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Orangeburg FAC hosts rural creatives exhibition

Creative Connectors: The Rural Experience

  • Wednesday March 8-April 21, 2023

Visual artists, who reside and work in places where fields and trees outnumber roads and street signs, create works that are uninfluenced by trends or movements. And, they may not have much in common with other rural creators. What they often do share is an artistic expression evolved from contemplation and observations that imagination in solitude can produce. Imagination in solitude is what the six artists whose works make up Creative Connectors: The Rural Experience have in common. Even though their styles, media and themes are vastly different, the connectors are their rural expressions. The excitement and delight these juxtaposed pieces bring to this exhibition communicates the same harmony the six artists have for each other and the work they have produced. They came together from across the state to bring their contributing collection to the Orangeburg County Fine Arts Center: Terrance Washington, from Barnwell County, Ian Thomas Dillinger, from Colleton County, James E. Wilson, III, from Bamberg County, Robert Matheson, from Newberry County. Ernest Lee is from Richland County. Rajasekhar Yarraguntla teaches in Barnwell County. “Seeing the artists greet each other with such warmth, helping one another with final preparations before hanging the works, listening to their lively conversations, it quickly became obvious that the Arts Center has a very special show by these confident, energetic artists,” said Vivian Glover, director of community arts and development. “They have an air of excitement around them. Combined, they pull together something current and significant out of South Carolina. And this dynamic came from rural perspectives.” Portions of this exhibition were previously shown at the Aiken Center for the Arts. For this show, several new works were added by artists, including all the works by Robert Matheson. The invitation from the Orangeburg County Fine Arts Center was summed up by Dillinger. “It was encouraging to the group. To have another opportunity to be shown. It inspired me to make new work to be seen.” The exhibition, located at 649 Riverside Drive, Orangeburg, 29115, opens on Wednesday March 8, 2023, and runs through April. 21, 2023. The Artists’ Reception is Wednesday, March 15, from 6-8 p.m., and is free and open to the public. For additional information, call 803.536.4074 or email vglover@orangeburgarts.org. Creative Connectors: The Rural Experience, as an exhibition, is supported and has been encouraged by the South Carolina Arts Commission. The program is funded in part by grants from USDA- Rural Development as well as from a Neighborworks America grant won by the Center for a Better South.
Ernest Lee is probably the best known of the artists having honed his own reputation by painting and selling his pieces in a devised “outdoor street corner gallery.” His iconic dancing chickens are popular and recognizable. For Creative Connectors, he has brought a variety of less seen themes, where his masterly use of colors and visual perspective show a greater, more reflective talent. “Most people know me as the chicken artist. This time I wanted to show my other paintings. Rainbow in the Sky and Deep in the South, two of Lee’s other works are included in the show. “Painting is a privilege and a blessing,” says Lee, who has painted all his life. James Wilson, III, has been a photographer for over 25 years capturing images in deeply rural settings that strike him as unique or as natural phenomena, which he regards as an experience akin to reverence. “I look for something different, uncommon. Something that you won’t see again.” He includes the solitary and long-deserted homes he spots while driving in Pickens County. “Back in the day most people lived in small houses alongside a road. Now they are dilapidated. Ten or twenty years from now they will be gone,” Wilson observes, adding that they are architecturally significant. “Their structures say something about the people who lived there. I try to imagine those lives were during their time, to appreciate how people used their homes.” From a child, Wilson was entranced by clouds and skies. Many of his images illustrate his awe for the changing formations and colors. “I’ve never seen anything as rare as the shifting shapes and colors found in the sky.” His collection consists of images capturing light and hues in the heavens not only in rural environments, but anywhere he travels. Travel is what Rajasekhar Yarraguntla did leaving India in 2014 for the United States finding himself an educator in the most rural sections of Mississippi and Louisiana, before accepting a teaching position in Barnwell County. Still teaching in a remote area, where the nearest stores and businesses are miles away, he is as unique as his art, with his use of flower patterns and colors. Yarraguntla began teaching himself art during his own school days. “I like to experiment with natural materials and to represent nature in my work,” he says of his art, which was recognized by India’s Ministry of Education. “I apply different materials like dried grass sticks and magazines upon acrylics.” Elegant Beauty on hardboard showing an Indian woman styling her hair, uses natural grass culms collected in India, with different precision cuts and colors to form her image. Coming from a culture with thousands of years cultivating the arts in paintings, sculptors, pottery, and textiles, Yarraguntla, is self-assured experimenting with modern, abstract compositions including those of Hindu gods like “Ganesha” and “OM.” He is intertwining traditional and sacred art, from his perspective of the past and present now influenced by his years in the rural South. Terrance Washington, also an educator, has roots entrenched in Blackville. His paintings are a tribute to his affection and devoted appreciation of the artistic beauty his sees. That same sensitivity takes measure of the world from his homebase, especially these parts of the world that can be perilous for a young Black man. Living in rural domesticity doesn’t divert his attention from watchfulness nor the urge to articulate the continued struggle for justice. His works managed to convey aesthetic messaging using rich colors and defining lines. “I see myself as a modern-day Impressionist illustrating what is going on in the world around me.” Washington says he wants to create works that evoke conversations, that prompt people to think especially about the role of art in his time. His colors are bold and alive, and subtle and intimate at the same time. Love 44, Grove Like That, and Woman in Thought, who figure is mother, grandmother, sister, wife, proud but contemplating, draws the viewer into the past and present themes in his work. Robert Matheson digital images celebrate the present but with a broad historical premise that has captured his imagination since moving to Newberry from Utah, via California, becoming engrossed in the history of South Carolina. He agrees that South Carolina, as a state, may have the most significant places and fascinating people of the 50 states. His current focus is the Revolutionary War battles and in particular a battle in Orangeburg. “Fortunately, there were no causalities, but it was a significant battle,” observes Matheson a digital artist. Digitizing prints for his contribution to the exhibition “really pushed the limits of my digital art skills while telling the story of the Surrender of Orangeburg, which to my knowledge has never been illustrated before.” He is excited about introducing a key element of the war for independence to the area. “I hope the community enjoys it and learn a bit about Orangeburg from interpretation. I know I did.” Matheson, who describes his work as “using technology as the paintbrush” noted that the title of the series is Re-Imagining the Surrender of Orangeburg. “I trained an Ai to blend a sketch in my style with descriptions of the American Revolution battle that took place on May 10 and 11, 1781, in Orangeburg.” Ian Thomas Dillinger from Colleton County creates and actively lives the life of an outdoorsman residing in a rural South Carolina setting. Dillinger makes his home beside the Edisto River in Walterboro. A former educator, Ian now farms, does carpentry, and paints inspired by the rural decay and natural beauty of the river and its inhabitants. He is known for his reuse of natural and man-made materials in the creation of his work. Stop Y’all,” a graphic representation of the reappropriation of cast away materials and common place signage in the rural South. “I hope visitors to the Arts Center are intrigued by the experimental techniques I use to demonstrate how art and nature can ingeniously and harmoniously make a statement.”  

