Summer Art Camp at the Gibbes!

The Gibbes Education staff are excited for the opportunity to host our Summer Art Camp in the Museum after many years at satellite locations around town. After the renovations are complete, our first floor will include four studios for hands-on art classes, as well as our Artist in Residence program. We took a moment to chat with Janell Walker and Abby Stone, who will be sharing their knowledge and skills with campers this summer. Janell is a full time art teacher at North Charleston Creative Arts Elementary School, and Abby is a lead teacher for 3 and 4 year olds at O’Quinn Preschool in Mt. Pleasant.

We asked Abby and Janell how they integrate the arts into everyday lessons, or in Janell’s case, how she incorporates what the students are learning outside the art room.

JW: One of my strong points as an art teacher is meeting a student’s needs by establishing a personal understanding of each individual child. My objective is to improve student awareness of the arts; and to apply interdisciplinary-based lessons involving math, science, language arts, social studies, and multiculturalism.

AS: I am a firm believer that arts can improve and deepen any learning experience. Being a preschool teacher, I think I may have more opportunity than elementary or upper school teachers to integrate art into my lesson plans. For each unit, I implement activities that get students moving, building, gluing, cutting, drawing, painting, or sculpting. There are so many different types of learners so I make sure to provide ample opportunities for auditory, visual, kinesthetic, or any combination to get students engaged.

Gibbes Art Camp

What are your feelings on being the first summer camp inside the museum?

AS: I am really looking forward to teaching in the newly renovated space. We will have so many amenities to work with, be it the educational space itself, art exhibits, the Museum’s permanent collection, the gardens, or the technology available to us.

This summer, we are offering six themes for art campers. What can the kids expect to learn in these different sessions?

AS: Each week this summer has a great theme. The Coastal Creations week will be very hands on. We will use lots of materials found on the beach right here in Charleston. This will make it very relevant and engaging for the children.

JW: Yes. In this session, campers will also explore beach sensory bins, make sea glass mosaics, and print with real fish!

Campers who attend the Go Green session will learn the importance of recycling and all the amazing things that can be made out of recycled materials. We’ll make musical instruments, paper mâché masks, magazine collages, and found object sculptures.

The Art of Asia week will allow campers to create Japanese wood block prints, dye Indonesian batik, practice Chinese brush painting, and even put on their own Balinese shadow puppet show!

AS: My grandmother is a lifelong artist who has always had a great interest in Asian inspired art and I have definitely inherited some of her passion in that area. I am looking forward to making some really gorgeous prints, paintings, and puppets with the children.

JW: The Greats theme will focus on iconic artists like Van Gogh, Matisse, Picasso, Warhol, and O’Keeffe among others, and Music, Movement, and Masterpieces campers will dance, sculpt, paint, write, and draw while listening to music from around the world.

AS: I am really excited about the Movement and Masterpieces week, too. I believe that art should be a whole body experience involving all of our senses and this week will really showcase that.

JW: Explorer campers will learn the basic techniques of art—painting, drawing, creating, and sculpting—while highlighting creativity and self-expression.

AS: I also plan on having sensory bins that correspond with the theme of each particular week. It’s going to be great!

Gibbes Art Camp

What do you want parents to know about sending their kids to Summer Art Camp?

JW: Our camp will be filled with new experiences that inspire campers. We will learn about the beautiful artworks in the Gibbes Museum by taking a tour of the galleries. Each week, children will study basic art skills and expand their artistic expression, style, and visual vocabulary. At the end of each week, campers will exhibit the work they have created for parents to come and see.

AS: Parents should be very excited about this summer at the Gibbes! Janell and I are both experienced teachers with strong art backgrounds so the little ones will be in good hands. Each week, campers will be exposed to many different types of art, materials, and artists… Not to mention the amazing new space we will have to learn in!

