← View All Articles

Tuning Up: HBCU artists + Florence arts grants + go for Baroque

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...

Twiggs curates TJC Gallery exhibition on HBCU artists. The recipient of virtually every major arts award South Carolina offers is back in the spotlight with a new exhibition in Spartanburg that coincides quite nicely with Black History Month. “Elevation from Within: The Study of Art at Historically Black Colleges and Universities,” opens tomorrow and runs through May 10. Admission varies; More info here. Grant opportunity for Florence County artists and arts organizations. From the Florence Regional Arts Alliance: apply now for grants from the FRAA's Quarterly Grants Program for Organizations & Individual Artists. It's designed to provide support for a wide variety of quality arts projects, as well as for professional development opportunities for artists and arts administrators. Organizations must be based in Florence County with a Florence County mailing address and be registered charitable organizations with federal non-profit status. Individual artists must be practicing artists in dance, literature, music, theatre or the visual arts and have a Florence County mailing address. Individual artists must be over the age of 18 at the time of application. Application deadline is May 15. Go for Baroque. (It's obligatory, and we're not sorry. - Ed.) And we're back in Spartanburg as Wofford College celebrates the visual art and music of the European Baroque period of the 17th and 18th centuries with a special exhibition, a concert of music from the period and presentations about the exhibit. (Story from GoUpstate.com) And finally... Columbia TV station WLTX looked at the arts in South Carolina with three #SCArtists during a Facebook Live event last night.

Florence is the newest South Carolina Cultural District

The South Carolina Arts Commission has named downtown Florence as the newest state-recognized cultural district. A cultural district is an easily identifiable geographic area with a concentration of arts facilities and assets that support cultural, artistic and economic activity. The cultural district designation was created by the S.C. General Assembly and Gov. Nikki Haley in 2014. The City of Florence and the Florence Regional Arts Alliance worked with local leaders and Arts Commission staff to develop a map of cultural assets and a strategic plan for the district. City officials will use the cultural district designation to attract visitors and residents to downtown and promote the area as a hub of arts and culture. "This cultural district designation from the South Carolina Arts Commission is a tremendous honor," said Florence City Council member George Jebailey. "This designation recognizes the hard work done over the last 17 years by a community committed to a unified vision to create a detailed master plan establishing a purposeful clustering of multiple arts venues in downtown Florence. Through the collaboration of the many public-private partners working together on this unified vision, we have seen the master plan become a reality leading to this important designation. We anticipate that many new opportunities will now be available for us to promote both the City of Florence and the entire Pee Dee Region as an important destination for arts, culture and entertainment." “Receiving the S.C. state recognition of a designated cultural district will assist in our ongoing marketing of downtown Florence as a tourist destination,” said Florence Downtown Development Manager Ray Reich. “The Vision 2010 Initiative that was created in 2000, as well as the 2010 Downtown Master Plan, envisioned downtown as a place featuring a string of cultural pearls. The first pearl in the string was the library, followed by the Florence Little Theatre, and then the FMU Performing Arts Center, followed by the new museum, as well as many other cultural amenities that have been developed in recent years in our beautiful and historic downtown. This designation affirms that we are well in our way to achieving the vision of a string of cultural pearls. However, this is just the beginning, and while we have created an outstanding foundation, the work will not stop as we continue to work together as a community to live up to our new community brand of being a community full of life and moving full forward with more amenities.” Florence Regional Arts Alliance Executive Director Sandy Cook added, “We are very excited for this award, which shows Florence’s continued commitment to preserve and support the arts.  We thank all of our stakeholders for their collaborative efforts in making this happen.” The participation of those stakeholders is key, according to S.C. Arts Commission Executive Director Ken May. “Non-arts businesses and organizations are important pieces of a cultural district. A successful cultural district attracts creative enterprises, such as galleries and theatres, whose patrons want to dine out and shop, so nearby retail and other businesses benefit from that increased economic activity.” The cultural district program was developed after reviewing successful programs in other states and gathering input from leaders representing several sectors, including economic development, tourism, local government and the arts. Florence joins Beaufort, Bluffton, Columbia’s Congaree Vista, Lancaster, Rock Hill and Spartanburg as S.C. cities and areas that have earned cultural district status. Other states with similar cultural district programs include Colorado, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Kentucky, and Texas. S.C. cities, towns and rural communities interested in exploring a cultural district designation are invited to contact their Arts Commission county coordinator or call (803) 734-8696. Complete guidelines are available at www.SouthCarolinaArts.com. About the S.C. Arts Commission The South Carolina Arts Commission is celebrating 50 years of public support for the arts. Created by the South Carolina General Assembly in 1967, the Arts Commission is the state agency charged with creating a thriving arts environment that benefits all South Carolinians, regardless of their location or circumstances. The Arts Commission works to increase public participation in the arts through staff assistance, programs, grants and partnerships in three areas: arts education, community arts development and artist development. Headquartered in Columbia, S.C., the Arts Commission is funded by the state of South Carolina, by the federal government through the National Endowment for the Arts and other sources. For more information, visit www.SouthCarolinaArts.com or call (803) 734-8696.

