Ultimately, there are only a few kinds of art galleries. There are the ones where everything is beautiful, yes, but the space is so chilly and the art is so expensive that it’s terrifying to touch even the doorknob. There are the kinds of places where everything is so hokey and Thomas Kincaide-y that you need the promise of free box wine and cheese cubes in order to visit. And then there’s Rebekah Jacob’s place on King. Everything in the joint is beautiful and singular, and no two shows are ever the same. Take, for instance, their latest, Vente d’été! It’s a celebration of original works on paper. The range of stuff is incredible — oil paintings, photography, sketches. And their subjects are no less varied, from the spackled patterns of Tarleton Blackwell to the contemporary figures of Cynthia Knapp. The group of art lovers who showed up for the opening of Vente d’été was diverse, too. Returning College of Charleston students mingled with art collectors of the South of Broad varietal, tourists lured by free champagne, and a mini-dachshund named Lucy. While Lucy seemed mostly drawn to the abstract oil portraits of local artist Sarah Haynes and the lickable faces of the attendees, we were partial to the intense, surreal work of Kevin Earl Taylor. This exhibit runs through Labor Day, so don’t miss it. You might not get to hang out with a puppy, but you’ll see some of the most elegant, thoughtful work the Lowcountry has to offer.
On Saturday we went for something with a bit more flavor. It’s a rare thing to see a large group of people clamoring to sit in a dunk tank, but mix charity, fun music, and tequila-based beverages together and you have a recipe for pay-per-pitch wipeout success. The Mex 1 Endless Summer party on Saturday night drew a big crowd of surfer types, charity-minded Folly-goers, and young families, all eager to stretch out the last real weekend of the season. Raffles, the Elise Testone band, and a bikini fashion show kept everyone around, even though the temperatures were in the upper ’90s for much of the day. Proceeds benefited the Eastern Surfing Association (ESA), which helps those surfers with the associated costs of the competition. One of the ESA organizers, Marshall dePass, pointed out the area’s most talented competitors throughout the evening; some were elementary school kids, some retirees. As the bikini models vamped down the runaway we overheard one teenage surfer boy remark, “She’s like, not even working it.” We were shocked. After all, when was the last time you heard a teenage boy react in a less-than-awestruck manner to a hot girl in swimwear? Godspeed, child.
Speaking of teens, though we were the kind of kids who got caught sneaking out of school to avoid pep rallies in high school, on Saturday we’ll admit we were tempted by the promise of a grown-up version of that adolescent experience, albeit one that featured a keg. H1GHER Learning, a non-profit dedicated to helping at-risk kids achieve success in school, launched a pep rally at Sneaker downtown to rah-rahs and siss-boom-bahs. KJ Kearney, the group’s president and founder, is using unconventional methods to motivate students: Get on the honor roll and you get a pair of really cool sneakers. “The kids didn’t care about their grades, but you had better believe they noticed a fresh pair of Jordans. Some people call it bribery, and you know what? I call it bribery. too,” he said. By pairing the sneaker bribe with mentoring and after-school activities, Kearney hopes to show his students that education is the path to getting stuff you want. We also got stuff we wanted: free beer. The pep squad included everyone from parents to students who had benefited from KJ’s generosity to sneaker-heads who were looking to donate their kicks for a good cause.