Gibbes Art Camp

What do you hope the campers will take away from their experience at Summer Art Camp?
JW: Whether or not campers consider themselves artists, each course will help them grow and gain confidence. All session will include playing, learning, experimenting, and expanding horizons through the experience and pleasure of creating art.
AS: Campers should be excited because it’s going to be a hands on, fun filled, movin’ and shakin’ summer! We will dance, paint, carve, sculpt, sing, touch, glue, cut, and create.

Summer Art Camp sessions are filling quickly! The Gibbes Gator
Download a 2016 registration form or call 843.722.2706 x237/email rhiester@gibbesmuseum.org with any questions.

Creative Teaching Techniques

A group of teachers sits clustered around a vibrant image of a little girl in a white dress standing in front of a wall covered by graffiti.

Artist

Artist, 2007, by Mary Whyte (American, b. 1953). Watercolor; 39 1/2 x 48 inches. Museum purchase with funds provided by Dr. and Mrs. (Caroline) Anton Vreede.

“What do you think this means?” asks the workshop leader.
“I think this represents innocence,” says one teacher.
“Hmm, I think it looks more like the loss of innocence,” says another.
“What do you see in the painting that makes you think so?” asks the leader.

A lively conversation ensues about visual messages, evidence, symbolism, meaning, and how artists use images to communicate ideas. This conversation is the kind of conversation being held among teachers in local schools as they learn creative teaching techniques that will engage their students in building understanding through visual art. Due to generous funding provided by Arts, etc., Engaging Creative Minds (ECM) has partnered with the Gibbes Museum of Art to provide professional development for teachers at schools on Johns Island, SC.

Teachers at Angel Oak Elementary

Gibbes Museum Educator Elise Detterbeck talks with teachers in a professional development workshop through ECM.

Engaging Creative Minds is a local non-profit that partners with the local arts community and school districts to bring creativity and innovation to the classroom. Arts, etc. is an organization of Kiawah and Cassique women committed to supporting the arts. The charitable organization has provided ECM with a grant to support local teachers and equip them with arts integrated teaching strategies.

Teaching children to “read” a piece of art mimics the process they use to read a piece of text. They have a chance to try out thinking skills such as identifying the main idea, noticing details, citing evidence, inferring, and many other skills we ask children to use with text. Even very young children can start practicing this kind of thinking with images before they have the reading skills to do it with text. It is very empowering for them.

Teachers at Angel Oak Elementary

Teachers at Angel Oak Elementary School participate in an exercise to “read” a work of art.

Faculties from Angel Oak Elementary School and Haut Gap Middle School have already received professional development as a result of the partnership between ECM and the Gibbes Museum of Art. The response has been very positive. Many of the teachers have requested support in locating artistic images that correspond to their curriculum so that they can utilize art-based teaching strategies with their students. Elise Detterbeck, Gibbes Museum Educator, and ECM staff are working together to resource teachers with appropriate images. “These strategies are so engaging,” said one local teacher, “I know my kids will really respond to these images.” The workshops help teachers learn strategies for “making meaning” from images so they can lead their students through similar experiences. They also learn strategies for integrating writing as a response to the art.

Susan Antonelli, Education Director for Engaging Creative Minds, and guest blogger

In addition to professional development workshops for teachers, Engaging Creative Minds provides in-school programs in 20 Charleston County Schools and hosts Summer STEAM Institutes at The Citadel and the College of Charleston.

Adventures in Tweeting

As an individual of a certain age, my relationship with social media has been tenuous at best. I am of the generation that did not have email until college, and even then, it was so new that no one really used it; I did not even access the Internet until I was in graduate school! I also grew up playing on metal playground equipment over concrete surfaces… perhaps you can guess my age.

