ECM seeking director of development

Our ECM-5.5x8.5-front-661x1024friends at Engaging Creative Minds are currently taking applications for the open position of Director of Development and Communications. ECM does great work in our community, integrating the arts and education “to inspire the creative and innovative potential of all students to achieve academically and become imaginative, adaptable, and productive adults resulting in stronger communities and an increasingly competitive South Carolina workforce.”

For more information on ECM, visit their website.

Congratulations to the Best of Charleston!

city paperThe Charleston City Paper’s Best of Charleston 2016 is out, and the Alliance is thrilled to see so many members representing the Holy City. Among the winners:

Readers’ picks:

Best Building Dock Street Theatre (third year in a row); Runner-up: Galliard Center

Best FestivalSpoleto Festival USA (second year in a row)

Non-Piccolo or Spoleto Play of 2015 – Grey GardensVillage Repertory Co.; Runner-up: Always … Patsy Cline, Midtown Productions

Cultural Event Spoleto Festival USA (fourth year in a row); Runner-up: Piccolo Spoleto

MuseumGibbes Museum of Art; Runner-up: Children’s Museum of the Lowcountry

Best Jazz Band Charleston Jazz Orchestra (fourth year in a row)

Best GalleryThe Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art

Critics’ Picks

Yarn BombEnough Pie project at St. Julian Devine Community Center

Place to Hear Vocal HarmoniesGaillard Center

Best New MuralEnough Pie‘s mural at John. L. Dart Library

Congratulations again to all the winners!

Friday Fiver: Joseph Demerly

Photo by Jonathan BoncekJoseph Demerly’s life has been theatre. Since he was a young boy, Demerly has been involved in all aspects of putting on a show. He carried that love into his professional life, and is now the Executive Director of Theatre Charleston, an alliance of local theatres with a mission “to promote awareness and visibility for live theatre in the Charleston area, and provide services that strengthen the operations of both the member theatres and performing arts organizations in general.” Demerly relocated here from Buffalo, where he was the managing director Kavinoky Theatre. One major aspect of his new career is overseeing the Unified Auditions, which will be held April 2. Theatre Charleston is partnering with the South Carolina Theatre Association to bring dozens of directors and producers to search for actors, designers and technicians. For more information on the auditions, click HERE.

What is one key piece of advice you would give to actors planning to attend unified auditions?

Auditioning can be scary and intimidating (at least it is for me!) Let your hair down, take a deep breath, and relax; have fun and show the directors that you’re confident in what you do. A flubbed line is a lot better than watching someone who isn’t confident. Be confident!

You moved to Charleston from Buffalo, NY. What is the biggest adjustment you’ve had to make living in the Lowcountry?

The bugs! I am not a fan of bugs. Oh, and those little lizards. And the frogs. I’m not a creepy-crawler kinda guy. Other than those things, the adjustment has been just great. The people down here are as nice as can be…and the weather isn’t too bad either (no snow!)

What is the favorite role you’ve played on stage? On a similar note, what is one role you have yet to play that you would love to?

I had the awesome opportunity to play Richard Loeb in “Thrill Me: The Leopold and Loeb Story” starring opposite its writer/composer, Stephen Dolginoff. Oddly enough, I played Nathan Leopold seven years earlier in “Never the Sinner.” As for roles that I haven’t done that I’d like to… Hmm. A role that I always wanted to play (and am now far too old to play) is The Writer in Tennessee Williams’s “Vieux Carre.” It is one of the last plays he wrote and, I believe, his most autobiographical; it’s beautiful.

How do you see the Charleston theater scene evolving over the next few years?

There is so much passion and a great deal of pride involved in anyone who produces or participates in live theater. Although I’ve only been in Charleston for eight months, I am pleasantly relieved that the theater scene is as large as it is here! My job as Executive Director for Theatre Charleston is to advocate for this area’s growing theater scene; I can only hope that it continues to grow and that those in the Lowcountry (and those who visit) will do themselves a favor and see a show! Bring your kids, invite your neighbors: the great thing about live theater is that it truly is participatory; the actors can HEAR you, too! I love everything about theater.

