Archive for the ‘Spartanburg SC Visual Arts’ Category

Spartanburg, SC, Unveils Seeing Spartanburg in a New Light – Oct. 4, 2016

September 30, 2016

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Award-winning light and digital media artist Erwin Redl will unveil nine public art installations in Spartanburg, SC, on Tuesday, Oct. 4, 2016, as a part of Bloomberg Philanthropies Public Art Challenge. For more than a year, Seeing Spartanburg in a New Light has been building relationships between police officers and communities through a collaborative art-making process.

The installations will be illuminated in conjunction with National Night Out events across 10 city neighborhoods, starting with a celebration at 4:30pm at Mobile Suspension downtown in Denny’s Plaza, 203 E. Main Street, Spartanburg, SC. Composed of five curtains of semi-transparent acrylic panes – nearly 7,000 in total – Mobile Suspension is the result of Redl’s creative design and the collective efforts of residents and police officers who volunteered to assemble the large-scale installation. During the day, sunlight will shine through the mobile, casting colors onto the ground like stained glass. At night, LED lights provided by Hubbell Lighting Inc. in Greenville, SC, will illuminate the mobile from below.

The Oct. 4 event will feature music, food and comments from Spartanburg Mayor Junie White; Jennifer Evins, CEO of the Chapman Cultural Center; Spartanburg Police Chief Alonzo Thompson and neighborhood residents, who will talk about the year-long effort to revitalize the city through art. The illumination of each installation will coincide with a neighborhood celebration at the site, ending with a grand finale at 8:30pm at Glow at the Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine, 350 Howard St., Spartanburg. See below for a schedule of the Oct. 4 celebration.

“By bringing site-specific art into Spartanburg neighborhoods where residents may feel isolated from traditional cultural assets, this project is already fostering greater understanding of both the artistic process and the transformative impact of public art,” said Jennifer Evins, president and CEO of the Chapman Cultural Center. “We are eliminating barriers as residents become part of the artistic process and help translate ideas into works of art.”

In 2015, the City of Spartanburg was selected as one of four communities to participate in the Bloomberg Philanthropies Public Art Challenge, a new program to support temporary public art projects that celebrate creativity, enhance urban identity, encourage public-private partnerships, and drive economic development. The temporary art project, funded by $1 million from Bloomberg Philanthropies, with supplemental funding provided by regional institutions, corporations, foundations and private donors, is a partnership among Redl, the Chapman Cultural Center, the City of Spartanburg and civic leadership.

Redl, whose art installations have illuminated spaces worldwide, has been working with neighborhood residents and community leaders for more than a year to bring the project to life. The artist said each installation is tailored to its environment and that the scale, medium and design vary significantly, ranging from workshop-based video and smaller light installations to large-scale illuminations of two smokestacks.

“Different structures lead to different aesthetic explorations and community engagement possibilities,” Redl said. “Alternative structures lead to alternative results. Change is inevitable, and, through this process, we begin to see Spartanburg in a new light.”

Mayor White said the efforts of Redl and all of those across the community to bring Seeing Spartanburg in a New Light to life are already bearing fruit.

“The night of Oct. 4 is going to be a great night in the history of our community,” said Spartanburg Mayor Junie White. “Something special is happening in Spartanburg right now. Seeing Spartanburg in a New Light is symbolic of what is happening here, and I can’t wait to see the lights come on for everyone.”

Below is a description of the installations and the schedule of the Oct. 4 events:

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Mobile Suspension, Downtown Spartanburg, Denny’s Plaza, 203 E. Main St. – Lights On – 4:30-6pm, Oct. 4.

Five multicolored mobile curtains float above the center lawn of Denny’s Plaza, located in the heart of Spartanburg’s Downtown Cultural District. Each curtain is 51 feet long and 12 feet high and consists of a woven pattern of translucent acrylic 4-inch by 4-inch squares. The installation was designed to create a dazzling visual experience that changes depending on the time of day, the viewer’s position, and weather conditions. The five shimmering curtains are made of multicolored acrylic squares installed in specific patterns designed by the artist. Community volunteers assembled the curtains over a one-month period using specially designed clips. The rectangular shape of the site gave Redl an opportunity to play with subtle variations within a grid. The artist is interested in creating unique visceral sensations for viewers, and Mobile Suspension offers a kaleidoscopic experience that is fresh with each new encounter.

River Poetry, Andrews Farm and Converse Heights, Cottonwood Trail, 1038 Woodburn Road – Lights On – 5:45pm.

Here, artist Erwin Redl provides an opportunity for visitors to contemplate the role of technology in our lives within a nature preserve. Located between Converse Heights and Andrews Farm neighborhoods, the Cottonwood Trail is a 116-acre urban greenspace with 4 1/2 miles of trails, and is owned and maintained by the Spartanburg Area Conservancy, a membership-based nonprofit organization. By juxtaposing LED displays similar to those used by restaurants and gas stations against the solitude of a meandering creek, the artist creates a tangible demonstration that nature and digital technology can coexist. The project presents local poetry displayed on twelve double-sided LED signs suspended above the Cottonwood Trail. Visitors can read the lines of poetry overhead as they walk along Lawson’s Fork Creek. The layered poetry dimension allows for the community to provide their thoughts, observations, and feelings about nature within this dynamic human/nature system created by the artist. The Hub City Writers Project will curate an ongoing series of poems for River Poetry through March 2017.