I recall hearing about Facebook maybe ten years ago from some of the Gibbes college-age interns and thinking, “wow, Facebook sounds annoying,” and I avoided it completely for a few years. However, as a point of reference, I grew up in the Chicago area, which means that I have an entire lifetime of friends, relatives and experiences that are separate from my current life in South Carolina. At some point, the lightbulb went off that Facebook was an easy way to reconnect with people from my past; and it’s fun to see what people look like, who their husbands and wives are, what careers they chose, how many kids they have, etc. I joined Facebook in 2003 and will admit that it has become a daily part of my life; however, Facebook was as far as I wanted to go. I do have a Linked In account but it seemed necessary for professional connection and the truth is, I don’t use it much or utilize its networking components. Thank you to everyone who has “endorsed” me on Linked In. I don’t know what that means but I thank you.

social media platforms

Between Facebook and Linked In, I felt satisfied with my social media interactions. I recall hearing about Twitter about five years ago. With its 140 characters and hashtags I again thought, “why do I need to do this?” I am sure I am showing my age but the nuances, etiquette and immediacy of Twitter was just not something I wanted to dive into; I did not intend to ever tweet. For years I was able to say, “sorry, no Twitter account,” and I survived proving that it is possible to live a fulfilled, socially connected life without Twitter… really! Fast forward to September 2015 when the Gibbes suddenly found itself without a Communications Manager, a position that had recently handled the Museum’s social media accounts of Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. While the Gibbes ultimately made the decision to contract out marketing needs to the fabulous Lou Hammond & Associates, keeping up with social media was not part of the contract. As a result, our staff did what we always do, stepped up to handle the situation. We discussed social media offerings at a meeting and several staff members expressed interest in taking on the extra responsibilities. Becca Hiester, our Curatorial Assistant, graciously agreed to handle the Gibbes Facebook page and Amanda Breen, Membership Coordinator, volunteered to do Instagram postings for the Museum. But what about Twitter? Director, Angela Mack, asked, “who wants to tweet for the Museum?” and the silence that ensued was deafening. I really thought our younger staff would jump all over this but the pressure to tweet and hashtag constantly and be clever in 140 characters and represent the Museum well and not sound silly or make typos that 4000+ people might see was a seemingly overwhelming responsibility. Also, the fact that our entire staff is already working on overdrive to get the Museum open by the end of May 2016 contributed to the fact that the Gibbes Twitter account was left without a champion. And then, as is often the case with me… my mouth opened and the following words came out “I’ll try Twitter.” WHAT JUST HAPPENED? I think I literally stunned myself, but before I had a chance to utter another word, the entire staff response was “Great! Thanks! Done.”

Ok, maybe it wasn’t a complete verbal anomaly that I volunteered for Twitter. I have, in recent months become intrigued by this medium as it is talked about at EVERY museum professional conference I have attended over the past few years. There are sessions about how to Tweet for your museum, how to hashtag, how to use Twitter to engage millennials, how to use it to promote exhibitions, how to connect, how to open doors. It is just everywhere and I have had a growing sense over the last year or so that this was something I should at least understand and learn about its value to the 21st-century museum. Twitter is not going anywhere and neither am I; we need to be friends.

