebrationofSeagrovePotters.com), admission on Sat. & Sun. is $5 at the door and children 12 and under are free. For more info on potters of the Seagrove community and other local events visit (www.DiscoverSeagrove.com).

Get this – there is another pottery festival taking place in Seagrove at the same time. That’s double the pottery fun.

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Also on Friday evening of Nov. 16, 2012, from 5:30-8pm, will be the opening reception of the 2012 Holiday Show at the Art Trail Gallery’s new location at 185 West Evans Street, just around the corner from their old location on Dargon Street in downtown Florence, SC. The reception is free and open to the public. The 2012 Holiday Show is considered “the place” to purchase unique holiday gifts for every person and budget.

Gallery hours for this show will be Tue.-Thur., from 11am-6pm and Sat., from 11am-4pm. The Holiday Show will be on display until Dec. 22, 2012. Please visit the Art Trail Gallery’s website for more information at (www.art-trail-gallery.com).

The Art Trail Gallery has been a sort of backyard project for me in supporting the efforts of Jane Madden, who kept the gallery going for so many years and the volunteers and artists who have made this gallery their own. It’s never easy moving and change is hard, but this show will celebrate a successful transition from old to new, reflecting the exciting future of Florence and the Pee Dee’s growing visual art community. I wish I could be there. Maybe you can be there for me?

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Armor-dillo, by Mike and Patz Fowle, First Place Award at 2012 Pee Dee Regional

And, if you’re traveling to Florence for that event, why not go early and visit the 2012 Pee Dee Regional Art Competition, on view through Dec. 16, 2012, at the Florence Museum of Art, Science and History, located at 558 Spruce Street. The Pee Dee Regional is the oldest continuing art competition in the state and is presented by the Florence Museum Board of Trustees.

You could also take in the Magic City Survey Art Competition, on view through Jan. 4, 2013, in the Dr. N. Lee Morris Gallery at the Doctors Bruce and Lee Foundation Library, located at 506 South Dargan Street in Florence. This juried exhibit features works created by artists from across the Pee Dee who followed the theme, “Southern Impressions-Depictions of Life in the South.”

Be assured that there are lots of other exciting and interesting visual art events taking place throughout the Carolinas during this same time frame, but these three were on my radar, but sometimes we never get to exercise our plans. I’m just saying this is what I was going to do – the publisher and editor of an arts newspaper for over 25 year. And, if you check out our Nov. 2012 issue of Carolina Arts you’ll soon see that if you can’t do any of these three – there is something you can attend somewhere near you. Now go do something.

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.

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They’ll be no shortage of Christmas balls this year.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

if ART Gallery Presents The International (Mural) Project at Gallery 80808 in Vista Studios in Columbia, SC – Oct. 5 – 16, 2012

Tuesday, October 2nd, 2012

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We just received this today – a little late for our Oct. issue, but an important event that readers should know about. The PR for such events should be handled better, but such is life in the art world – art first – worry about publicity later.

Here’s the press release:

if ART Gallery Presents The International (Mural) Project at Gallery 80808 in Vista Studios, located at 808 Lady Street in the Vista area of Columbia, SC, from Oct. 5 – 16, 2012.

The group exhibition and mural project features works by: Roland Albert, Stephen Chesley, Jeff Donovan, Ralph Gelbert, Mary Gilkerson, Tonya Gregg, Klaus Hartmann, Jorg Heieck, Peter Lenzo, Reiner Mahrlein, Janet Orselli, Anna Redwine, Silvia Rudolf, Laura Spong, H. Brown Thornton, Mike Williams, and David Yaghjian.

An artists’ reception will be held on Friday, Oct. 5, 2012, from 5- 9pm.

A panel discussion about the Columbia/Kaiserslautern Artists Exchange will be offered on Sunday, Oct. 7, beginning at 2pm.

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Sunday, September 30, afternoon: Kaiserslautern artist Klaus Hartmann contemplating his next move as his Columbia colleagues Mike Williams, Tonya Gregg and Mary Gilkerson work on the mural.

