Archive for the 'Programs' Category

How Art Engages Creative Minds

“Help! Our kids blanked out on last year’s writing test. They left the pages BLANK!”

That’s the kind of call for help I’ve been asked to address with an Engaging Creative Minds (ECM) project. ECM is a local non-profit that pairs teachers and art partners to collaborate on developing creative learning strategies in Charleston County Public Schools. The Gibbes is one of ECM’s Engaging Learning Experience (ELE) partners and we address all kinds of topics, using art as a springboard to self-expression.

This past December, my fellow museum educator Lucie Medbery and I started a 5-day writing workshop (held over two weeks) at Zucker Middle School. The aim was to get 180 7th-graders to WRITE, using 7th-grade science standards around biomes as ecosystems as our “springboard.” No more tests turned in with blank spaces!

Zucker Middle School students

Zucker Middle School students in Ms. Gleim’s ELA class.

The best part of an ECM project is the collaboration between partners (Lucie and me) and teachers (in this case, Elizabeth Gleim and Shorace Guider, 7th grade English Language Arts teachers). They ask for help, we “percolate” about how we can assist them, and together we come up with a plan. And the percolation part is so much fun! Lucie has a background in gifted education in Kansas City. My background is teaching French, and for many years I have been a museum educator at the Terra Museum in Chicago and at the Gibbes here in Charleston. We both have minds that respond to images and we both love kids.

Each planning session is so exciting! We throw out ideas, look for images, and before we know it, we can see multiple paths before us. But we have to keep returning to the standards we were asked to address. It takes a few sessions, but eventually we find the path we want to take. This project took many emails, lots of phone calls, and nine different PowerPoints to get the workshop to be what we wanted.

The use of media this time was so inspiring. Each 7th grader at Zucker has an iPad and we used them big time! When my teacher realized that I was continually morphing the PowerPoint presentations, she asked if she could upload them to the students’ iPads, and it worked so well!

At first, the students got so excited about the images that they would fast forward to see what was coming next. Then, we started loading our “homework” assignments on their iPads, while encouraging them to actually write with a pencil in their ECM composition books, and skip lines so they could edit their work. The students had it all on their personal tablets: the images, the assignments, and what was coming up next. They responded beautifully to the POWER it gave them.

Students act out a food chain during the "Biome to Biome" day.

Students act out a food chain during the “Biome to Biome” day.

One of the highlights of this project, for me anyway, was our “Biome to Biome” day. Each student drew a card (a specific animal) out of a deck of different animals. They had to assume that animal’s identity, find their biome, and then interact with the other “animals” in that biome. Then, of course, we asked them to write about it. With this exercise, it didn’t seem to matter where the students were in the 7th-grade hierarchy of reading, understanding, and writing levels. They just GOT it!

Acting out a food chain in the marine biome.

Acting out a food chain in the marine biome.

From “It all started at the Watering Hole” to “How I survived a Food Chain,” these students were fired up with images and ready to write down what they saw, what it meant, and how they felt about it. The writing samples are, of course, varied according to individual abilities, but each student seemed to have that aha moment.

Zucker Middle School student

A Zucker Middle School student shows off his writing sample from the workshop.

What a wonderful feeling by the end of the workshop to say “now write,” and have them all pick up their pens (not pencils!—we wanted them to learn to edit) and with great enthusiasm, WRITE! Many thanks to the Gibbes Museum and to ECM for giving us such fun opportunities to link art with learning!

Elise Detterbeck & Lucie Medbery, Museum Educators and Guest Bloggers

Staff Resolutions for 2016

2015 has been a wonderful year, and we’re grateful for the support from our members, donors, volunteers, board members, and corporate partners—a community coming together to make the arts in Charleston shine. We asked the Gibbes Staff to share some of their resolutions for the Museum in the New Year. We’re calling 2016 “The Year of the Gibbes,” with so much in store as the Museum plans to reopen its doors this spring. We cannot wait to invite you into the newly renovated building to view the reinstalled collection and special exhibitions, and to participate in our roster of exciting programs and events. Wishing you a Happy New Year full of creativity and inspiration!

—The Gibbes Staff

Erin Banks, Creative Director
–Establish a new Gibbes logo with the help of Gil Shuler Design.

–Launch a new Gibbes website, created by Blue Ion.

–Gather new exhibition images to use in our print materials!

John Westmark exhibition opening

Photo by MCG Photography

Rebecca Sailor, Curator of Education

–Enjoy good food and drink at the new Museum Café.