Gibbes Twitter feed screenshot

So now I had the opportunity to learn about this type of social media on behalf of my institution without the pressure of having my own account. Fine, time to dive in and tweet! Lasley Steever, Director of Public Programs and Special events, who had some experience with Twitter, helped me get logged into the Gibbes account and gave me a brief tutorial on how it all worked. I will admit that the first time I looked at Twitter I experienced temporary paralysis and immediately thought, “WHY did I say I would do this?” Unlike Facebook which seems to move at much slower pace, Twitter updates come pouring in by the second. I recall sitting in front of my computer for an hour (good use of my time right?) watching tweets roll in from the 400+ entities that the Gibbes already follows and being mesmerized by the variety of posts and hashtags and retweets. After watching the feed for a while, I began to get extremely paranoid about what I would tweet, because whatever I wrote, there was the potential for literally thousands of people to see it! What should I tweet about? On any given day the Gibbes has multiple classes and programs going on. We have events coming up. Should I tweet about those and “tag” people involved? Should I make up hashtags? I didn’t even understand the whole hashtag thing. My questions and fear of tweeting something silly continued, so I closed Twitter and went on with my day. However, I could not ignore it for long. I had to get a tweet out as the Gibbes had been in a Twitter silence for weeks due to our change in staffing. I finally reopened the application and thought, “ok, I’ll tweet about something I know, something I am living with every day,” the Gibbes renovation. I posted a picture of the outside of the Museum with scaffolding still up and put some sort of hashtag on it and made a comment about renovation progress and hit “Tweet,” and then closed the application to move on with my day. Wouldn’t you know it, when I checked back later that tweet had been retweeted and “liked” and the Gibbes had gained a bunch of new followers. This initial success made me realize that tweeting really wasn’t as a big a deal as I was making it and there was no need to put pressure on myself to send out the perfect tweet! The more I began to tweet (about the art collection, about the renovation, about the new collection storage space, about our programs) the more I began to realize that the beauty of Twitter is the immediate engagement. Each bit of information pushed out there touches one of our followers in a different way. Some are interested in the building renovation and some are not. It does not matter, it is the fact that we are making the effort to communicate with everyone!

Gibbes Twitter feed screenshot

Back to present day. I am still handling the Gibbes Twitter account and those of us working on social media have received some training on how to use the various applications more effectively. I have been on the road overseeing the return of our art collection from off-site storage sites and have admittedly not done a lot of tweeting, but I will get back to it soon. I still get a thrill when someone retweets something I have posted, or if other entities tag the Gibbes account and engage with us to share their excitement about our renovation or new logo or great press we have been getting. Every now and then I decide to be more proactive with the tweets as well. One day I posted a lovely picture I had taken in the cypress swamp at Caw Caw Interpretive Center and tagged Charleston County Parks mentioning that is was easy to see where Charleston artists get their inspiration for many of the landscape paintings in our permanent collection. This tweet led to a retweet from Charleston County Parks and a direct engagement/conversation about possible collaborative programs. THIS is the power of Twitter! I get it! I am not intimidated by it anymore and feel empowered to tweet about all kinds of things on behalf of the Gibbes; someone out there will be interested!

I am still a Twitter novice at best and it is difficult at times to get regular posts in (as I have a few other projects to juggle now… ahem… the unpacking and reinstallation of our entire art collection) but I am doing my best. So if you are a Gibbes Twitter follower now you know who is behind the tweets. If you follow us, THANK YOU… and please know that every retweet and “like” on our posts gives me inspiration to tweet more! Actually, I need to go update Twitter now. Thanks of reading!

Zinnia Willits, Director of Collections Administration and voice of the Gibbes on Twitter

Museum Educators Get Back by Giving

Gibbes museum educators serve as the face of the museum in our area schools. Currently, we have a team of 8 that work with our in-school programs Eye Spy and Eye Opener. The team is responsible for carrying out curriculum needs in the classrooms while working with teachers. It is a partnership. We work to enhance what the students are already learning. Gibbes museum educators bring fresh faces, new ideas, and different areas of expertise to the table. I feel fortunate each day to have such a great team that can heighten Charleston area students and teachers awareness of the importance of visual arts education. One of our newest educators, Lucie Medbery, shares how working as a museum educator has been a great learning experience for her as she gets to know the Lowcountry. —Rebecca Sailor, Curator of Education

Zucker Middle School students

Zucker Middle School students work on a writing project as part of the Eye Opener collaboration with ECM.

I am not from Charleston, but my husband grew up here. When we decided to retire, our hearts told us that Charleston was the place to be! As a retired educator, I hoped to find opportunities to work with students in challenging and engaging activities. I met Elise Detterbeck, who introduced me to the Museum’s Eye Spy program, and the Eye Opener program at Engaging Creative Minds (ECM). From there, the adventure began.

