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In the isolated African-American haml
et of Gee's Bend, AL, located along the Alabama River, women made quilts to keep themselves and their children warm in often unheated houses that lacked running water, telephones and electricity - from the post-Civil war era well into the 20th century. Along the way they developed a distinctive style, noted for its lively improvisations and geometric simplicity. These quilts, which came to the notice of the art world in the 1990s, are considered to be one of the most important African-American vis ual and cultural contributions to the history of art within the United States.
The 2010 The Quilts of Gee's Bend exhibition, presented by the Franklin G. Burroughs-Simeon B. Chapin Art Museum, remains one of the Museum's most popular and talked-about exhibitions, according to Museum director Patricia Goodwin. A new exhibition, Gee's Bend: From Quilts to Prints, examines the work of four well-known Gee's Bend quiltmakers and their recent exploration into the art of printmaking. The exhibit runs from December 8, 2016 through April 23, 2017; additional public programs to accompany the exhibit are planned for spring 2017.
"Having the occasion to bring the quilts back to the Art Museum while simultaneously opening up a new conversation about the translation of ideas between one artistic medium to another was an opportunity we didn't want to miss," said Goodwin.
The exhibit, which traces the artists' process of translating their ideas from fabric into print, includes 17 quilts, 15 etchings and six maquettes, small-scale quilt replicas used as templates for the layout and color selection for each print.
The maquettes would be pressed onto a copper plate coated with softground, a material made of a combination of wax and tar on which the design, fabric textures and even the quilters' stitches would create an impression, which would then be used for printing. Although created with the standard quiltmaking technique of piecing, the maquettes were made by the artists to be used as a tool for the printmaking process.
The scale of the finished prints, much smaller than the quilts on which they are based, is in line with other fine art works on paper. Displayed with a white matte and framed behind glass, these images convey the idea that they are works of art and not simply crafts, as many viewers perceive quilts to be.
Each print references the workmanship of the original quilt, as elements of color, line and texture in the fabric have been simplified and flattened to a two-dimensional form. At the same time, the art form of the quiltmaker's design loses its cultural associations with textiles and its identification as something domestic, female and craft.
The translation from quilt to the fine art print medium also offered the makers the opportunity to create poetic or evocative titles for their works. Gee's Bend quilts were generally not titled beyond a descriptive word or phrase identifying the design.
The prints offered the additional benefit of continuing a tradition of art-making in the Gee's Bend community that, prior to the quilts' rise to fame, many feared was in danger of being lost, either from quilts' falling out of favor, or from a lack of interest in quiltmaking among the younger generation.
While Gee's Bend quilts have been exhibited in such prestigious institutions as the Museum of Fine Arts Houston, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and the Whitney Museum of American Art (NYC),translating the women's textile work into the print medium opened up new avenues for their creativity.
For example, as a result of the four quilters' collaboration with Paulson Bott Press to produce etchings of their quilt designs, quilter Louisiana P. Bendolph was commissioned by the San Francisco International Airport in 2013 to translate her print New Generation (2007) into a large-scale ceramic tile mosaic to be displayed in Terminal 3 East.
Also, through a commission from the Foundation for Art and Preservation in Embassies (FAPE) and its Lee Kimche McGrath Original Print Collection, quilter Loretta Bennett's Yellow Jack (2006) was selected for the collection, which is stored in Washington, DC, and made available to US ambassadors when they are choosing art objects with which to decorate their embassies.
Gallery hours for Gee's Bend: From Quilts to Prints will be from 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and 1 - 4 p.m. Sundays, except for the period Dec. 22 - 26 and Dec 31 - Jan 2 when the Museum will be closed for the holidays.
The Sand Bar Lecture Series continues at the Museum of Coastal Carolina Tuesday, December 6 at 6 PM, featuring the American Civil War Corps Commander. Join presenter Douglas Elliott for an evening of enlightenment on life in the early 1860's and accept a promotion to the level of Corp Commander in the American Civil War. Our view of the world today is through 2016 eyes, but he will step you back into the 1860's and change your view and perspective. He’ll explore how he got the job, what is needed to know, responsibilities, and the effects of your actions. When done you will have a perspective on the military, political, and social impacts of your decisions. Together the group will discuss how this new found knowledge was applied at the battle of Gettysburg and look forward to today to see how much has changed. Elliott notes, “I look forward to our time together and promise a night of learning, lots of interactive discussion, and time for your questions.” Elliott’s background includes portraying an American Civil War re-enactor for 18 years, a lifelong military history student, a member of the 140th New York Volunteer Infantry Living History Organization and has delivered 200+ lectures to students of all ages on the Civil War. He can be seen on the documentary "Regiment" as a Historical Commentator, a nationally syndicated award winning story of the 140th NYVI. Admission to the museum is free for museum and dual museum/planetarium members. Non-member all-day admission (including NC sales tax) is $9.50 for adults, $8.50 for seniors, $7.50 for children (3-12), and free for age 2 and under. For more information, call the museum at 910-579-1016 or visit www.MuseumPlanetarium.org.
