← View All Articles

Submitted material

So you want to be in an art show…

West Main Artists Co-op and Converse College partner for workshop

West Main Artist Co-op and Converse College are partnering to provide a free workshop on what it takes to be in a juried art show Saturday, Feb. 16, 1-3 p.m. at the Co-op on West Main Street in Spartanburg. The workshop – “Jury Ready: Preparing to Enter a Juried Show” – will be led by Converse students, most of whom are majoring in fine art or studio art. The lead student will be Jillian Stelow, an art history major minoring in arts management. This workshop is also part of the Co-op’s first four-state juried show – WMAC 2019 – scheduled for the fall. Neither tickets nor registration are required to attend this workshop. “As the Co-op began to organize for WMAC 2019, we quickly realized that many artists don’t understand the process of being in a juried art show,” chairperson Beth Regula said. “To help artists understand what needs to be done for this show and any other, we partnered with Converse College to create this workshop. It will be ideal for any artist who has ever considered applying to be in a juried show. The students will cover the entire process, all of the nuts and bolts, such as ‘What does juried mean?’ Not everyone understands that ‘juried’ means to be judged for inclusion into the show. Of course, there’s a lot more to being in a juried show, and this workshop should answer all the questions.” Other topics to be discussed include meeting deadlines, how to photograph your work, how to register online, how to price your work, how to hang your work, how to transport and insure your work, promotions including social media, art talks, and collaboration with other artists. The workshop will also allow participants to ask questions. Leading the students in this workshop will be Assistant Professor of Art Mary E. Carlisle, who holds a bachelor’s and two master’s degrees in studio art and arts administration. “Our goal in the Department of Art and Design is to provide exceptional visual arts programs and dynamic educational and artistic experiences to our students,” she said. “Collaborations such as this one allow them to go out into the field and share their knowledge with a community of artists, while gaining hands-on experience. Projects like this also serve as an excellent example of our School of the Arts initiative, 'Creativity That Works,' through which we prepare passionate young artists for productive careers in the arts. “Students in our arts management minor program study the importance of a community to the mission of arts nonprofits and the potential impact such organizations can have in their community as a result,” she continued. “I am thrilled that this collaboration with West Main Artists Co-op provides an opportunity to support WMAC's mission to create a community of artists and provide opportunities for artists at various stages in their careers. Age is not always indicator of experience, and I hope that this program encourages artists who have never applied to participate in a juried show, or responded to a call for entries, to use this as an opportunity to learn the essentials so that they feel confident in taking that next step to get their work out there.”
[caption id="attachment_34666" align="alignright" width="225"] The world-famous Hub Calls for Art Megaphone.[/caption] This workshop is one of the first steps in the Co-op’s juried show that will run Saturday, Sept. 14, to Saturday, Oct. 19, 2019. The show is open to any visual artists over the age of 18 in South Carolina, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Georgia. Online registration and application will begin on Sunday, July 7, and will end on Saturday, Aug. 3. After the entries have been juried/judged, applicants will be notified by Saturday, Aug. 17. Applicants will pay a $35 non-refundable entry fee to enter as many as three pieces of visual art, including both 2- and 3-dimensional. Cash prizes will include first-place, $2,500; second-place, $1,000; third-place, $500; and merit awards totaling $500. For complete details, please visit WestMainArtists.org. Brochures for WMAC 2019 are available at West Main Artists Co-op, 578 West Main Street, Spartanburg. The Co-op is open Tuesday-Saturday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
West Main Artists Co-op is one of the leading arts agencies in Spartanburg, with a membership of more than 50 juried artists. It is housed in a converted church and includes studio space for about 30 artists. It also has three galleries, a printery, a pottery studio, two stages for performances, and the county’s largest rotating collection of for-sale artwork made by local artists. Each month, the nonprofit agency hosts three free art exhibitions of work by its members and guest artists.

