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State Art Collection sets attendance record at S.C. State Fair

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE COLUMBIA, S.C. – The 12-day South Carolina State Fair exhibition of the State Art Collection, which is managed by the South Carolina Arts Commission, set an attendance record for the 50-year-old collection. Volunteers representing the arts commission and South Carolina Arts Foundation counted 20,679 visitors to of Pig Tales, Blackberry Winter, & the Cabinet of Curiosities during the 2019 South Carolina State Fair from Oct. 9-20, 2019. Visual Arts Director Harriett Green said that is, by far, the largest attendance ever for an exhibition of the collection. Green and the S.C. Arts Commission (SCAC) visual arts department curated the exhibition to feature artists who exhibited in the State Fair’s annual exhibition dating back to the early 1960’s, works that reflect aspects of fair culture, and other iconic pieces from the State Art Collection, which was established in 1967 and includes 466 works by 288 contemporary South Carolina artists. The exhibition was interactive thanks to a spinning wheel game that encouraged guests to find a work of art, take a selfie with it, and share it to social media. “We are excited that, thanks to this partnership with the State Fair, an exceptionally diverse cross-section of South Carolina citizens was able to enjoy their art collection in record numbers,” Green said. “There were around a third of those who are arts lovers and another third who browse everything because that’s just what they do, so they ducked in and ducked out. But there was also a third who were curious and became engaged and excited to learn of the collection and our artists.” Green said she and fair representatives are exploring future collaborative opportunities because they too were pleased with the exhibition and its attendance. The fair reported 416,320 guests for its 2019 run. “We were thrilled to partner with the South Carolina Arts Commission to showcase this collection during our 150th anniversary fair,” said State Fair General Manager Nancy Smith. “The arts are a big part what makes our state special, and it was great to see the talents of so many state residents on display this year. Our fair was an even richer experience because of this collection.”
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.

Decorated #SCartists to present at State Fair

Philip Mullen, Tyrone Geter to hold court

Two of South Carolina’s most decorated and recognized visual artists will make presentations this week about their State Art Collection works now on exhibit at the South Carolina State Fair.

Philip Mullen | Wednesday, Oct. 16 | 1:30 p.m.

Philip Mullen belongs to the South Carolina Arts Commission’s first class of fellowship recipients in 1977. Represented in New York for 35 years by David Findlay Galleries, he’s had 15 solo exhibitions there. If you’ve ever been to the Koger Center, his large artwork adorns the lobby walls. As part of the Artist Talks Series at the South Carolina State Fair, he will discuss Wet Fog, on display at the State Fair exhibition; his painting technique; and making it in New York.

Tyrone Geter | Friday, Oct. 18 | 5 p.m.

Tyrone Geter is not a South Carolina native, but he’s made it home after teaching and curating the art gallery at Benedict College since 1999. The Elgin artist received the state’s highest arts award, the Elizabeth O’Neill Verner Governor’s Award for the Arts, just this spring. His portrait of Gani Odutokun, a contemporary Nigerian painter and friend, will jump-start his discussion about his career as an artist in Nigeria and the U.S. Geter will also touch on how his work evolved from straight painting and drawings to mixed media techniques. Both presentations take place in the Rosewoods Building at the State Fairgrounds. Fair admission is required, but there is no additional fee for the talks.
Pig Tales, Blackberry Winter, & the Cabinet of Curiosities is an exhibition of the State Art Collection appearing at the South Carolina State Fair from Oct. 9 to 20, 2019.

State Art Collection gets 12-day run at S.C. State Fair

And FOLKfabulous is back for third year

Funnel cake? Check. Corn dog? Check. Cotton candy? Check. Tyrone Geter? Check.  Wait, what? To help celebrate its 150th anniversary, the South Carolina State Fair invited the State Art Collection to show off iconic contemporary works by #SCartists in the shadow of the famed rocket. Artists who have exhibited in the State Fair’s annual exhibition dating back to the early 1960s, works that reflect aspects of fair culture, and some iconic pieces from the State Art Collection are featured in the Rosewoods Building at Pig Tales, Blackberry Winter, & the Cabinet of Curiosities today through Oct. 20. In keeping with the fair theme, fair guests are invited to spin the new S.C. Arts Commission spinning wheel. When the wheel stops on a work of art in the exhibition, search that work out. Snap a selfie with it, and share it with your networks on social media! The artists and works, an event rundown, and more are available at SouthCarolinaArts.com.