Florence teacher learns the art of glassblowing with grant support

Michele Allen, a Lester Elementary School art teacher, took a glassblowing course this summer at Pilchuck Glass School, an international center for glass art education in Washington. The course was made possible through funding from the Florence Regional Arts Alliance Quarterly Grants Program, which is funded in part by the South Carolina Arts Commission, Honda of South Carolina and the John and Susan Bennett Memorial Arts Fund of the Coastal Community Foundation of S.C. From SCnow.com Article and photo above by Deborah Swearingen
[caption id="attachment_27509" align="alignright" width="250"]Michele Allen Michele Allen works with an instructor[/caption] FLORENCE, S.C. – With the help of a quarterly grant from the Florence Regional Arts Alliance, a Lester Elementary School art teacher took a glassblowing course this summer at Pilchuck Glass School, an international center for glass art education in Washington.
In the 17-day July course, taught by Japanese artist Rui Sasaki, Michele Allen learned basic glassblowing as well as creative applications and finishing processes.
Of particular interest to Allen were the optical properties of glass in installations using video and sound. She said she enjoyed experimenting with shadows and light projections.
“I started doing some video series and blowing different forms and sandblasting them, having some of them mirrored or clear finish to see how video projections would appear on the actual surface of the glass and on the wall behind,” she said.
Pilchuck Glass School was founded in 1971 by renowned artist Dale Chihuly.
Allen, who entered into her fourth year today at Lester , can remember being fascinated by glassblowing as early as elementary school.
“When I was a child, every year we’d go to Arts Alive (now Arts International), and I can remember one year they had a guy outside of the (Francis Marion University) Hyman Fine Arts Center blowing glass,” she said. “I remember my mom had to come pull me away. … It’s so interesting to watch.”
But she took her interest to the next level last year after attending the South Carolina Art Educators Conference in Beaufort. From there, she applied to a craft school in North Carolina called Penland, where she took a glassblowing course in the summer of 2015.
“I really enjoyed it, but it just whet my appetite,” Allen said. “It wasn’t enough. So I started investigating other places where I could try to go and further my education as far as the glass goes.”
Glassblowing is a technical process. It involves inflating molten glass into a bubble with the aid of a blowpipe.
When the glass is heated up, it reaches temperatures of more than 2,000 degrees. Allen said it’s important to remain calm and aware while glassblowing.
“You have to be very, very careful,” Allen said, showing off a small burn on her arm from her time at Pilchuck. “… It’s almost like a dance, because you have a partner with you to help. There are other people working at different benches at the studio, so you constantly have to be aware of everybody around you and what they’re doing as you’re working with the hot material, as well.”
Allen hopes to continue her studies in the Pee Dee but first has to find a studio where she can work. Some day she would love to take after her first glassblowing instructor Jason Minami, who leads a nonprofit organization called GlassRoots that aims to teach young people the art of glassblowing.
“I would like to possibly do something like that one day where I could actually transfer this knowledge and teach other people," Allen said. "But I’ve got to get good enough first.”

