Great Place to Bee
APPLICATION DEADLINE: Thursday, September 30, 2021
APPLICATION DEADLINE: Thursday, September 30, 2021
Walk into Bob Doster’s Lancaster studio and you could see sparks fly. The 68-year-old artist shapes sheets of steel into furniture and sculptures that can be seen throughout York and Lancaster counties, regionally and around the world.
“I’ve got work in lots of places I’ve never been,” said Doster, listing places like Japan, South America, the Caribbean, Italy and Canada.In the Carolinas, he has permanent installations at city main streets, museums and other places. “He has lots of his artwork around town, it’s a real source of pride,” said Debbie Jaillette, executive director of Lancaster Arts Council, which is a block away from Doster’s Backstreet Studio on Gay Street. “We all get the benefit of looking at and enjoying his artwork. I think it’s terrific his footprint is all over Lancaster County, but he does tremendous work in our schools.” Looking out her second-story office window, she sees a huge cube resting on a point. “It’s really remarkable to be up here and see huge displays of public art designed and painted by kids in our schools,” she said. “Bob coordinated all that.” His sculptures, she said, also are used as awards for teachers and other businesses and organizations, which is “really meaningful.” But perhaps his greatest craft is working with children.
Art lessonThe blue jeans and denim shirt clad Doster leads 16 high school students one block from his studio to West Chestnut Street to see what he called a “provocative” piece of his artwork. “Any questions?” he asks. “Why is it on fire? a student asks. Three crosses -- all over 6 feet -- stand before them. The figures on the crosses represent the people who died, he says referring to two crosses made of regular carbon and stainless steel flanking an even larger, plain polished steel cross. Doster explains. “The flames represent hate, and hate will consume you.” The center cross, he says, represents the families of the people who died in Charleston’s Emanuel African Methodist Church. “It represents the purity of faith, and the way they gave forgiveness,” he said. “Faith supports the cross.” “The two crosses represent the evil of the two men who were crucified with Christ, and the center His purity,” Doster said. The piece, called Southern Cross, “represents the horrors of Christianity, and the goodness,” he said. Allen Lowery, 17, was awed by the meaning and symbolism in the crosses -- God, the KKK, slave boats, Native Americans and more. “Wow, he’s really good,” the 11th-grader said. Doster said the idea was sparked by the Confederate flag controversy in 1999. While it took 15 years to conceptualize, he said it only took a couple weeks each to shear, cut and fit the crosses. The piece has been accepted in the ArtFields competition and will be displayed April 21-29 in Lake City. “Art affects people differently,” he said. “You’ll see something in there I won’t have seen and you’ll be right.” Teresa Fields, art educator at Lancaster High, said learning from an internationally known artist and at his private studio is a motivating lesson. “The art is in the process that you go through producing that piece,” she said.
Melding mindsDoster has worked with more than 60,000 students across more than 40 years as a visiting artist throughout the Carolinas. Students design and build sculptures in in clay, wood and steel, as well as paint murals and banners. Doster said “it’s an opportunity for students to see art is not just drawing on paper.” Back in the studio, Alexis Truesdale, 16 and 10th grader at Lancaster High, looked around the room, pointing out art projects she’d like to try. “I like the fact that I get to express myself and it’s neat to work with an international artist,” she said. Ninth-grader Emily Tindal, 15, tried her hand at cutting stainless steel with Doster’s help. Donning a long-sleeved denim shirt backward, a helmet and gloves, with a leather apron dropped over her shoes, she jumped as the blade touched metal and sparks flew. The piece: a cut out of the comedy and tragedy theater masks. “It was cool. I’ll tell my dad about it tonight,” she said. Her father, Conner, worked as Doster’s apprentice from age 15 through college, learning to weld, paint cars, and understanding fine art. “(Doster) was a mentor and second dad,” he said. “He would guide you to make you think about what you’re doing.” For 20 years, the 44-year-old Conner has been working in historic preservation and restoration. He specializes in masonry, but also in painting -- making the new look old. “All the things he taught me helped in allowing me to be able to do this,” he said. “He made a pretty good impression on me.” Fields talked about the pieces every age level has helped create with permanent installations at many area schools from Indian Land and Fort Mil to Clover and, of course, Lancaster. “He always does a really good job with students and gets their creative abilities out them,” she said.
