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S.C. artist James Arendt one of seven finalists for Society 1858 Prize

Jim ArendtSouth Carolina Arts Commission Visual Arts Fellow James Arendt is one of seven finalists for the Gibbes Museum's Society 1858 Prize for Contemporary Southern Art. Arendt was the only S.C. artist selected from more than 250 applications submitted by artists from 10 states. The winner receives $10,000 and will be announced Sept. 18.
Society 1858, a membership organization affiliated with the Gibbes Museum of Art, has named seven finalists for the 1858 Prize for Contemporary Southern Art.The competition got its start with support from Mallory and Elizabeth Factor and was renamed early this year when the auxiliary group of young art advocates assumed responsibility for the initiative. The competition "acknowledges an artist whose work demonstrates the highest level of artistic achievement in any media, while contributing to a new understanding of art in the South." The winner will receive $10,000. More than 250 artists from Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia submitted applications, according to the Gibbes. The seven finalists are: Jim Arendt of Conway Sonya Clark of Richmond, Va. Andre Leon Gray of Raleigh, N.C. Jackson Martin, a Tennessee native and resident of Asheville, N.C. Jason Mitcham, a Greensboro, N.C., native and resident of New York City Damian Stamer of Durham, N.C. Stacy Lynn Waddell of Durham, N.C. The artists were selected by a panel of artists, art advocates and museum professionals. "We are thrilled to have received so many qualified applicants to the 1858 Prize," said Gibbes Museum Curator of Exhibitions Pam Wall, who served as a judge on the panel. "Narrowing the list to seven artists was a tough task, but we feel this group represents the great talent and creativity of the contemporary southern art scene." Artist John Westmark, also a judge, was the 2012 prize winner; his work is on view at the Gibbes through Aug. 3. This year's winner will be announced on Sept. 18.

ArtFields call for submissions now open!

Emerging and professional artists from Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia are invited to submit  works to the 2014 ArtFields Art Competition to compete for $100,000 in cash prizes. ArtFields takes place April 25 - May 4 in Lake City, S.C. Find complete entry guidelines online. Submission deadline is Dec. 13, 2013 at 11:59 p.m. New for 2014 are two People’s Choice Awards (four winners total): People’s Choice 2-Dimensional ($12,500) and People’s Choice 3-Dimensional ($12,500). Winning entries will be determined by votes from ArtFields attendees and a juried panel. In 2013, South Carolina artists won both the $50,000 Top Prize (Jim Arendt, pictured below) and the $25,000 People's Choice (Kirkland Smith) Awards. ArtFields features live music, dancing, delicious Southern foods, and cash prizes for artists totaling $100,000. ArtFields was launched in 2013 to expand educational and cultural offerings and re-energize economic development of the Lake City community through promotion of the arts. Via:ArtFields