Under One Roof, South Converse, Picnic Shelter, 440 S. Converse St. – Lights On – 6:10pm.

This park has special meaning to South Converse residents as a sign of local pride and a link to the past. The local neighborhood association fought hard to get this park funded and completed. Touched by the story of the park’s origin, and inspired by the evident pride in the place, Redl decided to use this picnic shelter to demonstrate the transformative power of turning something ordinary into something extraordinary. Residents have attended workshops to learn how to install and program the LED lighting for the shelter. Redl hopes local residents will want to create special light programs for dances, poetry slams, cookouts, or other events in and around the shelter. By using a simple picnic shelter as the basic structure within which many things can happen, and by involving the local community, Redl has tangibly illustrated that we are all indeed together under one roof.

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Islands of Light, Maxwell Hills, Duncan Park Lake, 293 West Park Drive – Lights On – 6:30pm.

Redl explores the fertile intersection of art, nature and technology with this installation of eight floating islands recalling the image of cattails or reeds swaying with the breeze in an aquatic environment. The scale of the site was particularly interesting to the artist, as it allowed for interactions among water, wind, and sky in addition to light and reflection. The logistical challenges of the project were first taken on by students from Daniel Morgan Technology Center. After meeting with the artist and an engineer, these young technicians created a working prototype, which became the blueprint for the finished islands. A local dock builder was engaged to install these light-topped atolls. The local waterfowl have officially adopted these islands of light.

Benchmark Spartanburg, Forest Park, CC Woodson Recreation Center, 210 Bomar Avenue – Lights On – 6:55pm.

Benches are for sitting, yes, but they can also be a site for romance, business deals, creative pastimes or great conversations. Redl has created a chromatically pulsating bench that he hopes will invite community gatherings, poetry readings and other events that make use of the mesmerizing patterns and shifting color palette. The multiple RGB LED side-lit acrylic panels that make up the bench create an almost cinematic experience, saturating the surrounding environment with gradually morphing gradations of color.

Spartanburg Swing, Hampton Heights, National Beta Headquarters, 267 S. Spring St. – Lights On – 7:15pm.

Twenty-six four-foot-long pendulums are evenly distributed across the glass facade of the National Beta Headquarters building. Their slow one-second pulse animates the surface of the concrete and glass structure. Mixing the simple physics of a pendulum with the off-the-shelf electronics of a small fan and flashlight LED, Spartanburg Swing creates a complex choreography. This kinetic work is controlled by small microprocessors that turn the fans and the lights on and off in intervals programmed by the artist. The pulsing movement is created entirely by intermittent fan bursts and the constant tug of gravity.

The site is the international headquarters of National Beta, whose purpose is “to promote the ideals of academic achievement, character, leadership, and service among elementary and secondary school students.” Headquartered in Spartanburg, the organization has more than 8,750 clubs nationally and internationally. The Hampton Heights neighborhood, comprised of homes built between the 1880s and the 1920s, is on the National Register of Historic Places.

Video Village, Highland Neighborhood, Cammie Clagget Apartments, 317 Highland Avenue – Lights On – 7:35pm.

The artist decided he wanted to turn these empty buildings in the Cammie Clagget apartment complex inside out, transforming the now-vacant units into lanterns that face outward to tell their stories and cast their light into the surrounding community. The artist is interested in reanimating these empty spaces as a way to draw our attention to the question of impermanence and what might be possible for the future. Playing with the dual meaning of the word projection, Redl created a 52-channel video screen and directed White Elephant Enterprises and the Spartanburg Art Museum to curate the content for the installation. The selected videos feature a variety of topics but focus on stories of and about the residents of this historic neighborhood. The curators established a media production studio within the nearby Bethlehem Center to facilitate interviews with residents and to collect vintage home-movie footage and digitize family photographs from the community. The artist hopes to jump-start enthusiasm within the community for making videos of all kinds and sharing them in the public square.

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Glow, Beaumont Village and Northside, Beaumont smokestack, 400 Beaumont Avenue – Lights On – 8:05pm.

Northside smokestack, 350 Howard St. – Lights On and grand finale celebration – 8:30pm.

Both of the mill properties owned by Spartan Mills today serve new purposes, one as the Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine and the other as the administrative offices of Spartanburg Regional Healthcare System. Originally constructed by master builder Thomas Badgett, these two colossal smokestack structures were built in the late nineteenth century out of locally made brick. Edifices such as these, in the heart of mill villages, have historical relevance and serve as symbols of adaptation and change.

