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After three-decade hiatus because of illness, S.C artist returns to art

“Through my artwork, I feel like I am in a unique position to encourage people in their own recovery and healing journeys,” South Carolina Upstate abstract artist Catherine Conrad says.

After graduating in 1988 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in painting from Savannah College of Art and Design, she adventured up to Alaska for several years with her husband. With the diagnoses of autoimmune diseases, including Sjogren’s Syndrome, rheumatoid arthritis, and Reynaud’s disease, Catherine found herself unable to pursue her art aspirations. Although affected by chronic illness, she started the next stage of her life as a homemaker and a mother in South Carolina while battling liver, kidney, and digestive diseases. When Catherine entered her fifties, her health progressively worsened. Even though her doctors diligently treated symptom after symptom, they were unable to pinpoint the cause. As months turned into years, Catherine isolated herself from her family and community. Her only solace was the woods behind her house. “Witnessing the changing of the seasons was inspiring to me. A dead, fallen tree might find itself home to a luscious carpet of moss. A small trickle of water during the summer might turn into a moving stream come fall,” Catherine remembers. “Nature had a way of rejuvenating itself, which brought me hope that my body and spirit might find itself revitalized during a new season.” Everywhere Catherine looked in nature, she saw an organic shape that she had first started exploring visually while in art school. Described by others as visually similar to a nest, fruit, seed, cell, oyster, egg, or womb, she realized that she identified this nascent and amorphous shape with hope and possibility. She picked up the paintbrush once again to explore these thoughts and emotions. After a nearly 30-year hiatus from creating art, during the throes of COVID-19, Catherine resumed her art career. At first, she faced more troubles than she expected. “Because I had been afflicted with a series of strokes due to cardiac issues, my early works in 2018 and 2019 are full of frustration: the paintbrush in my hand would not go where I wanted it to go; blind spots in my vision meant that I would paint over my work accidentally.” Despite this, Catherine persevered and continued to explore nature’s promises of restoration in her art. In 2020, Catherine spent over 40 days in the hospital after open heart surgery. Following that, the long process of recovery began. Catherine started painting almost every day, finding her art an integral part of her physical and spiritual recovery. Beginning in 2021, her paintings took on a new and vivid perspective of nature, filled with bright colors and enthusiasm. Over the last two years, Catherine's works have been featured in shows at the Piccolo Spoleto Juried Art Show, the Trask Gallery of the National Arts Club, South Carolina Juried Art Show, Southworks National Juried Art Exhibition, the Rocky Mount National Juried Art Show, the Macon Arts Gallery, the Spartanburg Public Library, the South Carolina State Fair, and the Artists’ Guild of Spartanburg, among others. She is a member of the National Association for Women Artists (NAWA), NAWA’s South Carolina chapter, and the Spartanburg Artists’ Guild. When asked about her expectations for her future art career, Catherine simply hopes that her artwork can encourage others. “Due to the miracle of modern medicine, people are asking themselves: What happens when I can no longer physically be who I used to be? I have frequently asked this question myself.” Instead of allowing emotions to fester into fears, Catherine takes this insecurity about her health and turns it into something productive. She explores the emotions of recovery, faith, change, and growth. Her works are a testament to the healing power of art, as well as the tenacity of the human spirit.
Catherine Conrad’s conceptual, abstract paintings will be showcased at the Black Creek Arts Council of Darlington County in a month-long solo exhibition entitled Nature Enlightenment. The exhibit will be on display from May 4-June 2, 2023. An opening reception to meet the artist is scheduled for Thursday, May 4, from 5:30-7:30 p.m.

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Call for (dark) art from Black Creek (Dark?) Arts Council

Don't be spooked, though

Submission deadline: Tuesday, Sept. 3, 2019
Black Creek Arts Council is eerily excited to present their first annual exhibit to coincide with their Second Annual Halloween Party. [caption id="attachment_34666" align="alignright" width="150"] The world-famous Hub Calls for Art Megaphone.[/caption] Submit your original uncanny, sinister, ghostly, spectral, supernatural, otherworldly, mysterious, curious 2-D, 3-D and photographic original work to this juried exhibit. Amateur and professional artists age 18 and older are invited to enter. Any person in who lives, works or creates in the Pee Dee region may submit images for consideration. All work must be original, created by the person who enters that work. Submissions will be accepted through September 3. Go here for further submission information.  

