Nancy Amis’ show at Avondale Therapy was a big success! Click on the link below to read the article by West Of
Click on the link to read the story and found out what’s happening with Fabulon!
Did you know that Susan Irish writes an article monthly for the West of Free Press? Pick up your free copy locally and look for “Art Matters”. Learn about a new West Ashley artist each month.
The last event Fabulon (at our Wappoo Rd location) went really well. The space was full of interesting people engaged in conversation, deep thoughts, and cross pollinating ideas. A dream come true and a fitting piece of closure.
The event was a conversation with Lisa Lindahl and her book Beauty as Action The Way Of True Beauty And How Its Practice Can Change The World. One big take away was the idea that doom and gloom attitudes fester and spread. Alternatively, positivity brings energy that empowers. Lisa urges us to have a positive intentions even in the darkest of times. Meyriel Edge commented that she feels this is what is happening with “the students”.
Lisa, Meyriel, and I are teachers and we are deeply affected by the news of yet another school shooting. It is the actions of the students across the nation that has restored some beautiful balance to the feelings of dread disaster, and hopelessness.
The thing that breaks you makes you stronger, or activates you into forward motion.
After the book conversation, many people remarked that this concept applies to Fabulon losing the place we are in. It is very disappointing but truly I feel more positive than sad.
I feel a sense of accomplishment for a set of goals. There is still more to do and I prefer to focus on the future. When I do reflect, it is with a deep sense of gratitude. It has been a fabulous endeavor.
So many people have expressed their disbelief that we were pushed out of our building. So many wishes of luck and encouragement to go on. We have heard stories about personal experiences people had here and what we have meant to them. We received loads of offers to pack us up and move us out.
We have not yet found a new space. But we will. We will shift to a monthly newsletter and blog posting until there is big news or a special event. It is important to know that although we have left the building, Fabulon is still going to be dedicated to its mission of bringing more art to West Ashley. Big things on the horizon. We will keep in touch.
Buying Quality Art Supplies for Kids. Less is more...
Connected by Laura McRae-Hitchcok
The Tribute Show
As usual, when I heard there was going to be a tribute to musicians show, I said, "Well, that's one I won't be doing." As usual, Susan rolled her eyes, smiled, and got on with her work. As usual, my competitive spirit came charging in, yelling," Of course you can, you wimp! Don't you have a brain in your head?" I responded to said spirit with, " Well, I love Mozart, but.... OK, leave it with me."
That's what I love about being a Fabulon resident artist. I am kicked out of inertia frequently, and challenged to dig deep until a flickering idea begins to grow. I know myself well enough not to panic. I go into a quiet, reflective state that lasts for days or even weeks as I make connections between my thoughts until a coherent idea begins to emerge. When I start a piece, it is a mess! No careful drawing of a preconceived image. Oh no! Charcoal flies, fingers push it all over the surface, or I begin with paint trickling all over the place until it suggests a mood and images. To others, nothing is there. But it is. I can see it, all I have to do is make sense of it so I let it take me wherever it wants to go.
That's how it was with this show. While I confess to being a "Voice" addict, and feel on friendly terms with Adam and Blake, that is hardly my world. Instead, I revisited the music of my youth. I was 16 in 1960-wow! And in Britain! Wow again! It was our world! No more wearing clothes like our parents, Mary Quant saved us! There was Biba, the coolest shop ever in London. I bought a pair of pink suede over-the-knee-boots and thought I was ready for Vogue! Vidal Sassoon dispensed with curlers and permanents "and our hair swung free and shiny in angled cuts. But best of all was the Fab Four-Paul, John, George, and Ringo. The Beatles! And they were our local band that became famous!
Reading their lyrics, I realized how much I had missed at 16. They wrote of sorrow, humor, injustice. I had thought it was all romantic "love, love, love." 57 years later, I began with Eleanor Rigby and was unnerved to find I recognized her. "The face in the jar by the door." It didn't seem ludicrous. More like familiar. What was her story? And Father McKenzie? Oh yes, I knew him too. The anguish, and relevance to today's world, of "Blackbird" was almost too much, and "The Long and Winding Road" had me in tears. "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds" saved the day! It is not about LSD. Lucy was a pre-school friend of John's son who brought home a painting of her. A sweet, simple moment that sparked the song. Poignantly, in my painting I pictured not myself but our sweet dog in the boat (which I made a Welsh coracle). She died during this time. My grandchildren are also in there, two on rocking horses, and one is Lucy with kaleidoscope eyes.