Redl has chosen to treat the smokestacks as two synchronized, large-scale canvases for high-powered multicolored lights that bathe the surface of the worn bricks. For the artist, these artworks offer a new way of seeing old structures.

Born in Austria in 1963, Erwin Redl finished his studies at the Vienna Music Academy with two degrees, a BA in Composition (1990) and BA in Electronic Music (1991). He was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship for graduate studies in computer art at the School of Visual Arts, in New York City (MFA 1995). Redl investigates the process of “reverse engineering” by (re-)translating the abstract aesthetic language of virtual reality and 3D computer modeling into architectural environments by means of large-scale light installations.

For the 2002 Whitney Biennial, the artist covered the Whitney Museum’s facade with three multicolor LED veils. In 2008 he created a sound and light installation in the Austrian Pavilion at the World Expo in Zaragoza, Spain. The Pacific Design Center’s new Red Building by Cesar Pelli features four permanent installations by the artist, completed in 2013. Redl’s largest work to date is a computer-controlled, 580-foot-long-LED-installation at the Wexner Center for the Arts in Columbus, Ohio, completed in 2010.

Redl’s work is owned by prestigious national and international institutions, among them the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; the Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego; the Milwaukee Art Museum; and Borusan Contemporary, Istanbul; as well as by private collectors.

The mission of the Chapman Cultural Center is to provide cultural leadership for Greater Spartanburg by developing, strengthening, and promoting the scope, excellence and educational role of the arts, humanities, and sciences, and to further their significance in the life of our community and all of its citizens. Founded in 1968 with a current budget of $2.1 million, the Chapman Cultural Center is the oldest and largest countywide arts agency in the state of South Carolina and is serving as the lead Arts Agency and Project Manager for Seeing Spartanburg in a New Light.

The City of Spartanburg was selected in 2015 as one of four temporary public art projects from across the United States to receive a grant award from the first-ever Bloomberg Philanthropies Public Art Challenge. Other winning cities are Gary, IN, Spartanburg, SC, and Los Angeles, CA.  Full information on all projects can be found at publicartchallenge.bloomberg.org.

Bloomberg Philanthropies works in more than 120 countries around the world to ensure better, longer lives for the greatest number of people. The organization focuses on five key areas for creating lasting change: Arts, Education, Environment, Government Innovation and Public Health. Bloomberg Philanthropies encompasses all of Michael R. Bloomberg’s charitable activities, including his foundation and his personal giving. In 2015, Bloomberg Philanthropies distributed over half a billion dollars.

For more information, please visit (bloomberg.org) or follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and Twitter @BloombergDotOrg.

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Hub City Empty Bowls Soup Day Slated for Oct. 15, 2016, in Spartanburg, SC

September 30, 2016

Hub City Empty Bowls’s annual Soup Day – a grassroots fundraiser to help feed local hungry people – will be Saturday, Oct. 15, 2016, from 11am-4pm at Chapman Cultural Center in Spartanburg, SC. The public is invited to select handmade pottery bowls and enjoy a wide selection of gourmet soups in exchange for $15 donations. All proceeds go towards feeding the hungry at TOTAL Ministries, a local non-profit, faith-based agency that helps citizens who are facing financial crisis.

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Last year, Hub City Empty Bowls donated $26,000 to TOTAL Ministries. Carolina Clay Artists has spearheaded Hub City Empty Bowls since its inception in 2009. Since then, this group of potters has raised tens of thousands of dollars to help feed people in Spartanburg County.

For the past several months at Spartanburg Art Museum’s pottery studio and West Main Artists Co-Op, the general public has been making clay pottery bowls in preparation for Soup Day. Average citizens, as well as trained potters, have made hundreds of bowls at free bowl-making events. Those bowls have been glazed and fired by volunteers and will be displayed in Spartanburg Art Museum at Chapman on Soup Day. The display of hundreds of colorful bowls is an impressive sight. Patrons can select the bowls of their liking in an exchange for $15 donations. Afterward, the patrons may enjoy a simple meal of soup, bread, and tea while enjoying live music and fellowship.

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“As much fun is generated during Soup Day, we always want to keep in mind the real reason why we do this,” Bruce Bowyer, Chairman of the event said.

“Latest statistics say that about 15 percent of the people in Spartanburg are what professionals call ‘food insecure.’ Food Insecurity causes 43,000 Spartanburg County residents to struggle with putting food on the table or keeping a roof over a families head. TOTAL Ministries can help relieve the stress of these families by making sure they can put food on the table. The Carolina Clay Artists and all of the many people who help with Empty Bowls do it because we want to make sure everyone has enough food to eat. It really is just that simple.”

“The need in Spartanburg is dire,” Traci Kennedy, Executive Director of TOTAL Ministries, said. “If it weren’t for Hub City Empty Bowls, I don’t know what we do. Carolina Clay Artists is a Godsend. We literally have people lined up outside our door needing food. Our resources are limited, and I hate to admit that we cannot meet the entire need of the community. But thanks to Empty Bowls a lot more people are able to get much needed food. If you’ve never been in the situation of not knowing how you will feed your children, you’ll never fully understand how important Empty Bowls is.”