For more than a decade, Columbia, SC, artists and those of the Kunstlerwerkgemeinschaft (KWG) in Columbia’s German sister city of Kaiserslautern have been going back and forth across the Atlantic Ocean. Columbians Mike Williams, Stephen Chesley, Jeff Donovan, David Yaghjian, Tonya Gregg, Laura Spong and others went to Kaiserslautern to work and exhibit. KWG members Roland Albert, Ralph Gelbert, Klaus Hartmann, Reiner Mahrlein and Silvia Rudolf came to Columbia, and their work graces the walls and backyards of many a local home.

The informal artists exchange’s next installment is Columbia/Kaiserslautern: The International (Mural) Project, an if ART Gallery exhibition at Gallery 80808/Vista Studios, Columbia, SC. Seventeen artists – six German, nine from Columbia and two formerly of Columbia – will participate in the event, which will consist, first, of the creation of a collective mural and, second, the exhibition.

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Monday October 1, 2012, morning: Detail of the mural in progress.

Two Kaiserslautern and nine Columbia artists collectively will create a mural at Vista Studios between Sept. 29 – Oct. 5. The mural will be on a patchwork of canvas pieces mounted to a wall as one single work of art. The German mural participants are Klaus Hartmann and Silvia Rudolf; the Columbia artists will be Stephen Chesley, Jeff Donovan, Mary Gilkerson, Tonya Gregg, Peter Lenzo, Anna Redwine, Laura Spong, Mike Williams and David Yaghjian. The mural will be the centerpiece of the Columbia / Kaiserslautern exhibition.

“It’ll be interesting to see how the mural turns out,” said if ART owner Wim Roefs, who is organizing the event. “These are artists with often rather different approaches and styles. On the other hand, they all have great affinity for each other’s work and all are talented and assured in their own abilities, so I suspect they will work to compliment each others’ contributions rather than artistically fight each other. I wouldn’t be surprised we if we were to end up with a work of art in which the various styles are beautifully integrated.”

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October 1, 2012, Monday afternoon: Kaiserslautern artist Silvia Rudolf and Columbia’s Tonya Gregg in front of the mural.

All mural artists also will be showing individual works in the exhibition, which will run Oct. 5 – 16, 2012. Others participating in the exhibition are Kaiserslautern artists Roland Albert, Ralph Gelbert, Reiner Mahrlein and Jorg Heieck; Aiken, SC, artist H. Brown Thornton; and Columbus, NC, artist Janet Orselli, who is a Columbia native.

On Sunday, Oct. 7, starting at 2pm, during a panel discussion, participants in the Columbia-Kaiserslautern exchange will talk about their experiences. “Columbia artists typically come back highly energized from their trips to Kaiserslautern,” said Roefs, who has visited Kaiserslautern several times. “The KWG, which has it’s own collective studio, is a vibrant group of artists that also includes literary and performing artists. It’s a membership-by-invitation-only club and its members are highly respected, serious artists who have organizational talents to boot. It’s an inspiring combination.”

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Monday afternoon, October 1, 2012: Detail of the mural in progress.

The collective mural will be shipped to Kaiserslautern after the exhibition. In Kaiserslautern, the mural first will be exhibited in its original form. Next, KWG members will add to the mural, exhibit the new version and then ship it back to Columbia.

“It should be good week,” Roefs said of Hartmann’s and Rudolf’s visit. “Silvia and Klaus will be working here alongside their Columbia colleagues. Artists will be going in an out of Vista Studios, working on the mural, exchanging ideas, drinking coffee. We’ll have a series of luncheons and dinners, and I am sure everyone will come out of the week energized.”

You can see more images here (http://ifartgallery.blogspot.com/2011/12/columbiakaiserslautern-mural-project.html).

Gallery hours during this event at Gallery 80808 will be: Weekdays, 11am-7pm; Sat., 11am-5pm; Sun., 1-5pm; and by appointment.

For further information contact Wim Roefs at if ART by calling 803/238-2351 or e-mail to (wroefs@sc.rr.com).

