In the presence of art, we have the opportunity to see inside someone’s heart, mind, and soul and feel what they felt.

Gibbes Museum of Art Announces Inaugural Week-long Visual Arts Festival 2022

Pink car covered with flowers in front of the Gibbes

The Gibbes Museum of Art, Charleston’s premier art museum, has announced a new annual festival of visual art, Art Charleston, which will take place May 9 – 13, 2022. Four main events, the Amy P. Coy Forum, Art of Design, Soirée and Gibbes on the Street, will anchor the festival celebrating creative freedom. Additionally, participants will partake in artist lectures, gallery walks, professional workshops, exhibition tours with experts and an art auction during the week-long event. This year’s theme of creative freedom is inspired by the museum’s major spring exhibition, Fighters for Freedom:  William H. Johnson Picturing Justice, which is organized by the Smithsonian American Art Museum and premiering at the Gibbes before its national tour.

“Visual art not only reflects our local history and culture but has the power to inspire our imaginations and nourish our souls,” says Angela Mack, executive director of the Gibbes Museum of Art. “We hope this week, and the many annual events to come, will not only be educationally enriching but will also be fun. We hope to inspire all participants to celebrate the creative freedoms that we all have and the groundbreaking artists who are expressing their freedom.”

Amy P. Coy Forum

Monday, May 9, 2022

Stephanie J. Woods, 2021 winner of the museum’s 1858 Prize for Contemporary Southern Art, will be recognized at the Amy P. Coy Forum. An avant-garde of contemporary Southern art, Woods’ body of work examines performative behavior and the cognitive effects of forced cultural assimilation through the exploration and utilization of textiles, photography, video, sculpture, community-engaged projects and material language. Museum visitors may view Woods’ multimedia work, Lavender Notes, in the Mary Jackson Modern and Contemporary Gallery for the duration of 2022. The forum will feature a presentation from Woods followed by a Q&A with audience members and a cocktail reception to kick off Society 1858’s annual Art Auction. Tickets for this event are $40 for members or $50 for non-members and can be purchased here.

Art of Design

Tuesday, May 10, 2022

Lewis Miller, a New York floral designer known for his pop-up urban flower installations, will be the featured speaker of the 12th annual Art of Design. This glorious daytime lunch and lecture will take place in the museum’s classical European-style Lenhardt Garden. Each spring, the museum hosts an internationally renowned expert in the world of design. Miller, referred to as the Banksy of floral design, is also the author of “Flower Flash” and “Styling Nature: A Masterful Approach to Floral Arrangements.” Tickets go on sale for this event on Feb. 23 for $150 each and can be purchased here.


Wednesday, May 11, 2022

A group of Charleston’s world-class chefs will take inspiration from the creative freedom expressed in the design and aesthetic of this formal, intimate, fine dining experience. The evening will begin with special behind-the-scenes tours and cocktails in the Campbell Rotunda, followed by an elegant four-course dinner from award-winning chefs. Following dinner, guests will also enjoy dancing under the stars in the museum’s Lenhardt Garden. Tickets for this event are $1,000 and can be purchased here.

Gibbes on the Street

Thursday, May 12, 2022

The museum will once again celebrate the city’s extraordinary culinary scene at the annual Gibbes on the Street, a lively culinary street fair backdropped by the museum’s Beaux Arts-style building. Stretching across one block of Meeting Street in front of the museum, the event will feature more than 15 of Charleston’s most extraordinary chefs serving up sweet and savory dishes, an open bar and live music. Guests will be captivated by the sights and sounds as live music will be performed under a beautiful Charleston night sky. Tickets for this event are $175 for members or $200 for non-members and can be purchased here.

This year’s Art Charleston event is inspired by the museum’s spring special exhibition Fighters for Freedom: William H. Johnson Picturing Justice. William H. Johnson painted his Fighters for Freedom series in the mid-1940s as a tribute to African American activists, scientists, teachers, performers and international heads of state working to bring peace to the world. He celebrated their accomplishments even as he acknowledged the realities of racism, violence and oppression they faced and overcame. Some of his fighters—Harriet Tubman, George Washington Carver, Marian Anderson and Mahatma Gandhi—are familiar historical figures; others are less well-known individuals whose determination and sacrifice have been eclipsed over time. Drawn entirely from the collection of more than 1,000 works by Johnson given to the Smithsonian American Art Museum by the Harmon Foundation in 1967, this exhibition is the first-ever presentation of this series in Johnson’s home state of South Carolina. Fighters for Freedom: William H. Johnson Picturing Justice is organized by the Smithsonian American Art Museum with generous support from Art Bridges, Faye and Robert Davidson, and the Jacob and Gwendolyn Lawrence Foundation. The exhibitions will be on display at the museum from Jan. 21 – Aug. 7, 2022.

Art Charleston is sponsored by Garden & Gun, Croghan’s Jewel Box, Lou Hammond Group, Maris DeHart, Rhode’s Boutique, KW Realty – Andrea Woodfield, The George Gallery, Jahde Leather Atelier, The Dewberry Charleston, The Drifter, Gretchen Cuddy Florals, Technical Event Company, The Charleston Place, MIX Charleston and MCG Photography.

January 24, 2022

Top image: Photo by MCG Photography

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