BUZZ-O-METER ‌ Visual Arts 

Visual arts aren't featured too prominently in Spoleto. Piccolo has a smattering of exhibits that display the work of accomplished local painters — such as William McCullough and Eva Carter — and some other, more family-oriented fare. The big visual arts experience happens in Marion Square, where a massive outdoor juried art exhibition showcases the work of many visual artists, who will be giving demonstrations and selling their work.


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Candice Ivy Invitational: Murmur

What is it? An atmospheric, site-specific installation from an accomplished Hartsville artist. Why see it? The site is the Old City Jail, the installation includes ethereal, projected images on transparent fabric, and the atmosphere will either be tranquil or unsettling, depending on how much you like prisons. Incorporating sound, drawings, and moving images, Murmur was the talk of Sumter's 2005 Nextwave Arts Festival thanks to its interactive nature; Ivy excels at creating an effective, memorable experience for viewers as they walk through a site. Who should go? Fans of many-layered multimedia art; Ivy's nods to local culture, architecture, and history mean that Murmur will have extra resonance for South Carolinians. Buzz: Maybe it's the prison setting or Ivy's weird, silhouetted subjects, but we get chills just thinking about this show. (Nick Smith)

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PICCOLO SPOLETO • FREE • On view through June 9 • Mon.-Fri: 10 a.m.-5 p.m. • Old City Jail, 21 Magazine St. • 724-7305


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A Global Insight: Through the Eyes of Kids

What is it? Candid photographs taken by children in Calcutta, India, and Charleston, S.C. Why see it? This is the combined effort of three projects: "Kids with Cameras," now in its fourth year, the Born into Brothels documentary, and S.C.'s "Viewpoint." Seeking to mentor kids and get them to tell their stories using still photography, the organizers have cut out the middle man (the grown-ups) and left the storytelling to the children. The results include touching portraits and scenes of life in the marginalized communities of India. Who should go? Jaded photogs who've lost their initial sense of wonder, as the children show them what can be achieved with a simple idea and a basic knowledge of auto-focus cameras. Buzz: While projects like this have an inevitably variable quality, the links with the Oscar-winning, Calcutta-set Born into Brothels adds a professional touch to the show. (Nick Smith)

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PICCOLO SPOLETO • FREE • OPENING RECEPTION: May 27, 3-5 p.m. • On view May 26-June 11 • Daily: 10 a.m.-6 p.m. • Addlestone Library, 205 Calhoun St. • 724-7305


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Eva Carter Invitational: Songs of the Earth

What is it? An acclaimed abstract artist's take on the music of Stravinsky, Debussy, Mahler, and other composers performed at Piccolo's Spotlight Concerts. Why see it? There's nothing more abstract than a musical note, until it's put into sequence by a composer and performed by musicians. So it's not such a leap from classical music to fine painting, courtesy of local artist and gallery owner Eva Carter. Her colorful, ambient work lacks the ambiguity that makes some abstract work hard to appreciate. Carter also riffs off the scenery around her, adding local relevance and substance. Who should go? Fans of big, bold abstract paintings in general, and Carter's work in particular, as seen in her East Bay gallery. Buzz: New work from an accomplished painter like Carter is always worth a look, and the musical theme should lend cohesion to the show. (Nick Smith)

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PICCOLO SPOLETO • FREE • On view through June 11 • 10 a.m.—5 p.m. and during theatre performances • City Gallery at Dock Street Theatre, 135 Church St. • 724-7305


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Edward Hopper in Charleston & James McNeill Whistler: Etchings from the Vreede Collection

What is it? New exhibits featuring two of North America's favorite painters. Why see it? Well-known fact: movie buff Edward Hopper painted noirish slices of 20th century city life, creating influential studies of urban despair like "Nighthawks" and "Automat." Less well-known fact: he kicked around the Lowcountry for a short time back in 1929, depicting his surroundings in watercolor. And if Hopper's 12 local landscapes aren't your thing, then the Gibbes also provides 17 etchings by James McNeill Whistler in its revamped Works on Paper Gallery. Who should go? Hopper's work has inspired filmmakers, architects, and artists, but it's the man on the street who really responds to his bold brand of realism. Although Whistler's work is more technical, it provides a rare glimpse into a work process that led to beloved masterpieces like "Arrangement in Grey and Black" (a.k.a. "Whistler's Mother"). Buzz: It's always a joy to see work by artists of this caliber; Hopper's Holy City subject matter doubles the pleasure. (Nick Smith)

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PICCOLO SPOLETO • $9, $7 seniors/students • May 26-Aug. 13 (Hopper), August 27 (Whistler) • Mon.-Sat: 10 a.m.-5 p.m., Sun: 1-5 p.m. • Gibbes Museum of Art, 135 Meeting St. • 722-2706


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William McCullough: Southern Painter