What’s your favorite guilty pleasure TV show?

Now that “Downton Abbey” is over, it has to be cooking shows. I particularly like “Masterchef” and “Worst Cook in America”. You can occasionally catch me watching one of the “Housewives of…” on BRAVO but I won’t admit to that in person.


Want to be featured in a Friday Fiver? E-mail

“Bent” at Threshold Repertory

Threshold Repertory Theatre is proud to present Bent, a Pulitzer Prize nominated play, opening March 17th. Directed by Jay Danner, Charleston Theatre’s Best Director of 2015. Set in 1930s, Nazi Germany, Bent peers into the depths of homosexual persecution and spotlights a time we wish we could forget. “Bent,” was a word used across Europe referring to a gay person. Now a show hailed as, “powerful and courageous” by the New York Times. Centered around ill-fated love this captivating performance teaches us how to both give and accept love. 

March 17-April 20
Thursday-Saturday @ 8pm
Last two Sundays @ 3pm
Tickets: Adults $25/Seniors $20/Students/Military $15

Friday Fiver: Deane Valentine Bowers

ImageYour trash is Deane Valentine Bowers’s treasure. Or, at least, it could be soon. Deane is an environmental folk artist, and her creations are crafted from items she finds strewn about. She finds dual inspiration from the beauty of the Lowcountry and her desire to clean up the community.

“Inspiration is always found in the beauty and simplicity of the South Carolina coast. For this reason, I am passionate about being an environmentally conscientious artist and I make it my mission to create eco friendly art. Using mostly discarded, abandoned, and reclaimed materials, my ‘recycled folk art’ celebrates these forgotten things,” she said.

Originally from Richmond, Va., Deane now lives on Seabrook Island. Her mixed media sculptures are colorful and vibrant, and each is a fun exploration to discover how she has repurposed the items she has collected to create her art. And the fact that she’s working to clean up litter is a tremendous added bonus.

“That shattered, busted and cracked piece of metal or wood lying in the streets or on the beach is the focal point of my mixed media, found object sculptures. Items that otherwise would end up in landfills and waterways are given new and important value in my “recycled folk art.” I am constantly amazed at the abundance of materials I find and rescue within just a few city blocks. Great pride is taken in cleaning up my surroundings with the hopes of keeping the coastline beautiful and pristine,” she said.

We chatted with Deane for this week’s Friday Fiver.
When/what was your first work of art done from recycled materials?IMG_7349

My first piece created from found objects and recycled materials was in 2005. It was a very simple “bird shack” made from cardboard, tissue paper, salvaged wood, wire, bottle caps and sticks. I will never part with it because it is a great reminder of how far I have come in working with reclaimed items. Before working with recycled materials, I primarily focused on clay and paint. I hand built ceramic pieces for many years and sold them in many retail locations throughout the Southeast. I was growing tired of working with ceramics and the level of detail and precision it required. You have to be a perfectionist when hand building pieces to ensure they will make it through two kiln firings and not develop hairline cracks or air bubbles. It is also a very expensive medium to work in between the cost of the clay and glazes, not to mention the power needed to fire up the kiln.

On a girls weekend to the beach with a fellow artist and best friend, our beach plans got rained out and we had no back up plan. We both had brought minimal art supplies with us and decided to be creative until the rain stopped, which it never did! We had to be industrious in finding more items to work with. I began walking the beach and the neighborhoods around the beach house looking for things to use. I was amazed and delighted at what I found and how freeing working with rescued materials was. No kiln firings to worry about, no expensive art supplies to purchase and no right or wrong way to create with them. Plus, there was the added satisfaction that I was cleaning up my surroundings and picking up materials that could potentially be harmful. And these things were free, plentiful and right out the front door!IMG_7362

Your art is crafted from scrap items you find, often on the street. What is your most exciting find that you’ve put to use?

Metal scraps are always my most favorite finds. Especially when they are so street worn they have developed holes in places and have a wonderful rusted color to them. There is no telling how long they have been in lying in the streets or where else they have been. I respect and adore these pieces and always put them in a central spot on my found object sculptures. And I am fortunate to find these metal scraps frequently abandoned in the streets or parking lots.