Perhaps the most moving aspect of my thinking about the Beatles is the connection with one of the dearest people I ever met, Rob Simpson, a fellow Brit, who passed away this year. Those who knew him cannot think of the Beatles without thinking about Rob, maybe their greatest fan. We asked him if he and his friends would be willing to play at our daughter and son-in-law's wedding. They were brilliant! Rob sang all night, and then stayed for an extra hour because nobody wanted them to stop. Rob was a star. So my body of work became an unexpected tribute to him, and his smile, unique hair, and voice kept me company through the struggles of completing four paintings inspired by his Beatles.
And now I can claim another " first." Guest Blogger! Who would have imagined? Being a professional artist is far more than making pretty pictures. Thank you, Susan of Fabulon.
Brittany, by Madison Somerville, on exhibition at Fabulon through November
Even in SC by Susan Irish
My most favorite teacher ever was, of course, my middle school art teacher.
Virginia Midyette was brave. She was immensely talented and could have done anything with her talents, but chose to share them with pre-teenagers in public school. Share, she did.
She started an afterschool art club in a recession year in a fairly new school in a farm town. The very type of programs that will be eliminated if the National Arts Education Association is targeted for budget cuts. NAEA is the school version of the Nation Endowment for the Arts, NEA. The Arts always go first, but it is the Arts that make us human.
Virginia taught me to do batik and I have been experimenting with wax ever since. It is because of her that I became an art teacher. Once I sent her a note and she sent me back a handwritten letter with her artwork on the letterhead. She could not have possibly remembered me in the huge population of students, but she took the time to respond AND invited me to converse with her. We corresponded for years until she passed away.
She continued painting until her final days. She spent many summers in France and said that at some point every artist should try to go, as the “light really is different there”. She told me how she volunteered at a youth center for many years after she retired. That she could never really stop teaching. She encouraged me and offered advice while I was teaching. Knowing that she had inspired me and getting to hear about it made her feel as if it all really mattered. Matter, indeed.
May 20th Fabulon will show the work of Berkeley, Charleston County, and Dorchester District II Art Teachers with a reception from 5-7. Included in this group is an artist you may have read about recently in The Post and Courrier, Kim Thomas. Come meet Kim and the other fine teachers sharing their work.
May 25th come see my very special student Nicolas, among other artists, at Art in the Dark show at AccessAbility, 7944 Dorchester Road, 5:30-8:30pm. This show will feature SC artists with Disabilities.
It really does matter.
We have had many requests for adult classes during the day. So we scheduled a day version of one of our most popular evening classes, Exploring Painting. This class features several teachers with lots of different techniques. It is ideal for someone wanting to try out painting for the first time, get back into the swing of it again, or try out new methods to further their skills. Throughout the course, students will practice techniques to inspire a painting, incorporate into future projects, or problem solve current projects. There is more focus on exploring possibilities and techniques than completing a single project. However, several small pieces will be frame worthy.
Thursdays starting May 4th at 10:30 AM-12:30 PM for 6 weeks, $225 no additional purchase needed. Please share with your friends. Sign up on our website.
Art Night Out monthly events were very popular last summer, so this year we will host art activities 2 times per month during the summer months. First event is June 14th - Silk Scarf Dying. And our last event will be August 2nd, when Professional Organizer Heather Powers from HK Studios will be sharing her ideas on how to transition from summer to back-to -school season with style, creativity, and order. Lots of other interesting ideas percolating for the weeks in between. Keep checking out the website for more details.
Spaces are going quickly in our 8-13 year old Summer Sessions, and we have also had many requests for Summer Sessions for younger kids, K-3rd grade. We have added one week July 10-14 for the younger age group. If you or someone you know needs another week, please contact the gallery and we will see what we can do. We aim to please.
Artwork above: Laura McRae-Hitchcock, "Peek a Boo", on display at Fabulon
Two pieces of work from Fabulon’s We the People show are now at the Vendue Hotel where Robert Lange Studios curates shows. He does a great job of collaborating with other artists and galleries. I have always admired the way he aspires to make art approachable and was one of the first to introduce the idea of a rotating art gallery show in the hotel lobby.