McKissick Museum celebrates return of FOLKfabulous

Join the University of South Carolina’s McKissick Museum at the South Carolina State Fair for FOLKFabulous@theFair. This year, the museum's signature folklife festival celebrates South Carolina’s rich textile arts heritage, including Native American, African American and Mennonite quilting traditions in conjunction with the McKissick exhibition, Piece by Piece: Quilts from the Permanent Collection. You’re invited to participate and engage with artists and cultural traditions that make the Palmetto State home! Come to the Rosewoods Building to enjoy arts displays, demonstrations and hands-on craft activities, concerts and hands-on music workshops. You won’t want to miss the chance to try your hand at making a story quilt block or contribute to our yarn-bombing display. You’ll also find music to move your heart and dancing feet at a Harvest Dance featuring old-time music by Andy Brooks, a bluegrass concert by the Carolina Rebels, and Gullah music and storytelling by internationally renowned performers Ron and Natalie Daise. Click here for complete information on FOLKfabulous@theFair.

On the passing of Larry Lebby

Former commissioner passed away July 21

Official Statement from the S.C. Arts Commission

The South Carolina Arts Commission notes with sadness the passing this week of Larry Lebby at age 69. Lebby was a former commissioner and an artist of note in our state. Among the many accolades and achievements in his career is his being chosen to memorialize slain State Sen. Clementa Pinckney with a painting that now hangs in that body's chamber of the South Carolina State House. A portrait of President Jimmy Carter completed and presented to the president in 1977 made its way to the White House for the remainder of Carter's term. Fittingly, the State Art Collection includes one of Lebby's works. The commission board of directors and staff offer our most sincere condolences to his family during this time. An obituary for Mr. Lebby is still not available online, but The Hub recommends reading this wonderful story by Rodney Welch of Free Times.

Tuning Up: Eclipsing 50 at SCSM, Speaking Down Barriers in Spartanburg

Good morning!  "Tuning Up" is a morning post series where The Hub delivers 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...

  • Eclipsing 50. Originally scheduled to come down in June, the State Art Collection will remain on display at the South Carolina State Museum into August, so consider this a periodic reminder to go check it out. With the wet weather this week and summer's heat looming, this is a way to escape both. It's rare to see so much of the collection displayed in one place... unless you visit the S.C. Arts Commission. Free with museum admission.
  • Speaking Down Barriers in Spartanburg. This Saturday, our friends at Chapman Cultural Center and South Carolina Humanities are planning to use music, poetry and art to help bring people together to build a better community in the Upstate. Speaking Down Barriers holds the first "Day of Transformation" from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Unitarian Universalist Church of Spartanburg (210 Henry Place, Spartanburg). $15. Read more about it here and here. (The SCAC provided support for this event.)
  • More Spoleto! On Monday, May 28, Palmetto State Arts Education will host the opening performance of the 2018 Rising Stars Piccolo Spoleto Series, showcasing young actors, dancers, musicians, writers and visual artists in the high profile venue of Spoleto Festival USA through its affiliation with Piccolo Spoleto. A series of six programs, each program will feature 5-7 young artists and/or ensembles in a conversation and performance format. All programs are presented at St. Matthew's Lutheran Church across from Marion Square on King Street in the heart of downtown Charleston at 4 p.m. $8.00.

Fine food, fine art make for fine finale to 50th anniversary

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The South Carolina Arts Commission and the South Carolina Arts Foundation, in partnership with United Community Bank, the Peace Center, and Table 301, are working together to create a memorable evening of art, art experiences and music to celebrate 50 years of public and private support for the arts.
  • Thursday, April 5, 2018
  • 6:30 p.m.
  • Genevieve’s at the Peace Center 
  • 300 South Main St., Greenville
  • $150/person | Buy tickets now!
Party goers will be treated to art from the State Art Collection, plus a silent auction and live auction conducted by Lydia Fenet, senior vice president at Christie's and benefit auctioneer. Both auctions include works by South Carolina artists, travel packages, and experiences. UPDATE: 30 March, 0944: Bidding is underway in the silent auction! Fabulous food by Table 301 Catering, music, and dancing will make for an exciting and unforgettable evening.

50th Finale Highlights

  • State Art Collection - a glimpse of works from the state's contemporary art collection. Leo Twiggs, Jeanet Dreskin, Sam Wang and Sigmund Abeles are among artists whose works are featured.
  • Silent Auction - a diverse array of works by more than 20 Upstate artists offers opportunities for collectors to add to their collections. See a preview above! Peter Helwing, Stephanie Norris, Jeanet Dreskin, Benjamin Gilliam, Diana Farfan, Teresa Roche, Carrie Burns Brown, and Nancy Fox are among the artists included in the sale. The silent auction includes an online component, which will go live prior to the event.
  • Live Auction - guest auctioneer Lydia Fenet will offer fantastic and memorable art and travel packages, including work by Leo Twiggs, a two-day stay and spa treatment at Palmetto Bluff, and a Lowcountry experience at premier hotels in Charleston.
  • Dance Party - DJ Craze-E Crane will get the party started with music from a variety of genres and a library of more than 50,000 songs. See you on the dance floor!
  • Be there... reserve your ticket now.

