← View All Articles

Jason Rapp

Charleston arts community loses ‘Big Buddha’

Don Cantwell passes away at 85


The week is closing on a somber note in the Lowcountry.

Don CantwellThe Post & Courier is reporting this morning that Don Cantwell, Charleston Ballet Theatre's longtime artistic director, passed away from complications of cancer. From Maura Hogan:

Acclaimed for raising the bar of dance throughout his native Charleston and beyond, Cantwell for decades served as the visionary, yet strikingly unassuming leader of Charleston Ballet Theatre, working alongside his wife, dancer and dance instructor Patricia Cantwell, and the company’s choreographer Jill Eathorne Bahr.

Known for both his quiet nature and outsize imagination, Cantwell is remembered for cutting a towering, elegant figure. However, even with such stature and presence, the lifelong disciple of dance was said to possess a humility that at times belied the magnitude of his artistry. Those attributes, as well as his twinkling humor, compelled many who knew him to refer to him as “Big Buddha.” 

Read Hogan's full report on the Post & Courier website here. (Subscription might be required.)

Submitted material

2021 North Charleston Arts Fest is a ‘go’

Artists of all disciplines sought to perform or present

Application deadline: Tuesday, December 15, 2020

The City of North Charleston Cultural Arts Department is seeking artists in music, theatre, dance, visual art, media art, and literature to participate in the 2021 North Charleston Arts Fest to be held April 28-May 2 at various venues throughout North Charleston.

[caption id="attachment_45731" align="alignright" width="225"] Click to enlarge.[/caption] Regional and local artists and community organizations are welcome to submit an application to perform on stage or present their talents through programs such as exhibitions, lectures, demonstrations, workshops, and more.
  • The application can be accessed at NorthCharlestonArtsFest.com/apply.
  • There is NO fee to apply.
  • Agents submitting applications on behalf of two or more acts should contact the Cultural Arts Department at 843.740.5854 or culturalarts@northcharleston.org for special application instructions.
  • Applications will be accepted through the online submission platform until midnight on Tuesday, December 15, 2020.
  • Artists in need of assistance with any part of the application process may contact the Cultural Arts Department to schedule a one-on-one meeting, which can be conducted over the phone, virtually, or in person.
The Arts Fest review panel will select applicants from all art disciplines to create a mix of free and ticketed events that will work well in the available venues and are geared to meet the interests of a cross-section of ages, cultures, and backgrounds. Proposals for new concepts or programs are encouraged.
The North Charleston Arts Fest is an annual five-day celebration of the arts, offering an array of events and activities such as concerts, theatre presentations, exhibitions and installations, children’s programs, workshops and demonstrations, and more, throughout the City of North Charleston. The festival was cancelled in 2020 as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, so will once again be presented as the 38th annual event in 2021. All programs and activities will be presented with COVID-19 safety measures in place (face coverings, social distancing, etc.). Because of restrictions on large gatherings, the World Art Expo at Riverfront Park and Children's Festival will not be part of the festival schedule in 2021.
For more information about the North Charleston Arts Fest and other participation opportunities visit NorthCharlestonArtsFest.com or contact the City of North Charleston Cultural Arts Department office at 843.740.5854 or culturalarts@northcharleston.org.

Jason Rapp

Tuning Up: S.C. arts ed icon passes away

Good morning!  "Tuning Up" is a morning post series where The Hub delivers curated, quick-hit arts stories of interest to readers. Sometimes there will be one story, sometimes there will be several. Get in tune now, and have a masterpiece of a day. And now, in no particular order...


Remembering Rose Myers

Arts education in South Carolina owes a lot to Rose Myers. We note with sadness yesterday's news of her passing down in the Lowcountry she improved with her vision and drive. Myers was 84 and passed from complications caused by vascular dementia. From the Post & Courier:

Myers spearheaded the creation of both Ashley River Creative Arts Elementary and Charleston County School of the Arts, two schools that have repeatedly earned state and national recognition for their success blending traditional academics with art education.

S.C. Arts Commission Executive Director David Platts reflected on her life and his introduction to her.

“I met her 20 years ago as a young administrator and remember thinking I had just met an arts rock star. She was an amazing, won’t-take-no-for-an-answer educator, and her reach in this state was broad and deep. What a legacy she leaves!”

Read the full story from the Post & Courier here (subscription possibly required).
 

Jason Rapp

Spoleto Festival USA director to retire

30+ years enough for Nigel Redden


Nigel Redden announced that in October 2021 he will step down as general director of Spoleto Festival USA.