Florence Film Society aims to cultivate community through new film series

From SCnow.com

Article and photo by Deborah Swearingen

[caption id="attachment_25799" align="alignright" width="250"]Florence Film Society Tim Streit, left, and Andrew Bates began the Florence Film Society in 2013 as a way to connect with other area film lovers and promote art.[/caption]

FLORENCE, S.C. – Nearly three years ago, Tim Streit and Andrew Bates set out on a mission to cultivate an artistic community for film lovers through the Florence Film Society.

“We see a big opportunity to fill a void here in this city. You’ve got to travel 60 miles in any direction to find an art house cinema. We want to create that environment and culture here, places like the Nickelodeon (in Columbia), places like the Terrace Theater in Charleston,” Bates said.

To further its mission, the Florence Film Society is now hosting a quarterly art house film series in conjunction with the Florence County Museum and the Florence Regional Arts Alliance.

The first screening will be held March 26 in the Waters Building in downtown Florence.

Called “The Other Brother,” the documentary was directed by Kristy Higby and produced by Mark E. Flowers, both North Carolinians. It tells the story of two estranged brothers at very different spectrums in the art world.

“It’s really a wonderful look at sibling estrangement and what’s really beneath all of that. (It’s) a really well-told story,” Bates said.

The documentary has a run time of 71 minutes and will be followed by a question-and-answer session with both the director and the producer of the film.

The society previously held monthly screenings at Lula’s Coffee Co. in Florence, and Bates and Streit agreed that they could not have done it without the guidance and support from the coffee shop.

“It just developed into this very symbiotic relationship where they spent so much time pouring into us and cheering us on, helping us, to succeed in this town,” Bates said. “We kind of feel really extreme gratitude to Lula’s and their staff for being so generous with their resources.”

But Bates and Streit see the new partnership with downtown organizations as a way to connect with the greater Florence artistic community.

“We’re kind of trying to look for those sources where we can plug in and get involved with like-minded people and extend that influence,” Streit said.

The society’s co-founders agreed that they hope to build a community and foster education about film and art house cinema.

And ultimately, they would love to open an art house cinema in Florence.

When Streit discovered that the Nickelodeon Theatre in Columbia began as the Columbia Film Society, he said he felt hopeful that something similar could one day flourish in Florence.

Both Bates and Streit lived elsewhere for college but felt called to come back to Florence to enhance the city they grew up in and play an active role in its revitalization.

“It is what you make it, so we took that philosophy with the film society,” Bates said. “Like, we could keep going to Columbia and experiencing what’s already there or we could build something here.”

Most important, though, they want to encourage open-mindedness because independently produced films are not going to attract everyone.

But, Streit said, it’s important to give it a chance and remember that there’s always something new to discover.

“Even if you’re not a film buff or a film nerd, I always find that if you pay attention, there’s something in the movie that might strike you,” he said. “And it might not even be what the filmmaker intended, which, I guess, is the beauty of art, you know.”

Thinking about films opens up different conversation doors than other art forms, Bates said.

“It forces you to think, and I think in our culture and society today it’s so important to think for yourself,” he said. “And if you’re influenced by film that makes you think in a different way than you did before, maybe, it opens your mind to a different way of living.”

Saturday’s screening begins at 7:30 p.m. in the main room of the Waters Building on South Dargan Street. Admission is free and open to the public.

The other films being screened in the series are “Slow West,” “The Seventh Seal” and “The Great Dictator.”

For more information, email flofilmsociety@gmail.com, visit www.florencefilmsociety.com or search for the Florence Film Society on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.