About the artistDoster picked up his first blow torch at age 8 with his father, also a sculptor. The eldest of six with five sisters, Doster said his dad “Always encouraged us to do what we wanted to do. He let us learn and do.” Doster hasn’t always been a professional artist. In the 1970s, he owned a grocery store. He also was a truck driver, which has come in handy when moving his large sculptures. In college, majoring in fine arts at University of South Carolina, is when he decided “I want to do this.” After earning a Master of Arts from Clemson University, he launched his career as a professional artist in 1977, he said. He opened his studio in his hometown, Lancaster, to be near his two sons. Both now live in Raleigh. Doster entered shows, lots of shows. In the 1980s, the S.C. Arts Commission took his pieces to a show in Italy. As his artwork was being seen around the world, he also was an adjunct professor at Newberry College. The No. 1 rule for success as a professional artist is to not give up -- “be stubborn,” he said. Even with success, Doster remains humble. He said his wife of 16 years, Cherry Doster, is “a better artist than I am” pointing to her sculptures and paintings in the studio. The couple met when she took his college class. “She was the best student I ever had,” he said. He also gives high praise to James Utz, 39, who came to work with Doster 15 years ago, with a print making degree from Winthrop University. Doster designs the pieces, and Utz puts them together. “He can see better than I can see,” Doster said. Professionally and personally the duo say their bond is as strong as the steel they work with. “He gets us into things we might not pursue otherwise,” Utz said. “I’m not going to say I’m a better welder than he is, but I’m a better welder than him. But he gets the big picture.” Doster takes care of the business end and is the social one, Utz said. “I would not be able to keep it going as a business and be this successful at it,” Utz said. “He’s gregarious, fun, easy going, messy, very messy, loyal. We’re like family at this point.”
The art studioThe former 1930s brick pool hall is now a 7,000-square-foot studio. The exterior front wall is covered in dinner plates. The entrance opens to space where Doster’s and other artists’ works are displayed. Studio visitors can take a piece of his artwork home. The price may be anywhere from $5 to $200,000, or more. There’s a wall lined with newspaper and magazine clippings. The headlines: “Doster named hero of S.C. 2001 Year of Child,” “Keeper of Culture,” “Doster wins state’s top award,” and “Sculptor helps mold students.” Walk up the ramp on the left side of the bricked wall into a space for working. On any given weekday, there are 12-18 students at work creating their art projects that will be displayed on their city streets. Out the back door is a garden with more sculptures, including some by his father. A space used for bridal showers, rehearsal dinners, weddings, art crawls and other gatherings. But to the right of the main front door is another door into the welding workshop. Doster’s rescue dog Muddy, greets visitors, as does Utz’s rescue dog, Bailey, It looks and smells like an auto shop. Lancaster High senior Chasity Ellis, 18, said, “Everything is everywhere.” But Doster knows where everything goes, showing the class how he cuts and works with the metal to form a heart. “That’s amazing,” a student says.
[caption id="attachment_28645" align="alignright" width="200"] Raymond Giddens (Simpsonville), Cage Spinner[/caption] The Caldwell Arts Council and the City of Lenoir, North Carolina, seek sculptors interested in participating in the outdoor sculpture sales gallery located on pedestals throughout downtown Lenoir. Tucker’s Gallery is a public/private partnership project between the city and the arts council. This is an ongoing call; sculptures are placed in the gallery for one year. Details and the application are available online, along with photos and prices of current sculptures. To learn more about the Caldwell Arts Council, call 828-754-2486, email email@example.com or visit www.caldwellarts.com. Image above: David Q. Sheldon (Asheville, NC), Arcane Mechanism
Chapman Cultural Center has received the modern stainless steel sculpture, Chariot (pictured above), made by the late Mayo Mac Boggs, one of Spartanburg and South Carolina’s most noted artists. It is now displayed on Chapman’s campus, thanks to the artist’s widow, Ansley Boggs, Ed.D., an education professor at Converse College. Created in 2005, the piece was first named Constellation. However, in 2010, during Boggs’s 40th year Retrospective Exhibition on the college campuses of Converse, Wofford, and USC-Upstate, he redubbed it Chariot. In recent years, the piece has been showcased at USC-Upstate’s library. Boggs passed away in March 2014. Boggs had a long and celebrated career in the arts, after humble beginnings as the son of a welder in a Kentucky industrial city. In addition to his more than 40 years of teaching art at Converse College, he kept an active and productive career in creating art. Some of his noted achievements include receiving the 2013 Elizabeth O'Neill Verner Governor's Award for arts education, the highest arts award given in South Carolina; being named “Professor Emeritus of Art” by Converse College in 2013; and being named “Honorary Artist of Spartanburg” in 1991. Boggs’s art is included in the Presidential Libraries of Gerald Ford and Jimmy Carter. His work is located internationally in permanent collections of numerous corporations. In addition, he received many sculpture commissions for city parks, public libraries, college campuses, schools, local businesses, and private residences, one of which was for the home of author Lillian Jackson Braun. Regarding his inspiration and preferred medium, Boggs once said: “The welded steel sculpture has remained a constant as my medium of expression. I love the look, feel, taste, smell and sound of steel. My great-grandfather was a blacksmith in Kentucky; both my grandfathers and my father were welders and steelworkers. I grew up watching steel pouring from the blast furnaces and the nightly spectacular display of slag being dumped from huge, railroad-sized crucibles. I walked the railroad tracks and picked up scrap metal that had fallen from freight cars. The ironworker’s material and process were an everyday part of my childhood in Ashland, Kentucky. I have taken this material and its process and made art, continuing a family tradition of ironwork.” In his artist statement, dated March 2011, he wrote: “There are many things one can do to occupy his time while on this earth. I prefer to have non-verbal conversations with my soul. My art is the residue.” Chariot can be viewed daily at Chapman Cultural Center. Via: Chapman Cultural Center