This show, on display until September, is called Homage, Redefining Inspiration.
Homage is a funny word. It is one of those words we use (or often misuse) in the manner in which it has come to be known: reverence. However, originally, it meant: a) “feudal ceremony by which a man acknowledges himself the vassal of a lord b) the relationship between a feudal lord and his vassal c) an act done or payment made in meeting the obligations due from a vassal to a feudal lord”, according to Merriam Webster. The ceremony must be done publicly for all to witness. How positively medieval. I do like the newer homage as in reverence and it’s other synonyms: respect, honor, worship, admiration, esteem, and acclaim.
Homage first came to me in an art history class. One painter pays tribute or gains inspiration from another, then creates a work that pays homage to that artist. Laura McRae-Hitchcock has a stunning painting that pays homage to Gustav Klimt.
Our current show, Back to the Garden, might be called an Homage to Mother Nature. I hear it a lot in the art circles, as you might expect.
But it occurred to me that I use homage often in my daily life. More accurately, I practice homage. I celebrated Easter Sunday by planting flowers and vegetables in my garden. I do not spray chemicals and I try to be as organic as possible in homage to the bees. It is my first garden in SC and I want to do it right. This will be the first time in more than 57 years that my mother does not have a garden. She once knew all the plants by their Latin names until Alzheimer’s wiped them from her memory. The creation of this garden pays homage to my mother.
Recently I discovered that I have appropriated a little ritual from one of my students. Nicolas is deaf and communicates with a variety of signs and gestures. When he is satisfied with an art project, he sets it aside and then silently claps his hands together in 3 little pats. But because there is no sound, this simple gesture looks like I'm saying a prayer or sign of admiration.
When I think about this simple act of homage to my dear student, I can't help but smile, especially since I come from a place where you keep your feelings to yourself and religion and politics do not cross over to business and education. But as an artist, one really must spread guts, ideals, and intimate thoughts our for public display. I am working on it. My newer paintings speak of my aging parents and the need to hold on to their stories and memories. My children are men now, and letting go is so hard. I have downsized my home, but still have boxes of stuff. And time is passing so quickly.
At Fabulon, we are already planning our 3rd annual Souvenirs of Summer show for August. It will speak of the passage of time, the yearning to capture the moment, holding on to things slipping away, that which we worship, long for, or mourn. Homage.
Bee Photograph by Jenion Tyson: on display at Fabulon through the end of April.
April Reflections and Projections...
Seems we were just sent out a post-show newsletter and here is another. But it is just that time is moving so quickly and I really want to share another good collection of art, artists, and some amazing information. Our Back to the Garden show was quite interesting.
Before the artist’s reception, we had an art activity for kids with the ever entertaining and engaging
Deane Bowers. She finds art in everything especially found items she collects that others may call trash. Then she works them into art pieces that are fun and delightful. I met a new friend in artist and teacher, Chelsea Bridges. She kept with our nature them, too. Kids and (Deane) had a blast rolling rocks and pinecones or dipping leaves into paint to reveal lovely images.
We also had some guests with a few informational highlights. Dale Aren is a hard working photographer who finds time to volunteer at the Center for Birds of Prey (http://www.thecenterforbirdsofprey.org/).She turned some x-rays into stunning photographs. At first glance the images are oddly familiar but hauntingly abstract at the same time. Then the reality dawns. She has captured the form of the birds and the tragedy that led to the x-ray. Humans have a direct impact on the well-being of the birds. I learned that throwing an apple core out of the car window is not really effective composting but only serves to attract the scavenger birds dangerously close to the road.
Raquela Thomas came to share with us her work and the beauty of a local horse farm that provides a special service. She is associated with LEAP, (http://www.leapinsc.org/horseshelpinghumanity/), Lowcountry Equine Assisted Psychotherapy. Here on a gorgeous plantation on Wadmalaw Island, horses roam in the pastures until they are called along with a therapist, to give comfort and inspiration to people with ADHD or PTSD among other challenges. Leap has generously invited us to use their farm to host an outdoor painting class for artists on location with the horses and the vista.
We are also scheduling the last session of kids and adult classes before summer is officially here.