Florence Regional Arts Alliance invites submissions for Small Works Juried Competition

Entering its second year, the Florence Regional Arts Alliance's Small Works 2015 is a juried visual arts competition featuring a compilation of 40 small pieces selected from a wide range of media and artists. The show aims to provide a place for the emerging artist to place alongside the professional artist. In a small works competition, finished pieces may be no larger than 12" x 12” including the frame. The size constraints provide an exhibit that is more intimate in nature and also a venue for a young art collector to begin acquiring smaller, more affordable pieces. Submission deadline is Oct. 9. All artists 18 and older living in South Carolina or North Carolina may submit work for this show. Entries are submitted online at www.florenceartsalliance.org. Only original works not previously shown with the Florence Regional Arts Alliance or with the Greater Lake City Artist Guild within the last two years are eligible. These 2-D works may be in any medium including photography. Artists may submit up to four entries at $15 per entry. Three cash prizes will be awarded: First Place $500, Second Place $250, Third Pace $100 and Honorable Mention. The competition will be juried by Edward Puchner, curator of exhibitions for McKissick Museum at the University of South Carolina. Prior to joining the staff at USC, Puchner worked at a variety of museums, galleries and cultural nonprofits, including the National Gallery of Art, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Indiana University Art Museum and the Clark Art Institute, earning a doctorate in Art History from Indiana University in 2012. He also served as gallery manager at Luise Ross Gallery, a significant New York gallery of modern and contemporary art. Last year, the competition was hosted in the Art Trail Gallery and winners included Paolo Gualdi (first), Allison Triplett (second), Doug Gary (third) and Colleen Critcher (honorable mention). This year the exhibition will be hosted by the Greater Lake City Artist Guild within the Art Fields® Office at 110 East Main Street in Lake City. The show and competition are underwritten by a generous gift from International Knife and Saw, Inc., a manufacturer of high quality industrial machine knives and accessories. Their continued investment in the arts encourages and supports the quality of life and economic growth within Florence County. Prizes will be awarded at a reception on Nov. 3 in Lake City, and the exhibition will run Nov. 3 - 28. For more information, or to enter, visit the Florence Regional Arts Alliance's website or call the Arts Alliance at (843) 407-3092. Via: Florence Regional Arts Alliance

Florence Regional Arts Alliance presents annual awards

Congratulations to the recipients of the 2014 Florence Regional Arts Alliance's annual Arts Awards! Check out this video of the recipients' reactions to their awards.

  • John W. Baker Distinguished Service Award: Julian Young, Florence Men's Choral Society
The John W. Baker Distinguished Service Award recognizes an individual from Florence County who has significantly impacted the quality of life in the community through his/her activities, contributions, and/or accomplishments in the arts.
  • Business & Arts Partnership Award: The Clay Pot
The Business and Arts Partnership Award recognizes a Florence County business for its vital commitment to the arts as evidence by operational and/or project support provided on a substantial and ongoing basis.
  • Outstanding Arts Organization Award: Lake City Partnership Council
This award is presented annually to the Florence County arts organization that has a tremendous impact on the community. This may be through programming, projects, resource development, advocacy or other innovation.
  • The Greg Fry Educator of the Year Award: Wanda Hanna, art teacher at South Florence High School (new for 2014)
This award will be presented annually to an educator who either resides or works in Florence County. Public and private schools educators are eligible for this award, as well as individuals in higher education and those who teach through registered 501(c)(3) arts organizations.
  • The Frank Crow Award: Desiree Overby
The Frank Crow Award, named for the former director of the Florence Regional Arts Alliance, is presented annually to an FRAA board member, staff member or volunteer who has had a tremendous impact on the organization. For more information about the Florence Regional Arts Alliance's Awards Program, contact Uschi Jeffcoat at peedeearts@gmail.com. Via: Florence Regional Arts Alliance