What is it? Pushing the "Southern Painter" angle, this show includes McCullough's work from New York and abroad as well as his present, confidently-crafted local landscapes. Why see it? McCullough adds a touch of lyricism to his realist paintings, so even a grubby Cannon Street corner can be brightened when he's done depicting it. This retrospective provides an opportunity to see his style progress over his past three decades as a professional artist. Described as a "visual journey," the show gives recognizable Southern scenes a fresh McCullough edge. Who should go? If you've visited 53 Cannon, go to see more of McCullough's work in a larger space; otherwise, this is a great introduction to the artist's skillful style. Buzz: McCullough's been working hard to provide new pieces for this Piccolo show. Those originals, combined with paintings from museums and private collections, provide a comprehensive, warts-and-all look at the Southern artist's development. (Nick Smith)

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PICCOLO SPOLETO • FREE • On view through Aug 12 • Daily: 11 a.m.-6 p.m. • City Gallery at Waterfront Park, 34 Prioleau St. • 724-7305


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Wild Things & Wonder

What is it? A multimedia indoor nature walk with art by local floraphile Honor Marks. Why see it? This is a one-off deal presented by ETV's Rudy Mancke, who'll talk about the dwindling wildflower species in our area as visitors take in Marks' oil paintings, which will hang in the church and appear as projected images, as well. With passionate naturalist Mancke leading the walk, this promises to be a memorable celebration of Marks' favorite subject. Music and "environmental sounds," courtesy of inventive local filmmaker Justin Nathanson, will add to the multimedia feel. Who should go? Art and nature nuts, eco-friendlies, and folks who enjoyed Marks' contributions to last year's Wild Things and Wonder show at the City Gallery at Waterfront Park. Buzz: The one-time-only aspect of this event adds to its unique appeal, and it'll be a lot easier on the shoe leather than a common or garden nature hike. (Nick Smith)

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PICCOLO SPOLETO • FREE • May 31 at 7 p.m. • Circular Congregational Church, 150 Meeting St. • 724-7305


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Piccolo Pawcasso Party

What is it? A collection of artwork by animals from the South Carolina Aquarium who have taken up painting. Why see it? Original artwork by two macaws, a lesser anteater, and a North American river otter (oh my!) is on display and up for sale during the Piccolo Pawcasso Party. In an effort to build trust with their trainers, Maya, Joey, Marvin, and Ace participated in the enrichment program and churned out their own collection of paintings. Looking for the hidden messages in their work should provide an interesting afternoon ("Would you please quit tapping on the glass?"). Who should go? A great day for the kids with face painting, a chance to meet the artists, crafts, and live music all at the Aquarium. Buzz: Not only are these artists local, but they prove you don't need opposable thumbs or language to express yourself. (Anna Miller)

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PICCOLO SPOLETO • FREE w/ Aquarium admission • PARTY: May 27, 11 a.m.-2 p.m.; exhibit on display May 26-June 11 • South Carolina Aquarium, 100 Aquarium Wharf • 720-1990


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Painters in Paradise

What is it? As if Charleston summers weren't hot enough, here's a group of paintings that should sweat plenty of bright, sizzling colors: they're all inspired by Bermuda. Why see it? You've got to hand it to the Masterworks Foundation of Bermuda. They've taken the time and trouble to gather 67 artworks created by Bermuda buffs like Malcolm Morley and Georgia O'Keefe. Now these works are traveling the U.S. while a permanent home is built for them in Bermuda, so Charleston's museum of art is getting the chance to take care of them. That means we can visit the Gibbes to see pieces by O'Keefe, Winslow Homer, E. Ambrose Webster and other imaginative artists. Who should go? If you haven't been to the Gibbes recently, Painters in Paradise is one of many damn good reasons to go during Spoleto. Buzz: There's some colorful stuff lined up for this show, which will reflect the bright climes of its theme nation. (Nick Smith)

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PICCOLO SPOLETO • $9, $7/seniors/students • On view through Aug. 6 • Mon.-Sat: 10 a.m.-5 p.m., Sun: 1-5 p.m. • Gibbes Museum of Art, 135 Meeting St • 722-2706


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Battle of Waxhaws Flag Exhibit

What is it? Not seen for 225 years, these Continental Army battle flags have been recovered from those bloody Redcoats. Why see it? The flags were taken as trophies by British Lieutenant Colonel Tarleton after he defeated American Colonel Buford in the Battle of Waxhaws in 1780. Tarleton, who massacred the surrendering Continental soldiers, sent the flags back to his family in England, where they have been chillin' ever since. This might be the last time you can see the flags, as they will be up for auction following the exhibit. Who should go? Revolutionary War buffs will appreciate the stories these flags have to tell, but the rest of us might wonder what the big deal is. Buzz: In a city plagued with history, these flags can find someone to love them. If you appreciate that the main flag is the earliest surviving example of an American flag with a canton of 13 stars then you might be the one. (Anna Miller)

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SPOLETO FESTIVAL USA • FREE • May 26, 1-5 p.m; May 27-29, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. • Old Exchange Building, Broad and East Bay streets • 720-1136



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