Presenting Sponsor


Silver Sponsors

Jamie & Henry Horowitz        

About Lydia Wickliffe Fenet

As senior vice president, global director of strategic partnerships at Christie’s, Lydia Fenet leads a global team forging significant collaborations with other luxury brands. Building on her 15-plus-year career at the historic auction house, Ms. Fenet pioneered the Strategic Partnerships program at Christie’s in 2010, leveraging skills sharpened both as special events director from 2004-2010 and during her time on Christie’s client advisory team. Under Ms. Fenet’s purview, innovative brand partnerships have grown into a valuable marketing and business development platform for Christie’s and its partners, producing dynamic co-branded initiatives worldwide. These initiatives include major exhibitions, special events, and targeted digital activations. Since leading her first auction in 2001, Ms. Fenet has become Christie's global head of benefit auctioneering and the top performer in the field, raising hundreds of millions of dollars for some of the largest non-profit organizations around the world and training Christie’s new classes of charity auctioneers. Some of her recent auctions include The Clinton Foundation, AMFAR, Tipping Point, the Naples Winter Wine Festival, and The Bob Woodruff Foundation. In 2014 she partnered with Glenn Close and Robert DeNiro to launch the Bring Change To Mind auction benefiting mental health. Ms. Fenet is currently writing her first book, The Most Powerful Woman in the Room, which will be published by Touchstone, a Simon & Schuster imprint, in spring 2019. Ms. Fenet graduated with a bachelor's degree in both art history and history from Sewanee - The University of the South. She currently resides in New York City with her husband and three children, Beatrice, Henry and Eloise.

Tuning Up: the SCAC at National Press Club, more

Good morning! "Tuning Up" is a new, morning series of posts where The Hub delivers 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...

(Image credit: South Carolina Philharmonic/Michael Dantzler)

Florence County Museum launches first 50th Anniversary Fellowship Exhibition

[caption id="attachment_31300" align="alignright" width="250"]Terry Jarrard-Dimond Terry Jarrard-Dimond[/caption] The Florence County Museum is the first organization to launch an exhibition of South Carolina Arts Commission Fellows as part of the 50th Anniversary celebration. Evidence, an exhibition of works by veteran South Carolina artist Terry Jarrard-Dimond, is on display June 20 - December 3. Jarrard-Dimond received the S.C. Arts Commission Craft Fellowship Grant in 1987 and is represented by three works in the State Art Collection. The Florence County Museum has a unique relationship to the history of the S.C. Arts Commission. The first president of its board of trustees was E.N. Zeigler, who later became a state senator and the author of the legislation that created the Arts Commission in 1967. The Fellowship Exhibition program was developed to celebrate 50 years of public support for the arts in South Carolina, with emphasis on the achievements of artists who have received the commission’s Visual and Craft Fellowship awards. The exhibition is supported in part by First Citizens. Since 1976, the South Carolina Arts Commission's Fellowship program has recognized the artistic achievements of South Carolina's exceptional individual artists. Fellows are among the most artistically accomplished artists in the state. Find out more about the exhibition. Find out about other 50th Anniversary Fellowship exhibitions.

State Art Collection travels to Anderson

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The Anderson Arts Center will exhibit 24 works from State Art Collection: Contemporary Conversations Part I and II  Sept. 9 through Nov. 11, 2016.  The exhibition opens Friday, Sept. 9 at 7 p.m., during State of the Art: The Art and Soul of South Carolina, an event that also features a preview of works in the 2016 Anderson Arts Auction. Gallery hours are 9:30 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. Tuesday through Friday.

