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Ken May becomes surprise recipient at S.C. Arts Awards

Receives McNair Award from S.C. Arts Foundation

Ken May making keynote address at 2019 S.C. Arts Awards Luncheon As he’d done at nine previous South Carolina Arts Awards ceremonies, Wednesday morning Ken May read the names and brief details of recipients as their awards were handed out—then it was happening to him. May was called to the stage to deliver the keynote address at the luncheon following the public ceremony when Flavia Harton of Greenville, president of the South Carolina Arts Foundation (SCAF), turned the tables. She began describing the Gov. Robert E. McNair Award, which the foundation presents to honor outstanding leaders who have built on the legacy of the award's namesake by working diligently to make South Carolina a place where the arts thrive for the benefit of all South Carolinians. “That sounds like a description of Ken May, and that’s why it is my privilege on behalf of the South Carolina Arts Foundation to present the seventh Robert E. McNair Award to Ken,” Harton said, after she and S.C. Arts Commission (SCAC) Board Chairman Henry Horowitz alternated extolling May’s leadership on the national and regional levels, advocacy, and "for leading the agency through turbulent times to flourish afterward." May, visibly moved by the presentation, expressed his gratitude and launched into a "state of the arts" keynote address. Gov. McNair was the first recipient of his namesake award when it was created in 2007 and awarded to him posthumously. Subsequent recipients include Gov. Richard Riley (2010), former State Sen. Wes Hayes (2015), and erstwhile Charleston Mayor Joseph P. Riley (2017) from the political field and Susie Surkamer (2011), previous executive director of the SCAC, and Patrick VanHuss (2013) who served in leadership roles for the SCAC and SCAF boards of directors. In January, May announced that he will retire from the SCAC after nine years as its executive director and 33 years in total. A search committee is currently reviewing applicants to be the next executive director.
Image by Lee Ann Kornegay

Joe Riley to receive McNair Award at SC Arts Awards Luncheon

[caption id="attachment_30719" align="alignright" width="225"]Joe Riley The Honorable Joseph P. Riley, Jr.[/caption] The South Carolina Arts Foundation will honor Joe Riley, former mayor of Charleston, with the 2017 McNair Award for his dedication in ensuring that the arts continue to play a vital role in our communities. The McNair Award will be presented at a luncheon showcasing the South Carolina Arts Awards, which also honor recipients of the Elizabeth O'Neill Verner Governor's Awards for the Arts and the Jean Laney Harris Folk Heritage Awards. The luncheon takes place in Columbia May 2, beginning with an art sale at 11 a.m. at the USC Alumni Center, 900 Senate St.. The luncheon follows at 12:30 p.m. Established in 2007, the McNair Award is named for the late Governor Robert E. McNair, who signed legislation to create the Arts Commission in 1967 to “ensure that the arts continue to grow and play an ever more significant part in the welfare and educational experiences of our citizens." Originally presented posthumously to Governor McNair, the award continues to honor outstanding leaders who have built on the legacy of the award's namesake: working diligently to make South Carolina a place where the arts thrive for the benefit of all South Carolinians. Luncheon tickets are $50. Reserve tickets online or by calling (803) 734-8696. (Verner Awards and Folk Heritage Awards will be presented May 2 at 11:30 at the Statehouse. The awards ceremony is open to the public.)  

Aldwyth: Art from what ‘comes to hand’

The South Carolina Arts Awards were celebrated May 13 in Columbia, with a ceremony presided over by Lt. Gov. Henry McMaster at the Statehouse, followed by a luncheon hosted by McKissick Museum. The evening included a concert, art sale and gala presented by the South Carolina Arts Foundation. The celebration honors recipients of the Elizabeth O'Neill Verner Governor's Awards for the Arts and the Jean Laney Harris Folk Heritage Awards. This year, the celebration also included the McNair Award, presented to honor outstanding leaders building on the legacy of the late Gov. Robert McNair. We congratulate all award recipients for their outstanding contributions to the arts in South Carolina! From the Island Packet: Article by Nancy Wellard