–Reopen the Museum with exhibitions, programs, and events that excite the Charleston community and visitors alike.

–Have a successful six weeks of Summer Art Camp for the first time ever in the building.

Summer Art Camp 2013

Photo by Carolina Photosmith

Becca Hiester, Curatorial Assistant
–Bring all of my friends in town on a tour of the museum, my own personal Museum Hack. Some of my friends have never been to the museum before (even if they grew up here!), and I need to spread the love!

Gibbes exhibition opening

Photo by MCG Photography

Jennifer Ross, Director of Development

–First and foremost, achieve our goal of $13.4M for the capital campaign to renovate and restore the Gibbes.

Gibbes Capital Campaign Thermometer

–Welcome back our community—both visitors and long-time supporters—to the Gibbes, the oldest museum building in the south, this coming spring.

–Engage visitors in our center of creativity with world-class exhibitions, lectures and programs.

Lasley Steever, Director of Programs and Events

–Establish an Artist-in-Residence program with outstanding contemporary artists whose work contributes to a new understanding of art in the South.

–Provide great programs allowing visitors to fully engage with the visual arts through lectures, performances, tours, and classes.

Gibbes Museum Distinguished Lecture Series, 2015

Photo by MCG Photography

Jena Clem, Special Events Manager

–Have the museum booked with private events every weekend when we reopen.

–Grow our staff to support the increased programming and events we’ll be offering.

–Be featured as the number one event venue in Charleston, South Carolina/Southeast.

Laurie Clark Wedding photo cred: Whimsey Photography

Photo by Whimsey Photography

Zinnia Willits, Director of Collections Administration

–Execute safe return of 10,000 pieces of art from off-site storage locations to the renovated Museum spaces.

–Harmoniously work with Museum staff and contract crews to unpack the art collection and reinstall in new galleries in an extremely tight time frame.

–Remain calm, cool and collected over the next few months in order to successfully manage all that needs to be managed to reopen of the Gibbes! Eat fewer Tic Tacs to manage stress.

–Celebrate our beautiful new spaces and improved access to the collections in a BIG way once the Museum reopens with interactive, unique behind-the-scenes tours and programs.

–Share the Gibbes success with museum colleagues across the state and the region through continued, active involvement and leadership in professional museum organizations.

Gibbes Collection on the move

Art Education for All Ages

After a great summer working with the Gibbes Museum of Art as a Summer Camp intern, I was excited to return as an office intern over the fall semester. Working with Rebecca Sailor, Curator of Education, has provided me with many opportunities to broaden my understanding of the inner workings of a successful museum, and the great lengths this staff goes to in order to provide such stimulating programming to all ages.

Philippe de Montebello speaking at the 2015 Gibbes Distinguished Lecture Series.

Philippe de Montebello speaking at the 2015 Gibbes Distinguished Lecture Series.

A significant highlight of my time at the Gibbes was the opportunity to help with the Museum’s 2015 Distinguished Lecture Series. The Gibbes brought the esteemed Philippe de Montebello, the longest serving director at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, to discuss the multiple lives of a work of art. Being able to take part in such a successful and truly informational event was quite fulfilling. As an Art History student, de Montebello’s lecture was elegant and inspiring to me. Working together to bring events like this to the people of Charleston is just one of the Gibbes’ many efforts to enhance art education in the city.

Naomi Edmundson at John Pope Antiques, Charleston.

Naomi Edmondson at John Pope Antiques in Charleston, SC.

Last week, I was able to take part in The Gibbes’ Art With a Twist: Antique Stroll. Not knowing exactly what to expect, I walked with the group from the lobby of the Gibbes’ new offices (conveniently located across the street from the renovation site) to the first stop—John Pope Antiques. I was pleasantly surprised, as the walls were brightly colored and the cozy space was full of an eclectic collection of paintings, old instruments, beautiful pottery, and antique chests. The tour leaders provided the group with interesting details about several of the objects, and John entertained us with fascinating facts about his collection. I probably could have strolled around the space for another hour pondering the history of all these items, but I pulled myself away and walked down the street to Birlant & Co. Antiques. Although the setup of the space was quite different from John Pope’s, Andy Slotin and team were just as welcoming and were thrilled to show us around. We ended the visit discussing a beautiful silver dining set on display in the shop. By the end of the night, after stopping in several other shops, I couldn’t believe I’d lived in Charleston my entire life and never been inside any of these wonderful places.

George C. Birlant's & Co., Charleston, SC.

Silver Service at George C. Birlant’s & Co., Charleston, SC.