An Editor’s Nightmare

Friday, September 14th, 2012

Yesterday I was working on processing articles for our Oct. 2012 issue ofCarolina Arts and I came to one which will show at the Vista Studios in Columbia, SC, and it struck me – I left an article out last month. I remember receiving the press release, I remember working on the press release because the artist was having a reception on two consecutive days – which is a little unusual.

I did a quick scan of the issue, on my working copy of the paper, and didn’t see the article there. Man alive – that is the worst thing to happen – someone sends you a press release about an exhibit and I lost it somewhere in the process. It’s an editor’s nightmare.

After 10 minutes of checking the e-mail files I found the original e-mail. It came in on Aug. 23, the day before our deadline and a day where we received over 75 e-mails. Maybe that’s why I lost track of it? Too much flow of info. But I remembered it.

Next, I checked our image file and there was nothing there for this show – unusual, but not uncommon. I even checked my “send” file to see if I requested a photo and there was nothing there on Aug. 23 – very unusual. So I go to the artist’s website and do a Google search to find a photo to use and get two nice images, which makes me even feel worse as the works look good. And, I also learn this artist used a Kickstarter project to do this exhibit – which made me feel even more bad. More bad – people had helped make this exhibit possible and I left it out of the paper.

So I copy the e-mail and start processing it to post on our blogs and announce my big screw up. The show ends on Oct. 2, but I was ready to include it in our Oct. issue – just for the record.

As I’m processing the article the feeling of déja vu hits me. I feel like I’ve worked on this press release before, so how did it not make it into the paper? I decided to open the PDF of the paper which I downloaded to my desktop at the first of the month like over 100,000 other folks had done this month. While going back over the section covering the Columbia, SC, area – there it was. I missed seeing it the first time in my working copy. Why didn’t I check the PDF in the first place? Why didn’t I check the Index?

The good thing is – I didn’t screw up.

So what made me uneasy about this article to begin with? Why did I have the feeling I failed somehow? Was it the feeling that Vista Studios is one of our longtime supporters and I let them down – they had three articles in the Sept. issue. Was it the feeling that I let the artist down by not requesting a photo? I don’t know. I just don’t know what happened, but this feeling took two hours out of my work day and I wanted to get something constructive out of those two hours so I’m posting this article here – with the images I found. And I hope people go see this exhibit by a native son returning home from Georgia to exhibit in the city of his origin. And, I hope I get some peace by doing this.

Here’s the article:

Vista Studios in Columbia, SC, Offers Works by Jonathan Callicutt

Vista Studios in Columbia, SC, will present the exhibit, Full Circle, featuring works by two dimensional mixed-media artist Jonathan Callicutt, on view in Gallery 80808, from Sept. 27 through Oct. 2, 2012. Receptions will be held on the evenings of Sept. 28 & 29.

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“My work is driven by a need to bring the iconic imagery of the past into the visual present. Inflected by both the Renaissance and Rauschenberg, pop culture and formal training, I look for a new translation of seemingly disparate styles in a modern dialect,” said Callicutt.

Full Circle has been conceived as a tying together of key thematic elements of Callicutt’s life. A native of Columbia and exhibitor in 2011’s Florence Biennale, the artist hopes to join his experience with the birthplace of the Renaissance to this show in the city of his origins as an artist. The past connects to the present connects to the past, Full Circle.

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SC Arts Commission Saved Again, But Just Barely – the 2012 Version

Monday, July 30th, 2012

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I think the first paragraph of the article written by Otis R. Taylor, Jr. in The State newspaper after the big rally says it all.

“The State House was under an umbrella of creativity Monday evening as hundreds of arts supporters met on the grounds to oppose Gov. Nikki Haley’s veto of the South Carolina Arts Commission budget.”

You can read the whole article at this link (http://www.thestate.com/2012/07/17/2356789/arts-supporters-rally.html#storylink=cpy).

Even Columbia’s Free Times newspaper reported that only “hundreds flocked to the State House for a colorful pro-arts rally”.