“The cancellation of the 2020 Festival and the enforced isolation of the last several months have made me realize that, after nearly 35 years since I first joined Spoleto Festival USA, it is time for me to retire. The Festival continues to mean an enormous amount to me—my first real job was working as a studente assistente at the Festival of Two Worlds in Spoleto, Italy, starting in 1969.” Spoleto Festival USA was founded in 1977 as an American counterpart to the annual Festival of Two Worlds in Spoleto Italy. Redden first joined the festival in 1986 as general manager. He resigned in 1991, leaving the organization with assets of approximately $1.5 million, and returned in 1995 after the festival had suffered significant deficits. During his tenure, the festival built endowments; was involved in the renovations of Festival Hall (formerly Memminger Auditorium), Dock Street Theatre, Charleston Gaillard Center, and College of Charleston’s Sottile Theatre; commissioned numerous artists; and staged many world and U.S. premieres. Contemporary composers whose operas were given American or world premieres include Guo Wenjing, Huang Ruo, Philip Glass, Wolfgang Rihm, Kaija Saariaho, Toshio Hosakawa, Pascal Dusapin, Luca Francesconi, Helmut Lachenmann, and Michael Nyman. Bill Medich, chairman of the Spoleto Festival USA board, thanked Redden for his long years of service to the organization. “Nigel Redden has been an inspirational leader for the Festival,” Medich said. “Under his leadership, Spoleto has become known as America’s premier performing arts festival, fulfilling its mission each year to present the best possible program while contributing to the development of young artists and proving a commitment to all forms of the performing arts.” Redden’s notice provides the festival more than a year to identify a successor, and the festival will begin a search immediately.

Jason Rapp

Hub E-vents: May 22 (on May 21)

You want art. You crave art.

#SCartists and arts organizations want to fill that void. They live for that. It’s a calling. Yet in times of social distancing, that’s hard to do. Through the wonders of modern technology, many are trying and succeeding. So while we’re all staying home to protect vulnerable family, friends, and neighbors,  The Hub is stepping up to fill the void between artists and arts lovers. (Learn more about Hub E-vents here.)

Here are some virtual arts events a day early for you planners

We see you. Sometimes we do events on the same day, sometimes we promo upcoming ones. Sometimes we do both. There are no rules in quarantine life! (Help yourself by reading all of them.)

Charleston Rhizome Collective/ConNECKtedTOO | 2 p.m.

How about some fun with the young arts lovers in the family?
Houses? Dolls? Now it's time for Recycle Cars, another family art lesson for children and families Friday, May 22 at 2 PM Eastern. These cars are made from household materials to limit trips to the store and waste! This image lists materials needed, but you can find them at the details link below. Go here for details and to join this event.

The Gibbes Museum of Art: Song and Spoken Word | 7 p.m.

Ann Caldwell performs "EXODUS: Bound for Freedom"
Ann Caldwell is a singer, song writer and story teller. She has the quiet energy of a windmill yet the soulful voice and power of a locomotive. Ann's rich, organic sound wraps around a note, then takes it and the listener to a different space in time. Caldwell brings a unique rhythm to every beat and word. A native of Denmark, S.C., and long-time resident of Charleston, Ann Caldwell brings with her the spirit of her ancestors who used music as a way to commune with each other and God. Originally scheduled to perform a garden concert at the Gibbes on May 6, she has created a new virtual performance entitled EXODUS: Bound for Freedom, and uses objects from the Gibbes collection to illustrate her stories and songs. View it tomorrow, Friday, May 22, at 7 p.m. on the Gibbes Museum's Facebook page (you do not need a Facebook account to watch).
Artist Statement: The dictionary defines Exodus as a mass departure of people [from one place to another], and my performance tells of the early journeys of the African American people. I chose to focus on the initial EXODUS that occurred when over 12.5 million Africans were captured transported to the New World for the purpose of slave labor--a journey called The Middle Passage. The journey from slavery to freedom (the Underground Railroad) was a second EXODUS, when enslaved Africans and African Americans risked life and limb to escape from the life of bondage and hard labor to go to a place where they could be free. These stories and songs illustrate the determination of my ancestors not to live their lives as enslaved people. No matter how difficult or perilous the journey, they would be forever Bound for Freedom.

Your event not here? Here's a little more on how Hub E-vents works.

Jason Rapp

Charleston student wins national scholarship

Each year, the Anthony Quinn Foundation takes great pride in introducing its scholarship recipients.