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TOTAL Ministries has become an official organizing partner with Carolina Clay Artists in the annual Hub City Empty Bowls project and the recipient of the proceeds. In past years, the proceeds were donated to various hunger-related agencies.

The soup – donated by local restaurants – will be served in Chapman’s theater lobby, where the music will also be performed. More than two dozen restaurants or food providers have been recruited to donate at least five gallons of soup. Those restaurants are Andre Nguyen, Basil’s Grille, Country Club of Spartanburg, Cribb’s Catering, Cribb’s Kitchen On Main, FATZ Café, Garner’s Cafe, Gerhards Cafe, Hub City Co-Op, Lime Leaf, Lowes, McClellan’s Urban Eatery, Mon Amie Morning Cafe, Moveable Feasts, Nu-Way Restaurant & Lounge, Palmetto Palate, Renato In Centro, Skillet Restaurant, Southern BBQ, Sparks, Sun King Chinese Restaurant, II Samuels Restaurant, Wild Ace’s, and Willy Taco. Donors of bread, tea, and supplies include The Beacon Drive In, Cakehead Bakery, Little River Roasting Co., Long Horn’s, Wade’s Southern Cooking, and Chick-fil-a.

During Soup Day, there will also a silent auction and live music. Collectors take note: the silent auction will feature finely crafted ceramics created by local and regional artists. The musicians donating their talents are Daniel Z, Fayssoux & Brandon, Rick Praytor, Frank Walker, and Mark Miller & Friends. Public drum circles, led by Melisa Emkjer, will be held in the plaza noon-1pm and 2-3pm.

“We are getting down to the wire on this year’s Hub City Empty Bowls’s project,” Bowyer said. “We’ve got the bowls, we’ve got the soup, now we need the people to come and get them.”

The event’s sponsors are Carolina Clay Artists, Spartanburg Art Museum, West Main Artists Co-op, Chapman Cultural Center, Chris Williams, Action Printing, The Healing Arts Fund at Spartanburg Regional Healthcare System, Milliken, Fairway Outdoor, The Arts Partnership of Greater Spartanburg, and Wheresville Productions. This program is supported in part by The Arts Partnership of Greater Spartanburg, its donors, the County and City of Spartanburg, and the South Carolina Arts Commission, which receives support from the National Endowment for the Arts and the John and Susan Bennett Memorial Arts Fund of the Coastal Community Foundation of South Carolina. Proceeds from this event will be directed to the Hub City Empty Bowls Project Fund, a component fund of The Spartanburg County Foundation established to increase awareness about the issues of hunger and food security, and to raise funds to help local organizations fight hunger. This year’s beneficiary organization is TOTAL Ministries.

For more information about Bowls Soup Day, please visit (www.HubCityEmptyBowls.com) or call 864/706-3739.

Artists’ Guild of Spartanburg (SC) Event to Raise Money to Mentor Artists, Outreach with Artists Going Live – Oct. 13, 2016

September 30, 2016

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Artists’ Guild of Spartanburg in Spartanburg, SC, will hold its 4th annual fundraiser event, Artists Going Live, on Thursday, Oct. 13, 2016, at Drayton Mills Lofts. The night will be hosted by WSPA’s Christy Henderson and will feature live painting by local artists and local celebrities. There will be live and silent auctions, food by Cribb’s Kitchen, ARTinis, and much more.

All funds raised will go directly towards promotion of the visual arts locally by hosting collaborative events for professional artists to mentor aspiring artists. The Guild plans to accomplish this by creating a platform for artists to share knowledge about creating, presenting, and promoting themselves and their works. It also plans to use Artists Going Live proceeds to assist outreach programs for educational institutions in the region.

Last year’s event was a large success, raising over $18,000.

When: Oct. 13, from 6:30-9:30pm
Where: Drayton Mills Lofts
Tickets are $50 each and includes all food and beverages
Tickets are available at (www.artistsguildofspartanburg.com) or at the Chapman Center Box Office.

For more information or to support Artists Going Live, please contact Executive Director of Artists’ Guild of Spartanburg Nikki Hicks at 864/764-9568 or e-mail to (nhicks@SpartanArts.org).

Artists’ Guild in Spartanburg, SC, Offers Annual Juried Show

August 29, 2016

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Editor’s Note: They have new leadership who may not have known our deadline, but they do now and this won’t happen again. Of course the folks at the West Main Artists Co-Op knew the deadline and they always seen to be late.

The Artists’ Guild of Spartanburg will host its “43rd Annual Juried Show” at the West Main Artists Co-Op in Spartanburg, SC, from Sept. 1 through Oct. 1, 2016. A reception, which is free to the public, will be held in the Co-Op on Sept. 10, from 6-8pm; the awards ceremony will take place at 7pm. Cocktails and hor d’oeuvres will be available.