Submitted material

Flash fiction contest honors S.C. author, Nobel recipient Julia Peterkin

South 85 Journal is relaunching Converse College MFA program’s Julia Peterkin awards, starting with an all-new summer flash fiction contest. Like past awards, the contest will honor South Carolinian author Julia Peterkin, an 1896 graduate of Converse College. In 1929, she won the Pulitzer Prize for Novel/Literature for her novel Scarlet Sister Mary. The journal is accepting submissions for the Julia Peterkin Award for Flash Fiction through Aug. 15. It will announce winners in October. One winner will receive a cash prize of $500, and four runners-up will be named but receive no prize. All five stories will appear in the Fall / Winter 2018 issue of South 85 Journal, which will be released Dec. 15. South 85 Journal editors will review the submissions, and Converse College MFA faculty member Marlin Barton will make the final selections as the presiding judge of the contest. All submissions will be read blind. Submit your previously unpublished fiction of 850 words or less.  As always, South 85 Journal is especially interested in stories that demonstrate a strong voice and/or a sense of place, but the editors consider all quality writing. For more information or to submit, visit the contest page on Submittable here. South 85 Journal is a semi-annual online literary journal run by the Converse College Low-Residency MFA Program.  We publish fiction, non-fiction, poetry, reviews, and art by new, emerging, and well-established writers and artists. Visit our website at south85journal.com. If you would like additional information, contact Debby DeRosa at south85journal@gmail.com.

Converse College professor a finalist for annual art prize

From the Spartanburg Herald-Journal: (Story by Jenny Arnold; photo by Michael Justus)

On road trips across the South, Andrew Blanchard collects images to be used in his artwork. Churches, rusted pickup trucks, graffiti, business signs and even roadkill - Blanchard, 37, a Converse College art professor, shoots photos of it all. He then incorporates these images of the South into his printmaking process. “I don't call them photographs,” Blanchard said, while working on a piece in a studio at Converse recently. “I call them images. They're a means to an end.” The new piece incorporates five churches - Catholic, Baptist, Lutheran, Pentecostal and Methodist - from photos taken on Southern road trips. Sometimes a few words or a phrase inspires a new piece for Blanchard, who plans to title the latest piece, “Which Way Will I Go?” Some of his works aim to destroy Southern stereotypes or blur the lines between urban, rural and country, he said. The art that comes from Blanchard's unique process of printmaking on wood panels now has him in the running for a prize to recognize outstanding young artists in South Carolina. He is a finalist for the Columbia-based 701 Center for Contemporary Artists' annual prize. The purpose of the competition “is to identify and recognize young South Carolina artists whose work is exemplary in its originality, shows awareness of artistic developments and is of high artistic merit,” according to the center. Blanchard's prints have collectors around the world. His work has been viewed by best-selling authors John Grisham and Stephen King, and bought by NFL quarterback Eli Manning. Blanchard's mixed-process prints on wood and paper have been included in more than 100 national and international juried print exhibitions and was included recently in New American Paintings and the Oxford American magazine, which named him among the New Superstars of Southern Art. Although his work has received accolades, Blanchard is excited about his art being recognized in the state he now calls home. “I'm really happy, super thankful,” he said. As Blanchard says in his artist's biography on his website, andrewblanchard.net, he was born in the “wild swamps” of Louisiana and grew up in Waveland, Miss. While in high school, he was inspired by the woodcuts of Walter Anderson and developed his interest in printmaking. “I got a hold of printmaking in my sophomore year of high school,” Blanchard said. “Printmaking is a lot of manual labor, and that's what I grew up doing.” That manual labor included laying carpet and carpentry. Woodworking is something Blanchard continues today - he makes his own wood panels for his prints, and built the cabinets at Cakehead Bake Shop, which his wife, Liz, owns. Blanchard's portfolio includes the series, “Dixie Totems,” which features images hand painted signs and pickup trucks and began as paper prints. He uses similar photos with Southern themes in his work now, but prints on wood. “Most people print on paper,” Blanchard said. “Working on wood panels is just so fun. People think they're paintings.” Wood is a more forgiving medium than paper. If Blanchard sees a mistake, it's easy to wipe it away with a wet rag or sand it out, something he can't do with paper prints. Blanchard received a bachelor's degree from the University of Southern Mississippi and his master's degree at the University of Mississippi. He's been working at Converse for nine years, and was the youngest faculty member at the college when he began working there. Blanchard entered seven pieces for the 701 Center competition. One sold at a reception held Oct. 30 There are two other finalists for the 701 CCA Prize. The winner will receive a six-week, paid residency at 701 CCA, consultation services from a professional advertising and marketing firm, a solo exhibition at 701 CCA, and an ad in a national publication. Susanne Floyd Gunter, chair of the Converse art department, said she's ecstatic that Blanchard has been chosen as a finalist. “Andrew gives a great twist on all things Southern,” Gunter said. Blanchard's originality comes from the way he mixes mediums, Gunter said. He uses printmaking, which is an old art form, but makes it new and unique by adding his own digital images and printing on wood panels rather than paper. “He really does have a Southern theme and a Southern sensibility,” Gunter said. “His technique gives it a freshness.” Gunter said Blanchard makes an impact on his students not only by his teachings in the classroom, but the work he produces himself. “I think Andrew is a consummate professional,” she said. “He sets high standards for himself and his students. Students see him exhibiting, and he requires his students to exhibit. He makes it part of the process.”

