Gullah Celebration on St. Helena Island

In keeping with history and tradition the Corner Community on St. Helena Island, SC is gearing up to celebrate Memorial Day weekend. The businesses at the Corner are planning an array of activities to recognize Memorial Day, a holiday the people of St. Helena Island have always celebrated as part of their American heritage.

Sea Island Breezes by Diane Britton Dunham

“Sea Island Breezes” by Diane Britton Dunham

The Red Piano Too Art Gallery is hosting a special art exhibit on May 24, 2014, featuring the work of well-known lowcountry artist Diane Britton Dunham. The theme of this show is “The Gullah Creole Caribbean Connection.” Gullah Creole is the term coined by Dunham because it best describes her artwork blending elements of her colorful Louisiana Creole roots with the rich historical Gullah culture of the Sea Islands. She will discuss the Gullah Creole Caribbean art connection and related history during the exhibit.

Noted Beaufort musician and Dunham’s husband, Phil Griffin, will provide music for the Gullah side of the event from 12 Noon until 2 pm, playing classic Southern Blues and traditional Gullah music.

A collection of Gullah themed needlework hangings by Bridget Murray will also be exhibited. These pieces emphasize the detail Murray incorporates in her work.

The Red Piano Too Art Gallery presents the East of the River Steel band from Washington D.C. This band is made up of young people ages 6 to 19, in a program which enhances lives, builds confidence and fosters resiliency as it also develops a love and appreciation of the arts. The band will present a special concert from 2 pm to 3 pm. This is a must see performance according to long time Caribbean resident, Elayne Scott, who said “These young people literally transported me to the Caribbean when I heard their mastery of the steel pans. The pans are not easy to play, yet this band performs as well as any pan band from the islands of the Caribbean. What a treat to hear the beautiful rhythms.”

An additional exhibit of Lauren DeLoach‘s lowcountry paintings celebrating regional natural beauty will be presented at Bella Vita and Octopuses which are across the street and next door to the Red Piano Too Art Gallery.

All activities are free and open to the public throughout the Corner. For additional information contact the Red Piano Too Art Gallery, 870 Sea Island Parkway, St. Helena Island S.C. 29920, phone (843) 838-2241.

Call for Sculpture Artists

Avant Garde Center for the Arts will be hosting the Red Rose Sculpture Exhibition and Competition in downtown Lancaster, SC on May 17th from 10 am – 4 pm. The event will be at Red Rose Park, 118 S. Main Street during the fifth annual Red Rose Festival.

The sculpture show is juried, and prizes and honorariums will be awarded to all participants.

Applications can be found at or by contacting Cherry Doster at or 803-289-1492. Deadline for application is May 11, 2014.

Avant Garde Center for the Arts is an all-volunteer non-profit organization whose mission is to provide arts opportunities in partnership with existing arts and other agencies.

Amiri Geuka Farris Wins North Charleston Arts Festival Design Competition

The City of North Charleston Cultural Arts Department announced Bluffton, SC, artist Amiri Geuka Farris, as the winner of the 2014 North Charleston Arts Festival Design Competition. As the winner of the statewide contest, Farris’ mixed media piece, titled “Gullah Islander Toss,” will be used to promote the 2014 North Charleston Arts Festival, taking place May 2-10. In addition, the piece will become part of the City’s Public Art Collection.

Amiri Farris Gullah Islander TossFarris’ design was selected from 53 entries by artists from across the state. The selection was made by a review panel appointed by the Cultural Arts Department who judged the entries based on quality, originality, appeal to festival patrons from a broad range of backgrounds, and ability to convey the spirit of the festival as a public celebration of arts and culture.

“Gullah Islander Toss” honors the traditions of the Gullah-Geechee culture and is also an attempt to draw a greater focus to “a celebration of history,” Farris said.

“You will see elements like dance and rejoicing with references to important cultural elements like the land, cast net making, throwing and artistic traditions,” he explained.The piece is composed of a number of layers that involve design elements such as Adinkra symbols, paint drips, and paint embellishments. The dynamism of these elements represents the passing of time and movement into the future. As with many of Farris’ other works, the piece refers to specific Gullah traditions and historic elements while blurring the boundaries between traditional and contemporary modes of representation.