A profile of Visual Arts Fellow Jim Arendt

2014 Visual Arts Fellow Jim Arendt is featured in Grand Strand Magazine's August profile:

In His Jeans by Sara Sobota Jim Arendt is the Conway artist who transformed a pair of jeans into a cash jackpot this past May. The Coastal Carolina University art gallery director won the top prize—$50,000—at the inaugural Artfields, a Lake City event that drew nearly 800 submissions and national recognition for its generous purse. While Arendt enjoyed both the honor and the financial benefits of the award, he continues to pursue his creative vision with the same philosophy as ever: art is work, and work is art. Part of the aesthetic appeal of Arendt’s prize-winning work, Jamie, is its unique substance. Arendt has been working with denim for about three years and has used it to create more than 15 textile images. Neither the medium nor the subject matter is arbitrary, however; both are central to Arendt’s artistic message. [caption id="attachment_7462" align="alignnone" width="600"]Jim Arendt, "Jamie" Jamie, cut denim, 96" x 150"[/caption] “Denim is tough; it’s durable,” Arendt says. For a man who grew up in Flint, Michigan, denim represents the hard work involved in the blue-collar industries of farming and automaking. It’s a material whose roots are often overlooked. “We wear it, but we don’t even see it,” explains Arendt. “It’s an item that has become so universal that it doesn’t have meaning. But what meaning is it? It’s the land, it’s the people who wear it, it’s the cotton and the indigo and the rivets and the rugged fabric that withstands manual labor in the field, in the factory, in the plant.” And so Arendt’s job was to transform that tangible piece of manual labor into art. It took about three months “to figure out how to work with it,” Arendt says. What to make of it? Arendt considers the results family members. “Each of my figures is a blood relation, or close enough. They’re not portraits, but how I perceive them. I try to capture them as their character in the family.” Arendt wasn’t always caught up in the idea of unique material for his art work. He originally focused on the more traditional media of oil painting and drawing. “I had very academic training,” Arendt explains, which includes a BFA from the Kendall College of Art and Design and a MFA from the University of South Carolina. But then, Arendt explains, “there was a reframing of what I was doing. I started thinking through materials and what they mean. I began to see my work as a content delivery system.” Other materials that may work their way into his artistic realm include Bic pens, motor oil and cast concrete. Arendt’s emphasis on labor also extends to his position as director of the Rebecca Randall Bryan Gallery at CCU, where his daily pursuits include teaching, researching and curating. He serves as a mentor and career guide to senior art majors who take his class, The Artist as Professional, where he teaches that making a living in the world of art is possible with hard work. “College teaches students how to think, it teaches them technical skills,” Arendt says, “but it doesn’t teach them how to practice. I balance the dreamy, ethereal nature of the field with pragmatism—they’re essentially entrepreneurs, so I teach them entrepreneurial business skills. ” Arendt introduces students to various forms of social media and news feeds to promote their work and teaches them “tricks”—how to apply for shows, land a residency, create a press kit and find non-commercial gallery space. “There’s no road map to this career,” Arendt says. “I hand them a machete.” Colleague Chris Todd, a lecturer in the CCU art department, says Arendt’s approach to teaching and art is inspirational to his students. “He has just a wealth of knowledge and skills to share, and he absolutely loves to share new artists and new ideas. He gets really excited with the students about their work. It’s a good mix of pressure and optimism that works well to motivate them; it’s exciting to watch.” And the motivation is reciprocal. “Teaching helps me work through my ideas,” Arendt explains. After coming home and spending a couple of hours with his wife, artist Yvette Cummings, and daughters Harper, 6, and Ansley, 3, he’s ready to attack the denim that hangs in his garage. Winning the Artfields competition was a big moment for Arendt, but it’s by no means his only professional recognition. He held a solo exhibition this summer at the Sumter Gallery of Art and was selected to participate in group exhibitions at the Pittsburgh Center for the Arts and the Museum Rijswijk in the Netherlands this year. As for fame, Arendt is less than eager for the spotlight. “I’m a Midwesterner,” he says, “it’s not easy to take recognition. I get embarrassed.” More important to him than accolades is the work that his pieces can do. “I want art to change things,” he says. “I want it to touch someone’s life.”
Via: Grand Strand Magazine

Milly

Four artists named S.C. Arts Commission Fellows

[caption id="attachment_6752" align="alignright" width="600"] Jim Arendt, Robert Lyon, Jeff Sumerel, Robbie Robertson[/caption] The South Carolina Arts Commission Board has awarded Individual Artist Fellowships to four South Carolina artists in the categories of visual arts, craft, media production and media screenwriting. Each artist receives $5,000. This year’s fellows:

“It is rewarding to honor the work of successful artists, who are central to the creative industries in our state. Their accomplishments inspire other creative individuals and entrepreneurs, and they serve as positive examples of our state’s culture and thriving arts community,” said S.C. Arts Commission Executive Director Ken May. The S.C. Arts Commission board approves fellowships based on recommendations made by out-of-state review panelists, who select fellows based solely on a review of anonymous work samples. Visual arts and craft panelists were Michael Sweney, program manager for Art in Public Places at Washington State Arts Commission; Diem Chau, a visual artist from Seattle; and Deborah Paine, curator and collections manager, City of Seattle’s Office of Arts and Culture. Media production panelist was Josh Gibson, filmmaker and lecturing fellow for Duke University’s Arts of the Moving Image program. Media screenwriting panelist was Marni Zelnick of Los Angeles, an independent film writer, director and producer. Individual artists working in prose, poetry, acting and playwriting may apply for the 2014-2015 fellowship awards. The deadline to apply is Nov. 1, 2013. For more information about S.C. Arts Commission programs and services, visit www.SouthCarolinaArts.com or call (803) 734-8696.