Converse College’s School of the Arts offers immersion experience for prospective students

From the Spartanburg Herald-Journal:
Prospective arts students and their parents will get to see what Converse College's School of the Arts has to offer during a two-day showcase later this month.
The School of the Arts, which includes visual arts, theater and dance and the Petrie School of Music, is celebrating its fifth year as a combined program, said college spokeswoman Beth Lancaster. The Petrie School of Music and other arts programs at Converse were long established, but the college decided to combine them into one school to better serve students, encourage more collaboration between the arts disciplines and create an arts hub for the Spartanburg community. The School for the Arts offers 14 undergraduate major and minor programs in music, seven in art and design, and two in theater and dance, plus four graduate level degrees. The school has 18 music faculty, eight visual arts professors and five for theater and dance, in addition to several more adjunct professors. The two-day showcase, Oct. 24-25, will give prospective students the opportunity to attend informative sessions on career opportunities in the arts; application, portfolio or audition procedures; and Converse's degree programs in the arts. “We've never done this as one event before,” Lancaster said. “This will be a different kind of immersion experience.” Prospective music, musical theater and theater and dance students will be able to have a private lesson with faculty, rehearse and perform with current students and sample music theory, history and theater classes. The workshop will also be a chance for students to prepare for regional/all-state band, chorus and orchestra auditions. “Hopefully by the end of the weekend, we'll (faculty, students and prospective students) make some theater together,” said theater professor Boone Hopkins. “The students will learn what we offer and we (faculty) will get to know them. We love for the parents to come. We want to show that we're going to teach your child how to build a career in the arts.” Music faculty will also perform during the showcase. Those interested in visual arts will learn from faculty how to put together a portfolio, attend a workshop to prepare for the visual arts scholarship auditions and take classes in the Milliken Fine Arts Building. The first 30 registrants for the showcase will be able to spend the night on campus and tour Converse with current students. Faculty see the showcase as an important opportunity to demonstrate to parents that there are viable careers in the arts, said interior design professor Ruth Beals. “We've been very successful — there has been extremely strong job placement for our graduates,” Beals said of her department. Interior design students complete an internship and have numerous opportunities to work in companies outside of the classroom before they graduate, and art therapy majors complete clinicals, Beals said. Right now, there are 120 visual arts majors, 90 in music and 42 in theater in the School of the Arts. Converse arts graduates typically attend graduate school in their disciplines. They teach in their fields, have shown their work in major galleries, joined orchestras and received contracts in opera or theater, said School of the Arts dean Richard Higgs. “They learn a lot of business skills, how nonprofits work, how they produce their own music, land a job as a designer or how to get into a professional gallery,” he said. The showcase is open to female high school sophomores, juniors and seniors, for a fee. For more information, call (864) 596-9040 or visit www.converse.edu/showcase.