The Museum’s efforts to provide quality art education doesn’t end with intellectual lectures for art history lovers. Art education for children is a great priority at the Gibbes. Working with Rebecca, I witnessed the huge amount of planning, scheduling, and documenting that goes into the Gibbes In-School Programming. The Gibbes offers quite a few In-School Programs for elementary students, such as Art to Go, Eye Spy, and First Steps. Teaching artists visit Charleston County schools and essentially bring the art to the students with hands on projects, followed by a visit to the museum.

Mitchell Elementary students visit the Halsey Institute

Mitchell Elementary students visit the Halsey Institute as part of an Art to Go program.

During the Museum’s renovation, we’ve been lucky to partner with the Halsey Institute, City Gallery, and The Charleston Museum to continue our in-gallery programming. This semester, I was able to observe a group of first graders from Mitchell Elementary on an Art to Go field trip, as they experienced contemporary art at the College of Charleston’s Halsey Institute. The children were beyond excited to be this close to such colorful artwork! With such engaging instructors, the children felt at ease asking questions and describing the artwork in front of their peers. After learning a bit about the two featured artists, the kids walked around the gallery on a scavenger hunt to find repeated motifs in each artist’s work. I was impressed with their understanding of this concept, and took advantage of the opportunity to excite them as they turned to me with question after question about the art.

I’ve definitely enjoyed my time at the Gibbes, both in the camp classroom and behind the desk, and have gained a whole new perspective on the day to day life within a museum. I can’t wait to come back to the Gibbes for its re-opening in the spring!

Naomi Edmondson, Senior at College of Charleston and guest blogger

Professional Development Opportunities: Southeastern Museums Conference 2015

Rebecca Sailor, Gibbes Curator of Education, and Zinnia Willits, Director of Collections Administration at the Museum, attended the 2015 Annual Meeting of the Southeastern Museums Conference (SEMC) in Jacksonville, Florida from October 12 – 14. SEMC is the major regional networking organization for museums and their staff in the southeastern states. Both Zinnia and Rebecca are active members of SEMC, and Zinnia currently serves as an appointed member of the Executive Council and the Annual Meeting Program Committee.

Rebecca Sailor and Zinnia Willits at SEMC 2015 in Jacksonville, Florida.

Rebecca Sailor and Zinnia Willits at SEMC 2015 in Jacksonville, Florida.

This year, Zinnia presented on four different panels at the Annual Meeting on topics including successful federal grant applications, museum insurance, and mid-career transitions. Her session entitled How We Did It: Tips and Strategies for Successful Federal Grant Applications was particularly well attended and allowed Zinnia an opportunity to share her story about the Gibbes recent grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities. As a Council member, Zinnia also participated in a strategic planning workshop related to SEMC’s future growth.

Rebecca was joined by Zinnia, as well as staff from the Columbia Museum of Art and the Booth Western Art Museum for a session entitled Where Did All the Programs Go? The panel focused on the challenges of effective programming when space is limited or restricted, as in the case of a renovation. The Gibbes has made a special effort to keep programming available during our current renovation, while the Columbia Museum of Art is in the preparation stages of its own capital project. The Booth Museum staff shared the experience of providing programming around town in unique venues even before their building opened to the public.

Rebecca also presented with staff from the Cummer Museum of Art and the Reynolda House Museum of American Art on healthcare partnerships with museums. It was a great opportunity to inform participants about the Gibbes Art of Healing program with Roper St. Francis Healthcare, including our hospital lending collection and our public lectures and workshops on the subject. The Reynolda House offers continuing education workshops for healthcare and community service staff. Participants also learned about the partnership between the Cummer and the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, Florida, offering programs for dementia patients and physician training; the Art Beyond Sight organization; and other special needs programs.

In addition to their presentations, Rebecca and Zinnia attended many other sessions by their peers to learn what others are doing regarding innovation and engagement. A special highlight was the keynote speech by Nick Gray, founder of Museum Hack, which was a great reminder of why museums are awesome and why what we do matters so much (watch it here).

Unlock the Artist Block

One of the quickest ways to get through life’s challenges is to approach them rather than find detours or shortcuts around them. Eventually, the challenge you’ve avoided will have no other way to go but head on. The way we approach our work is for people to feel comfortable with themselves in mind, body, and emotion to face whatever life has to bring them. And if we have not figured it out yet, eventually we will see life will always have challenges. Life without challenges is not real life. The tools you learn with Charleston Wellness Group (CWG) is to support, simple enough, life.