Submitted material

‘A Fine Hand’ exhibition features accomplished #SCartists

SCAC Fellows, State Art Collection artists included

This is not to be missed.

As it continues to celebrate reopening, Orangeburg County Fine Arts Center opens A Fine Hand this week:

“Dexterous skill, creative imagination and focused intellect pursuing the mystical aura of unique; gifts to the world that cultivate and revere beauty,” is how we envision the purpose and pleasure of this show.

Featured among the 16, #SCartists all, are names familiar to those who follow S.C. Arts Commission goings on. Jeri Burdick, Jocelyn Châteauvert, and Lee Malerich are all former SCAC fellowship recipients and all have works featured in the State Art Collection. Orangeburg's own Dr. Leo Twiggs (modeling his hands above) also appears in the State Art Collection and is a two-time recipient of the Governor's Award for the Arts. A Fine Hand opens this Wednesday evening with a reception from 6-8 p.m. It runs through Wednesday, Aug. 18 from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. in the Lusty Gallery (649 Riverside Dr., Orangeburg). Free.

Jason Rapp

Tuning Up: NFL features S.C. artist, new Orangeburg Co. FAC website

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...
It's a cold damp morning, and more coffee is in order. Grab yourself a cuppa and check out these tidbits:
  • New Year, New You Website. The Hub got word yesterday that Orangeburg County Fine Arts Center just introduced a new-look OrangeburgArts.com for the new year. If you have ever been involved with such a project, you know that they deserve kudos for this undertaking (IYKYK, as the kids say). The home page uses eye-catching images to drive home their mission and uses other pages to highlight 14 area communities and artists who call the area home. Great work!
  • Game recognize game. The NFL playoffs began this past weekend (and abruptly ended for The Hub Sunday night). Maybe not the most important thing on most Hub readers' radars, but the NFL rolled out a new program, NFL Artist Replay, to bring recognition to BIPOC artists. One happened to be Ija Charles, whom the league asked to contribute to Artist Replay. #SCartists' Charles is known around the Midlands for mural work in Cayce, West Columbia and the Richland Library Main branch. Her work for the NFL is below, and you can read more and watch video from WLTX TV 19.
[caption id="attachment_46148" align="aligncenter" width="600"]Ija Charles' work for NFL Artist Replay. Ija Charles' work for NFL Artist Replay. Image courtesy of WLTX.com.[/caption]