Artists’ Guild and Florence Regional Arts Alliance team up for third exhibition

PassagesFrom February 7 to March 14, the Greater Lake City Artists' Guild and the Florence Regional Arts Alliance will present Passages, an exhibit of artwork by Adrian Rhodes, at the ArtFields Gallery in downtown Lake City. Featuring mixed media painting and collage rooted in printmaking, Passages opens with a reception Feb. 7 from 5:30 - 7:30 p.m. There is no fee and everyone is invited to attend. This exhibit is the third exhibit brought to the ArtFields Gallery through a partnership between the Greater Lake City Artists Guild and the Florence Regional Arts Alliance. Last year, Patz & Dogs (featuring artists Patz Fowle and Heidi Bond) and The Great Harvest (photography by Benton Henry) were shown in the gallery. Rhodes, who studied at the University of South Carolina and Winthrop University, has shown in various galleries throughout the Pee Dee and the Midlands, as well as at Spartanburg’s Carolina Gallery and Charlotte’s Rice Gallery. Her recent awards include Best in Show at the Arts Council of York County’s 2013 Annual Juried Show and second place at the 2013 S.C. Festival of Flowers Juried Exhibition in Greenwood. An excerpt from Rhodes’ artist statement: "I am interested in the act of making. Rather than expressing a preconceived idea or conveying a specific message, I find that meaning and purpose within the work comes from employing art making as a way to question. Through process the content is revealed to be dependent on the internal logic of the piece. The resulting composition bears many traces of how it was made. While you can see the effects of underlying colors and patterns showing through the topmost skin of paint, there are also the traces evident in the many layers, abrasions and seams within the composition. These tactile remnants of the piece’s foundation lie beneath the surface layer and bear witness to the history of the painting’s creation." Rhodes hails from Hartsville, S.C., where she lives with her husband, Michael, and daughter, Sophie. The ArtFields Gallery's operating hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 9 a.m. to noon on Fridays. The gallery is located at 110 East Main Street in downtown Lake City. For more information about the exhibit or the Greater Lake City Artists' Guild, contact Sandy Cook at greaterlakecityartistsguild@gmail.com. For more information about the Florence Regional Arts Alliance, contact Bruce Douglas at peedeearts@gmail.com. Established in 1984, the Florence Regional Arts Alliance is a community-based nonprofit organization that is committed to preserving, supporting, and promoting the Arts in Florence County. Additionally, FRAA strives to promote and strengthen the arts in the region through its online arts marketing initiative, Pee Dee Arts. (Image: Shatter) Via: Florence Regional Arts Alliance

Art Trail Gallery gets new director, new direction for downtown Florence

From SCNow.com:

The Florence Downtown Development Corporation has decided to hit the reset button on a major cog in downtown as the corporation’s board dissolved the Art Trail Gallery’s board on Monday, citing a need to move forward with the original vision of the gallery acting as an economic engine for downtown. “The volunteers and board have put their heart and souls into the gallery, but we needed to treat the gallery like a business. Changes needed to be made for consistency and ultimately support the operational expenses of the facility,” acting FDDC Board Chairman Karen Leatherman said. “No one will see any difference, except for improvements.” And a new director. David Hobbs, a longtime volunteer at the gallery and a former board member, will replace Gaye Ham. Ham said being relieved of her duty came as a total surprise. “I put in 30-40 hours per week as a volunteer director. We painted, cleaned and did everything we could. I’m upset,” she said. She took over when the gallery relocated in November 2012 to the corner of Irby and Evans streets. Local artist and former board member Bob Feury said he has always been involved since the gallery opened in 2008 by volunteering and showing his own work. He said he was a bit surprised at the decision to overhaul things. “I thought it turned out well with the resources we had. I think it’s a great idea for customers to have a full service place to come to. I would’ve liked to be asked,” Feury, who owns Feury’s Fine Art, said. From the beginning, Florence Downtown Director Ray Reich said the ATG’s vision was to serve two purposes — support arts and culture and be an economic development catalyst for downtown. “We felt it (gallery) needed to make downtown more of a draw, not just for Florentines but also act as a tourist attraction,” Reich said. “There were limited hours that the gallery was open. Volunteers are wonderful to help, but they only have a limited time to give. The plan all along was to become self-sufficient and it’s become less self-sufficient. It needs to operate more like a business. You have to have sales to do that, and eventually we want it to be able to stand on its own two feet.” Hobbs will be the man asked to do that. He comes from decades of managing experience working for DuPont before he retired in 2011. He also serves as the chairman of the Florence County Planning Commission. Working with local businesses, hosting more classes and functions are just some of the goals he has for the gallery. “There’s always room for improvement. I’m going to help make improvements and get the ATG to be more independent. I see potential,” he said. “Things are taking off downtown, and I want to be a part of it. This is just passing the baton.” Two new additions gallery-goers will soon see include bringing in a retailer and giving the Florence Regional Arts Alliance a new home. Roney’s Creative Picture Framing is scheduled to set up a storefront starting in March while the FRAA will be moving in next week. Leatherman said the decision to bring in Roney’s and sign a lease agreement with FRAA will make it possible to have regular hours and be staffed by paid people. Roney’s will take frame, mirror orders on-site. Last month, owners Fran and Charles Gray purchased Kolor Quick and plan to offer enlargements, photo restoration and canvas printing and other services at the gallery. “All of the services will be performed off-site, at Roney’s original location on West Palmetto Street,” Fran said. “I’m excited about getting downtown and in the middle of everything going on.”
Via: SCNow.com

