Past Comments

May Issue 2006
by Tom Starland

The Curse Continues

As I said last month - there seems to be a price we must pay for switching to a color cover after 18 years as a black and white publication. Are the gods of journalism angry with us? Not sure, but the victims last month were Walls Fine Art Gallery in Wilmington, NC, and HoFP Gallery in Columbia, SC. The photos in their ads looked as if they were left out in the sun too long.

The deal was - color elements lay hidden deep within the B & W ads. The advertisers missed it, we missed it once it was in our hands and even the people at the printer missed it. But the machines - they didn't let it slip by.

So we're reprinting them both this month in hopes that we have paid enough for our crazy idea of bringing you images of artworks in color. Color is color and B & W is B & W - they do not mix - NEVER. Now we know.

Lee Breuer and Keith Abney's exhibit will be on view at HoFP Gallery until May 13, 2006. Paint Wilmington, an event and exhibition featuring works by seven plein air artists will take place from May 1 - 6, 2006.

Charleston, SC, Falling Into the Sea?

I'm sure glad I don't live on the beach front at Kiawah Island or on the Battery in Charleston right now - not because of global warming or taxes, but, I'm afraid the Lowcountry could slip into the Atlantic Ocean due to the sure weight of the visual art offerings taking place this May.

Starting May 5, you have the beginning of the 2006 North Charleston Arts Festival (May 5 - 13, 2006), which has an expanded offering of visual art exhibitions and then the French Quarter Gallery Association's Art Walk (May 5, 5-8pm) - which pretty much means every gallery in Charleston will be open that evening.

Then, up the Interstate in Summerville, SC, Sculpture in the South (May 20-21, 2006) offers its 8th sculpture exhibit and sale.

Even before the official dates of the 2006 Piccolo Spoleto Festival begin - May 26 - June 11, 2006, many of its visual art offerings open their doors (May 20) - getting a jump on Festival goers.

The Gibbes Museum of Art and the Halsey Gallery at the College of Charleston will have new exhibitions, as well as other non-profit art spaces.

And, when you add up all the commercial galleries trying to catch the attention of the visitors to the two festivals taking place in Charleston - it all adds up to a massive visual art offering - perhaps too much.

It's a good thing the folks at the Spoleto Festival USA, the world's most comprehensive festival, decided not to offer any visual arts this year - again! I guess that makes us the most comprehensive arts newspaper. I jest.

You'll see inside that we have a lot of information about these art offerings - not everything. We couldn't fit everything in we received, some people didn't inform us of what they were doing (by deadline or even at all) and many folks won't decide what they are going to do until the last minute - so keep your eyes open for one of those signs along the highway to alert you to a last minute exhibit.

Planning ahead is just not what some artists or exhibit organizers are good at. Some won't even make the next deadline - May 12, 2006. And, for those who still don't get it - that's for the June 06 issue not May 06. You might want to check the date of this paper you're reading. But I jest again!

The people I'm talking about most likely don't read this paper. They're not interested in getting notice of their art exhibits in the Carolina's only visual arts newspaper. They have a different audience.

On the Cover

California artist Dan McCaw is, arguably, one of the most widely collected, contemporary American painters today. Widely known for his impressionist images of women and children at the beach, McCaw has, more recently, begun to push his subjects into expressionist compositions that celebrate the act of painting. McCaw has been represented by Morris & Whiteside galleries for over twenty years and will be featured in an exhibition of recent, major works at the gallery on Hilton Head Island, SC, beginning on May 4, 2006. For info contact the gallery at 843/842-4433 or at (

Now, for the rest of the story - as Paul Harvey would say.

Arts Commission Board in Charleston

The South Carolina Arts Commission Board of Commissioners will hold one of its board meetings on May 25-26, 2006, in Charleston, SC. Wow, just in time for the opening of the Spoleto Festival - how's that for timing.

At least we'll say that's what the schedule calls for that we were sent some time ago - but guess what? They changed the dates to June 1-2, 2006 - and they didn't bother to inform us. But we have developed a habit of checking these things out - since people have pulled a switch on us before. You see, we're stuck with a strict schedule and they know when we can't respond - after deadlines pass. That's when we receive most of the Arts Commission's press releases - after our deadline is good and gone.

If you remember, last year I alerted you to this opportunity to attend a board meeting of the SC Arts Commission - to see what goes on at one and see who is leading South Carolina's art community or how they are being led - that's my opinion. Then it was cancelled - without a reason offered.

I wonder if some of the commissioners came and stayed in the rooms that had to be booked in advance or did they just miss out on their annual Spoleto fix? From what I understand, rooms in Charleston during this time of year are hard to get.

I'm sure they'll show up this year - sometime.

If you would like to attend, call the Arts Commission at 803/734-8696 to find out where and when the meetings take place or if they have canceled again - due to public interest.

It's almost as hard as keeping up with where Vice-President Dick Chaney is hiding out in that undisclosed location.

Fellowship Lottery Still Open

And remember, you still have until May 15, 2006, to apply for the 2007 Individual Artist Fellowship - awarded by the SC Arts Commission. It doesn't take that much to apply and you could be the winner of a couple of thousand dollars - with no strings attached - no matching money you have to come up with - no requirement to do anything with it artistically.

Someone is going to win - that is if more than five artists apply. That's why there is an extended deadline for applications - less than five applied earlier this year.

The Arts Commission claims that those artists previously selected to be the Arts Commission Fellowship recipient have said it leads to opportunities. I know some artists only apply when it's the same year of the Triennial, which only takes place every three years. You see, the Fellowship artists is always automatically included. Beyond that I'm not sure what opportunities come with the title.

Some artists say they know not to bother applying because the Arts Commission is biased as to the type of artist they like to see win the Fellowship - even though they are selected by outside the state experts. But the experts are selected by the Arts Commission and they know how to select jurors with a certain slant.

Well, maybe so - but if you don't apply, you have zero percent change of being selected - slant or no slant. Now let's say 90 percent of the state's Fellowship applicants are members of the local artists' guilds and the SC Watercolor Society and an artist who finds their art at flea markets and in the attic is still selected - pressure would start to build - that there really is a slant in the selection process. But you see, we can't tell because so many of our state's artists are just not bothering to apply.

I can't say that's all the fault of the Art Commission - even though they have sent you enough messages telling you not to bother. Just look at the works in the State Art Collection, the works in the Triennial, or that of previous Fellowship winners. Compare it to the artworks they solicit for the Verner Awards luncheon - the works they hope to sell and share in the proceeds. There is a world of difference in the art they like to exhibit and reward and the kind they like to profit from.

But, until you play the game - you can't question the rules. For more information, visit ( or call 803/734-8696.

As I've been telling you for the last couple of years, the Arts Commission isn't going to come to you with opportunities and information - unless you're one of their pets, so you have to constantly go to them or check out their website to find out what is going on.

They want you to beg them for assistance, be as loyal as a pet, and maintain their level of superiority over you. Feed their egotism.


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