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Ron and Natalie Daise to perform God’s Trombones

The South Carolina African American Heritage Foundation received a South Carolina Arts Commission Performing and Presenting grant to help support this performance. Ron-and-Natalie-DaiseFrom the Darlington News and Press

Black Creek Arts Council and the South Carolina African American Heritage Foundation will present husband and wife duo Ron and Natalie in God’s Trombones at the Center Theater in Hartsville on Sunday, February 21, 2016 at 3:00 p.m. “‘God’s Trombones’ was a major part of black culture at one time,” said Ron Daise. “Children and adults learned and presented the poetry of James Weldon Johnson at church, school, and civic events. “I saw presentations of ‘God’s Trombones’ by the Henderson Davis Players of S.C. State College throughout my childhood. The performances were magical, filling the stage with color and energy and life. Then afterward, the stage would be as bare as it had been before the production started, and the actors would not be the larger-than-life characters they had portrayed. That inspired me early in life to be transformative in onstage presentations.” The theatrical performance of James Weldon Johnson’s “God’s Trombones: Seven Negro Poems in Verse”includes a cappella selections of Gullah spirituals and appeals to lovers of inspirational writing, scholars of African American culture, and persons who appreciate great poetry. Ron Daise, Brookgreen Garden’s Vice President for Creative Education, is an author, performing artist, and cultural preservationist. Natalie Daise is a visual artist, storyteller, and creative catalyst. The husband and wife team is a recipient of the 1996 SC Order of the Palmetto and the 1997 State of South Carolina Folk Heritage Award and served as star and cultural consultants of Nick Jr. Many families remember their show “Gullah Gullah Island” from the 1990’s. “The cultural and artistic components of this project or program are funded in part by the Black Creek Arts Council of Darlington County, which receives funds from the South Carolina Arts Commission, the John and Susan Bennett Memorial Arts Fund of the Coastal Community Foundation of SC, and the National Endowment for the Arts.” The South Carolina African American Heritage Foundation supports the efforts of the South Carolina African American Heritage Foundation identify and promote the history and culture of African Americans in South Carolina. This event is also supported by the City of Hartsville Accommodations Tax. Tickets for the event are $10 for adults and $5 for students. Tickets can be purchased at www.scaaheritagefound.org or by calling 843-917-3350.

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.

New Harmonies exhibition explores the roots of American music

[gallery link="file"] Hartsville and Walterboro are the last South Carolina stops on the Smithsonian Institution’s traveling exhibition, "New Harmonies: Celebrating American Roots Music." New Harmonies explores Americans' creative expression through music -- music known by names such as the blues, country western, folk ballads and gospel. The instruments vary from fiddle to banjo to accordion to guitar to drum, but a drum in the hands of an African sounds different than one in the hands of a European or an American Indian. Yet all the rhythms merge, as do the melodies and harmonies, producing completely new sounds -- new music. Through photographs, recordings, instruments, lyrics and artist profiles, the exhibition explores the distinct cultural identities of music that shaped America and made this country the birthplace of more music than any place on earth. The story is full of surprises about familiar songs, histories of instruments, the roles of religion and technology, and the continuity of musical roots from "Yankee Doodle Dandy" to the latest hip hop CD. New Harmonies is on exhibition at the Black Creek Arts Council in Hartsville until Nov. 11. The exhibition then moves to the Colleton County Museum and Farmers Market in Walterboro from Nov. 17 - Jan.5.  Marlena Smalls and the Hallelujah Singers will perform at the opening Nov. 17. Developed as part of the Museum on Main Street program, New Harmonies is designed especially for small museums and rural audiences that lack regular access to traveling exhibitions. New Harmonies is sponsored in South Carolina by the Humanities CouncilSC. Photos (top, left to right): Blues "harpist" James Cotton. Spanish American musicians in Taos, New Mexico, 1940. American Indian Powwow, 2006. (bottom, left to right): Folk musicians, New York City, 1960s. Nathan Williams and his Zydeco Chas Chas, Louisiana. Roy Acuff at the Grand Ole Opry, 1939. Via: Humanities CouncilSC, Museum on Main Street