Phoenix Rising Yoga Therapy
Phoenix Rising Yoga Therapy is a method based on the individual being influenced by their own inner guidance and wisdom instead of what another “expert” has to say. We have a saying at CWG that “you are your own expert and we get out of your way to trust that expert.” Phoenix Rising Yoga Therapy assists individuals in connecting mind and body using embodied movement and mindfulness techniques. The body is a huge part of connecting with the expert in all of us, so we incorporate the body throughout sessions.

Since life is rich with challenges and the goal is not to get rid of them, but to face them, stress is part of the equation. There is such a thing, however, as “good stress.” “Good stress” is the belly motivation that gets you up and out of bed in the morning. “Good stress” can be how you face the challenges rather than avoid. “Good stress” keeps you living life from a more alive and engaged state.

Stress is like a bell curve. You are at risk of either too little or too much. Too little leads to “depressed” state. Too much leads to “burn out” state. What we encourage is for people to become aware of their too little/too much stress-related symptoms and recognize they have a choice with this information. For most who work with us, the first thing that has to happen is they have to realize their relationship to stress. They have to learn what their symptoms are on the bell curve. We are all different. No one person is alike. It is important for individuals to learn about themselves and trust the information their bodies, minds, and feelings are expressing so they can discern and make the right decisions to stay in the optimal state of stress.

Bell curve
Charleston Wellness Group created a program called The Deliberate Method, which combines yoga therapy techniques and self-inquiry with integrative exercises so individuals can actually apply what they learn to their everyday life situations.

The Deliberate Method, is focused on supporting businesses and their employees to mindfully show up to their stress. The material is broken into three methods: Method A- The Skills, Method B- Bridging the Gap Between Body and Mind, and Method C- Living a Deliberate Life. The sections are designed to support thoughtful learning. As we say, “We offer quick information, not a quick fix.” The content, which is audio/video, guided practices, assessments, podcasts, and articles is all less than 10 minutes time commitment. We recognize the power of time and find that unless we can apply what we learn in real time, the value is lost.

Becoming mindful takes patience and continued practice. The practice offered in The Deliberate Method is real-time, life situations rather than pretend. Chances are the skills and lessons, the ah-ha’s and other epiphanies will happen much quicker because they are applied concepts rather than abstract ideas.

Our number one intention is to inspire individuals to want to live a deliberate life, to understand their own true nature, and know they are incredible individuals in a world full of experience. We hope our message and information inspires individuals to want to continue to learn from life and therefore live life fully.

Hallie Buchanan

Hallie Buchanan

 
Lyn Tally

Lyn Tally

Hallie Buchanan and Lyn Tally, guest bloggers and founders of Charleston Wellness Group and The Deliberate Method

CWG founders, Hallie and Lyn, are offering a workshop, as part of the Gibbes Museum’s Art of Healing series, to help participants “Unlock the Artist Block.” The program will be held on Thursday, November 12, from 5:30 – 7:30pm. Visit our website gibbesmuseum.org/events or contact Amanda Breen at 843-722-2706 x221 to register today.

The Art of the Sea with Val Kells

Marine Science Illustrator Val Kells is an ‘obsessive compulsive’ fisherman. A photo of Kells on her website shows her proudly displaying a Permit that she caught off Cudjoe Key in 2011. “I take a photograph of every fish I catch before I release it,” she says.

Val Kells

Marine Science Illustrator Val Kells at home on the water

Kells is a full-time, highly trained, freelance scientific illustrator with over 30 years of professional experience. She works closely with educational, design, and curatorial staff to produce accurate and aesthetic scientific and interpretive illustrations. She has created over 2,000 illustrations for a wide variety of clients including publishers, designers, master planners, museums, nature centers, and public aquariums and is the coauthor of A Field Guide to Coastal Fishes – from Maine to Texas. “This comprehensive guidebook to all of the fishes found along the Atlantic and Gulf Coasts should become an integral part of the library of any naturalist, angler, or fish enthusiast,” says Edward O. Murdy, National Science Foundation.

Val Kells Book Cover

A comprehensive guide book to coastal fishes

She is currently working on the Pacific coast version which will include close to 800 species and will be published in the spring of 2016. These comprehensive books are used in classrooms, labs, and on boats by students, scientists, and nature lovers. “I love when people send me photographs of themselves on a boat with a fish in one hand and my book in another,” she says. Kells says her work is ongoing and she will unlikely run out of subjects to illustrate.

