Bob Doster of Lancaster, SC, On the Move Around the Carolinas

Bob Doster’s Backstreet Studio, located in the heart of Lancaster, SC’s, Cultural Arts District is owned and operated by the artist, but it is becoming rare to find him there.  The sculptor is in his studio, with artist assistant Jamie Ouzts, just long enough to create new sculptures, fabricate student-designed works, and meet deadlines for commissioned works. More often, Doster will be found traveling throughout the Carolinas conducting artist residencies in schools, teaching summer camps, and delivering work to public art and gallery exhibitions.

As is typical for the well-known artist, April proved busy month, with Doster’s “Summer Wind” exhibited at Lake City, SC’s ArtFields, a diverse competition comprised of over 360 works selected from submissions from across the Southeast. From there, “Summer Wind” travels to Willow Walk, a biannual signature event in Burlington, NC’s. Willowbrook Park. Alamance Arts, with the City of Burlington Recreation and Parks Department, coordinates the outdoor exhibition and which features more than 35 artists from all over the nation, whose works are chosen based on originality, creativity, and quality of workmanship and design.

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Another of the “Wind & Waves” sculptures, “January Wind” traveled from Anderson, SC, after being part of a public exhibition to North Charleston, SC, where it received an Honorable Mention at North Charleston’s “11th Annual National Outdoor Sculpture Competition and Exhibition”. Presented by the City of North Charleston Cultural Arts Department, this unique, eleven month exhibition offers artists the opportunity to display their thought provoking, extraordinary sculptures, and compete for monetary prizes. Sculpture sites are located throughout Riverfront Park on the banks of the Cooper River and the exhibition will be on view until April 2017.

A second sculpture from Doster’s “Wind and Waves” series, “February Wind” was accepted to “Beyond Walls”, an annual national outdoor sculpture exhibition in Robbins Park, Cornelius, NC. One of ten sculptures selected by a jury from thirty applicants, it will remain on exhibit until March, 2017, in this annual public art project coordinated by Cornelius Art Center. The City of Anderson, in partnership with Anderson Arts Center coordinates an annual public art project in downtown, and a massive sculpture from Doster’s “Portal” series was chosen as part of the exhibit, which is on view until April of 2017.

Several monumental works by Doster are currently exhibited at University of North Georgia and new works by the artist, including one from the “Portal” series, have been accepted into the annual outdoor exhibition that represents artists living in the Appalachian states. The exhibition is open year-round in Dahlonega, GA. Doster’s “Dancer”, a ten-feet high stainless steel sculpture that has been shown in public art exhibitions in four states, was one of three sculptures chosen by Boone, NC, Downtown Development Association to be displayed next to Boone Town Hall until June 2017.

In September, look for Doster’s work in Lenoir, NC, at Caldwell Arts Council’s “31st Annual Sculpture Celebration”. Year-round, Doster’s work can be viewed in public art exhibits, collections, and art galleries in NC cities of Raleigh, Lenoir, Chapel Hill, Black Mountain, Sunset Beach, Charlotte, Pinehurst, Waxhaw, Weddington, and others. SC locations to find the artist’s work includes Lancaster, Chester, Spartanburg, Greenville, Cheraw, Anderson, Rock Hill, Richburg, Charleston, Columbia, North Charleston, Beaufort, Pageland, Chesterfield, Clemson, Laurens, Clinton, Florence, Fort Mill, Orangeburg, Mt. Pleasant, Van Wyck, Indian Land, Camden, Bennettsville,  and others. In Georgia, look for the artist’s creations in Dahlonega and Atlanta and in Chattanooga, TN.

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Doster has been conducting artist residencies in public and private schools since the 1970’s and recent residencies include Dorchester County’s River Oaks Middle School and Eagle Nest Elementary. SC schools now boasting sculptures designed by students under Doster’s instruction include New Prospect Elementary School in Inman and Blythewood High School. Lancaster residencies included South Middle School, Buford Elementary School, Heath Springs Elementary School, and Andrew Jackson Middle School. Lancaster students also designed and painted downtown banners and large art “cubes” that remain on public exhibit from March until October. More SC schools that participated in artist residencies include Ebinport Elementary School in Rock Hill, Laurens Elementary School in Clover, Duncan Elementary and Chapman High School in Spartanburg. Cary, NC’s, Weatherstone Elementary School recently completed and installed a large stainless steel sculpture honoring the “Class of 2016”.

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Doster became interested in making art when he was eleven years old and watched his father create sculptures from metal and other materials. He received a Bachelor of Fine Arts from USC and a Master of Fine Arts from Clemson University. A native of Lancaster, he opened his studio in the downtown area in the 1970’s, where he continues to work. Arts workshops and classes are held there on a regular basis, many by other local artists. Ever the teaching artist, Doster conducts one-day metal sculpture workshops throughout the year. Participants design, weld, and polish their own individual works of art while Muddy, the “art dog” helps supervise the activities. Upcoming workshops are scheduled for Sept, Oct, Nov, Dec and information can be found at (https://www.facebook.com/backstreetstudio/).

The studio, gallery, and garden at Backstreet Studio, 217 East Gay Street, Lancaster, SC will be open on June 11 and 12 for Ag+Art Tour of Lancaster County and for the annual gallery open house on the first weekend of December. Visitors are always invited to tour the artist’s studio and group tours can be scheduled by calling 803/285-9190 or e-mailing to (rcdoster@comporium.net).

Learn more by visiting (www.bobdoster.com).

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