AldwythBricolage: Construction or creation from a diverse range of available things as of a sculpture or a structure of ideas by using whatever comes to hand; something constructed in this way. In a triumph of understatement, Aldwyth told me she was a "bricoleur," who has dedicated much of her life to "bricolage." I must set the record straight: She is not a brioleur, she is the bricoleur. Her outcomes in bricolage define the format. No one does what Aldwyth does. Her work -- collage, assemblage and sculpture -- is jaw dropping. The pieces are unique, original, breathtaking, timeless, extraterrestrial in a way, and they can transport the viewer to distant environments. They border on the supernatural. The Aldwyth artistic trajectory has unfolded in an almost inevitable way. She is the artist who creates those loosely crafted works by combining found items from disparate sources, detritus from any number of locations: illustrations, illustration from magazines, well chosen words cut from favorite books. She uses anything is at her disposal. She has been quietly acknowledged through the southeast for her work in a variety of forms, formats and mediums. Now that acknowledgment is more visible with her designation by the South Carolina Arts Commission as winner of the Elizabeth O'Neill Verner Award on May 13. "Aldwyth set a high bar ... and it has been a joy and inspiration to see those accomplishments recognized," said artist and friend Louanne LaRoche. "And also for her to be held -- publicly -- in such high regard." 'THE EDGE OF THE ART WORLD' The 79-year-old artist has lived on Hilton Head Island for nearly 48 years, but continues to remain somewhat unknown to many. Her public persona is that she -- vibrant and energetic, somewhat reclusive -- is consumed by a life in which she is fully engaged in her work. "My work is what I do, and I do it for myself," said Aldwyth. "I am the one who must be satisfied with the results." She says this with humility, graciousness and a flash of good humor. Mark Sloan, Director and Senior Curator of the Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art, College of Charleston, approached the best description of Aldwyth when he said: "Aldwyth stands on the edge of the art world. She paces around its perimeter, taking measure of its mass and scale Aldwyth works in her Treehouse home on Deer Island on the south end of Hilton Head Island. She is surrounded inside by the unusual trappings of her artistic focus and outside, nestled at waters edge, by the natural setting of the forested Lowcountry. "I've redesigned my house to accommodate my lifestyle and my work," she said, gesturing to indicate the practicality of an open space. She removed the interior walls of her loft, choosing, instead to dedicate that space to work. Windows surround the loft, and bookshelves poke out from under the windows, filled mainly with momographs. Small works of art vie with dried lizards and other important items from her past. Large collages reside in tubes stashed in the rafters. The few walls are covered with foam core to accommodate works in progress. There are four tables - three long, high top worktables that accommodate her stacks of tear sheets from "Artist Forum," or "Art in America" and other publications given to her by friends who know she collects particular magazines for her work. Rolls of Okawara paper, lean in the corner. There are lots of scissors, and Jade adhesive -- the tools of her trade. To that add file folders, zip lock bags, and microwave dinner trays to house her kind of objects d' art and dozens of labeled drawers holding images ranging from "Mona Lisa" to "Folk Art" and "Special." "By the way," she said, with no particular reference, "while I'm not necessarily a rules person, I do have one rule: all of the pieces I use in my work must be found items. I've handled each piece so many times. I find, pull, and organize them, preparing them for use. I never reproduce any image that I use in my work. That means used book stores are my prime suppliers." The fourth table is not high top, but a station for administrative work by day and, with the removal of the technological inventory and the introduction of a bedroll, her bed by night. 'THE WORK I DO' Aldwyth's day begins around 4 a.m., when she sees to those activities she can complete before sunrise. As soon as it is daylight, she takes a vigorous walk. Her goal is at least 10,000 steps a day, verified by a pedometer. When she returns to her studio/loft, she begins work. We talked about the beginnings of her interest in art. Starting with an art class at American University, a 13-year odyssey ultimately led to her degree in fine arts from the University of South Carolina. There were also important life experiences and friendships all in the pursuit of defining her artistic focus. "My dad was a Navy chaplin," explained Aldwyth. " Our family lived all around the country ... even in Beaufort," she laughed. "Actually I attended high school there for a time, before we were off to Washington. It was later that I returned to make this area my home." "What an enormous boost I was given through my friendships on Hilton Head" Aldwyth said. "I worked privately at first. But at some early point, I connected with Louanne LaRoche, then owner/director of the Red Piano Gallery. What an amazing difference that made toward establishing my artistic roots and new directions." "I first met Aldwyth when I purchased the Red Piano gallery in 1980," said LaRoche. "I admired the feverish perseverance and hyper focus in Aldwyth's process as an artist." Aldwyth added that she cherished the time she spent at the Red Piano. She was invited to the Red Piano Round Table and joined in conversations with artists such as Coby Whitmore, Joe DeMers, Joe Bowler, Walter Greer, Bal Ballantine, Marge Parker, Elizabeth Grant, Katy Hodgeman, Tua Hayes and George Plante. She considers what she learned at that table her MFA. When I asked about her family, she explained they were in close touch. "I have three sons. Two -- Joe and Bill Thomas -- still live on Hilton Head," she said. "Reb and his wife Karen and granddaughters, Rebecca and Margaret are nearby in Columbia" Aldwyth's sister and best friend, Joyce and husband live close to her studio home. "They are all so wonderfully supportive of the work I do, " said Aldwyth. "My brother in law, Jack Keller, a former member of the Coast Guard Auxiliary, gave me his old Tide Logs, which were the genesis of my collage, "Where Were You When the Moon Was Full?" which is now in the collection at the Telfair Museum in Savannah." She added that Betsy and Jim Chaffin, who moved to Hilton Head shortly after she did, are longtime, close friends. It was Betsy who introduced her to the use of Okawara paper. Several years earlier, her sister Joyce had given her an 1871 Zell Encyclopedia. "I determined to use every image in that encyclopedia, actually 2000 ... in one work. But over five years, I cut and rearranged. It wouldn't work," she said. Aldwyth said these two gifts made possible the creation of her 79 x 76" work, "The world according to Zell" possible. Over time, Aldwyth reimagined that encyclopedic world to become the foundation of art - landscape, portraiture and still life -- and the large sheets of paper were the critical support of the overwhelming detail. "Without those gifts, who knows what I'd be doing now," she said. 'GET UP AND WORK' Aldwyth's work has been widely acknowledged through selected exhibitions across the country, among them The ARAC@AAM, the Aspen Art Museum, the 20th Anniversary, the South Carolina State Museum, 2 South Carolina Triennial, the South Carolina State Museum, 701 CCA, The Right to Assemble Halsey Gallery and the College of Charleston Currently hanging throughout our general area are a number of Aldwyth pieces. "What's love got to do got to do with it," is at the Bascsom Center for the Arts in Highands, N.C. until the end of May. "Casablanca (classic version)" and "Casablanca (colorized version)" will be shown at the Columbia Museum of Art in an exhibit called "Independent Spirits: Women Artists of South Carolina" in a fall show accompanying an exhibit of work by Georgia O"Keeffe. When I asked about what she is working on currently, Aldwyth said she really doesn't talk about her work in progress. Another one of her rules. "If you can talk about it and explain it, you never do it," she said. "It's trying to figure out what you want to do. That's what makes it exciting to get up and work - making 100 small decisions that makes something happen that you never expected." Artist, musician, teacher and writer Nancy K. Wellard focuses on portraying and promoting the cultural arts, first in Los Angeles and, for close to 30 years, in the Lowcountry.