First Presbyterian Church Spartanburg’s Chamber Singers will present their annual Christmas Concert -- Tidings of Comfort and Joy -- in Chapman Cultural Center’s theater in Spartanburg, SC, Sunday, Dec. 4, 2016, starting at 7 p.m.
The 30-member choir will sing 13 holiday songs, many without accompaniment and all without any electronic amplification. Because of the 500-seat theater’s unique and excellent acoustics, there is no need for amplification. As a result, many of the songs will be heard as they were originally written to be performed in small and intimate concert halls.
“We strive for vocal excellence,” Director Holt Andrews said. “This music will be as vocally pure as we can possibly make it. It is our intention to touch people with the Christmas spirit in the most honest and sincere way — by giving them songs that will cause them to wonder in awe at the spiritual power this music can inspire. We want to touch them emotionally with the true beauty and meaning of Christmas.”
Most of the songs will be classical, sacred, and creatively arranged to appeal to both serious music lovers and those looking for an alternative to the commercialization of Christmas. The evening with start with a traditional chant by the men who will be in the balcony. The women will be on the stage, and in between will be the seated patrons, surrounded by voices that were carefully chosen for their exceptional quality. Members of the choir are selected by audition on their voice quality and musical ability.
Two of the songs are especially noted for being arranged by local professional musicians. A jazzy version of “The Holly And The Ivy,” arranged by Brennan Szafron, and a jazzy/gospel-like version of “Go Tell It On The Mountain,” arranged by John Moody will be highlights of the evening. Szafron is a teacher at Converse College’s Alia Lawson Academy of the Arts and the organist and choirmaster at Episcopal Church of the Advent. Moody teaches Advanced Placement Music Theory and Music Technology and is the Music Department Chair at Spartanburg High School.
“This is probably our most varied Christmas concert in the history of the choir,” Andrews said. “Most songs will be classical, but the arrangements will give them new appeal… surprising, upbeat, and engaging.”
Because of the choir’s emphasis on vocal excellence, only eight of the scheduled songs will have musical accompaniment by Greenville harpist Aubrey Elliot and Spartanburg pianist Marcia Andrews. “We love having both Aubrey and Marcia accompanying us, and they will be most valuable when we invite the audience to sing along with some popular and traditional Christmas songs,” Andrews said. “We feel it is important to provide the very best in vocal selections and to engage the audience and let them share in the spirit of the season. It’s just not a proper Christmas concert unless the audience gets to sing, too.”
In addition to the Christmas concert at Chapman Cultural Center, the Chamber Singers will also present selections from that concert at other events, including their Sunday, Nov. 20, engagement at the Biltmore House in Asheville, NC. For 24 years, the Chamber Singers have been invited to perform at Biltmore as part of the historic home’s annual Candlelight Tours, which draws thousands of tourists during the holiday season. “We consider it to be an honor to be invited year after year,” Andrews said.
Also, some of the songs will be performed in the church’s chapel on Sunday, Dec. 18, as part of the annual “Moravian Love Feast.”
“Even though we perform throughout the year, Christmas is our busiest season,” Andrews said.
The church’s Chamber Singers ensemble was originally formed in 1977 with six members. It quickly grew to become one of the Upstate’s most respected and accomplished choirs. Its members include many local professional musicians, as well as people who are considered to be “serious musicians,” such as Virginia Shuler, who continues to hone her craft by taking one-on-one voice lessons, in addition to the weekly Sunday night choir practice.
“We take the Chamber Singers very seriously,” Shuler said. “But only because we enjoy it and the people who listen to the music enjoy it. Sometimes, I look out into the audience and see people’s faces and know we are touching them. We can feel it, and the audience can feel it. Singing is an art form to be shared, and we want to share our music with the citizens of this community. In a very real way, this Christmas concert is a gift to the Upstate.”
Tickets to the Chapman concert are available through the Church and through Mobile Meals, which will be the recipient of concert’s proceeds. Tickets are $15 each and can be purchased by calling 864-583-4531 or 864-573-7684.
