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Jason Rapp

COVID-19 through African American eyes

South Carolina African American Heritage Commission (SCAAHC) is documenting the impact of the coronavirus through the African American perspective.

The organization has opened a portal called "Black Carolinians Speak: Portraits of a Pandemic" and invites African American South Carolinians to chronicle the personal impact of the pandemic through stories, photography, video, art work, poetry, and other forms of expression. This an opportunity to provide future generations with knowledge as to how people persevered through a time that altered a sense of normalcy. Although contributions from all African Americans from South Carolina are welcome, the SCAAHC is particularly seeking perspectives of the pandemic from professionals in healthcare, law enforcement, tourism, faith-based organizations, tourism industries, and education (students, teachers and administrators). The Heritage Commission is also interested in how students were affected during the pandemic. Go to greenbookofsc.com/speak.
Photo by Retha Ferguson from Pexels

African-American Voice exhibition travels to Augusta, Ga.

[gallery ids="16662,16664,16663,16665,16666,16667"] Citizens in Aiken and surrounding areas 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 August 1 through October 4, 2015, at the Morris Museum of Art, located on the Riverwalk (1 Tenth Street) in downtown Augusta, Ga. 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 museum is open Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. and Sunday from noon until 5 p.m. For more information, call (706) 724-7501. Organizations and businesses interested in hosting an exhibition or displaying works from the State Art Collection should contact Harriett Green at (803) 734-8696. In addition to The African American Voice, two other traveling exhibitions are available: Contemporary Conversations and Points of Departure: Vessel Forms from the State Art Collection. (Images are works from the exhibition. Click on each image for more information.) About the State Art Collection The State Art Collection is considered the most comprehensive public collection of works by contemporary South Carolina artists. Established in 1967 as one of the first programs of the South Carolina Arts Commission, the State Art Collection has grown to include 493 works in a variety of media and styles by 287 South Carolina contemporary artists. Small exhibitions featuring work from the collection are organized on a regular basis for rural and isolated areas inside and outside of the state. Works from the State Art Collection are available for loan to art museums, state agencies, and public and private organizations for the purpose of public exhibition or public display. The collection is supported in part by the South Carolina Arts Foundation and First Citizens.

Exhibition showcases state’s best-known African-American artists

[gallery link="file" ids="16662,16665,16663"] Take advantage of the opportunity to see works from the State Art Collection during the The African-American Voice exhibition, which runs through February 12, 2015, at the Hyman Fine Arts Center Gallery, located on Patriot Drive on the campus of Francis Marion University in Florence, S.C. The exhibition includes works by 25 African-American artists who are among the state’s best-known and most widely celebrated practitioners. The artists 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," said Harriett Green, visual arts director at the South Carolina Arts Commission."Their influences and contributions extend beyond image and object making." A preview of The African-American Voice artwork is available online. The exhibition is free to the public. The gallery is open Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. until 5 p.m. For more information, call (843) 661-1385. Organizations and businesses interested in hosting an exhibition or displaying works from the State Art Collection should contact Harriett Green at (803) 734-8696. In addition to The African American Voice, two other traveling exhibitions are available: Contemporary Conversations and Points of Departure: Vessel Forms from the State Art Collection. About the State Art Collection The State Art Collection is considered the most comprehensive public collection of works by contemporary South Carolina artists. Established in 1967 as one of the first programs of the South Carolina Arts Commission, the State Art Collection has grown to include 489 works in a variety of media and styles by 283 South Carolina contemporary artists. Small exhibitions featuring work from the collection are organized on a regular basis for rural and isolated areas inside and outside of the state. Works from the State Art Collection are available for loan to art museums, state agencies, and public and private organizations for the purpose of public exhibition or public display. The collection is supported in part by the South Carolina Arts Foundation and First Citizens Bank.

African American Voice exhibition travels to Florence, S.C.