[caption id="attachment_22341" align="alignright" width="225"]Elizabeth Keller, Discerning of Spirits Elizabeth Keller, Discerning of Spirits[/caption] Curated by Eleanor Heartney, author and contributing editor to Art in America and Artpress, Contemporary Conversations is composed of 118 works by 95 contemporary South Carolina artists. The exhibition is designed to suggest both the quality and diversity of the state’s cultural heritage and includes everything from hard-edge geometric abstraction to surrealist-tinged dreamscapes. Works are inspired by social issues, memory, local and national history, imagination, art of the past and aesthetic theory. Together they reflect the many voices and diverse concerns of South Carolina artists. The art in Contemporary Conversations is drawn from the State Art Collection, a comprehensive public collection of works by contemporary South Carolina artists. Established in 1967 as one of the first programs of the South Carolina Arts Commission, the State Art Collection is composed of 493 works in a variety of media and styles produced by 287 artists. Organizations and businesses interested in hosting an exhibition or displaying works from the State Art Collection should contact Harriett Green at (803) 734-8696. In addition toContemporary Conversations, two other traveling exhibitions are available: The African American Voice and Points of Departure: Vessel Forms from the State Art Collection. Images: State Art Collection: Contemporary Conversations About the State Art Collection The State Art Collection is considered the most comprehensive public collection of works by contemporary South Carolina artists. Established in 1967 as one of the first programs of the South Carolina Arts Commission, the State Art Collection has grown to include 493 works in a variety of media and styles by 287 South Carolina contemporary artists. Small exhibitions featuring work from the collection are organized on a regular basis for rural and isolated areas inside and outside of the state. Works from the State Art Collection are available for loan to art museums, state agencies, and public and private organizations for the purpose of public exhibition or public display. The collection is supported in part by the South Carolina Arts Foundation and First Citizens.

Remembering Winthrop University professor and artist Paul Martyka

Winthrop University Fine Arts Associate Professor Paul Martyka passed away Wednesday, Jan. 27. Martyka was an award-winning artist and faculty member whose service at the university spanned nearly 40 years. Three of Martyka's works are in the South Carolina Arts Commission's State Art Collection. Pictured above, left to right:

  • Second Set VII: Hope and the Reddened Core, 1992, acrylic on canvas, 65" x 48.5"
  • Second Set: Beyond the Triple Cross: Redux, 1992, acrylic on canvas, 66" x 49.5"
From Winthrop University
PaulMarytkaLong-time Winthrop University Fine Arts Associate Professor Paul Martyka passed away unexpectedly on Wednesday, Jan. 27. The Detroit, Michigan, native taught drawing, painting and printmaking in the Department of Fine Arts. Funeral arrangements have not been completed. At a prayer vigil held Tuesday night at Rutledge Building in the printmaking studio, students and friends came together for a powerful display of love for their professor. As Martyka spent his last hours in intensive care, his students recalled a man who ordered his life so that nothing was wasted, always put the students’ interests first and displayed a quiet compassion and concern for their well-being. One of his favorite sayings was: “Now, get to work.” His admirers said Martyka had a knack for taking materials, redefining them as sculpture and changing their meaning. His printmaking abilities were equally gifted and were laden with icons and symbolism. “Paul Martyka brought an unusual perspective to our art students,” said Tom Stanley, department chair. “They regarded him fondly and with respect because of his influence and generosity as he urged others to become passionate about their work. As alum Joey Hays pointed out, ‘He was such an amazing artist, teacher, mentor, and friend.’   Paul was all about his students.” Chad Dresbach, chair of the Department of Design, said Martyka was a major factor in his decision to work at Winthrop. “His loss will be felt profoundly, and the gleam of the institution is slightly dimmed by this loss,” Dresbach said. “A great man will be missed.” Before coming to Winthrop in 1979, Martyka worked as master printer at the Michigan Workshop of Fine Prints and completed a staff assistantship at the University of Michigan. In addition, his art has been displayed in many private, institutional, and corporate art collections and exhibitions. At Winthrop, Martyka was the fourth recipient of Winthrop's Elizabeth Dunlap Patrick Faculty Grant, a grant established to further new work, research or collaboration by faculty culminating in an exhibition project in the Patrick Gallery. An exhibition of his hand-printed cut paper collages, called Conversations with an Echo, ran in fall 2009 in the Patrick Gallery. One of the collages still hangs in the DiGiorgio Campus Center classroom across from the lobby desk. In the intricate details of this work, Martyka references cultural identities or art historical pieces as inspiration for color and form. The collages attracted regional attention and accolades poured in. In fall 2008, Martyka's collage Totemic Talk, was featured in the S.C. State Museum’s 20th Anniversary Juried Exhibition, and won Best in Show and the museum’s Purchase Award. His collages also have been featured in an Arts Council of York County exhibition. Martyka earned his B.F.A. and M.F.A. degrees at Wayne State University and the University of Michigan, respectively. For more information, contact Judy Longshaw, news and media services manager, at 803/323-2404 or longshawj@winthrop.edu.