Kells’ research is meticulous and each illustration can take up to a full day to complete. She works from her studio in Virginia with the support of an extensive network of associates and colleagues across the country.  She begins with a preliminary pencil drawing to ‘work out the kinks’ paying close attention to the morphology of the species from the number of scales to the placement of fins. When she is satisfied, she transfers the drawing to watercolor paper and begins to paint. “I go into a Zen mode at this point. I turn on some Bruce Springsteen and paint until it’s done.”

Kells began drawing as a very young girl in Rye, New York, and studied art throughout high school. “I also had a deep love of the natural environment from the time I was young. And when my parents sent me to a summer camp in the Florida Keys, I decided that I wanted to be a marine biologist,” she adds. After studying Marine Biology at Boston University, she transferred to UC Santa Cruz in 1983 and ‘fell upon’ the (then) newly established Science Illustration Program where she was able to combine her two loves: art and science. One of her first clients was the Monterey Bay Aquarium and since then she has worked with over 25 aquariums and museums around the country including the Florida State, Long Beach, and North Carolina aquariums. Kells also worked for our own South Carolina Aquarium when it first opened.

One of the best compliments she received was when a woman mistook her paintings for photographs. Her illustrations are precisely detailed and she says, “The artwork I create cannot be produced by photographic or digital means.” She enjoys working with fishes that are unusual and mimic coral or those that have evolved in fascinating ways. “I also love painting iridescent fishes like Billfishes, Tunas, and Mackerels because they allow the watercolor to do what it does best.” The love of her work and the fishes she carefully constructs on paper is evident in each illustration.

During her upcoming discussion “Art of the Sea” at the South Carolina Aquarium, she will discuss the continuing value of original drawings and paintings in a visual world awash with digital photographs.  Join us for another fabulous Art With a Twist Event to hear Val Kells speak about her creative process on September 24 at 6:30 pm!

For more information about Val Kells visit: www.valkellsillustration.com

Location:  SC Aquarium, 100 Aquarium Wharf

Reception and Book Signing will follow.

$20 Members, $30 Non-Members

Reflections on Arts Education

Before starting my internship at the Gibbes Museum of Art, I didn’t have a true understanding of what arts education meant or how powerful it can be. I had read about arts education and heard how effective it is from countless Arts Management classes at the College of Charleston, but it never clicked until I experienced it firsthand this semester while interning in the Education department with Rebecca sailor, Curator of Education. Being able to interact with kids – whether it was handing out maps at the museum on Second Sunday, or doing crafts with them at an arts fair in Mount Pleasant – has given me a newfound appreciation for arts as a creative outlet for children. Even though I am an art history major, double minoring in arts management and studio art, concepts like seeking funding for arts education are relegated to paper topics and online quizzes for my classes and can feel far removed at times. Connecting with children through my internship has made these concepts come alive.

One of the programs that resonated with me is Art to Go. Through this program, teaching artists from the Gibbes are able to go to Title I schools in the Charleston County School District. This year those schools included Goodwin, Mitchell, Pinehurst, Murray LaSaine, and Angel Oak Elementary. Each year Art to Go culminates with the Charleston Marathon in January and the student’s artwork is on display at the marathon expo. I helped one of the teaching artists, Tara White, move one of the projects from Mitchell Elementary to the expo at Burke Middle High School, and saw the tangible results of this amazing program. The finished projects from each school were on display in the gymnasium, and I enjoyed hearing the teaching artists describe their experiences with the kids.

Goodwin Elementary School at Expo

Goodwin Elementary School’s art project on display at the Charleston Marathon Expo

Teaching Artist Tara White said,

“Art to Go provides an incredible experience, not just for the students participating, but also for the educator. As a teaching artist for two years at Goodwin Elementary, I’ve built relationships with approximately 300 students! The most memorable experience happened this year with two fifth grade girls who had not previously enjoyed art class and were getting into trouble at school. However, they chose to give up time on the playground to stay inside and paint with me, choosing art over negative situations. The girls’ willingness to try something out of their comfort zone continues to leave a lasting impression with me, and I’m so glad that Art to Go provided a positive intervention for them”.

Arts education doesn’t stop with children. Throughout my internship, I have been able to follow tours and hear lectures as part of the programming for adults from influential people like Peter Rathbone, who has worked at Sotheby’s New York since 1972 and orchestrated some of their highest American painting sales. I also sat in on studio art classes including pastel, and drawing the human form, that were filled with students from all walks of life. Whether it’s attending lectures by incredible people, or tackling a studio art class in an unfamiliar medium, it’s amazing to see adults continue their own arts education.