Art to fill vacant windows in downtown Spartanburg

Converse College, in partnership with the Spartanburg Art Museum, has received a $5,000 One-Time Arts Project grant from the South Carolina Arts Commission for No Vacancies, a public art exhibition taking place this spring in downtown Spartanburg. These funds will help pay for materials, supplies, marketing and public relations efforts. No Vacancies was an idea born last fall when Spartanburg Art Museum’s new Executive Director Elizabeth Goddard moved to Spartanburg. “My first Saturday night in town I walked along Main Street and counted roughly 20 vacant spaces in about a six-block stretch. These beautiful buildings sat in darkness, and I thought, 'wow, what an incredible opportunity for the visual arts to add light, engagement and aesthetics to the downtown area.' ” Goddard then reached out to area professors of art and design to see who might be interested in collaborating to create a rich and relevant public art exhibition utilizing these vacant windows. Several answered the call. The project quickly moved forward as a partnership between the Spartanburg Art Museum, Converse College, USC Upstate and Wofford College. From Converse College, Greg Mueller, a sculpture professor, is leading two teams of students to install two projects, one titled, Recycling the Void and the other titled The Mill, which speaks to the rich history of the textile industry in the Upstate. From Wofford College, Ann Stoddard, Kris Neeley and Dawn Dickins are working with students to install in three spaces. Professor Jane Nodine from USC Upstate is working with students from the Art and Design club to install work in two spaces. Student artist Erin Patton from USC Upstate said about her participation, “I think this is an exciting opportunity to be involved in something that the community will be able to enjoy during their everyday lives. It’s not something that viewers have to go to a museum or gallery to enjoy; it is something that can be experienced walking down the sidewalk.” “I am so pleased with how this project has evolved to a truly collaborative effort that will provide real public art exhibition experience to a diverse group of college students who might not have been granted such an opportunity,” said Goddard. “There is growing knowledge that economies improve for everyone when the arts are front and center in a downtown area. People come to see the art, stay for a meal or some shopping. This is what we want for Spartanburg and for South Carolina.” Viewers of No Vacancies will see how the financial support of the South Carolina Arts Commission aids in the transformation. Goddard added, "Support from the state level is a wonderful confirmation that this project is providing a relevant experience not only to a group of artists, but for hundreds, if not thousands, of viewers.” No Vacancies installation takes place in early April, and the opening event takes place April 17 from 5 - 9 p.m. during Art Walk along Main Street in downtown Spartanburg. For more information, visit spartanburgartmuseum.org or call (862) 582-7616. Via: Spartanburg Art Museum

Tibetan monks to share artistic tradition of mandala sand painting in Spartanburg

The Chapman Cultural Center in Spartanburg invites you to have a transformative experience with the Tibetan monks of Drepung Loseling Monastery. From Monday, Sept. 30 to Friday, Oct. 4, the monks will create a unique mandala sand painting in the Chapman Cultural Center Theatre lobby. The opening ceremony takes place at noon on Sept. 30. Mandala sand paintingThe mandala will be constructed in the Tantric Buddhist tradition, using a metal funnel called a chakpur to create large circular designs with colored sand. Each day, the Tibetan monks will painstakingly add sand—grain by grain—to a circular design that symbolically represents universal consciousness. The experience is meditative yet intense, aiming toward cultural, artistic, and spiritual enlightenment. The demonstration is free for public viewing daily 10 a.m. - 6 p.m. (until 3 p.m. on Thursday). A concert of sacred music and dance will be performed Thursday, Oct. 3 at 7 p.m. Concert tickets are $10 per student and $20 for the general public. Deconstruction of the mandala begins at noon Friday, Oct. 4 and includes a walk to a nearby source of natural running water. Some sand will be distributed among the audience, while the rest will be ceremoniously poured into the flowing water. This symbolizes the impermanence of life and the return to cosmic awareness. This weeklong program is presented by Wofford College, Converse College and Chapman Cultural Center and is supported by a grant from The Humanities CouncilSC. In recent years, the Mystical Arts of Tibet performance Sacred Music Sacred Dance, featuring the famed singers of Drepung Loseling Monastery, has taken the world by storm. Their two-hour stage performance combines multiphonic chanting, music and dance into an unforgettable experience. The pieces are drawn from authentic temple dances, performed for thousands of years in Tibet. The ancient rhythms and colorful, intricate costumes delight audiences of all ages. On previous tours the monks have shared the stage with Philip Glass, Kitaro, Paul Simon, Sheryl Crow, Michael Stipe, Patti Smith, Natalie Merchant, the Beastie Boys and many others. For more information about the demonstration and related activities, visit the Chapman Cultural Center's website or call (864) 542-ARTS. Via: Chapman Cultural Center  

Interview with First Novel winner Susan Tekulve

In the Garden of StoneSusan Tekulve's “In the Garden of Stone,” published by Hub City Press in Spartanburg and released officially this week, won the biennial South Carolina First Novel Competition, administered by Hub City Press and the South Carolina Arts Commission. The novel recounts the lives of Sicilian immigrants in the mountains of Appalachia, and it is at once a departure for Tekulve and a familiar condensation of the sort of fiction she loves to write: stories about purposeful people defined by geography and circumstance. Tekulve lives in Spartanburg and teaches writing at Converse College. On the occasion of her debut novel, The Post and Courier asked her a few questions about her writing. Read the interview. Via: The Post and Courier