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The Art of the Southeastern Wildlife Exposition

This week on the blog, Natalie Henderson, Art Curator for the Southeastern Wildlife Exposition (SEWE) shares some of what visitors can expect from SEWE next weekend, February 15 – 17, and how the variety of events and programs encourage all ages and interests to learn more about wildlife through art!

The inaugural Southeastern Wildlife Exposition in 1983 celebrated wildlife art and energized Charleston in a relatively slow period of the year. Jump forward nearly four decades later, and SEWE continues to boast an unparalleled program of wildlife artists from around the world and brings an enormous economic surge to our beloved city.

The confluence of nature and art defines SEWE, linking conservationists and art enthusiasts in an exciting way. Throughout the past 37 years, SEWE has honored Featured Artists such as Carl Brenders, John Banovich, Lindsay Scott, Julie Jeppsen and Kathryn Turner (just to name a few.) Next weekend, SEWE will welcome over 100 wildlife artists – painters, sculptors and carvers – from across the country and internationally. With the artists present with their work, a palpable energy spreads throughout the Fine Art Gallery, located in the Belmond Charleston Place. (For a sneak peak, click here.) While their styles and subjects are vast, their commonality lies in their intimate knowledge and close connection to nature.

Past SEWE Featured Artist Peggy Watkins with her work in the 2018 SEWE Fine Art Gallery. Image courtesy of SEWE.

Millions of dollars have been raised through the sale of wildlife art allowing SEWE to expand beyond the art gallery. With great intention, SEWE has evolved and expanded its footprint for conservation groups ranging from Tall Timbers to Ducks Unlimited to the Audubon Society.

Along with championing conservation, SEWE educates the public about nature and wildlife art. Select artists participated in SEWE Art Week, which engages students from Kentucky to California to Zimbabwe. Children throughout the state of South Carolina participate in the Junior Duck Stamp program and students in the Tri County area of Charleston submit entries for SEWE’s Kids for Conservation.

SEWE’s education curriculum does not have an age limit; this weekend, we invite you to continue your art education through our Lunchtime Lecture Series hosted by the Gibbes Museum. The following experts in the genre of wildlife art will be presenting short talks with ample time for Q & A, complete with lunch from The Daily: Tim Newton, President of the Salmagundi Club in NYC; Robin Salmon, Vice President and Curator of Sculpture of Brookgreen Gardens; Sandy Scott, Wildlife Sculptor and SEWE Guest Artist; Katie Wood Kirchhoff, Associate Curator of the Shelburne Museum. Tickets are still available, so come and learn more about this fascinating genre and experience the newest exhibition at the Gibbes, Lying in Wait: Sporting Art by Ogden M. Pleissner.

The Broadbill Gunner, 1957, by Ogden M. Pleissner (American, 1905 –1983); Watercolor on paper, 19 3/8 x 29 1/8 inches; Collection of Shelburne Museum, gift of Ann M. Leonard; 2013-14.1; Photograph by Andy Duback

During SEWE weekend, Garden & Gun will host two educational lectures at their stunning headquarters.  The History of Sporting Landscapes will explore this extraordinary agricultural landscape and the work of duck hunters and land owners in the past century to make it one of the greatest conservation stories in North America. On Sunday, join Drew Lanham and G&G‘s editor in chief David DiBenedetto for their discussion of the art of birding (and bird hunting). Lanham, a professor of wildlife ecology at Clemson University, brings a lifetime of experience in the field and in the classroom, where he works to make conservation science evocative and understandable.

Whether your passion is art, conservation, or the indelible mark made when the two connect, SEWE is an outstanding event you won’t want to miss. The weekend will educate, inspire and hopefully find you holding an original work of art by the end.

Make sure to purchase your tickets today for the SEWE Opening Night Party on February 13th at 7pm at the Gibbes Museum!

Tickets for the Lunchtime Lecture Series held at the Gibbes Museum on February 15th and 16th are still available as well – purchase yours today so you don’t miss out on this engaging and educational weekend!

-Natalie Henderson, guest blogger and Art Curator for Southeastern Wildlife Exposition

Published February 8, 2019

Top image: Guests enjoy last year’s Preview Night Gala & Sale. Image courtesy of SEWE. 

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