Archive for June, 2013

Join the Gibbes Museum and see the World, or at least Chicago!

This June, I had the pleasure of traveling with a group of about thirty Gibbes Fellows to the great city of Chicago. Because the trip was planned by the Gibbes, the visual experiences were unparalleled. Many people who actually live in Chicago were involved in the planning process, so we visited the typical tourist destinations but also private homes, collections, and clubs. Even when we visited a public venue, we had a customized experience with a tour given by a museum curator or private collection owner.

The Cloud Gate, aka "The Bean," by Anish Kapoor (British (born India) 1954)

The Cloud Gate, aka “The Bean,” by Anish Kapoor in Millennium Park, Chicago.

So where did we go? On the first night we had dinner at an exquisite Art-Deco style private club in River North. The next day was a picture-perfect clear day and we strolled through Millennium Park to see “The Bean” and Frank Gehry’s Jay Pritzker Pavilion and watched the children frolicking in the “Crown Fountain” with the changing faces on our way to our private tour of the Art Institute of Chicago with its new Renzo Piano-designed modern building. We felt at home at the museum because we had lunch at the Terzo Piano restaurant.

Chicago's spectacular skyline, seen from a guided cruise on the Chicago River.

Chicago’s spectacular skyline, seen from a guided cruise on the Chicago River.

People always talk about the Chicago river cruises and there is a reason for that—we went on one and it was amazing—the knowledgeable guide (who is a volunteer docent) gave the background and description of about 50 world-class high-rise buildings that have made Chicago famous. But the day was not over for us, off we went to an elegant private home that housed a collection that rivaled the best of the Museum of Contemporary Art, all described by the knowledgeable owners. Already, we knew, this was not going to be a cookie-cutter, boring trip!

A view of Lake Michigan from a rooftop garden of a private residence.

A view of Lake Michigan from a rooftop garden of a private residence.

A mirrored sculpture installed on a private rooftop garden in downtown Chicago.

A mirrored sculpture installed on a private rooftop garden in downtown Chicago.

On Friday morning, we visited the Museum of Contemporary Art which exhibits thought-provoking art created since 1945—very cutting edge—but then we visited a private home with a rooftop garden featuring a mind-blowing array of art. Needing refreshment, we went to the Arts Club of Chicago for lunch. Although this club is private, there are works by the likes of Picasso, Klee, Matisse, Noguchi, and Braque hung casually on the wall so it is a very special place. Our next visit was a real change of pace—the Driehaus Museum which is a huge late-19th century Victorian mansion, darkly decorated with heavy wood paneling, Tiffany lamps, and highly polished stone. Later that afternoon, we went to the high-end, commercial interior-decorating studio of Suzanne Lovell so that we could learn how to live with all this fabulous art. The day came to a perfect end with cocktails in the home of a member of our group, a beautiful Art-Deco apartment in the Palmolive Building looking out over Lake Michigan and Lake Shore Drive.

The stained glass dome in the Driehaus Museum, attributed to Giannini & Hilgart.

The stained glass dome in the Driehaus Museum, attributed to Giannini & Hilgart.

On the last day, we headed out to the North Shore for house and garden tours. When we started out, it was pouring rain and we imagined that we would view those gardens with our noses pressed up against the windows of the bus. But fortunately, the rain became a mist and we toured a house and garden in Lake Bluff, right on Lake Michigan that housed a museum-quality collection of 17th and 18th century antiques, oriental carpets, oil paintings, and decorative arts—with another section housing Stickley furniture and decorative arts—talk about variety!

whimsical sculpture towers among the tree trunks

A whimsical sculpture towers among the tree trunks in a garden along the tour.

A sculpture bust peeks out from behind a hedge.

A sculpture bust peeks out from behind a hedge.

By this time, we were on top of the world, but there were more delights to come—two more world class gardens and private collections including the Chicago Botanic Garden and a visit to the Lenhardt Library, a horticultural rare book library housing million dollar editions. We ended the day with the best part—a stroll in the garden and a dinner in the handsome Winnetka home belonging to a couple in our group.

Take my advice, if the Gibbes Museum offers another trip—go for it!

Eleanor Hale, Gibbes Board Member, Adventure-seeker, and Guest Blogger

In Union there is Strength: Events at the Gibbes

Gibbes Museum Garden Gallery

Society 1858′s Habanero Rhythm event packed the house.

When I began working at the Gibbes Museum of Art in October 2012, I quickly realized that as an employee, a lot of different hats are to be worn. We are a non-profit after all! Currently, I am the events and rental coordinator for the museum, and I assist in coordinating in-house events and all outside rentals. The Gibbes is such a popular venue with requests ranging from small, intimate gatherings such as cocktail parties, dinners, and business meetings to large wedding receptions, ceremonies, and corporate events. For more than a century, the Gibbes Museum of Art has been a beacon for the visual arts in the Lowcountry region of South Carolina.

The Gibbes consists of a small staff of approximately 20 full- and part-time employees, and at one point or another, they have all assisted in planning a rental. Between our curatorial staff, development team, marketing group, facility manager, and security staff, rentals planned at the Gibbes would not be perfectly executed without the help of my colleagues. We rely on each other to make sure each client is pleased with their Gibbes experience, not only as a museum, but also as a venue.

‘Tis the Season to get Married
Working at the Gibbes has given me an abundant amount of first-hand experiences when planning the bride’s big day. One of my favorite rentals that took place at the Gibbes was Catlin and Chris Whiteside’s wedding reception. Caitlin, an event planner at Calder Clark, was, as you can imagine, highly organized and knew exactly what she wanted. Her husband Chris, aka Whitey, was a joy to be around and brought laughter to every conversation.