From the foundation:

This year, we make that introduction in the midst of a crisis that none of us could have imagined. What we know, is that when things feel unsettled, many of us turn to what comforts us most. For our students, the ability to express their feelings and fears through their respective fields of art may be out of reach. During this time, the Anthony Quinn Foundation staff and board is working hard to create community, connection, and continuity for all of our students, past and present. That's the power of art that we see time and time again: art brings us together. Through painting, music, dance, spoken and written word, the Anthony Quinn Foundation has built a community of 120 students in 10 years. 

Charleston high school junior Ashley Yoon (right) is the lone South Carolinian to receive the scholarship this year. A violinist, she intends to use her scholarship to attend the Heifetz International Music Institute in Virginia. Over the past 10 years, The Anthony Quinn Foundation has received over 2,350 applications for summer intensive scholarship support. The pool of applicants grows more competitive and more diverse each year.

To date, they've awarded 118 scholarships representing 27 states and territories and 3 countries. Recipients have attended prestigious summer intensive programs across the U.S. and around the world.

Submitted material

Kristi Ryba named S.C.’s South Arts State Fellow

South Arts awarding more than $160,000 to 18 artists


South Arts, the nonprofit regional arts service organization advancing Southern vitality through the arts, announces the recipients of two fellowship programs.

Southern PrizeNine visual artists (one per state from its nine-state service area) will each receive a $5,000 State Fellowship; additionally, they are now in competition for the $25,000 Southern Prize with a residency at The Hambidge Center for Creative Arts and Sciences as well as the $10,000 Southern Prize Finalist awards.

The other 2020 State Fellowship recipients are:

  • Carlton Nell. Drawing. Opelika, Alabama.
  • Alba Triana. Experimental. Miami, Florida.
  • Fahamu Pecou. Painting. Decatur, Georgia.
  • Letitia Quesenberry. Multidisciplinary. Louisville, Kentucky.
  • Karen Ocker. Painting. New Orleans, Louisiana.
  • Ashleigh Coleman. Photography. Jackson, Mississippi.
  • Sherrill Roland. Multidisciplinary. Morrisville, North Carolina.
  • Bill Steber. Photography. Murfreesboro, Tennessee.

Additionally, another nine traditional artists and culture-bearers from Central Appalachian counties in KY, NC, and TN will each receive $9,000 Folk & Traditional Arts Master Artist Fellowships to continue their lifelong learning and practice. The 2020 Folk & Traditional Arts Master Artist Fellowship recipients are:

  • Roger Cooper. Old-time music. Garrison, Kentucky.
  • Charlene Long. Willow & honeysuckle basket making. Upton, Kentucky.
  • Octavia Sexton. Storytelling. Orlando, Kentucky.
  • Janet Calhoun. Pottery. Lenoir, North Carolina.
  • Susan Leveille. Handweaving. Webster, North Carolina.
  • Bobby McMillon. Ballad singing. Burnsville, North Carolina.
  • Meredith Goins. Violin luthiery. Dunlap, Tennessee.
  • Jordan Hughett. Ballad singing. Winfield, Tennessee.
  • Mark Newberry. Chair-making. Red Boiling Springs, Tennessee.

“South Arts is immensely proud to support every one of these artists, craftspeople, and tradition-bearers,” says Susie Surkamer, executive director of South Arts and a former executive director of the South Carolina Arts Commission. “Especially as our country enters the economic disruption caused by COVID-19, artists are among those most vulnerable to losing income. Yet their creativity, work, and stories are what carry us forward and will be integral to rebuilding our communities.”


Applications were open for both fellowship programs in the fall of 2019. The State Fellowships application pool was reviewed by a panel of experts including Ndubuisi C. Ezeluomba of the New Orleans Museum of Art, Edward Hayes, Jr. of The McNay Art Museum, independent art historian and consultant David Houston, and Marilyn Zapf of the Center for Craft. The panel made their recommendations based on the artistic excellence of their work and inclusiveness of the diversity of the Southern region. The Folk & Traditional Art Master Artist Fellowship applications were reviewed by a panel including Native American potter and storyteller Beckee Garris, Zoe van Buren of the North Carolina Arts Council, Mark Brown of the Kentucky Arts Council, and Evangeline Mee of the Tennessee Arts Commission. The panel made their recommendations based on the artists’ history and mastery of their respective tradition as well as the proposed lifelong learning opportunity.

The nine State Fellowship recipients will be featured in an exhibition that is scheduled to open at the Bo Bartlett Center at Columbus State University in Columbus, Georgia in May 2020; due to the current closures of facilities, this date may be postponed. The announcement of which State Fellowship recipients will also be named as the Southern Prize winner and finalist will be announced at a ceremony surrounding the opening of this exhibition.