A Facebook event page was created, Rally for the Arts – Support the SC Arts Commission, which invited 13,327 Facebook members (people involved with the arts in SC) to join in, yet only 1,688 “claimed” they would show up at the rally, while 578 others said – maybe. Yet only hundreds showed up.

Some will say the weather kept people away, but if I was the Arts Commission I wouldn’t want to count on my fair-weather friends to save me again and again, as this battle over the Arts Commission’s future isn’t over.

The main point here is – the SC Arts Commission was never in real danger of being eliminated – it was all a bunch of political show.

Our Tea-Bagger Governor wants to eliminate the Arts Commission altogether, which is wrong, but the Legislature has other plans. The House lawmakers approved a bill that would have moved the Arts Commission into the Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism, much like the way North Carolina handles its arts agency, but the Senate did not vote on the bill. Hopefully that will happen this next session and the Arts Commission will be reorganized with a different mission, some different staff members, and hopefully not many of the Commission’s “rubber stamp” board members – if any.

The Governor claims that the Arts Commission’s overhead is too high and I hate to have to agree with her on that point. I couldn’t begin to explain what 20 staff members do on a daily basis at the Arts Commission. And, their expenses do seem to be out of whack for an agency with such a small budget – under $4 million this year. They even had to move the agency into cheaper digs this year to stay under the 30 percent overhead mandated last year by the Legislature. And, the Governor is not happy about the executive director, Ken May’s salary – $91,664 a year. Which does seem high for an agency with such a small budget.

I looked at some other SC State agency’s budgets and pay their executives get and I was a little surprised. Take the Sea Grant Consortium, which was also on the Gov’s chopping block. They have a $6 million budget, but their executive director is only making $83,408. This agency has the same number of employees, a bigger budget, but the top person makes less money.

The head of the Budget and Control Board makes $173,380, but that agency deals with almost $1/2 billion and the head of the Department of Transportation which deals in billions only makes $146,000. Wouldn’t you think an executive’s salary would have some relationship to their budget?

I’d say Ken May’s salary is a big part of the Arts Commission’s overhead – in relation to it’s budget. Is it too much? I know a smaller salary would mean more funding for arts projects.

I’ve heard some talk that the Legislature is thinking about an audit of the Arts Commission which may revel more about where the money is going. That might clear the air some, but I would prefer they get on with the business of re-organizing state government before our Governor comes up with some new ideas about pleasing her Tea Bag supporters. She might start giving the Arts Commission’s board the Darla Moore treatment.

So who showed up at the big rally? Mostly people from Columbia. And, I’m not surprised about that. They are close to the Arts Commission – a centralized agency based in Columbia with no branches in other areas of the state. These were the people who see the Arts Commission staff at their performances, their exhibits, and in the grocery stores and restaurants of Columbia.

Here’s an example of how Columbia oriented the control of the arts are in South Carolina. Take a look at the SC Arts Foundation who the Arts Commission is in “partnership” with – sharing address, staff and phone numbers, but are totally separate – so they say.

The South Carolina Arts Foundation Board of Directors 2011-2012

Michel G. Moore, Columbia, President
Debra Timmerman, Charlotte, Vice President
Childs Cantey Thrasher, Columbia, Vice President
Jeffry C. Caswell, Columbia, Treasurer
Victoria Hollins, Columbia, Secretary
Patrick R. Van Huss, Columbia, Immediate Past President
Miller G. Bannister, Columbia
Gloria M. Bell, Charleston
Maryanne Belser, Columbia
Jerelyn “Jeri” Boysia, Columbia
Eric Brown, Greenville
J. Ashley Cooper, Charleston
Fannie I. “Judy” Cromwell, Greenville
Beryl Dakers, Columbia
James M. Dedman, IV, Greenville
Chandra Foster, Fort Mill
Shani Gilchrist, Columbia
Sarah Lynn Hayes, Rock Hill – Ex Officio
Robert Hoak, Greenville
Pamela L. Jenkins, Columbia
Robin Leverton, Beaufort
Ken May, Columbia – Ex Officio (Non-Voting)
J. Michael McCabe, Columbia
Rhett Outten, Mt. Pleasant
Donna Pullen, West Columbia
Ruth Rast, Columbia
Peggy Reynolds, Beaufort
Elizabeth Sowards, Chapin – Ex Officio
Linda C. Stern, Columbia
Leo F. Twiggs, Orangeburg
Bhavna Vasudeva, Columbia
John Whitehead, Columbia