Jason Rapp

Workshops to unite communities’ business, creative sectors

Orangeburg, Georgetown first to benefit

COLUMBIA, S.C. – Business and creative sector representatives in two communities will have opportunities to explore potential collaborative efforts there because of a new South Carolina Arts Commission initiative. Logo for AIR Institute of Berea CollegeThe workshop “Art Builds Business Builds Art” is itself the result of a collaboration between the South Carolina Arts Commission (SCAC) and AIR Institute of Berea College in Kentucky, which was created to teach creatives and business people to connect and share their strengths. Funding for the free workshop is provided by SCAC and the Emily Hall Tremaine Foundation (ETF). Business owners and those who work in the business world and creatives—be they chefs, painters, musicians, photographers, graphic designers or from other creative disciplines—are invited to gather at The IP Stanback Museum & Planetarium on the campus of South Carolina State University (300 College St.) from 4-6 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 13, 2019 for the workshop. The workshop is free, light refreshments will be served, and parking is also free. AIR Institute founder Beth Flowers will join workshop facilitators Yvette McDaniel, director of choral activities at Denmark Technical College and chairwoman of Bamberg County Community Rural Arts Work League (CRAWL), and GP McLeer, executive director of the South Carolina Arts Alliance. South Carolina State University and The IP Stanback Museum & Planetarium are pleased to bring “Art Builds Business Builds Art” to Orangeburg. Orangeburg County Fine Arts Center, Downtown Orangeburg Revitalization Association, and Simple Chef are also serving as event sponsors. Three days later, a workshop will take place in Georgetown Friday, Aug. 16, 2019 from 1-3 p.m. at the Georgetown County Airport (129 Airport Rd., Georgetown). The new Georgetown Arts & Humanities Council is responsible for bringing ABBBA to the lower Grand Strand. Vanessa Greene is the director of the new council, and she will co-facilitate with Georgetown-based actress and artist Natalie Daise. “The South Carolina Arts Commission sees the business and creative communities as natural partners for community revitalization. In business you need creative solutions to finding competitive advantages, and creatives often need connections offered by business to realize the unique solutions they can offer. ‘Art Builds Business Builds Art’ is an important first step in Orangeburg and for the state as the commission seeks to expand these opportunities,” SCAC Executive Director David Platts said.

About the South Carolina Arts Commission

With a commitment to excellence across the spectrum of our state’s cultures and forms of expression, the South Carolina Arts Commission pursues its public charge to develop a thriving arts environment, which is essential to quality of life, education, and economic vitality for all South Carolinians. Created by the South Carolina General Assembly in 1967, the Arts Commission works to increase public participation in the arts by providing grants, direct programs, staff assistance and partnerships in three key 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 SouthCarolinaArts.com or call 803.734.8696.

About AIR Institute

The AIR Institute is an empowering ecosystem that provides artists, businesses and communities the tools, resources, and support to learn, connect, and succeed. The AIR Institute merges the creativity of the arts with the innovation of business to raise the value of arts and creativity in all our communities. AIR has evolved since its humble beginnings in 2012 in Fort Collins, Colorado. We’ve transformed from a small town’s big idea to an impactful program that has served several thousand artists, creatives and communities across the United States. Learn more at AirInstitute.org.

Director sought by Orangeburg Co. Fine Arts Center

Ed. note, 9 Aug. 2019: applications are no longer being sought for this position.

The Orangeburg County Fine Arts Center has an immediate opening for a director. If you are a highly motivated person with the skill and ability to lead well, we have an opening for you. Applicant will:
  • Work with the Board of Directors, be responsible for overall vision, planning, leadership, management and success – includes membership, revenue and event growth.
  • Manage the financial affairs of OCFAC including membership, events, programs, grants, etc.
  • Work with current media platforms and marketing strategies.
EOE/D/V Resumes may be emailed to ocfac1@gmail.com or mailed to: Orangeburg County Fine Arts Center PO Box 2106 Orangeburg, SC 29116-2106  

Submitted material

Orangeburg County Fine Arts Center seeks executive director

The Orangeburg County Fine Arts Center is seeking a highly motivated, creative person to serve as executive director. General responsibilities:

  • Developing and managing performing arts, art classes and arts programming
  • Public relations
  • Managing collections and the facility
  • Administering finances
  • Fundraising
The position requires two years of relevant experience or at least five years of commensurate relevant experience. Competitive salary. Send resume to P.O. Box 2106, Orangeburg, SC 29116-2106. Application deadline is November 28, 2016.

