Archive for December, 2012

Art to Go at Angel Oak Elementary School

This semester, I have been working with Megan Sweeney’s Angel Oak Elementary School classes on a project called “Going the Distance for the Arts.” It is a wonderful feeling to go into a classroom and see how excited students are over creating something that is their own, as well as collaborating on a larger project together. As an introduction to the Gibbes Museum, classes learned about the bust of George Washington, sculpted by Giusepe Ceracchi ca. 1792, and the importance of a portrait. The students learned how to draw a self-portrait and to translate onto paper what they see in 3-D.

As a school, we are creating a large owl sculpture of the Angel Oak mascot that will be displayed on the route of the Charleston Marathon. Students learned how to make a relief print using recycled materials and created feathers for the owl using this technique. The 4th and 5th graders helped make the owl form and assemble the feathers. They also designed a large mural as a background for the sculpture.

The marathon installation goes up on Friday, January 18, and can be viewed during the marathon on January 19 in the expo center. The marathon takes place in downtown Charleston, and raises funds to support fine arts programs in our community schools.

In addition to the classroom activities, I have been meeting with the Art Club at Angel Oak. Each member received his or her own sketchbook and we discussed the importance of drawing from life, from your imagination, and from words. We have been writing about our work as well, as an exercise to examine the connection between visual art and the written word. I find each of my encounters with the students so inspiring.

Kristen Solecki, Teaching Artist and Guest Blogger

Learn more about programs for K-12 students at the Gibbes on our website or by contacting Rebecca Sailor, Associate Curator of Education, at

Read about another Art to Go—Charleston Marathon collaboration on our blog.

The Spirit of Giving

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. —Margaret Mead

Students at Mt. Zion Elementary enjoy the Art to Go program.

Students at Mt. Zion Elementary enjoy the Art to Go program, funded by contributions to the Gibbes Museum's educational programming.

In early November, I was fortunate enough to attend the Lowcountry Chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals annual Philanthropy Day Luncheon. Over the years I have been to the luncheon, but on this particular day, I was overwhelmed by the “spirit of giving” that filled the room. Philanthropists, non-profit professionals, corporate sponsors, and foundations all came together to celebrate giving within the tri-county community as part of National Philanthropy Week. Events like these always remind me of why I do what I do. Every single person in that room believes passionately in the cause or mission of an organization. Most, in fact, support numerous causes. Yet, in that setting, we were all connected as we honored Marion and Wayland Cato, Trident United Way, General Dynamics, and Mr. and Mrs. Charles T. Cole Jr. for their wonderful philanthropic support. We learned from Blackbaud’s CEO Marc Chardon about examining the ways we engage with our donors. As Marc stated, donors today want to give more than money, they want a personal experience created through the give and take of information; they want to be part of the cause of the organization whether it be through advocating or volunteering.

Wayland and Marion Cato, and Gibbes Board Member Helen Pratt-Thomas, at the Gibbes Museum.

Marion and Wayland Cato, and Gibbes Board Member Helen Pratt-Thomas, at the Gibbes Museum. Photo by Carolina Photosmith.

We recognize that it is an uncertain time for non-profits as we face the near future and the possibility of potential charitable giving caps. While Americans do not make gifts for tax reasons only, incentives do encourage more giving. The true beneficiaries of these donations are not the generous Americans who make the gifts, but all citizens whose local communities, nation, and world are made better through the work of charitable organizations.

Marnie and Marc Chardon at the Gibbes Museum.

Marnie and Marc Chardon enjoyed the Art on Paper Fair at the museum this fall. Photo by MCG Photography.

As a new member of the Gibbes’ staff, I look forward to getting to know all of our members and supporters. Through your generosity, I am reminded daily of the importance of philanthropy. On my end, I will heed Marc’s advice to listen to you and to continually engage you so as to understand your changing needs and interests in relation to the work of the Gibbes. Additionally, I hope that you will continue to work on behalf of the Gibbes through your time, talent, treasure, and advocacy. Thank you for all that you do to support the Gibbes. Our organization is made better each day because of you. Happy Holidays!

Jennifer Ross, Major Gifts and Grants Consultant, Gibbes Museum of Art

Jen Ross and Donovan

Jen Ross and singer/songwriter Donovan. Photo by John Cusatis.