“I would like to thank each and every one of our donors and sponsors,” continues Surkamer. “Their support and investment in the arts, culture, and tradition of our region is vital even in the best of times, and their ongoing generosity is more important than ever before.”

To view the work by each of these fellowship recipients and read more about the artists and tradition-bearers, visit www.southarts.org.


About Kristi Ryba

[caption id="attachment_44630" align="aligncenter" width="600"]Kristi Ryba's Chapel Of Perpetual Adoration II Chapel Of Perpetual Adoration II ; 2018 ; Egg Tempera & 22k Gold leaf on panel ; 3 panels each 18.75 x 15.25[/caption]

Kristi Ryba enchants viewers with her narrative works as she combines the elaborate skill of handmade egg tempera painting with subjects that explore contemporary events and messages of morality. Museum visitors will experience the different stages of a painting; how the artist lays out the composition, prepares the painting supports, grinds the pigment, and applies gold leaf to envelop the final piece in regalia.

Kristi Ryba holds an MFA from Vermont College, Montpelier, Vermont and most recently won 2nd place in the esteemed annual visual art competition ArtFields (2018). The artist is represented by Corrigan Gallery in Charleston and is in numerous private collections including the Medical University of South Carolina.

Artist Statement

Over the last several years, my interest in the study of Medieval and Renaissance art has informed my work. This series of paintings is taken from images from centuries ago and serve as a vehicle to simplify an urgent message by providing the symbolic and instructional imagery to illustrate and illuminate the leadership crisis we are in. All the gold, elaborate surroundings and messages of morality and ethics corresponded with what is happening in our government; the gutting of our social safety net and health care, eliminating environmental protections, the lack of restraint in spending money on personal enrichment and pleasure and the build-up of military spending and deficit in international diplomacy to name a few.

For more on the other 2020 State Fellows and the 2020 Folk & Traditional Arts Master Artist Fellowship recipients, please visit those links to content on SouthArts.org.

About South Arts

South Arts

South Arts advances Southern vitality through the arts. The nonprofit regional arts organization was founded in 1975 to build on the South’s unique heritage and enhance the public value of the arts. South Arts’ work responds to the arts environment and cultural trends with a regional perspective. South Arts offers an annual portfolio of activities designed to support the success of artists and arts providers in the South, address the needs of Southern communities through impactful arts-based programs, and celebrate the excellence, innovation, value and power of the arts of the South. For more information, visit www.southarts.org.

Submitted material

2020 North Charleston Arts Fest: a can’t-miss comprehensive arts festival

[caption id="attachment_37366" align="aligncenter" width="600"] North Charleston Arts Fest 2018 by Zan Maddox/Social Design House[/caption]


North Charleston Arts Fest is produced by the City of North Charleston Cultural Arts Department. The event is now famous as one of the most comprehensive arts festivals in the state of South Carolina. The North Charleston Arts Fest is a 5-day event, including concerts, theatre presentations, children’s programs, film screenings, lectures and readings, workshops and demonstrations, exhibitions, public art installations, and more. Today over 30,000 residents and visitors from throughout the Southeast and beyond join this event. In 2020, North Charleston Arts Fest will take place from April 29 to May 3. Let’s take a look at this year's schedule:

April 29, 2020 | 6-8 p.m.: Opening Celebration

Enjoy live music, and complimentary beer, artist demos, wine, and refreshments while admiring hundreds of pieces of artwork on display in Exhibit Hall A of the Charleston Area Convention Center.

May 1, 2020 | 5-9 p.m.: Arty Block Party

It is a free lively outdoor event you shouldn't miss. The event combines an art market and street dance! Taking place along 3 blocks in the Olde Village area of North Charleston.

May 2, 2020 | 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.: World Arts Expo

An outdoor celebration of visual and performing arts from cultures all over the world! The event includes music and dance performances, live art demonstrations, multi-cultural food offerings, art & craft vendors, hands-on activities.

May 3 | Noon-6 p.m.: Exhibition Encore

Exhibition Encore is a day-long closing celebration for the Arts Fest’s many visual art competitions & exhibitions. The event includes South Carolina Palmetto Hands Fine Craft, Tri-County Youth Art, Judged Fine Art & Photography, and Tri-County High School Sculpture. Joiner can admire the vast array of artwork on display. In addition, the Exhibition Encore also provides food trucks and carts, live art demonstrations, musical entertainment, much more.
Learn more at https://northcharlestonartsfest.com/.