Museum Educator Lucie Medbery works with Zucker Middle School students.

Museum Educator Lucie Medbery works with Zucker Middle School students.

Drayton Hall students

Drayton Hall students enjoy the Gibbes Museum’s Eye Spy program.

Through these programs, I have met many talented and committed individuals, committed to using art as a vehicle to promote creativity, exploration, problem solving, and self awareness for students of all ages. I have learned a great deal about the rich artistic traditions that exist in the Lowcountry, and the thriving artist community here in Charleston. The dedicated staff at the Gibbes has been extremely supportive. I am so impressed with their expertise in developing meaningful programs for students in the area. As I learn about the plans underway for the reopening of the Gibbes, I am thrilled to be a small part in this tremendous endeavor.

Lucie Medberry works with Drayton Hall students.

Lucie Medberry works with Drayton Hall students.

Drayton Hall Elementary

Kids at Drayton Hall Elementary participate in the Eye Spy program.

I have thoroughly enjoyed my sessions with students in Eye Spy and ECM. In our discussions and activities with students about art, I witness their enthusiasm, insight, and inspiration. It is a privilege to be able participate in these valuable programs.

Lucie Medbery, Gibbes Museum Educator and Guest Blogger

A Throwback to the Stork Club

When my co-chair Jay Benson and I originally started brainstorming for this year’s Society 1858 Winter Party, all we knew for sure was that we wanted to do something no one had seen before. With all of the productions, functions, and events always going on in Charleston, that is not an easy feat. We ran through several great ideas, but none were exactly what we wanted… and then it came to us: we wanted to recreate the appeal and excitement of the fabulous NYC Stork Club! With the help of some of the most creative minds in Society 1858, the idea became a reality.

The entrance to the Stork Club in NYC.

The entrance to the Stork Club in NYC.

Sherman Billingsley’s Stork Club was the swankiest place to see and be seen from 1929–65. Everyone who was anyone made their way to the Stork Club, including celebrities, sports figures, politicians, and socialites. Can you imagine being seated next to Grace Kelly, Humphrey Bogart, Judy Garland or Marilyn Monroe?

Actress Marilyn Monroe and baseball player Joe Dimaggio.

Actress Marilyn Monroe and baseball player Joe Dimaggio.

One of the things that I really like about the Stork Club theme is all of the glamour behind it. Women wore evening gowns with silk gloves and men had to wear a tie. In looking through the old photos, you never see anyone dressed down or a hair out of place. In the current era of casualness, it’s nice to imagine a place like this.

Shirley Temple and company the Stork Club.

Shirley Temple and company the Stork Club.

In planning for the party, I have heard lots of fun stories about the original Stork Club. One of my favorites involves Evalyn Walsh McLean losing the Hope Diamond—all 45.52 karats!—at the Stork Club while wearing it out for a night on the town. You’ll never believe that it was later found underneath the table! Another favorite is Ernest Hemingway cashing his $100,000 check for film rights to For Whom the Bell Tolls to settle his bill.

Ernest Hemingway, Sherman Billinsgley, and John O'Hara.

Ernest Hemingway, Sherman Billinsgley, and John O’Hara.

We started building the buzz in December by inviting our fabulous Host Committee for a preview at The Spectator Hotel, which felt like a throwback to a cocktail club in the Jazz Age. At this party, we also unveiled our stunning logo, created by Fork & Knife. Thanks to the Neighborhood Dining Group, our Stork Club will take place on January 29 at No. 5 Faber, and I can’t think of a better place with its sweeping dance floor, polished granite bar, and suede and leather banquettes. No. 5 Faber will be transformed into Charleston’s very own version of the Stork, for one night only! With décor by InventivEnvironments, a marvelous menu by Hamby Catering & Events, and just as the Stork Club was famous for its knowledgeable bartenders, we’ll be offering a specialty cocktail next Friday night. Once you get there, you’ll never want to leave!