We will have Summer Sessions for 8-13-year-old artsy kids who are interested in high end art class. Perhaps they want a jump start on the portfolio process or more advanced small group opportunities to further their art skills. Spaces are filling up quickly.
We have also had a high demand for summer sessions for younger kids. We have scheduled one week: 7/10-7/14 from 3-4:30pm daily. Send us a message if you need other weeks. We are adding session by request.
Art Night Out was so much fun last summer that we are bringing it back this summer. For sure will do the silk scarves and the painted wine glass classes, but we have a few new ideas, too. Stay tuned for more details. It will be here before we know it.
April flowers bring...
My beloved grandmother’s birthday was always my favorite harbinger of spring. She passed away a year ago. But she truly is with me everyday, as the lessons she shared with me continue to be important guides in my life. She was the most wise woman. But once she asked me a provocative question while searching for some way to make sense of the world. She wondered if “God was mad at us?”. She noticed that in all her years she had never seen such bizarre weather patterns and seriously wondered if this was a warning to take better care of the planet.
My response was not to question the man’s motives but I was definitely sure that Mother Nature was quite pissed off. And so began a series of paintings from Mother Nature’s point of view. Some of those paintings and the works of other artist are now the feature of our current show Back to the Garden. Our opening reception is this Saturday April 8th 5-8pm.
The image above is from Meyriel Edge. She has a series of cautionary tales and urges people to get off their cell phones and notice the bounty that abounds.
Meyriel is also a contender in ArtPop's exciting project that will showcase five local visual artists on billboards throughout the tri-county. And YOU get to decide one those artists. https://charlestonartsalliance.org/artpop/ All you have to do is click on the artist's name then click the blue"vote" bar at the bottom of the page. Easy!
Come see the whole painting at the show.
Environmental Art Event
On April 8th, 3-5 pm come join us at Fabulon and go “Back to the Garden” with an Earth Friendly event before our artists reception. Visit with our friends from The Center for Birds of Prey. Meet Raquela from LEAP. See techniques to paint a rain barrel. Guest artist Deane Bowers will share her found treasures and guide children and parents in the process of making recycled art. Get a sneak peak at the wonderful art show. This free event is family friendly.
Back to the Garden Artists' Reception April 8th 5-8pm
This show will illuminate artists’ ideals on nature and reverence for what the earth offers.
Artists will share views on ecology, sustainability, and protecting the environment
Artists Reception April 8th 5-8pm
Guest Artists: Dale Aren, Danielle Bersch, Christine Blyth, Deane Bowers,
Chelsea Bridges, Linda D’Elia, Lynne Riding, Shari Schultz, Carlay Stahl,
Jenion Tyson, Vik, Andrea Zinn
Fabulon Resident Artists: Meyriel Edge, Laura McRae-Hitchcock,
Hampton R. Olfus, Jr., Susan Irish
Special Save The Planet inspired Spring Break kids' activity event at Fabulon on April 11th: 1-3pm. All ages welcome, but parents are required to stay with children who are not yet in school.
Come and create an Earth-Friendly tote bag masterpiece! Use your bag for Easter egg hunts, groceries, a Mother's Day gift, sports equipment and more! The bag folds neatly into a small pouch and can be packed with you wherever you go. Let's get away from plastic bags that are so bad for the environment.
$25 per participant, includes bag and all supplies. More information on our Fabulon Facebook Page and registration is also now available on the Fabulon website.
Did you know that West Ashley has a theater? Not the megaplex cinema for movies, but the kind of theatre for live action plays. Its called 5th Wall Productions. They have high quality plays, classes, workshops, and open mic poetry. It’s conveniently located in the Citadel Mall. http://5thwallproductions.org/
I met Jason Olson and Sarah Daniel the other day when Jason and I served on a panel with Geoff Richardson of Lava and the chArt Outdoor Initiative and Gallery, Mike Gibbons from Charleston Regional Alliance for the Arts, and Scott Watson from The Office of Cultural Affairs.
The West Of paper got together with the West Ashley James Island Business Association at their monthly meeting to discuss the state of the arts in West Ashley.
What a great group of intelligent and supportive people dedicated to our community. The dialogue and ideas were flowing.
The most important take away is that there are many hidden gems right here in West Ashley, and people want to know about them so they can show support for small local businesses while they are being entertained or enlightened.