All but one officer is from Columbia. Out of 32 members, 18 are from Columbia (more than half the board), 4 are from Greenville, 3 from the Charleston area, 2 from the Rock Hill area, 2 from Beaufort, 1 from Orangeburg, 1 from Chapin, and 1 from Charlotte, NC (?). I’d like to hear the story of why one of the members lives in Charlotte, NC.

There are no members from North Charleston (3rd largest city in SC), Spartanburg, Aiken, Florence, Hilton Head, Myrtle Beach, Sumter or any of the smaller communities in the state – other than Chapin, which is just outside of Columbia. Why are so many from Columbia?

Of course many of these same folks jump back and forth from the board of the Arts Commission to the board of the SC Arts Foundation – and back again. I can’t remember when a few of these folks haven’t been on one or the other of the boards.

It’s no wonder there weren’t rallies all over the state to save the Arts Commission or people traveling from far ends of the state to the rally in Columbia. The representation isn’t there for the whole state. And, for many around the state like me – we didn’t notice a thing different when the Arts Commission was shut down and won’t notice a thing now that their doors are open again. The Arts Commission isn’t there for us – they’re only there for non-profits and a few individuals.

South Carolina needs to continue to support the arts with our tax dollars, but we also need to shake things up and re-organize the arts structure in the state and change some of the faces in control. We are way behind our neighbor to the North in making the arts a productive part of our state’s economy (at the bank – not just on paper) – and not just thought of as a burden.

Let’s hope the Legislature does something soon.

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

Thursday, June 28th, 2012

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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.

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Here’s a photo I took with my camera

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Here’s the same painting off the City Art website

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A view of a few more paintings

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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.

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A view of some of Harriet Goode’s tall women – from a previous exhibit at City Art

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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.

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High Noon with Mary Gilkerson

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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.

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Folks trying out materials from the demo and collecting sample goodies

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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.

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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.

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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.

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A slightly fuzzy photo of a work by Eva Carter

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A work by William “Bill” Buggel

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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.

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A work by Gene Speer

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A work by Marge Moody

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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.

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A work by John Acorn who will have an exhibit at 701 Center for Contemporary Art in July

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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.

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A group of works at One Eared Cow Glass

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All these images are from the iPhone

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My favorite photo from the day’s trip – love that iPhone

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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.

Calling on All My Michigan Friends and Family to Vote for Jonathan Brilliant to Win ArtPrize® 2011 in Grand Rapids, MI

Saturday, September 10th, 2011

Jonathan Brilliant, of Columbia, SC, is currently at Kendall College of Art and Design in Grand Rapids, MI, doing an artist residency, from Sept. 8 – 21, 2011, building one of his coffee stir installations, which will become part of ArtPrize® 2011, one of the largest art competitions in the world.

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One of Jonathan Brilliant’s installations in Charleston, SC, in 2009

I’m calling on all my friends and family members still in Michigan to go vote for Brilliant’s entry during ArtPrize® 2011 in Grand Rapids. And, maybe they can do some social networking and encourage all their friends and family to go vote for Brilliant.

You have to go to Grand Rapids to cast your vote. You can read my earlier posting on this subject at this link.

Show this southern artist some northern hospitality!

If you need a reason – remember it was a football game between Clemson University (Clemson, SC) and Ohio State where Woody Hayes’ career was ended as he stepped onto the field of play to knock down a Clemson player.

Michigan owes South Carolina BIG for that reason alone.

For further details about voting visit (http://www.artprize.org/).