Live auction of arts experiences added to South Carolina Arts Gala

Kent Ambler, Southern SummerPaintings, glass, jewelry, pottery, sculpture, fiber arts and more -- nearly 100 works by South Carolina artists will be available for purchase at the South Carolina Arts Gala art sale May 13. This year, a new live auction includes arts experiences created to showcase cultural and culinary arts: Desi Delights at the Taj Palace 

  • Indian cuisine
  • Henna artist and dhoul drummer
  • Spirits from Dr. Raj Vasudeva's private collection
Pitas Presents an Evening in Paris on the Mediterranean
  • Mezze table
  • Jazz music
  • Wines from Chateau Ksara
Terra Presents the Artistry of the Chef's Palate
  • Scripting the meal and designing the plate
  • Unveiling the courses
  • Wine pairings
Presented by the South Carolina Arts Foundation, the gala is a perfect time to meet and mingle with artists as you ponder which piece to add to your art collection. All proceeds benefit the arts in schools and communities around the state through the South Carolina Arts Commission’s arts education and arts development programs. Last year, the S.C. Arts Foundation contributed more than $55,000 to bolster programs such as artist fellowships, arts education and artist training. The South Carolina Arts Gala, the celebration of the South Carolina Arts Awards, takes place May 13 at 7:15 p.m. at 701 Whaley St. in Columbia. Prior to the gala, enjoy a concert featuring Folk Heritage Award recipients, recognition of Verner and Folk Heritage Award recipients, and presentation of the McNair Award to Senator Robert Wesley Hayes, Jr. The concert and awards recognition take place at 6:15 p.m. at Southside Baptist Church, 702 Whaley St. Tickets are $75 per person and may be purchased online with a credit card or check, or by calling (803) 734.8696. Reserve yours today! Images: Top photo, left to right: works by Cindy Saad, John Acorn, and Alicia Leeke. Inset photo: Work by Kent Ambler.