Ingram Planetarium Manager Will Snyder will present “Stars at Sunset” at 7 pm on December 2. This monthly series showcases the stars, constellations, and other celestial events that will be visible in the night sky above the Carolinas each month. In addition to taking you on a live tour of the sky, Snyder will also explore various topics ranging from the earliest history of astronomy to the latest advancements in the field. December evenings welcome some of the most famous characters in astronomy, including Orion the Hunter, Taurus the Bull, and Gemini the Twins. Each night, Orion is climbing higher in the east carrying three bright stars across his middle that mark his shining belt. During these cool evenings, our mighty hunter is locked in a timeless battle with the charging bull, Taurus. This popular zodiac constellation carries the famous “Seven Sisters” along his back each winter. A closer look at this open cluster unveils only six stars…where is the seventh sister? Join us for “Stars at Sunset” to find out! A free StarWatch telescope observation session will follow “Stars at Sunset” at 8pm. Trained staff will be available to assist you in operating a variety of our telescopes and to help you find your way in the sky. Outdoor observing is weather permitting, so please call Ingram Planetarium at 910-575-0033 on the day of the event to ensure StarWatch will take place. Scheduling note: this presentation will replace “Laser Holidays” at 7:00 pm on December 2, only. “Stars at Sunset” will not be offered in January; however, the series will return in February 2017. Ingram Planetarium is located at 7625 High Market Street in Sunset Beach, NC. Admission is free for members. Non-member, per-show admission (including NC sales tax) is $9.50 for adults, $8.50 for seniors (62+), $7.50 for children (3-12), and free for age 2 and under. For more information, call 910-575-0033, visit www.MuseumPlanetarium.org, like us at Facebook.com/IngramPlanetarium to stay up-to-date on upcoming events.
Ingram Planetarium’s holiday show schedule will begin on November 25th and will continue through the end of the year. We will be closed on December 24th to allow our staff and volunteers to celebrate the holidays with their families. Doors open at 11:30am on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. Additional open days include December 26, 27, and 28. Show trailers and complete playlists for laser art and music shows are available at www.MuseumPlanetarium.org. The full December schedule of events is listed below: Immersive Sky Theater Shows All Immersive Theater presentations are accompanied by a live star show. 12:00 Season of Light – NEW Explore the origins of winter’s most endearing holiday customs as we discover winter constellations and consider the “Star of Bethlehem.” 1:00 Earth, Moon & Sun – NEW This year’s new family program is sure to be a hit with all ages! Discover the important relationship between our Earth, Moon, and Sun. 2:00 Undiscovered Worlds The hunt is on to discover planets orbiting around distant stars. Could life exist on one of these far-off worlds? 3:00 Seven Wonders – Half-priced admission Experience the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, then travel through the cosmos to discover seven wonders of the night sky! 4:00 The Sky Tonight! – LIVE Find out “what’s up” tonight! Explore the planets, constellations, and other celestial events visible in the Carolina night sky. 6:00 Season of Light – NEW Explore the origins of winter’s most endearing holiday customs as we discover winter constellations and consider the “Star of Bethlehem.” 7:00 Laser Holidays Get into the holiday spirit and sing-a-long to your favorite hits of the Season as you enjoy dazzling laser artwork! Public funding for “Earth, Moon & Sun” was provided by the Town of Sunset Beach through its Accommodation Taxes. Ingram Planetarium is located at 7625 High Market Street in Sunset Beach, NC. Admission is free for members. Non-member, per-show admission (including NC sales tax) is $9.50 for adults, $8.50 for seniors (62+), $7.50 for children (3-12), and free for age 2 and under. For more information, call 910-575-0033, visit www.museumplanetarium.org, or like us on Facebook.com/IngramPlanetarium.
The Ocean Isle Museum Foundation, Inc. is hosting its fourth annual Beer and Brats Fundraiser from 5:00-8:00 PM on Friday, Nov. 25 at the Museum of Coastal Carolina. Enjoy freshly cooked brats, French fries, and cold beer and soda. Check Six Brewing Company of Southport, is providing the following types of beer, Wendy’s Blonde Ale, Harley Pope Porter and Gee Bee Honey Pale some of their best-selling craft beers. Enjoy live music by James “Elvis” Haas. One item silent auction for a VIP San Diego Craft Brewery Excursion. This includes Chauffer, Manchester Grand Hyatt 3-Night Stay, and airfare for 2. Proceeds from this event will help pay for a major upgrade of the computers and cove lighting at Ingram Planetarium so come out for a night of fun while supporting a worthwhile need. Tickets for Beer and Brats are $30 for adults and $15 for children age 12 and under. Tickets can be purchased in advance by calling or stopping by the museum or planetarium to save $5. Tickets will also be on sale the night of the event. Photo IDs are required for beer drinkers. The Museum of Coastal Carolina is located at 21 East Second Street, Ocean Isle Beach, NC. For more information, call 910-579-1016 or visit www.MuseumPlanetarium.org.