[gallery ids="16662,16663,16664,16665,16666,16667"] Citizens in the Pee Dee and surrounding areas 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 January 13 through February 12, 2015, at the Hyman Fine Arts Center Gallery, located on Patriot Drive on the campus of Francis Marion University in Florence, S.C. 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 Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. until 5 p.m. For more information, call (843) 661-1385. Organizations and businesses interested in hosting an exhibition or displaying works from the State Art Collection should contact Harriett Green at (803) 734-8696. In addition to The African American Voice, two other traveling exhibitions are available: Contemporary Conversations and Points of Departure: Vessel Forms from the State Art Collection. (Images are works from the exhibition. Click on each image for more information.) About the State Art Collection The State Art Collection is considered the most comprehensive public collection of works by contemporary South Carolina artists. Established in 1967 as one of the first programs of the South Carolina Arts Commission, the State Art Collection has grown to include 489 works in a variety of media and styles by 283 South Carolina contemporary artists. Small exhibitions featuring work from the collection are organized on a regular basis for rural and isolated areas inside and outside of the state. Works from the State Art Collection are available for loan to art museums, state agencies, and public and private organizations for the purpose of public exhibition or public display. The collection is supported in part by the South Carolina Arts Foundation and Kahn Development Company.

South Carolina artist Leo Twiggs uses Confederate flag to create art

[caption id="attachment_15555" align="alignright" width="150"]Leo Twiggs, photo by Jerry Siegel Leo Twiggs, photo by Jerry Siegel[/caption] Toward Last Flags, an exhibition of works by South Carolina artist Leo Twiggs, is on display at the Hampton III Gallery in Taylors, S.C. through Nov. 8. Three of Twiggs' works are in the State Art Collection, with two of the works traveling the state as part of the African-American Voice exhibition. In 2008, he received the Elizabeth O'Neill Verner Governor's Award for the Arts in the Individual category. This Associated Press article by Susanne M. Schafer is running on media sites across the country:

Leo Twiggs’ paintings of shadowy Confederate flags and faceless men with bulls-eyes on their backs are a few of the haunting images he has developed living as a black man in the South. The 80-year-old South Carolina artist says he hopes the works, which some may see as divisive, spark thoughtful reactions and help people understand their shared history, even for those outside the South. “This Confederate flag, the Civil War, they are part of the history of all of us,” Twiggs said. “You take the stars off the bars, and it becomes a cross, maybe a railroad crossing. It can become a crossing over, something that we commemorate, and something we can cross over.” Jovial and chatty at his Orangeburg studio, Twiggs said he is enjoying his best year as an artist. He’s had more than 70 solo shows over his career, and three new shows recently opened in his home state in Myrtle Beach, Greenville and Taylors. Two of them highlight his use of Confederate flags — red, white, or blue smudged with brown or blood-red splotches. In several, the outlines of brown figures float in the background. Many flags are tattered, looking tired and rough. A black cow stands watch in some, recalling an animal Twiggs cared for as a child, growing up in segregated St. Stephens. “We were poor, but we had dignity,” Twiggs said. “Ours was a struggle that speaks to a struggle experienced by all mankind.” Sandy Rupp, owner of the Hampton III Gallery in Taylors, said Twiggs has been exploring flag images since the 1970s. “He’s not trying to divide everybody,” Rupp said. “He sees it as a historic symbol, a symbol of white supremacy that he makes into his own. He makes it his flag, and gives it his power.” As the aroma of hot wax fills the room, Twiggs uses a metal pen-like tool to drip warm wax on a rough piece of fabric. He colors it with hand-mixed vegetable dyes, and then removes the wax with an iron, repeating the process over and over. It takes up to a month to complete each composition. William Eiland, director of the Georgia Museum of Art at the University of Georgia in Athens, said for many in the South, the flag represents “an unrepentant South, perhaps a South rising again.” “But Leo takes that image and lets it mutate, change, degrade, adapt, into an image that becomes part of his experience,” Eiland said. Other themes fill Twiggs’ work — the rebel flag morphs into a white railroad crossing sign, which divides many rural Southern towns; black ancestral mothers pose in their Sunday best; white boss men in wide-brimmed hats stand over ghostly black and white figures; white strings of hurricane-force winds whip bodies in a storm. Twiggs said his “Targeted Man” series of faceless men bearing bulls-eyes harkens back to the Ku Klux Klan using white robes and burning torches “to try to scare us.” But once the nation came under attack in the Sept. 11 terrorist strikes, Twiggs said he realized the images also meant, “we are all targeted, we all have things to fear.”
Image courtesy of Hampton II Gallery: Leo Twiggs, Flag and Figure, 2014 (batik) 19" x 24" About Leo Twiggs Leo Twiggs was born in St. Stephen, S.C. He received his B.A. from Claflin University, later studied at the Arts Institute of Chicago and earned his M.A. at New York University, where he studied with the famed African American painter and muralist Hale Woodruff. He was the first African American to receive a Doctorate in Art Education from the University of Georgia. At South Carolina State University, he developed the Stanback Museum and established the University’s first art department. He was director of the museum and chair of the art department until he retired in 1998. Early in his career he began experimenting with the ancient process of batik as a painting medium. His batik paintings have won international recognition and numerous awards, and several were selected to hang in American Embassies in Rome, Togoland, Decca and Sierra Leone, among others. Twiggs was the first visual artist to receive the Elizabeth O’Neill Verner Award for outstanding contributions to the arts in South Carolina. He received the Medal of Honor in the Arts from Winthrop University in 2004 and the Leadership Award from the Governors School Foundation in 2007. He was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Fine Arts from the University of South Carolina in May 2012. Presently he is Distinguished Artist in Residence at Claflin University and Professor Emeritus at S.C. State University. Messages from Home: the Art of Leo Twiggs was published in 2011. The book won a National Indie Book Award in 2012.