Coat check girls

The coat check girls were aspiring actresses who had to audition for their role at the club.

If you want to be privy to all of our surprises, you’ll have to buy a ticket to pass through the gold chain. Expect live jazz and a performance or two from Broeworks. We will also be bringing back the chance to win original art by local artists; you don’t want to miss your chance to take home a work by Karen Ann Myers, Raven Roxanne, Sally King Benedict, Marissa Vogl, Jill Hooper, Alan Jackson, Lese Corrigan, Francis Sills, and Kate Long Stevenson. There will also be a few pieces of special, authentic Stork Club artwork donated by Shermane Billingsley, heiress to the original Stork Club’s legacy, and Stork Club Enterprises, LLC. Stay tuned to our social media pages to get a few more hints.

New Year’s Eve in the Shermane Suite at the Stork Club, 1953, by Albert Dorne.

New Year’s Eve in the Shermane Suite at the Stork Club, 1953, by Albert Dorne.

Dress your ritziest (cocktail suggested, costumes are not required but certainly welcome) to come relive the allure of the Stork Club and don’t be left out in the cold! Tickets can be purchased at www.storkclubcharleston.org.

Susie Armstrong, 1858 Winter Party Co-chair and guest blogger

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

The Gift of the Gibbes

I’ve been working at the Gibbes for a little over a year now and I’ve been sharing my love for this fabulous institution with family and friends. I’ve taken my sister to parties and my mom to lectures. I encouraged my niece to take summer camp and some friends to take a studio art class with me. They all loved it! So this holiday season I decided to give the gift of the Gibbes to my Aunt Julie: I bought her a membership to the Gibbes (and a bottle of wine).

Becca and her sister Julie Foster celebrate La Belle Epoque

Becca and her sister Julie Foster celebrate “La Belle Epoque” at the Gibbes on the Street party in May.

Gibbes CFO Jim Dixon, Becca, and her friend Hannah Hosemann, at the 1858 Prize Unveiling Party in September.

Gibbes CFO Jim Dixon, Becca, and her friend Hannah Hosemann, at the 1858 Prize Unveiling Party in September.

Aunt Julie and I are very close. She is my mom’s only sibling, never married or had children, and has always loved to travel. As a young adult she traveled to amazing places with her aunts, going to Egypt, Alaska, Hawaii, France and Italy (to name a few). Over the past few years we’ve started travelling together and have enjoyed visiting museums, among other things, across Europe. Our first travel experience together was while I studied abroad in Venice, Italy. She and my mom came for a week and we had a great time exploring the city and even ventured to a local soccer match. That was an experience. Our next adventure together was to the motherland in Poland with my mom and some of their cousins. We all had a great time eating pierogi and learning the language (or at least trying).

Aunt Julie and Becca enjoying a whisky tasting at the Glenfiddich Distillery in Scotland.

Becca and Aunt Julie enjoying a whisky tasting at the Glenfiddich Distillery in Scotland.

The next year she found a tour to London called “Theatre in the West End” with Road Scholar (if you don’t know, this is a tour company that caters to the retired set). I told her she needed a travel companion and she said she’d love to take me along. We haven’t looked back since! We’ve been on organized tours and also toured on our own to Cornwall, England and Scotland. Most recently we went on a Danube River Cruise which was an amazing experience that took us to Prague, Vienna, and Budapest. The two of us have had a blast tasting regional specialties, admiring old churches, attending performances, exploring grocery stores, and, of course, visiting all different types of museums. Some museum highlights include the London Transport Museum, the Czartoryski Museum in Krakow (home of da Vinci’s Lady with an Ermine), the Culloden Battlefield in Scotland, and the Hungarian National Museum in Budapest.

She has given me so much over the years, especially a taste for adventure, a full passport, and a love for museums. She has shared her passion for travel and many of her travel tips. She has also inspired me to have a very close relationship with my niece, and I hope one day to take her on wonderful trips when she’s older. With everything she has given me, the least I could do was give her unlimited access to one of my favorite places in Charleston.