Orangeburg County giving $100K to arts center

From the Orangeburg Times and Democrat Article by Princess Williams

Orangeburg County is providing $100,000 toward the renovation of the Orangeburg County Fine Arts Center at Edisto Memorial Gardens. The money is being pledged by Orangeburg County Councilman Clyde Livingston from the Community Resources Enhancement Sites Trust. Funding comes from the county’s 1 percent capital projects sales tax. County Council Clerk Faith Carter presented the $100,000 pledge during Orangeburg City Council’s meeting Tuesday. Livingston was unable to attend the meeting due to medical reasons. Fine Arts Center Executive Director Beth Thomas said the contribution is wonderful. “We are so appreciative of (Livingston’s) concern and consideration for the arts. We see wonderful events happening in our future with the renovation of this building,” she said. The center is located in the most beautiful spot in South Carolina, Fine Arts Center board member Dr. Leo Twiggs said. “The problem is that the building isn’t so hot. This (contribution) will make it hot,” he said. Sen. John Matthews, D-Bowman, was able to secure $100,000 for the project. The city of Orangeburg gave $50,000. Orangeburg Mayor Michael C. Butler says he is appreciative of the relationship that has been fostered between Orangeburg County and the City of Orangeburg. They are working together to make Orangeburg a beautiful place to live and raise children, he said.

Orangeburg contest brings children’s artwork to store windows

From the Orangeburg Times and Democrat Article by Gene Zaleski, photos by Larry Hardy

Paint a Good Word contestEdisto High School junior Hannah Fanning, 17, has loved art for a long time. "I don't know where it came from," Fanning said. "I remember myself in kindergarten begging for more painting materials. Art and drawing have always been a passion." Her love propelled Fanning to submit an entry into the Paint A Good Word project. Paint A Good Word is an art contest for children in grades K-12. Area children were asked to paint their interpretation of “good words,” including many of the Orangeburg County Community of Character traits as well words such as peace, joy, family, love, laugh and more. The Orangeburg County Fine Arts Center, which helped initiate the program, received 326 entries. Of those, 50 were selected and posted in windows of downtown merchants the first week in April. Some art is also displayed in vacant buildings. (Visit http://www.ocfac.net/ for a list of selected artists and locations.) For her piece, Fanning chose the word “dance.” "I chose it because when you dance, you move and it is all emotional,” Fanning said. “I move and put my emotions into my artwork." Fanning's art is located in Orangeburg Furniture Exchange on Middleton Street. It consists of silhouettes of a man and woman dancing over the letters of the word dance. About 18 schools are represented among the top 50. Fifth-grade Holly Hill Elementary School student Cierra Randolph drew about the word “inspire.” The 11-year-old’s artwork is in Smoak's Hardware on the 1100 block of Russell Street. "My grandmother always tells me she wants me to inspire people,” Randolph said. Randolph used colored pencils, markers, highlighters and a “little bit of crayon” to create her work over a five-day period. Holly Hill fifth-grader Cumauri Boyd chose the word “freedom.” The 11-year-old’s artwork is displayed at the Chamber of Commerce office on Riverside Drive. "In school I learned a lot about slavery and I started to think about slavery and how they got treated," Boyd said. "I thought how the Civil War ended slavery and they then had their freedom." Boyd's artwork shows a person's hand wrapped with broken chains. "I have been drawing for a long while," Boyd said. "The thing I like most about drawing is showing everyone what you have accomplished." Downtown Orangeburg Revitalization Association Executive Director Jennifer Hoesing said merchants report that people are coming in to vote for their favorites. "Part of the purpose of the program is to get more people downtown, and into businesses where they haven't been in a while,” she said. Orangeburg Furniture Exchange President Sandy Bryant said the program has been positive. "We have had several people come in and sign up," Bryant said. When asked if the program has increased foot traffic in the store, Bryant said many people have come in strictly for the Paint a Good Word project. But anything organizers can do to help is good, he said. The Paint A Good Word project was created to showcase the talents of Orangeburg's children and youth, Orangeburg County Fine Arts Center Executive Director Beth Thomas said. All the entries submitted will be on display at the center for the entire month of November. "It is also to bring attention to the Fine Arts Center, DORA and the Chamber that really exist for the betterment of the community," Thomas said. "it is about creating an awareness and getting children, teachers and parents involved in the same project." The Fine Arts Center, DORA, Chamber of Commerce, Community of Character, Orangeburg County Development Commission, city of Orangeburg and The Times and Democrat worked together on the project. Organizers also thanked Williamson Printing, Office Max Orangeburg, Emery Marketing, WORG-FM, Major Graphics and Sun Printing. The public is asked to vote for their favorite in each grade category by visiting participating merchants. The winners in each category will receive a new iPad Mini 2. The categories are from kindergarten to 5th grade, 6th grade to 8th grade and 9th grade to 12th grade. Ballots are available at all participating Paint A Good Word merchants. A complete list of the merchants and artists can be found on the Chamber of Commerce website at orangeburgchamber.com, DORA's website at orangeburgdora.com and the Fine Arts Center website at ocfac.net. To be counted, a ballot must include the voter’s name and contact information. A person may vote more than once but can only vote one time at each participating location. The artwork will be on display through June 1 with the final vote occurring shortly after that date.