Art 101 at ArtFields Gallery features State Art Collection

Noted New York curator and art critic Eleanor Heartney once described the State Art Collection as “somewhat rowdy and unruly, reflecting the variety of movements and debates that have roiled the art world over the last 40 years.”  Two upcoming programs in Lake City will shed some light on that opinion. The programs are part of Art 101 at ONE -- Lunch Box Conversations presented by ArtFields. Part I Photography and Social Activism - February 25 Cecil Williams will discuss the artistic, historic and social relevance of his civil rights-era photographs. Willams, currently living in Orangeburg, S.C., was on the front lines in documenting an important historical moment in South Carolina’s history. Williams’ work is included in the State Art Collection: The African-American Voice exhibition at the Jones-Carter Gallery, January 31 – March 22, 2014. Part II Movers, Shakers and Trend Makers in the State Art Collection - March 25 Harriett Green, visual arts director for the South Carolina Arts Commission and curator of the State Art Collection, will highlight works from the collection in the context of local, regional and national art trends with a focus on the cultural, historic and aesthetic significance of works by some of the state’s most prominent artists. Each event takes place from 1 - 2 p.m. at the ArtFields® Gallery at 110 East Main Street in Lake City. $12 per person per event includes a lunch box created by local restaurants. Seating is limited; call for reservations: (843) 374-0180. About the State Art Collection The State Art Collection is considered the most comprehensive public collection of works by contemporary South Carolina artists. Established in 1967 as one of the first programs of the South Carolina Arts Commission, the State Art Collection has grown to include 448 works in a variety of media and styles by 277 South Carolina contemporary artists. Small exhibitions featuring work from the collection are organized on a regular basis for rural and isolated areas inside and outside of the state. Works from the State Art Collection are available for loan to art museums, state agencies, and public and private organizations for the purpose of public exhibition or public display. The collection is supported in part by the South Carolina Arts Foundation and Kahn Development Company. Via: ArtFields    

African-American Voice exhibition travels to Lake City

[gallery link="file"] Folks in the Pee Dee area can view works by African-American artists who are among the state’s best-known and most widely celebrated practitioners during The African-American Voice exhibition in Lake City. Presented by the Jones-Carter Gallery, the exhibition kicks off Jan. 31 and runs through March 22. The public is invited to the opening reception Jan. 31 from 6 - 9 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, located at 105 Henry St. in Lake City, is open Tuesday through Friday from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m. and Saturday 11 a.m. - 5 p.m. For more information, contact the Jones-Carter Gallery, (843) 374-1505. Organizations and businesses interested in hosting an exhibition or displaying works from the State Art Collection should contact Harriett Green at (803) 734-8696. In addition to The African American Voice, two other traveling exhibitions are available: Contemporary Conversations and Points of Departure: Vessel Forms from the State Art Collection. About the State Art Collection The State Art Collection is considered the most comprehensive public collection of works by contemporary South Carolina artists. Established in 1967 as one of the first programs of the South Carolina Arts Commission, the State Art Collection has grown to include 448 works in a variety of media and styles by 277 South Carolina contemporary artists. Small exhibitions featuring work from the collection are organized on a regular basis for rural and isolated areas inside and outside of the state. Works from the State Art Collection are available for loan to art museums, state agencies, and public and private organizations for the purpose of public exhibition or public display. The collection is supported in part by the South Carolina Arts Foundation and Kahn Development Company. (Images are of works in the exhibition. Click on each image for more information.)