Conway artist James Arendt takes top Artfields prize

Congratulations to Conway artist Jim Arendt for winning the $50,000 top prize at Artfields in Lake City! Arendt's cut-denim piece "Jamie" (pictured below) was selected by the judges from the 50 pieces receiving the most votes from the public. An excerpt from the Florence Morning News article announcing the prize: "From nearly 800 entries, 400 pieces made the cut, six artists dropped out and three winners — claiming $100,000 in prizes — were announced Saturday at the conclusion of the inaugural, 10-day, ArtFields festival that brought thousands of people to the streets of downtown Lake City. James Arendt’s cut-denim piece “Jamie” —located in the Ragsdale Old Building — won the $50,000 top prize when it was selected by the five judges from the top 50 pieces selected by the popular vote. Leanna Knapp’s clay and fabric piece titled “Shell” — located in Becky’s Salon — won the Juried Panel Prize. John Cooper’s oil on canvas piece titled “Warsaw Ghetto 1943” -- located in 104 East Main Street — won the $25,000 People’s Choice award. Arendt’s wife Yvette Cunningham’s excitement made him realize that ArtFields executive director Karen Fowler did not say someone else’s name. Arendt uses denim in his piece because it represents durability, just like his sister who was his subject. “You try to not get your expectations up too much, but when you are honored, it’s a little overwhelming when all those emotions are coming back,” Arendt said. “Art making is a lot of time alone, so to walk across that stage and have someone and a community appreciate your work is just tremendous. It’s a great honor to be here.” Arendt, his wife and two daughters live in Conway and plan to give some money to art students at South Carolina State University." Read the complete article. James Arendt, "Jamie" Via: SC Now

Artist James Busby wins inaugural 701 CCA prize

The 701 Center for Contemporary Art in Columbia has announced James Busby of Chapin, S.C., as the winner of the inaugural 701 CCA Prize, a competition and exhibition for South Carolina artists 40 years of age and younger. Busby 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. The Rock Hill, S.C., native has exhibited at Stux Gallery, The Chelsea Art Museum, Scope New York and the Armory Show, all in New York; the University of Richmond Museum and Virginia Commonwealth University, both in Virginia; and the Galerie Jean-Luc & Takako Richard in Paris, France. Busby was included in the 701 CCA South Carolina Biennial 2012. He received his BFA and MFA from Virginia Commonwealth University. His work consists of thick layers of polished gesso treated with graphite and acrylics. Recently, Busby has added color to his often geometric, sparse art works that play on the tension between the senses of vision and touch as their tactile surfaces catch and reflect light in a way that shifts constantly. The two additional finalists were Jim Arendt of Conway and Tonya Gregg of Hopkins. The three finalists’ work can be seen in the 701 CCA Prize 2012 Exhibition, which opened Nov. 1 and runs through Dec. 16. The finalists were selected by an independent jury consisting of Lilly Wei, a prominent New York City art critic and curator; Paul Bright, the director of the Hanes Gallery at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, N.C.; and Karen Watson, the director of the Sumter County Gallery of Art in Sumter, S.C. The jurors selected the three finalists from 19 applications. The Prize’s purpose is to identify and recognize young artists 40 and under whose work is exemplary in its originality, shows awareness of artistic developments and is of high artistic merit. “With the 701 CCA Prize, 701 Center for Contemporary Art hopes to add a crucial component to the eco-system and infra-structure for artists and the visual arts in South Carolina,” said Wims Roefs, director and board chair of 701 CCA. “Our state does not have a prominent event to highlight the best young talent in South Carolina. We hope that this will fill part of that void.” The competition will become a biennial event. [caption id="attachment_2729" align="aligncenter" width="439"]James Busby, Mirrorball James Busby, Mirrorball, 2012, gesso, graphite, oil and acrylic on MDF, 19.5x14in[/caption] Via: 701 Center for Contemporary Art