Archive for December, 2011

Going Back to School: The College of Charleston at the Gibbes

This Fall, the Gibbes Museum was the host site for the College of Charleston class for Art History/Studio Art (340/335), on Wednesdays from 1:15 to 4:00. Gibbes Fellows and Museum Educators were offered the opportunity to audit the class alongside the college students. I was excited to take advantage of the access to professors Marion Mazzone and John Hull, but knew that “going back to school” would present me with multiple challenges. I felt prepared for the art history content, however the in-gallery drawing assignments were very intimidating. Having never participated in a studio art class, I found the sketching of art works in the museum difficult at first. However, I persevered, and with the help of Professor Hull, I discovered I could actually draw. Through this experience, I developed a new appreciation for composition and all the elements that contribute to a finished work of art.

The Source, 1914, by Edward Middleton Manigault

As a class, we were able to view many art objects from the museums archives, as well as those on display in the galleries. The art-historical insight that Professor Mazzone shared about often unseen works of art in the museum’s collection was extremely enlightening and useful to me as a museum educator. I began to relate to works of art that I had previously passed by in my tours. Of particular interest was The Source, by Edward Middleton Manigault, located in the main hallway on the first floor. I had previously avoided the dark and foreboding scene, but with Professor Mazzone’s help I came to appreciate the artist’s use of color—specifically, the blending of various shade of blues and greens throughout the painting. Manigault’s choice of subject matter reflects back to the classical period of art and the influences of Greek mythology. I realized how lucky we are to have this artist’s work at the Gibbes, because his works are relatively few and highly esteemed.

I am already looking forward to auditing another College of Charleston art class in the future, perhaps to test some of my new found skills.

Annette Wanick, Gibbes museum educator and guest blogger

Learn about other continuing education classes at the Gibbes Museum on our website calendar.

Community Days for Everyone

Cassandra Whiteside creates her own artwork.

Cassandra Whiteside creates her own artwork. Photo by Julia Lynn

As the Associate Curator of Education, Community Days are a highlight of my job. I organize these family-friendly, free days four times a year. But Community Days are not just for families. I love seeing young adults or elderly couples walking through the galleries. It warms my heart to think that by making the day free and accessible, new visitors may walk through our doors. I hear much too often that parents are scared to bring their children to an art museum for fear that they will talk too loud or touch something. My hope is that Community Days help everyone realize museums can be fun for all ages.

A young artist at work in the galleries.

A young artist at work in the galleries.

A volunteer helps with face painting activities.

A volunteer helps with face painting activities.

Our collection is so important to Southern culture and history. We make it a priority to provide opportunities for visitors to enjoy our galleries without a fee. This year we are able to do so with the help of Roper St. Francis Healthcare, and in past years we had the support of the Junior League of Charleston. Both the Junior League and Roper have helped us not only financially, but as importantly, by supplying wonderful volunteers to help me staff these days. For example, the volunteers act as ambassadors for the museum by meeting and greeting visitors and managing the hands-on art activities.

A choir from Blessed Sacrament School sings carols in the Rotunda gallery.

A choir from Blessed Sacrament School sings carols in the Rotunda gallery.

I strive to have music or dance performances at each event. In the past we have had groups such as local church and school choirs, a Charleston Academy of Music student, a local ballet troupe, and even an up-and-coming teen rock band! Roper physician Dr. Johnny Weeks will perform at this Saturday’s event. Yes, doctors are multi-talented and enjoy the arts, too!

The 3 Dudes on the front steps of the Gibbes.

The 3 Dudes perform on the front steps of the museum.

I like to think that Community Day visitors will return for more artistic inspiration down the road. Maybe they will become members, bring a friend the next time, or just reflect on an artwork that brings back good memories. We are Charleston’s only visual art museum. We belong to this community and it is my job to make our galleries accessible to everyone… at least four times a year!

A family explores the galleries together.

A family explores the galleries together.

I hope you will join us for an upcoming Community Day on December 10, February 25, or April 21, from 10am – 1pm.

Rebecca Sailor, Associate Curator of Education, Gibbes Museum of Art

Artist Spotlight: Corrie McCallum (American, 1914–2009)

Our current exhibition, Breaking Down Barriers: 300 Years of Women in Art, features over 30 groundbreaking women artists, each with their own compelling story and artistic vision. Included among this group is Charleston’s own Corrie McCallum. Throughout her long and productive career, McCallum was a fixture in the Charleston art community. As a result, the Gibbes collection includes many of her works, a selection of which are featured above.

McCallum was born in Sumter, South Carolina in 1914. She attended the University of South Carolina and the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. Following an extended period of study in Mexico with her husband, fellow artist William Halsey (American, 1915–1999), McCallum and her family settled in Charleston in 1942. Though she chose to live in Charleston, McCallum stayed current with the New York art scene. She followed the development of Abstract Expressionism and incorporated the style into her work, as demonstrated by paintings such as View of Toledo and Boats of Nazare that feature gestural brushwork and reduction of forms.

Under the guidance of Corrie McCallum, the Gibbes created and conducted the first comprehensive art appreciation program for Charleston County public school students.

Under the guidance of Corrie McCallum, the Gibbes created and conducted the first comprehensive art appreciation program for Charleston County public school students.

In addition to her vast body of work, McCallum made significant contributions to the Charleston art community as an educator. She held education positions at several institutions, including the Telfair Museum of Art, Gibbes Museum of Art, College of Charleston, and Newberry College, and throughout her life remained an outspoken advocate for the visual arts.

McCallum’s painting View of Toledo will remain on view in Breaking Down Barriers through January 8, 2012—don’t miss this great exhibition! Have you already seen Breaking Down Barriers? Leave a comment here to share your experience with us.

Pam Wall, curator of exhibitions, Gibbes Museum of Art