Editor’s Note: For some reason I could not place this a Carolina Arts Unleashed this morning. Don’t know why. So we’re launching it here today.
OK – it was a rainy, stormy, day here in Bonneau, SC, and I decided to go to check out some exhibits in the Pee Dee area of SC – yada, yada, yada. This happens sometimes – I go see something, I take photos and notes on what I see and think to help me remember things and when I get back home – life and business gets in the way. So here we are in Part III and the exhibit I saw at the Art Trail Gallery in downtown Florence’s growing arts district has ended.
The blog entry ended up being given in three parts (nothings is ever brief with me) and between Part II and Part III came time to put the Aug. 2014 issue of Carolina Arts together. So, I apologize to the folks who run the gallery and the Pee Dee Artist Guild, but I’m still going to write it up. I can’t inspire anyone to go see the exhibit, but I can validate that it happened for history’s sake. That’s the best I can do.
So after I was mucking around outside taking in all the outside improvements to the arts district in downtown Florence, SC, I headed into the opening reception for Reflections of the Pee Dee, which was on exhibit at the Art Trail Gallery, supported by the Florence Downtown Development Corporation, from July 5 – 26, 2014.
It had been almost a year since I had been to a reception of an exhibit at the Art Trail Gallery and things had really changed. The space had been renovated and was under new management. I did my first go around to see the exhibit, and then checked out the no-longer hidden space of Alex Palkovich which shares the space. Palkovich’s work is not the kind of thing you want to hide and you couldn’t keep people away if you tried. Some people might think of it as a distraction to other works on display, but all gallery spaces should have such inviting distractions.
For some reason I got the impression that the artworks were displayed much better than in the past. Most of the works, not all, by the same artist were together, which is the best way to display works. But in the past, most of the exhibits at the Art Trail Gallery that I have seen were juried shows where works were placed by category, where an artist can have works spread all over the place. This was not a juried show, so that might be what I was thinking. In the past I have tried to encourage the Gallery to present planned shows – that could be promoted ahead of time with press releases. Most juried shows you don’t know what you’re getting until the deadline passes and that’s usually just before the show goes up. That makes it hard to promote in advance.
The back of the gallery space serves as Alex Palkovich’s showroom
Gosh – who would think you would fine a nude in an art gallery? (inside joke)
Go see the final sculpture of General Francis Marion in Johnsonville, SC.
After the first go around I spotted Jane Madden, the person who started the Art Trail Gallery. And, as usual, she and I had a number of discussions about this and that in the art world – until others demanded her attention. Madden is the go to person for info about funding, publicity, and just about everything. So, our time was up and it was a good thing too, as I noticed I was hungry.
Plenty of places to sit – as they also have concerts at the gallery
The one thing you can always count on at an Art Trail Gallery reception is good food. There’s always a good selection of goodies. So, I filled a plate and found a place to sit and review the photos I took and made some notes. Another good thing about the Art Trail Gallery space – there are always plenty of places to sit. Up to this point I had been on my feet a good bit of time. While sitting there a work on the far wall kept demanding my attention. It wasn’t a work that stood out that much during my first inspection, but it just kept interrupting my concentration.
This work “Jeffries Creek Swamp,” by Matt Cook kept grabbing my attention
The show had a good selection of works in a variety of media. Almost half of the exhibit was photographs (22/48) and there were works by artists I knew, but I didn’t have to recognize anyone’s style as all works were properly identified with tags. And I didn’t have to get on my knees to read any of them. (You folks know who I’m talking about.)
There were interesting works there by Lynda English, Jaclyn Wukela, Jim Gleason, Suzanne Muldrow, and others I did not know, but the surprise of the afternoon was the paintings on silk by Aggie Palkovich. I did not know that Alex Palkovich had to share a house and spotlight with another talented artist.
“Good Morning Friends,” by Lynda English
“Pink & Blue Scarf,” by Aggie Palkovich
“Beware the Venum of the Rebel Spirit,” by Jim Gleason
Keep in mind that I can’t show you everything I liked as some works were under glass and that makes it hard to get a good photo.
So, I made another trip around the gallery to make sure I didn’t miss anything and then headed home after a day of filling my eyes and mind with lots of good visions and questions. Most of all I wondered how can towns and cities like Lake City and Florence put so much into developing art districts to lure businesses back into downtown areas, as well as attracting tourism, and some bigger cities ignore the arts all together?
Of course some big cities have so much arts that they can’t support or fund them all, causing them to select a few to keep afloat, while others have to fend for themselves.
If what’s happening in the Pee Dee area of South Carolina pays off – there will be leaders from towns and cities all over the Southeast showing up to find out – how did you do it?
The next exhibit at the Art Trail Gallery will be, Visualicious 2014, on view from Aug. 1 – 28, 2014. A reception will be held on Aug. 8, from 5:30-7:30pm. If you go, you might see a lot of works by many of the artists I mentioned. But, the whole thing is – you need to good and support the arts yourself – it could be the thing that’s pumping new blood into your economy.
The Art Trail Gallery is located at 185 West Evans Street, just around the corner from their old location on S. Dargon Street, in downtown Florence, SC. For further info visit (www.art-trail-gallery.com).
Read Part I at this link (http://carolinaarts.com/wordpress/2014/07/15/a-trip-to-see-several-exhibits-in-the-pee-dee-area-of-south-carolina-in-july-2014-part-i/).
Read Part II at this link (http://carolinaarts.com/wordpress/2014/07/23/a-trip-to-see-several-exhibits-in-the-pee-dee-area-of-south-carolina-in-july-2014-part-ii/)