An exhibition of his work, including the winning piece, “Gullah Islander Toss,” will be on display at the North Charleston City Gallery throughout the month of May 2014. The gallery is located within the Charleston Area Convention Center at 5001 Coliseum Drive in North Charleston, SC. Gallery hours are 9:00 am-5:00 pm daily, and admission and parking are free. The public is invited to meet the artist at the gallery on May 3 and 4 during the Main Event of the North Charleston Arts Festival. T-shirts and posters featuring the winning design will be available for sale.

Doster Sculpture on Exhibit in Charleston

bob doster sculpture 012Lancaster, SC artist, Bob Doster, will have his works featured at the Saul Alexander Gallery in the Charleston County Public Library for the month of March, 2014.  WavesThe Charleston Public Library exhibition space, located as 68 Calhoun Street, Charleston, SC , serves as an avenue for the respectful exchange of artistic and conceptual ideas within a diverse constituency, to reflect the varied experiences and viewpoints of the people of SC.  Artists are selected solely on the basis of the quality of their work.bob doster sculpture 009

Bob Doster has been creating sculpture for more than fifty years, and his works can be found in museums, galleries, and collections worldwide.  New works on exhibit in Charleston are part of a “Winds of Time” series, inspired by the landscape of the South.  It is the artist’s intent to recreate the emotions evoked by the endlessly churning waves on the coast, balanced by the winds from the Appalachians.  The sturdy, solid organic steel proves to be indestructible, much like the spirit of those living in the South – solid and unbending, even with the changes of time.bob doster sculpture 007Contact or learn more about the artist at doster sculpture 002

Spirit and Memory: Jonathan Green curates exhibit featuring Amiri Geuka Farris in Charleston

The work of Old town Bluffton, SC artist Amiri Geuka Farris will be featured in the City of Charleston Office of Cultural Affairs’ “Spirit and Memory: Contemporary Expressions of Cultural Heritage” at the City Gallery at Waterfront Park Jan. 25 to March 9.

Farris and two other acclaimed African-American visual artists will join in the exhibition curated by Jonathan Green that reflects an evolving spiritual energy that honors the soul of life, belief and heritage. The artists Amiri Geuka Farris, Doris Colbert Kennedy and Alvin Staley are all masters of their materials and techniques. Each demonstrates the power of visual creative intelligence to profoundly communicate with others.

Farris also has an Exhibit at Four Corners Art Gallery A Gullah Celebration: Jan. 17-Feb. 14, four Corners Gallery, 1263 May River Road in Bluffton.
amiri artist2

Artist Amiri Farris is known for his dynamic powerful artwork. His fine art combines an alluring blend of vivid colors and layered textures that evoke images of Sea Island Gullah culture. His artistic vision introduces us to uplifting moments and insight into his contemporary view of culture. He has captured the essence of a people who have preserved their African traditions of net making, basket weaving, quilting and bateaux building. In 2012, he was the co-recipient of a very prestigious award for preservation from the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

His signature style of using Adinkra symbols subtly in an African dress, a colorful turban or entangled in a shrimp net stimulates the eye to take in every inch of the canvas. Deep, engaging layers invite you to look deeper into the painting, where empowering images and colors dance across the canvas in an energetic display of expression. Amiri states, “The Gullah Geechee people have preserved much of their African cultural heritage. It is very important that we tell the history of this unique sea island culture.”

Amiri Farris received the Master of Fine Art and Design degree from Savannah College of Art & Design and is currently a Professor of Fine Arts at the University of South Carolina-Beaufort. In addition to the Smithsonian Museum of American Art, his work has been exhibited and displayed in permanent collections nationally and internationally. He was named the 2008 “Artist of the Year” by the historic Penn Center on St. Helena Island, and is artist-in-residence at the Gullah Museum of Hilton head island.