What advice would you give to someone who is interested in creating art from recycled materials?

Go for it and have fun. There is no right or wrong way to work with them. Give them a purpose that is totally different from their original use. Take a walk around the neighborhood and collect whatever you see discarded and go from there. I always clean my materials in very hot water and Simple Green, an Ecofriendly cleaning solution before I get started. Oh, and make sure your tetanus shot is up to date, just in case you have a mishap!

What was the last thing you were listening to on your car radio?

Pandora radio on the Nashville station!Image_2

If you could wave a magic wand over Charleston, what one thing would instantly happen?

One thing I wish would magically happen in Charleston: I would love to see more trash and recycle bins placed throughout the city, especially in the busiest areas of the city and in the city parks. I am disheartened when I see people littering and not taking pride in keeping Charleston beautiful. The amount of rescued materials I collect from the streets, parking lots and beaches of Charleston is staggering. And when I look around, I notice there are no trash or recycling receptacles for people to put their trash in, so no wonder! And if there are trash containers available, they are often overflowing.

Friday Fiver: Holy City Sinner

holycitysinnerYou probably know Christian Senger, but you may not know it. He is most known by his blog handle, Holy City Sinner, which debuted in August 2011. Since then, it has grown to be one of the most popular local Charleston blogs, having been voted best Twitter feed in the City Paper’s Best of Charleston for the past two years. Senger said he focuses on the wide array of Charleston offerings that make the city unique. “Holy City Sinner is centered around the beautiful Holy City and its talented residents. We have some of the best cooks, musicians, charities, events, and people in the nation who demand your attention,” he said. As for the name? Senger sums it up thusly: “Although Charleston is known for its strong religious base and southern hospitality, it is also well known for some hedonistic behavior. Much like many of his fellow residents, this blog’s creator can often be found trying to balance the city’s equally enticing extremes. Holy City Sinner hopes to celebrate the many sides of this historic and lively city.”

You now have almost 20,000 followers. If you could go back and tell 2011 Holy City Sinner you’d have that reach, what do you think your reaction be?

To think I’d even have half that amount of followers would have shocked me. Each step along the way has been a pleasant surprise. I thought there would be a segment of Charleston that would appreciate what I was trying to accomplish, but I never thought I’d have the support of that many people.

You post dozens of tweets each day about the various goings-on in Charleston. How do you decide what to share with your followers?

Honestly, I try to include just about anything I can. There will be at least one person who is interested in each piece of news or information I come across. One of my goals has always been to inform people of things they may not have heard about otherwise and Twitter has been the best medium to accomplish that.

You’ve kept your followers up to date on myriad events happening in the Charleston area day in and day out. What is the best kept event secret in Charleston – the one event more people should put on their bucket list?

This was probably the most difficult question to answer. There are so many great events and it was impossible to choose one. However, after just a little bit of stressing out, I chose the Jail Break events, which are going to be changing in some fashion, but were always a lot of fun. Attendees could roam free in the Old City Jail, which was fun enough, but there were also performances and exhibits featuring local bands, comedians, artists, dancers, and artisans. It was a great opportunity to see the Charleston creative community while checking out a unique building.

Charleston is known for its fine dining, and you share plenty of delectable food news with your followers. But what is your fast food guilty pleasure?

Growing up in the Northeast, I never experienced places like Zaxby’s or Chic-fil-a, so those have become my go-to fast food places.

If you could wave a magic wand over Charleston, what would immediately happen?

As much as I love this city, there are certainly things that ail it. A lot of those issues came up in the recent mayoral election – traffic, homelessness, downtown’s poor drainage, public transit issues, the rising number of the rising cost of living downtown is pushing many people out of the city, the rapid gentrification of the city is doing the same for lower income families, and despite what some think, there are still racial issues that need to be addressed and fixed. Of course there are other big issues that plague the state and Charleston – domestic violence against women, education, and the rising number of HIV infections.  Those are all things I would fix if I had a magic wand.