The Artists’s Guild is the oldest guild in South Carolina and has one of the longest running juried shows in the southeast. This year’s juror, Mary Gilkerson, juried in 70 NC and SC artists from over 175 entries. Gilkerson is an artist who uses color and light to connect people to the experience of place. Gilkerson notes, “For the last four years I have been making a small painting every day inspired by the landscapes I travel through, mainly near the roads and highways around Columbia, SC, especially lower Richland County. I’m drawn to the ordinary spaces we move through, especially ones that are within view from the road, a strange intersection of nature and culture. We move so fast that we don’t take time to observe the world around us in the way that people did before modern transportation and technology came along. My work seeks to focus on the shifting patterns of light and color that tell us what time of day and season it is, to notice the small and subtle as well as the large and grand.”

Gilkerson holds an MFA in drawing and painting from the University of South Carolina. A native South Carolinian, she lives and works in Columbia where she is a professor of art at Columbia College. She has received grants from the S.C. Arts Commission and the Cultural Council of Richland and Lexington Counties in addition to having been selected as a Southern Arts Federation Fellowship Finalist. Her work is in the permanent collections of McKissick Museum, Palmetto Health, Morris Communications Company, and Seibels Bruce Group, among others. She has been recognized for excellence in teaching by the South Carolina Independent Colleges and Universities (SCICU).

Six of the exhibiting artists will receive cash awards totaling $4,000, including one $1,500 Best in Show award, two $500 Excellence in 2-D Awards, two $500 Excellence in 3-D Awards, and one $500 People’s Choice Award. Visitors to the show may vote for the People’s Choice between 10am, Tuesday, Sept. 1, and 6:30pm, Saturday, Sept. 10.

The West Main Artists Co-Op Gallery is open and free to the public from 10am until 6pm, Tuesdays through Saturdays.

For further information, please contact Nikki Hicks by e-mail at (nhicks@spartanarts.org), or call 864/764-9568.

Spartanburg, SC, ArtWalk Under New Management

July 23, 2016

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The Spartanburg, SC, ArtWalk is a free, self-guided art tour of galleries in downtown Spartanburg that takes place the third Thursday of each month from 5-8pm. Spartanburg Art Museum (SAM), Spartanburg’s non-profit contemporary art museum and one of the city’s oldest arts organizations, has recently taken over hosting the event in coordination with 11 local institutional and commercial galleries. The museum has created a new website for ArtWalk that includes information on what’s happening at every participating gallery, updated monthly, and an interactive, downloadable walking map.

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“Spartanburg has an amazing number of thriving galleries and arts-spaces considering its size,” says Mat Duncan, SAM’s Curator of Collections and Community Development Coordinator, “and they’re a huge part of what makes Spartanburg one of South Carolina’s six cultural districts. ArtWalk is a great way for Spartans to connect with what’s happening downtown, but for some time, it has been somewhat unfocused and inconsistent. The new ArtWalk website is the Museum’s first step towards our vision of a new, more organized, and more fun ArtWalk.”

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People listening to a talk at the Spartanburg Art Museum

ArtWalk’s recently renovated website (www.spartanburgartwalk.org) provides resources for those wishing to take the tour, including contact information and monthly updates from participating galleries and a printable map of the event area with locations of participating galleries marked. Maps are also available at Spartanburg Art Museum during ArtWalk.

Spartanburg’s next ArtWalk takes place Thursday, August 18, 2016, from 5-8pm.

For more information or to become a participant visit (www.spartanburgartwalk.org), (www.spartanburgartmuseum.org) or call 864/582-7616 or e-mail the museum at (museum@spartanarts.org).

Founding Director of The Johnson Collection, in Spartanburg, SC, David Henderson, Retires

July 12, 2016

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In the beginning, there were 200 paintings—and the firm conviction that fine art of the South deserved a larger role on the stage of American art. Since that time in 2002, the Johnson Collection has grown to encompass 1,200 objects and has been lauded for having staged a “quiet art historical revolution” and expanding “the meaning of regional” by “The Magazine Antiques”. As the collection’s founding director, David Henderson guided that growth and ever-expanding vision. After fourteen years in this seminal role, Henderson announced his retirement effective July 1, 2016.

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Working in close collaboration with the Johnson family, Henderson established the collection’s curatorial framework and acquisition strategy. He also launched the collection’s ambitious publication and exhibition initiatives, building partnerships with museums and scholars across the country. “David’s passion for Southern art and history has been a catalyst for the collection since its formation. His expertise and keen understanding of the market have been an invaluable resource, and we are grateful for his leadership these many years,” stated George D. Johnson, Jr.

Fine art is a second vocation for Henderson, who retired early from a successful business career and then devoted himself to a burgeoning interest in Southern art. His own sizeable collection of works now forms the foundation of holdings represented by his family enterprise, H + K Gallery, to which Henderson, 73, will now dedicate more of his time. Henderson describes his tenure with the Johnson Collection as a “tremendous privilege that brought me great joy. The Johnson family’s commitment to the advancement of Southern art is unprecedented; working with George and Susu to shape the collection was an once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that I value beyond measure.”

