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Florence Museum celebrates birthday of artist William H. Johnson

From SCNow.com/Morning News Online: A year after being memorialized with a stamp from the U.S. Postal Service, William H. Johnson will again be remembered Saturday (March 23) at the Florence Museum with a birthday celebration. In what has become an annual tradition, the trustees of the Florence Museum will host an ice cream social open to the public starting at 3:30 p.m. for the birthday of one of Florence’s most famous sons and artists. Sadly, Johnson, a black artist who is still growing in popularity around the world as a top African-American artist 43 years after his death, never lived to see his hometown recognize him for the talent he was. In fact, the only time Johnson ever saw his paintings recognized in his hometown was in 1930 at a three-hour art show held at the YMCA and hosted by The Morning News. No work was sold, and Johnson was later arrested during the same trip for painting a hotel downtown that served white people. Not a very welcoming atmosphere for a hometown boy who was popularly received throughout the Northeast and Europe at the time, even earning a gold medallion from the Harmon Foundation in New York City for distinguished achievement among Negroes in that same year. However, the Florence Museum is doing what it can to atone for the past.

In a testament to how well his work is revered in the art world outside of Florence and to what an important icon he is finally becoming here, Johnson will have the only permanent exhibit space in the Florence Museum when it relocates to its new downtown location early next year.
Through a rotational loan with the Smithsonian American Art Museum, which owns more than 1,500 of his pieces, guests will be able to see a large variety of his works. Read the complete article. Read more about Johnson in this Florence Museum blog post. About the stamp image: An oil-on-plywood painting dated 1939-1940, Flowers depicts a vase of boldly rendered, brightly colored blooms on a small red table. The two-dimensional, consciously “naive” style in which Flowers was painted was one of the many techniques of modernist abstraction and “primitive” art adapted by Johnson during his career. The painting, a gift of the Harmon Foundation, belongs to the Smithsonian American Art Museum. Read more about the stamp. Via: SCNow.com, beyondtheperf.com

Entries sought for 7th Annual African American Fiber Art Exhibition

African-American art quilt artists in the United States, Mexico, and Canada, age 18 and up, are invited to participate in an African American Fiber Art Exhibition, Once Upon a Quilt: Welcome to My Quilted Story Book. The seventh annual juried exhibition is presented as a component of the annual North Charleston Arts Festival, to be held May 3-11, 2013. A $25 entry fee allows artists to submit up to two entries; limit four entries per applicant. Applications may be downloaded from the Applications page at NorthCharlestonArtsFest.com. Deadline for submissions is Friday, March 15, 2013. Emerging quilt artists under the age of 18 may submit quilts for Our Next Generation, a parallel exhibition that will be on display at the Unity Church of Charleston. Organized and presented by the City of North Charleston Cultural Arts Department, and curated by award winning and nationally exhibiting textile artist, Torreah “Cookie” Washington, Once Upon a Quilt offers African-American art quilters a showcase to display their original and innovative designs. This year’s show will feature art quilts inspired by beloved stories, whether they begin with, “Once upon a time…,” “In a galaxy far, far away…,” or “In the land that time forgot…” Artists’ muse may be a favorite bedtime story, Aesop’s fable, Gullah ghost story, young adult fiction, or an inspiring biography of an admired s/hero. Artists are asked to reach back onto the storybook shelf of their memory and create an original art quilt that tells a story that has encouraged, inspired, comforted or enchanted. The exhibition will be on display April 30-June 20, 2013, at North Charleston City Hall, with a public reception schedule for Thursday, May 9, 2013, from 6 - 8 p.m. Following the close of the show, up to 30 works will be selected to tour the state through the South Carolina State Museum’s 2013/2014 Traveling Exhibitions Program. Sites across South Carolina may request the exhibit to tour in their facilities, thus providing additional exposure for the selected artists. For more information, contact the North Charleston Cultural Arts Department at (843)740-5854, email culturalarts@northcharleston.org, or visit NorthCharlestonArtsFest.com. Via: North Charleston Arts Festival [caption id="attachment_3792" align="alignleft" width="600"] "Under the Harlem River," fiber art by Kim Hall[/caption]

Works by S.C. African-American artists tour the Pee Dee

Pee Dee citizens have the opportunity to view works by African-American artists who are among the state’s best-known and widely celebrated practitioners. The African-American Voice exhibition runs February 7 through March 28 at the Black Creek Arts Center, 116 West College Avenue in Hartsville. The public is invited to the opening reception February 7 beginning at 5:30 p.m. Coordinated by Harriett Green, visual arts director at the South Carolina Arts Commission, the exhibition includes 40 pieces of artwork in all media from the State Art Collection. The pieces are by 25 African-American artists who range from self-taught, outsider artists such as Richard Burnside, Leroy Marshall and Dan Robert Miller, to academically trained artists with established careers such as Leo Twiggs, Arthur Rose and Tarleton Blackwell. “A number of these artists are legendary as arts educators as well. Their influences and contributions extend beyond image and object making,” said Green, who sees the show as an opportunity for area residents to learn more about the contribution of African-American artists in South Carolina. A preview of The African-American Voice artwork is available online. The exhibition is free to the public. The gallery is open Tuesday through Thursday from 10 a.m. until 1 p.m and from 2 to 5 p.m., Fridays, 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. and the first Saturday of the month from 10 a.m. until 1 p.m. For more information, contact the Black Creek Arts Council. Via: South Carolina Arts Commission Pictured: "Going Home" by Joseph Gandy Established in 1967 as one of the first programs of the South Carolina Arts Commission, the State Art Collection is composed of 448 works in a variety of media and styles produced by 277 artists. Want to bring the State Art Collection to your community? Contact Harriett Green at (803) 734-8696. In addition to The African-American Voice, two additional traveling exhibitions are available: Contemporary Conversations and Points of Departure: Vessel Forms from the State Art Collection.

National tour of South Carolina face jugs comes to Columbia

The Columbia Museum of Art and McKissick Museum at the University of South Carolina have collaborated to bring to South Carolina an exhibit focused on 19th-century face jugs. "Face Jugs: African-American Art and Ritual in 19th-Century South Carolina" is the first exhibition in nearly 30 years to bring together a collection of this African-American pottery. Objects in the show come from private and public collections, including McKissick Museum, the New-York Historical Society, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and the National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution, among others. The Columbia Museum of Art is the only South Carolina venue on the national tour for the exhibition, which has been jointly organized by the Milwaukee Art Museum and the Chipstone Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting American decorative arts scholarship. The exhibition is a masterworks show celebrating the aesthetic power of these objects and suggesting new ways to consider their uses and cultural meanings. African-American potters produced the ceramic face jugs in the Edgefield District (present-day Aiken County) in the mid-19th century. These expressive faces featuring bulging eyes and bared teeth seem mysterious to modern-day viewers. Although anthropomorphic ceramic vessels have been made for centuries in almost every part of the world, those made in Edgefield are unique. Why do they look the way they do? What did they mean in their own time? How were they used? These questions and more are explored in the exhibition. The exhibition runs through Dec. 16 at the Columbia Museum of Art. A daylong symposium, "Unmasking the Mysteries of Face Jugs," takes place Dec. 8. Visit McKissick Museum's website to register for the symposium. Via: Columbia Museum of Art, McKissick Museum