Reserve your tickets for the arts party of the year!

Reserve your tickets today for the annual  South Carolina Arts Gala, taking place May 13! The South Carolina Arts Foundation invites you to celebrate the South Carolina Arts Awards beginning with a special pre-gala concert that kicks off May 13 at 6:15 p.m. at Southside Baptist Church, 702 Whaley St. in Columbia. The concert recognizes recipients of the Elizabeth O’Neill Verner Governor’s Awards for the Arts and the Jean Laney Harris Folk Heritage Awards and features performances by Folk Heritage Award recipients. The concert also includes the presentation of the McNair Award to Senator Robert "Wes" Hayes of Rock Hill. The gala and an art sale — featuring  fabulous art and food — begin at 7:15 p.m. in the Grand Hall of 701 Whaley (701 Whaley St.). The art sale features original one-of-a-kind artworks by some of South Carolina’s finest contemporary artists, including functional and non-functional craft, paintings and sculpture. Seasoned and beginning collectors alike will find “must have” works and enjoy meeting artists. The South Carolina Arts Foundation designates gala proceeds to help support arts education, artist development and other programs of the South Carolina Arts Commission. Don’t miss the arts party of the year! Tickets are $75 each. Reserve your ticket(s) today!

Senator Robert “Wes” Hayes to receive McNair Award

Senator Wes HayesThe South Carolina Arts Foundation is honoring Senator Robert Wesley "Wes" Hayes of Rock Hill with the McNair Award for his dedication to the arts. The award will be presented at a special pre-gala concert showcasing the South Carolina Arts Awards, which honor recipients of the Elizabeth O'Neill Verner Governor's Awards for the Arts and the Jean Laney Harris Folk Heritage Awards. The concert takes place in Columbia May 13, beginning at 6:15 p.m. at Southside Baptist Church, 702 Whaley St., with the South Carolina Arts Gala following at 7:15 p.m. in the Grand Hall at 701 Whaley. Tickets are available online or by calling (803) 734-8696.

As founder and co-chair of South Carolina's Senate Arts Caucus, Sen. Hayes confers annually with arts leadership in the state to develop a legislative agenda for the arts, providing key insights and counsel about issues and opportunities. As a pro-arts legislator, he speaks regularly at Arts Advocacy Day events and statewide meetings and consistently advocates among his colleagues to support the South Carolina Arts Commission and statewide arts initiatives.

“For 30 years, Senator Hayes has been one of the most dedicated and effective advocates for the arts serving in South Carolina's General Assembly,” says Childs Cantey Thrasher, president of the S.C. Arts Foundation. “He understands the role of public support for the arts in improving the quality of life for all South Carolinians and in enhancing the economic well-being of the state. The members of the S.C. Arts Foundation join me in honoring Senator Hayes for his consistent leadership in ensuring that the arts continue to play a vital role in our state’s schools and communities." “Senator Hayes is one of the great champions for public support of the arts in South Carolina,” said Betty Plumb, executive director of the South Carolina Arts Alliance. “Whether the issue is education policy or the state budget, he is always there to stand up and speak out to make sure that all citizens have a chance to benefit from the arts. He is one of the most respected members of the Senate, and we are very lucky that he is willing, time and again, to use his influence to support and defend the arts for the people of our state.” Sen. Hayes is also a 2015 recipient of Winthrop University’s Medal of Honor in the Arts, and in 2013, he received the national Public Leadership in the Arts Award for State Arts Leadership from Americans for the Arts and the National Conference of State Legislatures. Established in 2007, the McNair Award is named for the late Governor Robert E. McNair, who signed legislation to create the Arts Commission in 1967 to “ensure that the arts continue to grow and play an ever more significant part in the welfare and educational experiences of our citizens." The South Carolina Arts Gala includes an art sale of original artworks by some of the state’s most recognized artists. Reserve tickets to the gala online or by calling (803) 734-8696. About the South Carolina Arts Foundation Established in 1972, the S.C. Arts Foundation is a nonprofit organization dedicated to recognizing, encouraging and supporting the art and artists of South Carolina. Throughout its history, the SCAF has pursued creative ways to help the business community and private citizens contribute to a thriving arts community across the state. The organization is led by a diverse board of directors comprised of statewide business and civic leaders, artists, educators and others interested in supporting the rich variety of artistic expression found in the Palmetto State.