Located in Spartanburg, SC, the Johnson Collection offers an extensive survey of artistic activity in the American South from the late eighteenth century to the present day. In May 2016, the collection received the Governor’s Elizabeth O’Neill Verner Award for the Arts, South Carolina’s highest honor in the field.

Complete information on TJC’s mission and current initiatives can be found on the collection’s website at (www.thejohnsoncollection.org).

Hub City Empty Bowls 2016 Aims to Feed Local Hungry Citizens in Spartanburg, SC

July 12, 2016

Hub City Empty Bowls anticipates another great art-based campaign in 2016 to feed the hungry people in Spartanburg County, SC, and invites everyone to make hand-crafted pottery bowls at free public events this summer. The finished bowls will be used for the annual Soup Day fundraiser in the autumn. This year, there will be three bowl-making opportunities for public participation: Saturday, July 16, 10am-noon and 1-3pm in Spartanburg Art Museum’s studios at Chapman Cultural Center; Thursday, July 21, 6-8:30pm at West Main Artists Co-Op; and Saturday, Aug. 27, 10am-noon and 1-3pm in Spartanburg Art Museum’s studios at Chapman Cultural Center. The Soup Day fundraiser will be Saturday, Oct. 15, 2016, 11am-4pm at Chapman Cultural Center.  The food pantry at TOTAL Ministries will receive the proceeds from the fundraiser to help feed the needy in Spartanburg County.

According to a 2016 report by County Health Rankings & Roadmaps by University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute, 15 percent of Spartanburg’s population – that’s 42,980 people – is “food insecure.” In Greenville County, the percentage is 14. The lowest ranking county in the state is Lexington with 12 percent, and the highest ranking county is Allendale with 28 percent. Overall, 17 percent of the people in South Carolina “lack adequate access to food.”

“We might not be the worst county in South Carolina with a hunger problem,” Traci Kennedy, Director of TOTAL Ministries, said. “But 42,980 is a lot of people – our friends and neighbors – who don’t have enough to eat. For children it is even worse. 22.5 percent of the children in Spartanburg – almost one out of every four – is going hungry. It is TOTAL Ministries’ mission to help feed the hungry, and thanks to Hub City Empty Bowls, we are making headway. I just pray we have another good turnout of people to make the bowls and then have them and their friends come back on Soup Day to make donations, take the bowls home, eat some truly wonderful soup, and take comfort in knowing they have helped someone in need.” TOTAL Ministries has an annual budget of about $300,000, normally helps more than 4,500 households each year.

But first, you need to make pottery bowls. Bowl-making events provide a unique opportunity for members of the community to experience the pleasure of working with clay at no cost and at any level of experience, including no experience. The clay, facilities, and instruction are all donated.  Members of Carolina Clay Artists and volunteers will be on hand to instruct participants in the techniques of bowl-making.  Many of the bowls will be simple and primitive, which has a beauty all of its own. Some participants are experienced potters, who make their bowls on pottery wheels, often producing professional-grade bowls. The events are open to anyone willing to give of their time and effort, and make for wholesome and free family activities. The bowls are left at the studios and are later glazed and fired by experienced volunteers.

“People look forward to our bowl-making events every year,” Nancy Williamson, publicity leader on behalf of Carolina Clay Artists, said. “I see some of the same faces and families come back each year. It’s fun, easy, creative, free, and, of course, it is for a good cause. I am truly amazed at some of the raw talent I is see. Even more amazing is to see all the finished bowls laid out on Soup Day for the public to take home. It’s almost like an art exhibit – a huge art exhibit with every color of the rainbow and shape imaginable.”

Proceeds from last year’s campaign allowed Hub City Empty Bowls to make an all-time high donation of $26,000 to TOTAL Ministries, a faith-based organization with a primary mission of helping the financially disadvantaged citizens of the community. Most of the money was raised on Soup Day, when citizens would receive the handmade bowls by donating $15. As part of the festive occasion, local restaurants donated gourmet soup that the donors could enjoy, along with live music and fellowship. 2016 marks the eighth year that Carolina Clay Artists has spearheaded the local effort of the internationally successful Empty Bowls concept of feeding the needy through the creation of pottery bowls.

On Soup Day, the hundreds of finished and colorful bowls will be displayed in Spartanburg Art Museum at Chapman Cultural Center. For every $15 donation, the donor gets to keep a bowl of his or her choice and enjoy a simple meal of soup, bread, and tea, served in Chapman’s theater lobby. Along the perimeter of the lobby will be various serving stations set up by local restaurants that donate a wide selection of soups to the occasion. Patrons can enjoy soups from some of the best restaurants in Spartanburg, while dining under a large canopy set up in the outdoor plaza, and enjoy listening to live music and sharing in the fellowship of knowing they are helping feed citizens in the local community. A silent auction of donated items also takes place as another means of raising money. The tradition of having a drum circle in the lobby or plaza will continue this year.