Tuning Up: The Lowcountry is hopping

Good morning!  "Tuning Up" is a morning post series where The Hub delivers curated, quick-hit arts stories of interest to readers. Sometimes there will be one story, sometimes there will be several. Get in tune now, and have a masterpiece of a day. And now, in no particular order...


You love to see it.

SCAC grantee Redux Contemporary Art Center in Charleston (FY20 General Operating Support) was the subject of the "Non-Profit Minute" from LowcountryBizSC late last week:

Verner Award recipients unite!

Verner Award recipients Nikky Finney (2016, Lifetime Achievement) and the Gibbes Museum of Art (2019, Organization) will collaborate tomorrow night, Feb. 19 at 6 p.m. Finney, along with author of Charleston-based novel The Cigar Factory Michele Moore and professor and director of southern studies at the College of Charleston Julia Eichelberger join the museum to consider the literary traditions and social landscape that gave rise to voices like Eudora Welty and Zora Neale Hurston. This event is inspired by the exhibition Central to Their Lives: Women Artists in the Johnson Collection and is designed to put the stories and experiences of southern women artists in dialogue with the experiences of southern women writers. Guests will also have an exclusive opportunity to purchase copies of Finney's newest publication Love Child's Hotbead of Occasional Poetry, which will not be available to the general public until April. Finney and Moore will be signing copies of their works after the program. Learn more about the speakers and register here. (Member, non-member, and student rates apply; 135 Meeting St., Charleston)

Artist Minute, Feb. 18

The Artist Minute is up on LowcountryBiz, and you will want to make sure you listen to and watch Quiana Parler of Ranky Tanky fame.

Submitted material

North Charleston Arts Fest reveals 2020 design competition winner

The City of North Charleston Cultural Arts Department is pleased to announce Christine Bush Roman of Johns Island as the winner of the 2020 North Charleston Arts Fest Poster Design Competition. [caption id="attachment_44150" align="alignright" width="150"]Thumbnail version of "Oak Circus" by Christine Bush Roman. "Oak Circus" by Christine Bush Roman. Click image to enlarge.[/caption] As the winner of the statewide contest, Bush Roman’s mixed media painting, titled "Oak Circus," will be used to promote the 2020 North Charleston Arts Fest, taking place April 29-May 3. In addition, the artist was awarded a $500 cash prize and the piece has become part of the City of North Charleston’s Public Art Collection. "Oak Circus" was one of 75 entries by artists from 17 cities across South Carolina that were submitted for consideration for the 2020 North Charleston Arts Fest Poster Design Competition. Christine created the painting specifically for the Arts Fest using acrylic, ink, pastel, and fabric. “When beginning this piece, I knew I wanted to illustrate the vibrancy and emotion of all kinds of creators coming together to share their work,” Roman said. “I began the painting with the simplified image of an oak tree spreading its branches because the oak is such a well-known visual for the Lowcountry. The tree is also an iconic symbol across many cultures of growth, transformation, unity, and enlightenment. I wanted all the other elements of the painting to react to the tree. Setting the tone of celebration, the colors and rhythm hint at all of the different art forms highlighted during the North Charleston Arts Fest.” Most often inspired by ideas of our perception of self, her colorful and busy paintings reflect a compressed narrative of an ever-changing personality; acting as illustrations of an inner story full of ups and downs, constant change, and growth. Her works are about how we are constantly being shaped by where we live, people we know, and major life events. Christine currently creates in her home studio in Johns Island, SC, and instructs art classes for One HEART Connection and Art in the Park Art Lab, both in Charleston. To learn more about the artist, visit ChristineBushRoman.com. A collection of Bush Roman’s mixed media paintings, including her winning piece, "Oak Circus," will be on display at the North Charleston City Gallery throughout May 2020. The gallery is located within the Charleston Area Convention Center at 5001 Coliseum Dr. in North Charleston. Admission and parking are free. The public is invited to meet the artist at the gallery during the North Charleston Arts Fest Opening Celebration & Artist Reception on Wednesday, April 29, 2020, from 6-8 p.m. T-shirts and posters featuring the winning design will be available for purchase during the festival.


For more information about the North Charleston Arts Fest, other competition and exhibition opportunities, or festival sponsorship, on-site marketing opportunities, and program booklet ad placement, contact the City of North Charleston Cultural Arts Department at 843.740.5854, email culturalarts@northcharleston.org, or visit NorthCharlestonArtsFest.com.