Beginning March 31, the Anderson Arts Center will accept entries for the 41st Annual Juried Show and Partnership for Public Art: SculpTOUR. Entries may be delivered between 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. until April 2. This year the event will offer more than $27,000 in prize money representing 50 awards. “Besides our regular juried show we’re really excited to partner with the City of Anderson in having the public art sculpture component again this year,” explained Executive Director Kimberly Spears. "We hope to have at least six pieces installed in downtown Anderson in time for Art on the Town. The public art outdoor sculptures will chosen by a selection committee and will remain on view for a year.” The show will open with a reception and awards ceremony beginning at 5:30 p.m. on Saturday, April 16. The show and month-long celebration of the arts offer several opportunities for artists' works to be seen and purchased, beginning with the Arts Center Members Preview and the M•ART•ket and concluding with the Art on the Town Gallery Crawl April 29. The gallery crawl will include outlets throughout downtown Anderson where additional pieces not in the juried show will be presented. Art on the Town’s Friday night events will include a party at Wren Park with music and entertainment and a children’s event on Saturday. “Last year we had 270 artists and 500 submissions from South Carolina, Georgia, North Carolina, and Missouri artists and, hopefully, we’ll surpass that number this year," said Spears. "We’re always astonished at not only the variety of submissions, but also the quality of the work. It’s a real highlight of the Arts Center year. As always, we want the greater Anderson community to see the show and share the excitement!” The juror for the annual show is Sandra Rupp, president and owner of Hampton III Gallery in Greenville. Rupp works with and/or represents more than 25 artists and organizes five to six gallery exhibitions a year. Hampton III Gallery focuses mostly on Southern artists, particularly those with a South Carolina connection. In addition to her gallery work, she assists museums in their programming and works with private and corporate collections. Vist the Anderson Arts Center's website or call 864.222.2787 for a show prospectus or additional information. Via: Anderson Arts Center
Accepting applications for North Charleston City Gallery, City Hall, and other City sites. The City of North Charleston Cultural Arts Department offers exhibition opportunities for serious visual artists, photographers, fine craft artisans, sculptors, and installation artists. Applications are now being accepted from individuals and groups to display original works at the North Charleston City Gallery, North Charleston City Hall, and other public sites for the July 2016 through June 2017 program calendar. There is no fee to apply. Selections are made by a review panel appointed by the department. Artists must apply online at www.northcharlestonculturalartsdpartment.slideroom.com by Monday, November 30, 2015 in order to be considered. The North Charleston City Gallery, located in the common areas of the Charleston Area Convention Center Complex, offers great exposure for artists seeking to reach thousands of local patrons and out-of-state visitors to the multi-use facility. Exhibits are rotated on a monthly basis and may feature two or more artists concurrently. This exhibition opportunity is open to visual artists and artist groups creating two-dimensional works or three-dimensional works suited to hang on display rods provided. Pedestal and freestanding pieces cannot be accommodated in the venue. Exhibits are open to the public daily and admission is free. The gallery desk is managed by a Cultural Arts staff member on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays for the express purpose of promoting the exhibit and sale of artwork, prints, note cards, and gift items. As a civic venue, North Charleston City Hall allows for great visibility among residents and visitors. In addition to showcasing the City’s Public Art Collection along the atrium areas of three floors, the building is equipped to display two-dimensional works as well as pedestal or free standing pieces in an enclave on the second floor. Exhibits in this space are rotated on a monthly or bi-monthly basis and may be viewed by the public daily with no admission fee. Cultural Arts staff maintains offices on the same floor of the exhibit space and are available to assist visitors. In addition to the City Gallery and City Hall, other indoor and outdoor display spaces are available throughout North Charleston. Applicants can propose a location or may contact the Cultural Arts Department to discuss possible exhibition or installation sites. Options will be reviewed with the artist prior to distribution of acceptance notifications. For additional information about these and other exhibition opportunities or to learn more about programs and services offered by the City of North Charleston Cultural Arts Department, visit the Arts & Culture section of the City’s website at northcharleston.org, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 843-740-5854. Via: City of North Charleston Cultural Arts Department