Empty Bowls was started by a high school teacher in Michigan in 1990 as a high school student project to help feed the needy and has grown into an international phenomenon.  There are hundreds of Empty Bowls projects around the world, raising millions of dollars to feed the hungry. Each Empty Bowls organization is independent and self-governed.

Thus far, this year’s sponsors are Spartanburg Regional Foundation Healing Arts Fund, Carolina Clay Artists, West Main Artists Co-Op, Action Printing, Milliken & Company, Wheresville Productions, Chapman Cultural Center, Spartanburg Art Museum, and Chris Williams. The project is still seeking more sponsors: companies and individuals willing to donate funds; restaurants to donate soup, bread, and tea; other businesses to donate eating utensils, such as paper cups, plastic spoon, and napkins; individuals and businesses to donate silent auction items; and potters to make the bowls.  Those willing to donate should contact Traci Kennedy by e-mail at (Director@TotalMinistries.org) or call 864/585-9167. For more information about TOTAL Ministries please visit (www.TotalMinistries.org).

Hub City Empty Bowls is a component fund of the Spartanburg County Foundation. It was established to increase awareness about the issues of hunger and food insecurity, and to help local organizations fight hunger.  For more information, please visit online at (www.HubCityEmptyBowls.com). For the latest information on Hub City Empty Bowls, please like the organization on Facebook.

Mayo Mac Boggs Sculpture on Display at Chapman Cultural Center in Spartanburg, SC

May 30, 2016

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Chapman Cultural Center in Spartanburg, SC, has received the modern stainless steel sculpture — “Chariot” — made by the late Mayo Mac Boggs, one of Spartanburg and South Carolina’s most noted artists. It is now proudly displayed on Chapman’s campus, thanks to the artist’s widow Ansley Boggs, Ed.D., an education professor at Converse College.

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Created in 2005, the piece was first named “Constellation” by Boggs. However, in 2010, during Boggs’ “40th year Retrospective Exhibition” on the college campuses of Converse, Wofford, and USC-Upstate, he redubbed it “Chariot”. In recent years, the piece has been showcased at USC-Upstate’s library. Boggs passed away in March 2014.

Boggs had a long and celebrated career in the arts, after humble beginnings as the son of a welder in a Kentucky industrial city. In addition to his more than 40 years of teaching art at Converse College, he kept an active and productive career in creating art. Some of his noted achievements include receiving a 2013 Verner Award, the highest art award given in South Carolina; being named “Professor Emeritus of Art” by Converse College in 2013; and being named “Honorary Artist of Spartanburg” in 1991. Boggs’ art is placed in the Presidential Libraries of Gerald Ford and Jimmy Carter. His work is located also internationally in permanent collections of numerous corporations. In addition, he has received many sculpture commissions for city parks, public libraries, college campuses, schools, local businesses, and private residences, one of which was for the home of author Lillian Jackson Braun.

In regards to his inspiration and preferred medium, Boggs once said, “The welded steel sculpture has remained a constant as my medium of expression. I love the look, feel, taste, smell and sound of steel. My great-grandfather was a blacksmith in Kentucky; both my grandfathers and my father were welders and steelworkers. I grew up watching steel pouring from the blast furnaces and the nightly spectacular display of slag being dumped from huge, railroad-sized crucibles. I walked the railroad tracks and picked up scrap metal that had fallen from freight cars. The ironworker’s material and process were an everyday part of my childhood in Ashland, KY. I have taken this material and its process and made art, continuing a family tradition of ironwork.”

In his artist statement, dated March 2011, he wrote: “There are many things one can do to occupy his time while on this earth. I prefer to have non-verbal conversations with my soul. My art is the residue.”

“Chariot” can be viewed daily at Chapman Cultural Center.

For further info contact Steve Wong, Marketing Director, Chapman Cultural Center by calling 864/278-9698 or e-mail to (sWong@SpartanArts.org).

Chapman Cultural Center in Spartanburg, SC, Receives Hayes Sculpture for Public Display

May 21, 2016

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For public display, Chapman Cultural Center in Spartanburg, SC, has received a painted-steel nonobjective sculpture by the noted artist David Hayes. The multisided sculpture is painted in bright primary colors and sits at the entrance of Chapman’s theater. It is on permanent loan from an anonymous patron.

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Hayes, 1931-2013, was an American sculptor noted for pioneering sculptures in metal and for his work’s graceful curves, shapes abstracted from sketches of objects and ideas. His earlier works were usually black, however, early in this century, he began adding bright and bold colors to his work, which became his iconic style. The unnamed piece at Chapman is a fine example of his later work.

Hayes’s work is sought after around the world and displayed in the most prestigious galleries, such as the Museum of Modern Art, Guggenheim Museum, and Smithsonian American Art Museum.