Wedding Ceremony in Gibbes Rotunda

A gorgeous wedding ceremony in the Gibbes Museum Rotunda gallery.

Caitlin and Chris hold special memories of the Gibbes as their first date took place in the Gibbes Courtyard, so where better a place to have their reception. The months of planning for their special day came together on Saturday, February 23. Every detail was just as Caitlin had planned, including the miniature putting green built under a side tent as a surprise for Chris. The bride and groom were happy to be married and celebrating with their closest friends and family, even with the torrential downpours that happened that evening.

As Caitlin and Chris were getting ready for their send off, soaking wet shoes and all, they kindly requested a pizza be ordered and sent to their room at Charleston Place Hotel. I got an obvious laugh out of this request, but I was more than happy to make the call to Domino’s. I mean who wouldn’t want to end their wedding night with a hot pizza delivery to your suite?

A Hard Days Night
Being able to connect with different businesses through various Gibbes’ rentals has provided me a large professional and social network. Different companies throughout the nation utilize the Gibbes as a venue for dinners, holiday parties, receptions, etc. Some of these corporate rentals have brought the Gibbes new members. Recently, we were fortunate to host Carriage Properties, a longtime supporter of the Gibbes. They held a large party attended by more than 300 people that included clients and friends.

Gibbes Courtyard Family Circle Cup event

A sponsor event during the Family Circle Cup, featuring the Lee Brothers, in the Gibbes Courtyard.

The doors could not have opened any sooner as guests waited patiently to enter the Gibbes. Carriage Properties and Gibbes’ guests filed in for the mix and mingle. New homeowners to Charleston were pleased to have an opportunity to visit the museum and learn about its many programs and events. And, many people, longtime Charlestonians had not visited the museum in a while and enjoyed their return.

A Historic Venue
The Gibbes Museum of Art is the Lowcountry’s leading cultural institution, the premier collection of art focusing on the American South, a dynamic resource for visual learning, and one of Charleston’s most beloved and distinguished landmarks. The exceptional education programs at the Gibbes preserves and promotes the art of Charleston and the American South. Between art lectures, performances, and fundraisers, the Gibbes calendar has a busy event schedule. Along with the Gibbes events are the booming rentals which bring in an additional 700 guests per month and serve as an additional revenue source.

Gibbes Museum Courtyard, Art of Design event

The Art of Design luncheon and lecture in the Gibbes Courtyard.

I hope you will consider the Gibbes Museum as a rental for your next event. I am always available to assist in your planning needs. Please feel free to contact me at jclem@gibbesmuseum.org.

Jena Clem, Events & Rental Coordinator, Gibbes Museum of Art

Download a PDF of our Rentals brochure for more information about making the Gibbes Museum of Art the location of your next great event!

The More You Stare, the More You See

The Anatomy drawing class for third through eighth graders, held on Tuesdays at Hazel Parker Community Center, studied the process of eighteenth century landscape painting without the use of the camera. Each week students selected various objects from nature to incorporate into a scene that they envisioned to paint. Students learned to employ different media that are commonly used for collecting data for final paintings. The first week we used graphite, charcoal, and white conté; the second week we used pen and ink material; the third we used watercolor; and the fourth week we used acrylics to create a finished painting.

The second week, the weather was at its best so the students and I were outside at Hazel Park. We worked on developing our ability to focus more closely on the details of objects in nature. As part of our study, we chose various trees to observe and determined the angle of direction for each one. Next we determined what side the shadows were located on the trunks of the trees and how many highlights we saw. The drawings below are some of the results from our enjoyable nature study.

My experience as an artist, and for all artists, is to build observation skills. The more that I have practiced viewing objects, people, and environments from life, the better I can read and see detail which then translates into seeing color. During our anatomy lessons, I showed students how to break down what they see in into basic shapes, and how defining those shapes leads to viewing details. This process helps students gain confidence to put what they see on paper, but they have to get past the obvious. As aspiring artists, we all can see, but we have to look more closely to make our works come to life and create the believable.

Charles Williams, teaching artist and guest blogger

Schools Out! Summer Camp is In!

The Dutch Wives, 1977, by Jasper Johns

The Dutch Wives, 1977, by Jasper Johns

I am so excited to be teaching the summer camp at the Gibbes Museum this year! Our goal this summer is to experience several different kinds of art making using new techniques and media. The campers will create art taking inspiration from the works by many fine artists at the Gibbes Museum. We will spend one week-long session learning about printmaking, using methods that are hundreds of years old. Another session will focus on exploring the world of Modern Art. We will use paints, resists, and mixed media in new ways inspired by the works of artists like Jasper Johns and Jill Hooper. Our last camp session is all about the Sea. We will make our own 3-D underwater creatures, illustrations, and learn how to create a landscape.

Summer campers hard at work.

Summer campers hard at work.

Sea Turtle, 1929, by Anna Heyward Taylor

Sea Turtle, 1929, by Anna Heyward Taylor

I work full time as an illustrator and artist, but when I am not in my studio I teach. I have been teaching workshops and private art classes for over six years. It is wonderful to be able to share the passion for what I do with others and to work in a group where students and I can inspire one another with our ideas. I love to see my younger students gain confidence through their work and see what they create with the techniques we have learned. We are looking forward to a terrific camp!

Kristen Solecki, teaching artist and guest blogger

To learn more about Summer Art Camp and register for upcoming sessions, download our camp brochure PDF or contact Rebecca Sailor at rsailor@gibbesmuseum.org or 843.722.2706 x41.