This internship has been one the most rewarding experiences that I have had in college and has helped me narrow down my passions and interests within the overwhelming art world (which is very helpful considering my graduation coming up in two short weeks!). Growing up, I was lucky enough to have taken art classes and attended arts camps that instilled in me a great passion for the arts! I am happy to say that I got to be a part of the Education department at the Gibbes, which is offering other children and adults in Charleston and surrounding areas similar opportunities.

Taylor Drury, Education intern

Education intern Taylor Drury posing in front of her favorite John Westmark painting “Exaltation.”

Taylor Drury, Outreach and Education intern, Gibbes Museum of Art

Collage, Cut, and Paste Curation by Charlotte Moss

East Hampton Garden

East Hampton Garden Collage by Charlotte Moss.

 

“Found objects, chance creations. . . abolish the separation between art and life. The commonplace is miraculous if rightly seen, if recognized,” wrote poet Charles Simic.

How true. Collage is a vehicle for disseminating ideas, organizing thoughts, and developing and determining your tastes. What I most appreciate about collage is that it’s not a snob. It’s an art form for everyman; it is ignorant of skill level and thoroughly forgiving. Collage doesn’t require a deft hand like painting, yet it has been prevalent in fine art through the ages. Collage has seen us through Cubism, Surrealism, Constructivism, and Abstract Expressionism. Artists throughout history have embraced the technique, artists such as Braque, Picasso, Jasper Johns, and so many others. Collage became a twentieth-century art form thanks to these artists. Dreams, dissonance, eccentric and disparate bits and pieces merged to produce juxtapositions that gave the subconscious and our inspirations a legitimate outlet.

I have always collected things, wherever I go, whether they were objects, ideas, quotes, or images taken by my camera. It was natural that I would be drawn to collage. As I am a visually inspired person, collage has been my vehicle for recording and retaining important moments in my life, as well as absorbing things that I am drawn to: still-lifes, gardens, interiors, and fashion among them. The medium welcomes chance findings and randomness and understands the consequence might well be a totally unintended one. My collages are put into books and they have become my visual memoirs, personal storyboards, my inspiration, and my creative outlet for years—the DNA of my design aesthetic as well as the story of my life so far. And I’m more aware than ever about the importance of these hand-recorded memories and dreams for my family and for the future.

 

Hautefort France

Hautefort France collage by Charlotte Moss.

 

“There are no new ideas in the world, only new arrangements of things,” wrote Henri Cartier-Bresson.

Scrapbooks are the working documents that have been essential in my evolution as a designer. I’m a teacher in my work. I am always studying and learning. By examining what others have written and done and processing those ideas with my hands, scissors, and a glue stick, I’ve been able to develop my own approach to living and design, one that works for my home and my life—the basis of which has been honed from others over the course of my career. Collage always made sense to me as a methodology. I am a hunter, a collector, an editor—in truth, a stylist, I think, since birth. I see the world in composition—always have. A gathering of anything, anywhere, inside or out, can be arranged into a still life. I’ve learned that the most ordinary of found objects can be elevated when artfully considered and arranged. It is in our carefully curated environments that we share a specific point of view, a personal aesthetic, a vision, and a passion for life. In essence, creating a composition is about seeing. And sometimes, it’s seeing the beauty in ordinary, everyday found objects.

 

The Orsan Gardens, France

The Orsan Gardens, France collage by Charlotte Moss.

 

Collage permits experimentation.

Collage is self discovery.

Like David Hockney said, “The thing with high-tech is that you always end up using scissors.”

Charlotte Moss, author and designer, and guest blogger
Learn more about Charlotte Moss on her website, charlottemoss.com.

Excerpted from A Visual Life by Charlotte Moss (Rizzoli, 2012). Purchase a copy of A Visual Life from the Gibbes Museum Store.

Charlotte Moss is the featured speaker at the Art of Design luncheon and lecture on March 7, hosted by the Women’s Council of the Carolina Art Association and the Gibbes Museum of Art.

The Art & Heart of Philanthropy

Why is giving back important to the community? This was the theme of a recent panel discussion hosted by the Gibbes Museum of Art and the Center for Women. The “Art & Heart of Philanthropy” panel discussion was held at The Sanctuary on Kiawah Island on Tuesday, January 14, and featured four prominent, local women who are passionate philanthropists. Panelists Laura Gates, Carolyn Hunter, Susan Romaine, and Anita Zucker spoke with moderator Jane Perdue about the art of giving back.

