Best Genius 

Mary Jackson

The new face of America is black. Remember? We elected President Obama. Well, we suppose some would like to forget. But they'd better get used to it. That's America. It's a meltin' pot. Same with our most famous artist. She's not someone who paints marshscapes en plein air. Nope. She's a basket maker, she's Gullah, and last year she won a MacArthur "genius" grant to the tune of $500,000. As far as the rest of the world is concerned, the face of art in Charleston is black, and we don't have to tell you there's a kind of indiscreet pleasure in knowing that fact really irritates some people. But Mary Jackson transcends pettiness. Her art surpasses the here and now — it looks back to a long-held tradition that also looks forward to the future. —John Stoehr


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