This summer marks the 20th anniversary of the Franklin G. Burroughs-Simeon B. Chapin Art Museum in Myrtle Beach, SC. Twenty years of living large in Myrtle Beach, SC, and the charming beachfront museum’s summer exhibitions and complementary programs promise to be a party your eyes and mouth won’t want to miss.
While the berries are bursting on vines and bushes, the peaches are bending orchard boughs, the corn is rising in fields and shrimpers are casting their nets, the Art Museum will look to outstanding artists to inform and remind museum visitors why the food of the South has risen from its humble roots to the pinnacle of today’s eating scene. The anniversary exhibition, with a companion photographic essay and lecture series, will provide a summer-long exaltation of the food of the South-now recognized as one of the country’s most beloved cuisines.
Feast Your Eyes: Celebrating the Food of the South, June 10 through September 17, will explore southern culinary heritage as nourishment and beyond: a form of cultural, political and artistic expression; an enduring source of comfort; sometimes an object of obsession; perhaps a symbol of class, race or gender…and always a cause for celebration. Food and beverage icons, peculiar and particular to the South, will be examined with works in an expansive variety of two and three-dimensional media, including paintings in oil, acrylic and watercolor; works in pastel and pen; printmaking; photography; sculptures in ceramics, metal, wood and mixed media; fiber art, and functional works, such as handcrafted dining furniture, lighting, cutlery and serving ware. These objects-over 100 works created by 58 artists, some historic and many contemporary-will invite viewers to explore the confluence of the three distinct foodways (Native American, African and European), which have converged over time and place to form the South’s unique cuisine, originally one of survival, now acclaimed for its honesty, comfort and generosity.
Brian Keuhn, Peach Harvest, 2016, soft pastel, 43″ x 29″, courtesy of the artist
Appropriately, the June 10 opening for Feast Your Eyes will be an afternoon anniversary celebration from 2 to 4 p.m., complete with classic southern cakes, bubbly, lemonade and sweet tea. With party hats and cupcakes to decorate, museum goers can engage in hands-on fun as well as enjoy a docent tour of the mouth-watering artwork.
Ann Caudle, Boiled Peanuts, 2017, oil on canvas, 26″ x 38″, courtesy of the artist
A companion exhibition by local photographer Brant Barrett entitled Feast | Local will highlight the Grand Strand’s food scene. With well over 1,800 restaurants (Huffington Post cited us as one of the U.S.’s top 15 “restaurant-crazy cities” a few years back), not to mention produce stands, farmers’ markets, country stores, bars and abundant food festivals, Barrett’s lens will discover definitive images that speak to our sense of taste as well as our sense of place.
Amy C. Evans, Things that Go with Oysters: Corn Meal, 2016, oil on wood panel, 12″ x 12″, courtesy of the artist
The third component to our summer programming, Food for Thought, is a series of eight Wednesday afternoon lectures, kicking off on June 21 (2 p.m.) with Nathalie Dupree, widely recognized as the reigning doyenne of southern cooking. The author of 13 cookbooks, including three James Beard Award winners, with more than 300 television appearances and write-ups in major newspapers and magazines throughout the country, Dupree will reminisce on “place” as an important element in the cuisine of the South.
Seven other lectures will follow in the months of June through early September:
- June 28, artist and storyteller Natalie Daise: “Collards-Why I Eat Them, Why I Paint Them”
- July 12, Chief of the Cherokee Indian Tribe of South Carolina Dr. Will Goins: “Native Roots, Native Healing”
- July 19, local food entrepreneurs and innkeepers Sassy and Brian Henry with Farella Smalls and Bessie Simmons: “Say Cheese! From the Pawleys Island Sea View Inn to the Nation: Spreading the Love of Pimento Cheese and Other Southern Dishes”
- July 26, Gullah Geechee Heritage Commissioner, cook book author and Coastal Carolina University Assistant Professor Veronica Gerald: “Nyamming: Eating Gullah Geechee Style”
- August 9, Three local chefs/restaurateurs with three local farmers/purveyors: “The Chefs and Their Farmers”
- August 16, Executive Director of the International Culinary Institute of Myrtle Beach Joseph Bonaparte, “So You Think You Want to Be a Chef”
- August 23, Trappist monk, chief cook for Mepkin Abbey and cookbook author Father Joseph Tedesco: “Food for the Spirit”
- September 6, Coastal Carolina University Associate Professor of American Literature Dr. Daniel Turner: “To Cook a Mockingbird: Symbolic Foodways in Harper Lee’s Classic Southern Novel”
Also on exhibit will be Douglas Balentine: Beyond the Horizon (May 30 – September 3, 2017). Balentine is a Charleston, SC native, and Charleston and its environs offer the artist a seemingly eternal source of inspiration.
Gallery hours for the museum will be from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and 1-4 p.m.Sunday. Admission to the museum is free at all times, but donations are appreciated.