Becca Hiester, Curatorial Assistant, Gibbes Museum of Art

Art’s Impact

It is hard to believe that another year is about to end and we will soon be welcoming 2016. Not to be cliché or anything, but the end of a year always allows people an opportunity to reflect on the happenings of that year. Once again, I write my own lists of goals for 2016 – read more, meditate, be a better person and on and on. However, as most of us think about our personal resolutions, it is hard not to consider the larger world around us.

Watching the news this week, there were numerous replays of the year’s most significant events, many of which were tragic and heartbreaking. Shootings occurred everywhere from movie theaters, to colleges, to churches. Most significantly, we witnessed tragedy in our own community at Mother Emanuel AME on June 17. And the world watched in horror when Paris was overtaken by hatred on November 13. Unfortunately, many lost their lives in places meant to inspire. While reflecting on these events, I thought about the fact that it would be very easy to succumb to sadness, despair and possibly the lack of hope for our world today. Yet, quite the opposite, in that I think many of us quickly learned that the arts in all forms continue to endure. The arts help the human spirit to endure. This, of course, is not to trivialize the injustice that prevailed throughout these events, but rather to consider how we use art to reflect upon the social issues at play and how we use art as a way to handle our grief. Art often expresses more than mere words and people often welcome art when there is nothing left to say. Consider the many images that circulated through social media in response to the shootings in Paris and at Mother Emanuel AME.

Alloneword Design: Tears for Mother/Love for All   Gil Shuler Graphic Design - We Shall Overcome

Charleston Strong images by Y'allsome Goods

Images in response to the Emanuel AME tragedy on June 17, 2015. Top Row: Alloneword Design, Gil Shuler Graphic Design. Bottom Row: Y’allsome Goods.

The Gibbes Museum of Art held its annual Distinguished Lecture Series in November days after the Paris shootings. Former Met director Philippe de Montebello offered a lecture on “The Multiple Lives of the Work of Art” where he discussed how art can be “transformed by time and circumstances (and) that the meaning of the work itself can change, as well as our own response to it.” French illustrator Jean Jullien conveyed this same notion when he created a simple image of the Eiffel Tower in a peace sign that circulated throughout the world and became an instant symbol of peace and solidarity. Some saw it as a cross while others saw it as an image of Paris. He commented, “That’s the beauty of an image, people can see what they can see. And if it helps with their faith, then I’m fine with that.”

Image by Jean Jullien in response to the November 2015 terrorist attacks in Paris, France.

Image by Jean Jullien in response to the November 2015 terrorist attacks in Paris, France.

Opening ourselves to art enlightens us. Exploring its many layers, we uncover the physical details while delving into the metaphysical. We examine. We question. We process. And we feel. That is what art can do. It challenges us to perhaps see things in a different way or to consider a different meaning. This spring we will reopen the Gibbes Museum of Art, and our entire community will be reintroduced to its collection of art. To inaugurate the new space, the Gibbes is organizing the exhibition The Things We Carry: Contemporary Art in the South. This exhibition will feature paintings, sculpture, photography, and mixed media works by a diverse group of contemporary artists while addressing the difficult history of the south, and the many subtle and not so subtle ways it is manifest today. The goal is to provide a place where the Charleston community can come together and have meaningful conversations about our past, about the tragic shootings at the Emanuel AME Church, about the spirit of this community and its response to the challenges we face, and any other conversations inspired by the works on view.

Visitors at the Gibbes Museum of Art.

Visitors at the Gibbes Museum of Art. Photo by MCG Photography.

As we reflect on 2015, let us not be afraid to go out in the world and visit our museums, our churches, and our schools. Let us use art to make our world a better place. I encourage all of you to make a resolution that includes art in 2016! Art will prevail.

Jennifer Ross, Gibbes Museum Director of Development

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

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