In reference to his work, Hayes once said: “Each sculpture begins with the ink and gouache drawings that I do each day. The forms and shapes, and their interaction, are delineated on paper, with the color showing each different form. The drawings themselves are derived from copious notebooks of sketches that I make to depict objects and shapes that I respond to in nature and the environment around me. Later they are painted with several coats of primer and weather resistant colors. The coloration of the pieces is determined by what I see in the shapes themselves. And though the pieces have individual titles, I leave the interpretation of each to the realm of the viewer’s imagination. The sculptures are out in the open and can be viewed under different weather and light conditions as they are all made for out of door exposure. I have a strong conviction about art in public areas where it can be seen and enjoyed in uninhibiting surroundings.”

The Hayes sculpture at Chapman can be viewed daily. For extensive information about Hayes, please visit his website at (www.DavidHayes.com).

Phifer-Johnson Foundation/The Johnson Collection Receives State’s Highest Art Award – Elizabeth O’Neill Verner Award

May 12, 2016

The Phifer-Johnson Foundation/The Johnson Collection has been named the recipient of the Elizabeth O’Neill Verner 2016 Business/Foundation Award, by the South Carolina Arts Commission. The Johnson Foundation was nominated by Chapman Cultural Center in Spartanburg, SC.

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The Johnsons with Gov. Haley

The Johnson Foundation received the award Wednesday, May 11, 2016, at a ceremony at the Statehouse in Columbia, SC. The Foundation received a handcrafted bronze statue, designed by Columbia-based artist Jean McWhorter.

The Elizabeth O’Neill Verner Awards recognize outstanding achievement and contributions to the arts in South Carolina, and are the highest honor the state gives in the arts. These awards honor South Carolina arts organizations, patrons, artists, members of the business community, and government entities who maximize their roles as innovators, supporters and advocates of the arts. In 1980, the Verner Awards took on a special significance with their designation as the official “Governor’s Awards for the Arts.”

“On behalf of Chapman Cultural Center’s artists and patrons, we are thrilled that the Johnsons have been recognized as leaders in the supports of the arts, not only in Spartanburg, but through out South Carolina, the South, and the nation,” Chapman President and CEO Jennifer Evins said. “Over the years, the Johnsons have supported the arts with their wisdom, influence, resources, and time. We can never thank them enough. Receiving this award speaks to the world-class appreciation of and commitment to the arts that the Johnsons have.”

When Susu and George Johnson’s personal art collection outgrew their home and office space, they decided to share it. What began as an interest in paintings by Carolina artists in 2002 has grown to encompass over 1,200 objects that chronicle the cultural evolution of the American South. Three scholarly books have been published around the Johnson Collection’s holdings. Each of the books is accompanied by a touring exhibition that travels to leading museums in South Carolina and across the South for two to four years. In contrast to most touring shows, the Johnsons share these exhibitions with all participating museums at no cost. These efforts to provide broad access to the arts for free have attracted national attention from such prominent publications as “American Art Review”, “The Magazine Antiques” and “Garden & Gun”. A website for the collection features images and notes on hundreds of Southern artists and a searchable catalog of the collection’s library of over 4,000 volumes. The collection’s curator serves as a visiting scholar and lecturer at local colleges, and students are invited to apply for curatorial internships. A gallery in downtown Spartanburg presents regular exhibitions from the collection and loans artwork to a variety of public and educational institutions, making the collection highly accessible to the public.

The Johnsons’ philanthropic commitment to community, arts and culture extends beyond the Johnson Collection to support local and statewide arts programs and initiatives. The Phifer-Johnson Foundation is a major benefactor of the South Carolina First Novel Prize, which is establishing a national profile for South Carolina’s most promising writers. They have been important to the success of Spartanburg’s Chapman Cultural Center, a centerpiece in Spartanburg’s active cultural scene. They are key supporters of arts organizations and activities that add vibrancy and attract youth and talent to their community, including the Hub-Bub Artist in Residence Program, Ballet Spartanburg, the Music Foundation of Spartanburg, Spartanburg Philharmonic Orchestra, Brookgreen Gardens, and more. Equally dedicated to arts advancement and arts accessibility, the Johnsons generously share their vision, energy, passion and resources to benefit the arts in South Carolina.

Elizabeth O’Neill Verner achieved an international reputation for her etchings and pastels, many of which capture the spirit of the South Carolina Lowcountry. She was also a teacher, writer and historian. Throughout her 96 years, Mrs. Verner traveled abroad extensively. Drawings of South Carolina residences, churches and street-life portraits are Verner trademarks recognized throughout the world for the way they capture South Carolina’s unique people and architecture. Mrs. Verner’s studio is located on Tradd Street in Charleston, SC.

Other 2016 Verner Awards include Charleston artist Mary Edna Fraser, Executive Director of the South Carolina Arts Alliance Betty Plumb, arts education agency Joye In Aiken, government agency The City of Greenville, and arts organization The Columbia Museum of Art. Special recognition was given to Hootie and the Blowfish, and writer/poet Nikky Finney.

For further info call Steve Wong, Marketing Director, Chapman Cultural Center, Spartanburg, SC. at 864/278-9698 or e-mail to (sWong@SpartanArts.org).