Over the course of a career that spans some 30-plus years, Bob Doster has mentored, taught and encouraged more than 100,000 public school arts students throughout the Carolinas.
Locally, the program airs on Comporium cable on Channel 116.
SCETV Producer John Bullington said Doster was profiled because of the impact he has made, and continues to make, in the lives of students.
“Throughout the state, Bob Doster’s name is synonymous with his metal palmetto tree designs, but I thought it would be good to focus on his work in education,” Bullington said.
Palmetto Scene is a new series that profiles, and shares, the special people and places that give South Carolina its flavor.
“No one realizes the amount of stuff he (Doster) has done,” Bullington said.
The almost five-minute profile focuses on how Doster works with students to help them design metal sculptures for their school grounds. Also featured in the segment are Lancaster, Indian Land and Fort Mill art teachers, Dianne Mahaffee, Teresa Petty and Susan Miller.
“One thing I was impressed with is, he (Doster) is no nonsense,” Bullington said. “He works on deadlines because he wants students to know what ‘real-world’ experiences are like.”
Doster said he stresses to budding artists the importance of honoring commitments on time, doing a quality job and sticking to budgets. Art may be art, but it is also a business. He also explained why working with students has become a passion to him.
“I’ve always enjoyed the opportunity to let the students be creative on their own,” he said. “With the sculptures, particularly, they start on Monday with just an idea and by Thursday, they have a 3-D sculpture.”
Doster said he has worked with school districts in both Carolinas that have “lots of money” for projects, as well as districts with little or no money. Regardless of circumstances, he encourages students to make the most of the resources they have.
It’s vital, he said, for students to understand the importance of presenting a project of quality.
“I take the talent I have, no matter how good or bad it is, and work with that,” he said laughing. “I tell them, ‘I don’t care how ugly it is because it has your name on it.’ I say this to motivate them to do their best.”
Doster said he reminds students their work may not always be accepted. Even when it’s not, they should never give up.
“The philosophy I bring is, ‘I expect you to do a grown-up level of work and for every 10 projects you go after, you feel successful if one gets selected,’” he said.
Doster said the end result is always the same.
“I just like seeing the kids’ faces light up when they accomplish something they couldn’t imagine four days earlier,” he said.