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SLAY, Lowcountry artists, slay

"Support Lowcountry Artists Y'all" debuts Wednesday


Local artists have joined together to respond to the havoc that SARS-COV-2 and Covid-19 have caused for the world and the arts community. SLAY is an acronym for "Support Lowcountry Artists Y'all." This is a relief effort for the arts community led by noted Bluffton based artist Amiri Farris. Farris wanted to do something about the many Lowcountry artists who experienced a significant loss of income when the COVID-19 virus caused the cancellation or rescheduling of many local art shows, festivals, and galas. Knowing that many in the art community are facing similar difficulties, he assembled SLAY as a collaborative of artists to create content to inspire and engage the community, recover some of that income, and raise funds at this critical time. [caption id="attachment_44582" align="alignright" width="175"]Amiri Geuka Farris' handwashing artwork Handwashing artwork by Amiri Geuka Farris[/caption] SLAY’s founding roster includes:
  • Amiri Farris
  • Natalie Daise
  • Michael Dantzler
  • Sophie Docalavich
  • Dr. Thaddeus Jones
  • Ment Nelson
  • Victoria A. Smalls
  • Calvin Woodum
Heather Bruemmer, executive director of SLAY, knows well the challenges SLAY wants to address. "Many artists, musicians, and other creatives will be left behind by The CARES Act," Bruemmer said. "If you are selling your artwork here and there at shows, or are a recent graduate just getting started, you are going to be left out. The relief only covers people who had an established LLC filed prior to January 31st or were getting paid as independent contractors via IRS Form 1099. Many small independent artists won't qualify." Bruemmer continued, "Worse, recent art school grads who were claimed by their parents last year won't receive the $1,200 per person assistance either. We could lose a generation of young artists who have to set aside their craft. These are the types of artists who are often also without health care. The need is urgent and legitimate." The group is moving quickly to respond to these challenges. SLAY has incorporated as a 501(c)3 nonprofit and is expected to launch the website www.SLAYart.org April 1. The initial site will accept donations and requests for relief. As it grows, plans call for the site to be monetized through a membership model. Through this virtual co-op, donor members will receive unique content created solely for this platform from SLAY's roster of established and emerging Lowcountry artists, all of whom have experienced cancellations in recent weeks. A mix of online content, downloads, and mailed deliverables is planned. Farris states that the group will welcome new artists who are passionate about this work and have a connection to the Lowcountry of South Carolina and Georgia to join the effort. At this time the group is focused on serving the coastal counties of South Carolina and Georgia, along with the rural areas that comprise the South Carolina Promise Zone.

BONUS CONTENT: Does his name sound familiar? Learn more about Amiri Farris at the South Carolina Arts Commission COVID-19 response page.

SLAY’s goal is to be able to offer financial support to all kinds of artists and creatives who experience financial hardship during this difficult time. They will be able to apply for relief through a simple application on our web portal and can receive up to $500 in assistance rapidly via the Zelle app. This work will benefit the general public as well as the art world. SLAY will create high quality, contemporary art that comforts, inspires, and educates about practices which will need to be a long term "new normal" in our world long after the immediate threat from COVID-19 has diminished. To this end, public health experts have been engaged to advise on messaging and content that will be beneficial to the overall fight against the virus.

North Charleston Arts Festival design competition winner announced

amirifarrisThe City of North Charleston Cultural Arts Department is pleased to announce Bluffton, S.C, artist Amiri Geuka Farris as the winner of the 2014 North Charleston Arts Festival Design Competition. Farris’ mixed media piece, "Gullah Islander Toss," will be used to promote the Arts Festival, taking place May 2-10. In addition, the piece will become part of the City’s Public Art Collection. [caption id="attachment_11410" align="alignright" width="302"]Gullah Islander Toss Gullah Islander Toss[/caption] Farris’ design was selected from 53 entries by artists from across the state. The review panel judged the entries based on quality, originality, appeal to festival patrons from a broad range of backgrounds, and ability to convey the spirit of the festival as a public celebration of arts and culture. According to Farris, "Gullah Islander Toss" honors the traditions of the Gullah-Geechee culture and is also an attempt to draw a greater focus to what he calls “a celebration of history.” “You will see elements like dance and rejoicing with references to important cultural elements like the land, cast net making, and artistic traditions,” he explains. The piece is composed of a number of layers that involve design elements such as Adinkra symbols, paint drips, and paint embellishments. The dynamism of these elements represents the passing of time and movement into the future. As with many of Farris’ works, the piece makes reference to specific Gullah traditions and historic elements while blurring the boundaries between traditional and contemporary modes of representation. In addition to the Smithsonian Museum of American Art, Farris' work has been exhibited and displayed in permanent collections nationally and internationally. He was named the 2008 "Artist of the Year" by the historic Penn Center on St. Helena Island and is the current artist-in-residence at the Gullah Museum of Hilton Head Island. His client list includes numerous cultural, educational, and commercial organizations including the Telfair Museum of Art, The Savannah Children's Museum, Hilton Head/Bluffton Chamber of Commerce, Youth Opera International, the Gullah Museum of Hilton Head Island, Historic Penn Center Landmark, Savannah Jazz Festival, Heritage Jazz Festival, The Boys & Girls Club, The Coastal Discovery Museum, and many others. His work is currently featured locally in an exhibition curated by Jonathan Green titled "Spirit & Memory: Contemporary Expressions of Cultural Heritage," on view at the City Gallery at Waterfront Park in Downtown Charleston. Farris' art studio, located at the Sea Island Art Center at the University of South Carolina's Beaufort campus, is open by appointment. Farris’ work, including the winning piece, will be on display at the North Charleston City Gallery throughout the month of May 2014. The gallery is located within the Charleston Area Convention Center at 5001 Coliseum Drive in North Charleston. Gallery hours are 9 a.m.- 5 p.m. daily and admission and parking are free. The public is invited to meet the artist at the gallery on May 3 and 4 during the Main Event of the North Charleston Arts Festival. T-shirts and posters featuring the winning design will be available for sale. For more information about the North Charleston Arts Festival, call (843)740-5854, email culturalarts@northcharleston.org, or visit NorthCharlestonArtsFest.com. Via: North Charleston Cultural Arts Department