The 2016-2017 school year has been a busy one for Lancaster, SC, artist Bob Doster. In January and February, Lancaster County School District students have been converging on his studio to paint banners that will be exhibited from March – October in the Red Rose City’s Cultural Arts District. Other South Carolina schools to host artist residencies included Hunter Street Elementary and Larne Elementary in York County, Westwood High in Blythewood, Holly Springs-Motlow Elementary in Campobello, Dorchester County School District, and Indian Land’s Harrisburg Elementary. In Apex, North Carolina, West Lake Elementary School joined the ranks of the hundreds of campuses to add student-designed sculptural works to the landscape.
Doster’s thought-provoking “Southern Crosses” has been accepted by the Artfields Competition and will be exhibited in Lake City, SC, in March and April, 2017. Artfields is a diverse competition, exhibiting approximately 400 works selected from submissions from across the Southeast and artists compete for over $120,000 in prize money. Doster’s “Southern Crosses” represent the artist’s seventeen-year journey of personal redemption. The first, created in 1999, was in reaction to controversy over the Confederate flag and why it was a symbol of hate. Believing it to be a result of the KKK and other “hate” groups having used the battle flag as a symbol of power, Doster was moved to create a mild steel cross addressing violence that people heap upon fellow man, sometimes in the name of religion. Flames rising from the cross are consuming practitioners of hate. The second cross, of stainless steel represents greed and hate preached by false prophets. The final, most recent stainless steel cross represents the purity of faith and redemption, inspired by the forgiveness shown by families of victims of Emanuel African Methodist Church. Doster states, “Their forgiveness has strengthened my faith in my loving God.” Visitors can vote for their favorites online or during the Artfields celebration, set for April 21-29.
“Fall Wind”, a sculpture that appears to be gracefully flowing, was one of three chosen for public exhibition until Fall, 2017 at Radford Cultural Heritage Park, located on the grounds of Glencoe Museum and Gallery in Radford, VA. The juried competition coincides with the dedication of a statue honoring Mary Draper Ingles, colonial heroine whose story of escape from captivity by the Shawnees has been retold in many ways since 1755. The competition theme centered around the epic journey to honor Mary’s heroic return over hundreds of miles back to the New River Valley. The competition is made possible through grants from the Virginia Commission for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the City of Radford.
Doster’s “Fall Leaves”, another organically-inspired sculpture was one of eleven chosen through competition to be exhibited in downtown Fayetteville, NC’s “Work In Progress”. The public art progress exhibition is gifted to the Fayetteville community through private donors matched with funding by Arts Council of Fayetteville/Cumberland County. Visitors will find “Fall Leaves” at 106 Hay Street, Fayetteville, NC, until October 2017.
Two sculptures from Doster’s “Wind and Waves” series, “Summer Wind” and “November Wind”, are two of fifteen sculptures selected for exhibit on the Imperial Centre for Arts and Sciences’ grounds until September, 2017. They were chosen for the annual “Sculpture Salmagundi Exhibition” at the Maria V. Howard Arts Center in Rocky Mount, NC. The exhibition attracts sculptors from across the United States and represents emerging and internationally acclaimed sculptors working in many different media, scale, and concepts.
Other sculptural works by Doster will presently be found in public art installations that include NC cities of Boone, Raleigh, Cary, Pinehurst; GA cities of Dahlonega, Cummings; SC cities of Greenville, North Charleston, Lancaster, Columbia, Florence, Fort Mill, Orangeburg, Cheraw, Chesterfield, Chester, Rock Hill, York, Clinton, Laurens, Spartanburg, Gaffney, Clemson, and Anderson. In addition, commissioned works by the artist dot the corporate landscape throughout the Southeast and can be found in galleries, museums, and private collections worldwide. Doster’s unique galleries and garden at Backstreet Studio have a large selection of his artwork and also are available for special event rentals.
Doster first began making art when he was eleven years old and has been a teaching artist listed on the SC Arts Commission for more than thirty years. One-day metal sculpture and bottle tree workshops are hosted at his studio, located 217 East Gay Street, Lancaster, SC, since the 1970’s. Workshops are scheduled for March 4, April 1 and 22, May 20 from 8am-4pm. Students draw, cut, weld, and polish works of their own design and all supplies are included in the $100 per person fee.