The Art & Heart of Philanthropy at the Sanctuary on Kiawah Island

Guests attending the Art & Heart of Philanthropy panel discussion at the Sanctuary on Kiawah Island.

As the marketing manager for the museum, I had been preparing for the event for some time, and was looking forward to it on a personal level because I was seeking inspiration. When I was young, my dad was very involved with our small town community in Vermont, and worked hard to model this behavior to my sister and me. However, instead of being inspired, I often dragged my heels and complained when he took us to a nursing home to sing carols on Christmas Eve, or pulled us out of the house to help build the town playground. Those memories are more than three decades old, and now it’s my turn to introduce the concept of giving back to my children. As the mother of three boys, I finally understand what dad was trying to do, but I don’t know how to do it. So, I was looking forward to hearing what these women would share about getting involved with the community.

I recorded several of the questions and answers I found most inspiring during the conversation to share with you below. Moderator Jane Perdue began with asking the women to explain why giving back was important to them.

A. Susan Romaine, a nationally recognized artist, said she starting giving out of a sense of gratitude. “I gave to Planned Parenthood because they offered me free health services and enabled me to be healthy when I was young and didn’t have any money.” As she grew older and earned more money, she began to widen her giving reach, and shared her time and money with other non-profits. Carolyn Hunter, President of C&A Unlimited, and owner of three local McDonald’s franchises, said giving back is important to her because “we need to share what we have with others.” Anita Zucker, Chairperson and CEO for the InterTech Group, said her parents were Holocaust survivors who taught her that if you don’t have the money, give your time. Laura Gates, Board President of the Carolina Art Association/Gibbes Museum of Art, said she is motivated to give back because she feels very fortunate. Laura began her philanthropy when she was young by giving $5 to her alma matter, Wellesley College, because she wanted to participate. “There is a thrill associated with giving,” Laura added. “Endorphins are released and there is a ‘giving high.’”

Q. In their book Reinventing Fundraising, the authors describe six reasons women are motivated to give:  create, change, connect, collaborate, commit and celebrate. Do any of these six resonate with you? And if so, why?

A. Carolyn Hunter said her reasons for giving were to Change and Celebrate. She said, “I want to know how I can get more African American women from the community involved.” Laura Gates said her reasons for giving were to Change and Create because “educated women will change the world.”

Q. What are your thoughts on how to get children participating in and learning about philanthropy?

A. Anita Zucker explained that when her children were young, she took them with her to volunteer at Crisis Ministries. “It’s important to show your children how other people live, then they understand that everything they do has an impact,” she explained. Susan Romaine agreed and said when her daughter was young that she tried to lead by example. “At the end of the day my daughter wanted me to stay home with her, but I explained to her that this was important work. Sometimes I would take her with me to volunteer or attend a meeting so she could see what it was all about.”

Q. The Women’s Philanthropy Institute writes, “Women have traditionally been heralded for their generations of life-changing service to society. But today, women are not limited to contributions of service as they are achieving full confidence in their capabilities as financial donors.” You all certainly embody this transformation! What advice do you offer to other women in gaining confidence relative to money and influence?

A. Susan Romaine said that nothing is too small. “Give $5, $10, or $1,000 and you will feel empowered!” Anita Zucker agreed and said that she began giving in increments of $18 and called it ‘bite-sized pieces.’ “Then you can inspire people through your giving,” she said. Laura Gates added that women need to understand their financial situation so they can give in their lifetime. “Enjoy giving now,” she encouraged the audience.

Carolyn Hunter summed up the discussion with the simple phrase: “The more I give, the more I get.”

I left the discussion feeling empowered, and realized that I didn’t have to follow in my father’s exact footsteps and make my boys sing carols at Christmas, but that I could create my own path of giving. I could follow the panelist’s advice and lead by example.

Amy Mercer, Marketing and Communications Manager, Gibbes Museum of Art

 

Arts Education: A Continuing Legacy at the Gibbes

Arts education has always been central to the mission of the Gibbes Museum of Art. In 1912, the Charleston Sketch Club was formed and aspired to be “the basis of an art school where the fine arts in all branches should be taught by the best of teachers in the Gibbes art building.” With exhibition space, lecture room, and art studios, the museum was a hub for local artists and art supporters. Archival photographs show artists poised in front of their easels in a museum classroom in 1910. Another photograph shows artist Minnie Mickell working in the Gibbes Art Gallery Studio in 1925. By 1965, in need of additional exhibition space, the museum purchased 76 Queen Street, now the popular Husk restaurant, for its school of art. Studio art classes included drawing, painting, printmaking, photography, and clay and were held in this location for many years. As a college graduate in 1993, I took a drawing class in the Queen Street studio. Little did I know that nearly 20 years later, I would be an employee at the museum—a dream come true! Arts education has always been a vital part of the museum no matter where the actual classes have been held, and this focus on art education continues today.