This makes my art teacher heart full with joy. Sometime people involved in the arts feel isolated. Many are self-employed, so we don’t get to leave our shops. We are eager to share, but we are often introverted by nature, so sharing can be awkward. And we can seem unapproachable because the arts have long been associated with privilege and high price tags. But what I heard at this meeting was an attitude of inclusion; that arts should be accessible and available for everyone. More people are working to make this a reality.
So help me spread the word. If you know of a place or a person in West Ashley that is all about the arts: theater, dance, visual arts, music, creative writing, poetry, or storytelling, send me a link, contact info, or a recommendation. Post something about them on West Ashley Cultural Arts page on Facebook, or direct them to it. Ask them to join the
West Ashley Arts Initiative, they have a Facebook page too. https://www.facebook.com/groups/240440809639269/
Share the love to make West Ashley truly experience the renaissance we have been promised.
Join the West Ashley United page on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/WestAshleyUnited/
See the giant murals in Alycia Aly. The chArt Outdoor Initiative and Gallery is always open. https://www.facebook.com/chARTinitiative/
And check out these Fabulon events:
- Saturday March 4th, 7 pm, Fabulon presents Devin McKinney Light by Fire at Avondale Therapy 815 Savannah Highway.
- Friday March 10th We the People, artists respond to racism reception at our 1017 Wappoo Rd location. This show features nationally known artists. All works are for sale with a portion of the proceeds going to your choice of several related charities.
In a love story does it matter who says it first?
As we reflect on this pending Valentine’s Day and prepare for our NYTLS show, I am thinking fondly about my stepmother. When you hear Stepmother do you think of wicked evil women locking children in closets or making them clean the fireplace? She is often portrayed as the villain and not the subject of a love story. This year she is the subject of mine.
When we met, I was still at an age when boys were yucky so the idea that Daddy had a girl friend was really repulsive. But she grew on me. I always imagined that she was some type of saint getting involved with a man with three children. I admired her manners and gentle affect. Eventually, I loved her. By the time I was an adult we even became friends. I then had someone else’s children in my life. I would call to commiserate but she never said anything negative about us. I knew she loved my brothers and me but it wasn’t her way to express it. I would always end a phone conversation with “I love you” and she would responds with “Me, too.” But she never said it first.
She has been battling Alzheimer’s and we have now called hospice. I was sorting through some memorabilia when I came across the program from her 50th high school reunion. Each member of her class wrote a profile. I was shocked to see that it was full of details about her stepchildren and our children, how happy she was and that, even though we weren’t hers, she loved us so much. She could have padded that profile with tales of her career or her retirement in Florida or the many trips she and my father took. But she wanted to brag about us. We brought her joy.
So maybe it never really matters who says it first but who says it best.
Come see some paintings I’ve been working on based on this thought.
See new work from my esteemed Fabulon colleagues and a few pieces by new friends.
Not Your Typical Love Story reception: Saturday February 11th,
5-8pm with a chocolate fountain.
Why I Did Not March
So many people called me or sent texts and emails from Portland, Boston, and Charleston. Where was I? Surely, I was marching somewhere.
Almost a year ago, long before the primaries, debates, or elections, I made a commitment to host an event at the gallery. I kept that promise. So, I was at work on Saturday.
Even though the March is over there is still work to be done. Keep the dialogue and activism going.
If something is of concern, speak up. Offer a solution, idea, preference, or a hope. It does make a difference. So many people express their opinions and commiserate at work, online, and at parties but not to the people we put in charge.
When I was part of a social justice committee in Massachusetts we were told by the secretary to our State Senator “a letter makes my boss nervous, a phone call makes him sweat, and if someone visits I need to get the defibrillator.” We communicated with our officials and visited the state house in Boston on a regular basis. We asked for input. We expected accountability. We saw change.
Here are some pertinent links:
To receive a text message of your Representatives names and phone numbers, text your zip code to 530-200-2223
This one helps find everyone:
US Senator(Senior) Lindsey Graham
US Senator (Junior) Timothy Scott
US Representative Mark Sanford
State SenatorSC Senate District 42 Marion Kimpson
SC State Representative SC House District 111 Wendell Gilliard
If letters aren’t your way, make a painting, or write a poem.