Florence Regional Arts Alliance announces 2013 Arts Awards recipients

The Florence Regional Arts Alliance (FRAA) recently announced its 2013 Arts Awards recipients. Among the winners were two local arts leaders, one arts organization and a global corporation. “We’re very fortunate in Florence County to have more worthy candidates than awards to give away,” said Quincy Kennedy, president of FRAA. “We feel like our board did a great job in narrowing down the nominations we received from the community; it’s not an easy task." Jane Madden, the engine behind the Art Trail Gallery’s quick and continued success, received the John W. Baker Distinguished Service Award. Madden’s efforts over the last five years have been a major factor in the “people side” of Florence’s downtown revitalization. “As improvements are continuously being made downtown, Jane is one of the main people promoting what's going on and what progress is being made,” said Kennedy. The Florence Little Theatre received the Outstanding Arts Organization Award. “Most people are aware of the great shows FLT produces. Not everyone is aware of the outstanding programming they put on for young people and for lifelong learners through their Senior Readers Group. The impact FLT has on Florence County is truly amazing,” said Bruce Douglas, executive director of FRAA. The 2013 Business & Arts Partnership Award recipient is Honda of South Carolina. Honda, which operates out of Timmonsville, supports several community-based programs, projects and events, both arts and non-arts-related. “Honda’s continuous support of the arts, and the Arts Alliance, is why they are receiving this award,” said Kennedy. Honda partners with FRAA to present the Excellence in Arts Education Awards to Florence County’s public high schools. Honda also funds FRAA’s quarterly grants program, which disburses money to organizations, artists and teachers throughout Florence County. The inaugural Frank Crow Service Award winner is Bill Kress. Kress, a long-time Florence Regional Arts Alliance board member, staff member and volunteer, worked with Crow and was honored to receive the award. “This award means a lot to me because it has Frank’s name on it,” said Kress. Crow served as FRAA’s director from 2003-2012 before medical issues forced him into retirement. The Crow Award will be presented annually to an FRAA board member, staff member or volunteer who has had a tremendous impact on the organization. The winners were presented with handmade clay trophies made by Pee Dee artist Patz Fowle. In 2014, FRAA will add a fifth award to its lineup. The Greg Fry Arts Educator of the Year Award will be presented in May of next year. More information about the award will be announced soon. Click the screen below to view a short video produced by FRAA to honor the winners.. 2013 Florence Regional Arts Alliance Awards from Harrison Waters on Vimeo. For more information about these awards or any other Florence Regional Arts Alliance program, contact Bruce Douglas at peedeearts@gmail.com. Via: Florence Regional Arts Alliance