Minnie Michael at work

Minnie Michael painting in the Gibbes Art Gallery.

Recent research from a partnership between the University of Arkansas and Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art has validated this mission through a large-scale, random-assignment study of school tours to the museum. Researchers were able to determine that strong relationships exist between arts education and a range of desirable outcomes. In other words, art makes students smart!

In an ongoing partnership with Charleston County School District Title I schools, the Gibbes education outreach program, Art to Go, combines art making and instruction through firsthand experiences with works of art. The goal of the program is to increase understanding of visual expression, creativity, and art. Gibbes Teaching Artists work with public schools to enhance the schools’ art curriculum. Through this program, the museum’s notable collection is explored as part of the instruction along with a field trip to the museum. All lessons are designed to broaden students’ understanding of art principles, art history, and creative expression.

A mosaic created for the 2012 Charleston Marathon

A mosaic created for the 2012 Charleston Marathon by Mitchell Elementary School students.

Art to Go has been implemented in five local Title I schools including Angel Oak, Murray LaSaine, Mitchell, Pinehurst, and Goodwin Elementary. “Our Art to Go program has been a great success year after year. It’s a wonderful partnership and collaborative effort that enhances the visual arts curriculum,” says Gibbes Museum Curator of Education, Rebecca Sailor.

Art to Go program at Angel Oak Elementary.

Students at work in the Art to Go program at Angel Oak Elementary.

Local artist and Gibbes Museum teaching artist Kristen Solecki has been involved in the Art To Go program for two years. She appreciates the access to fine arts and art education that the program provides to her students. “However, perhaps even more importantly it gives them confidence and pride,” she adds. This year Kristen is teaching at Angel Oak Elementary on Johns Island, a Title 1 neighborhood school that serves approximately 350 students.

“One week we learned about printmaking. This is a very forgiving medium and allows students to create abstract pieces using simple line and form. Students were so excited to reveal their prints and to show each other what they made. They would encourage each other and tell one another, ‘great job!’ ‘Wow! Look at hers!’ Some students would even ask me to show their work to siblings who were coming into the next class after them. The best part is seeing the same students later in the day walking around with their work still in hand.”

Kristen explains that her students have also been working on a mosaic mural where each child’s hand painted work makes up a piece of the giant mosaic. “We have assembled it and each child’s work is crucial because without it our mural will be missing a piece. This mutual respect between peers, teachers, and students, is wonderful. Art class encourages students to experiment, express their ideas, and to create. There is not a stress on perfection, it is a medium to celebrate who you are. When I walk through the halls on the way to class, students stop me and ask if I will be coming to their class today, and that they cannot wait for art.  I don’t think you could ask for anything better.”

Art to Go at Angel Oak Elementary

Artwork from the 2013 Art to Go program at Angel Oak Elementary.

For several years the museum has collaborated with the Charleston Marathon, which benefits the Youth Endowment for the Arts, a local non-profit that supports fine arts programming in Charleston County Schools. Gibbes Teaching Artists work with schools to create structures designed for the race expo that signifies the marathon’s purpose: Going the Distance for the Arts. Dr. James Braunreuther, Charleston County Fine Arts Learning Specialist says,

“The Charleston Marathon and the Gibbes Art to Go programs were both designed to offer greater opportunities in the arts for the children of Charleston County. It is only logical that these two tremendous programs would work together to increase the impact of both. The Charleston Marathon raises funds to support arts programs while increasing awareness of the importance of health and movement. The Gibbes museum supports this effort by working with schools to produce art work that highlights the athlete in the artist and the artistry of the athlete.”

This year’s marathon takes place the weekend of January 17–18 and the student’s artwork will be exhibited at the Health and Fitness Expo on Friday, January 17, 2014, held in the gymnasium at Burke Middle High School, 244 President Street. Come out and see the beautiful and creative art work the students have created. Enjoy the rewards of an arts education and maybe you’ll decide to enroll in a class yourself! To see a full listing of our studio art classes visit gibbesmuseum.org/events.

Amy Mercer, marketing and communications manager, Gibbes Museum of Art

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