Come to Fabulon on March 10th for a Drum Circle.
Above all, be kind to each other.
December! I can hardly believe it.
In this age of cell phones, does anyone wear a watch anymore? I never did. I was conditioned to an awareness of the time by years of teaching in a classroom. My days were once regimented into 45 minute segments. But now I am planning way ahead for September 2017 even though it seems we just celebrated Souvenirs of Summer 2016. I don’t even know what day it is anymore.
Maybe everyone is done shopping for the holidays?
Just in case you are still looking, I wanted to send a quick message to parents about art supplies for kids if I haven’t already told y’all in person. My best advice is “less is more”. Avoid the large kits full of everything. Opt for a smaller package of one medium in a higher quality. Think nice drawing pencils or one set of Expressionist pastels or Prismacolors. Buy red, yellow, blue, and white paints instead of a rainbow of cheaper prepackaged paints. The kids know how to make a million colors from these few. The quality of the larger sets are often compromised by volume and in the long run are frustrating to kids more so than inspiring. "How to draw" books rarely break stuff down into manageable parts. So I always suggest books on the lives of the artists. These are my favorites: http://www.mikevenezia.com/artists/
And for the adults, art is always in fashion, appreciates in value, and is a fabulous gift.
Fabulon is having a blast with the Maker’s Markets. We met some new people and had great press. Thanks to Christophe's Chocolates and their new West Ashley store for coming out last Saturday.
The next and last event is Saturday, December 10th from 12-4pm. There should be 2 new artist vendors. The food truck features the latest trend these days: Blackanese: soul and Asian fusion.
Hope you can make it!
Ps: Don’t forget about I Live Here photography show reception on Friday, December 9th from 5-8pm. The photographs are so beautiful!
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1017 wappoo rd
Mid October News
Everyday I get to surround myself with stunning works of art created by people with whom I have forged relationships. I know each piece of art intimately like one knows a favorite book, sweater, or other treasured item.
Then along comes Matthew threatening to blow it all away!
So I wrapped, packed, tucked and stowed each piece away. Fortunately all is well. I hope the same for all of you and your treasures.
Poor, poor Haiti. How sad on so many levels. One story that is especially poignant to me: the students are eager to go back to school but many schools are still being used as shelters. In the meantime, children lay out their clothes and schoolbooks hoping that they will dry and be put to use soon. May it be so.
Comparatively anything that may have changed for us here is just a minor inconvenience verses a real problem.
Moja Finale was cancelled. Still waiting a new date.
The last event to happen was the juried art show.
I am ecstatic to tell you that two Fabulon artists received awards!
1. Meyriel Edge 2nd for her portrait of Hampton. The Edges of Olfus
2. Hampton Olfus Grand Prize for his painting. Moving In and Out of the Game with a Smooth Glide
Charleston Arts Festival has been rescheduled for Ocotber 22. This is a ticketed show taking place in the Old City Jail.
Hopefully the Farmer’s Market will not be rained out anymore. Next week October 19
Fabulon is curating a Pop Up Art Show featuring Fabulon artists and other artists from West Ashley.
Downtown Art Walk was moved to this Friday October 14.
Fabulon will be open late, too. Swing on in and see what I see.
The Underground Sounds of "M!key Dee & DJ Ophus Olfus on the Beats presents " Art & Science"
Future Casting of the genre tagged Hip-Hop and highlight the generational and contemporary links within the arts to Hip-Hop.
While the seeds of Hip-Hop were being blown around the world, by the winds of creativity, the music industry was planning a takeover of the art form. By the early 1990’s Hip-Hop had been directed into being a musical genre that glorifies ”thug life”. This hijacking of the art form into a musical hybrid about ”thug life” was primarily about making money at the expense of the music and those who created it. But all was not lost, Hip-Hop, via the music underground, continued to morph and integrate with other art forms including jazz, classical, country western music, poetry, visual arts, and fashion.
Collaborative mural project, generational spoken word performances by Horace Mungin! Carter Smith!
Break & Hip-Hop Dancers, and the "Food Box” food truck.
Come celebrate what is true to the art form’s creative beginnings as we project into the future with messages of hope, unity, progress, and harmony.
Saturday October 1, 2016 4-8pm
FABULON 1017 Wappoo Rd West Ashley