Friday Fiver: Kerri Forrest

KLF Ashepoo Mar 2015Kerri Forrest is one of the best friends the arts community could ask for. She personally supports and consumes a variety of local arts, but also helms an organization that is one of the biggest arts supporters in the Lowcountry. Forrest has served as the Director of the Lowcountry Program for the Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelley Foundation since February 2015. Her latest initiative is an arts survey in conjunction with a national nonprofit to assess arts space needs for the area. She is encouraging all artists and arts organizations to make their voices heard by taking part in the survey. It takes less than 15 minutes, and the input will be incredibly important for the arts community moving forward. Click here to take the survey.

We sat down with Kerri for today’s Friday Fiver.

  1. The Donnelley Foundation supports land conservation, artistic vitality and regional collections in the Lowcountry and Chicago. How did those two locations become linked for the Foundation? The Foundation was founded in 1952 by Gaylord Donnelley, then chairman of the RR Donnelley Company and his wife Dorothy Donnelley. The family lived in both Chicago and the ACE Basin. Their love of the arts, the outdoors, and books was the impetus for the three program areas we fund in the two regions.
  2. What was on your radio on the way into work this morning? A podcast: Tritonia by two EDM DJ’s out of Texas. Best way to get the adrenaline going on a hump day.
  3. You have been working with Artspace Project, a national nonprofit, to conduct a survey of artists and arts groups on space needs. What are you hoping to learn from these surveys? The survey will tell us 3 critical pieces of information: where artists / arts organizations and creative businesses want to be located, what type of space they need (residential, commercial, studio, rehearsal) and what they can afford to pay for that space.  That information will not just tell the Foundation and our core group of partners from across the region whether a live/work space would potentially be successful (the type of project Artspace does around the country) but would provide local city planners, developers and others with hard numbers on what could be offered to artists. It will help everyone make more informed decisions.
  4. You’ve heard from quite a few different artists and disciplines with the survey. However, are there additional groups, areas or disciplines you would really like to encourage to take the survey? We have 3 weeks left to get responses from a cross section of our arts community, both individual artists and arts organizations/creative businesses. To date, we have not received responses from artists in the theater, dance, music or literary disciplines. Also, we’ve received fewer responses from artists currently living in North Charleston and few responses from artists and organizations of color. It’s important that we hear from all of these groups or important information about the arts community will be left out.
  5. If you could wave a magic wand over Charleston and have one thing happen immediately, what would it be? A metro transit system would magically appear… but that’s another conversation…


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Looking for opportunities to spice up your Halloween weekend with some spooky events? We got you covered! Thursday night at 6 p.m. come by The Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art for a gallery walk-through of Sara Angelucci’s exhibition, Aviary. Friday night, don’t miss out on your chance to see Dracula: King of Vampires at the Dock Street Theater! Raising the stakes on the classic tale of the blood-thirsty Prince of Darkness, this show is bound to have you shaking in your boots. Not scared yet? Check out Asylum Halloween at Redux Contemporary Art Center on Saturday night, 7-11pm. If you make it out alive, be sure to swing by Republic Garden & Lounge where your Asylum ticket will get you to the front of the line without paying a cover charge. After a good night’s sleep make your way over to the Coastal Carolina Fair on Sunday anytime between 12 p.m. and 9 p.m. End your weekend with a BANG at Nightmare on Society Street, hosted on October 31st by Threshold Repertory Theatre and Muse restaurant, featuring a haunted house, followed by a party at MUSE Restaurant with heavy hors d’oeuvres, drinks, DJ silent auction and live auction.  No reason to stay locked inside your coffin this weekend, get out there and spook things up!

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Friday Fiver: Maribel Acosta

Maribel Acosta knows how to stay busy. Since moving to Charleston in 2010, the painter and playwright has also been an maribelactive community builder, founding and growing Art Pot, a multi-cultural arts initiative designed to engage the Lowcountry’s Hispanic community. Recently. We sat down with Maribel for today’s Friday Fiver. The questions and answers are also included in Spanish below. 

1. You were born and raised in Cuba, a country with a rich artistic legacy. With the US and Cuba normalizing relations, what is something you hope Americans will soon experience with regard to Cuban art? Usted nació y creció en Cuba, un país con un rico legado artístico. Con la normalización de las relaciones entre Estados Unidos y Cuba, que experiencias esperas que los americanos tengan con respecto al arte cubano?

This subject of reestablishing relations is something of which I am still leery, but besides that distrust, this first attempt is beneficial. I hope that people in the USA discover the artistic richness that has been hiding in Cuba for so many years. People have been silenced by political circumstances, and yet the creation of art has not ceased; art has been made in all the possible ways of very good quality under very demanding parameters. The Cuban artist is an open person with thirst to learn and to become something better; someone that likes to be nourished in what happens outside of his or her space.  I hope that they will take it into account that the creativity (a practice essential for art) is what has maintained these people smiling despite so many difficulties. I hope that they recognize the importance of imparting artistic education from early ages in children’s and teens’ education. And even though I do not recommend the Cuban political model, I do hope that they consider implementing the quality of the curriculum of art schools starting from middle school and on, and the installation and granting of cultural centers  in each neighborhood-something that can be saved from this system. In addition to all of that, I hope that they will intensely enjoy the strong passion that a Cuban artist posses. 

El tema del restablecimiento de relaciones es algo en lo que todavía desconfío, aún con esta desconfianza, este primer intento es beneficioso. Espero que los estadounidenses descubran la riqueza artística que ha estado escondida en Cuba por tantos años, silenciada por circunstancias políticas, donde a pesar de ello nunca se dejó de hacer arte, se ha hecho arte de todas las formas posibles y arte de muy buena calidad, bajo parámetros muy exigentes. El artista cubano es alguien abierto, sediento de aprender y transformarse en algo mejor, que le gusta nutrirse de lo que sucede fuera de su espacio. Espero que valoren y tomen muy en cuenta que la creatividad (práctica esencial del arte) es lo que ha mantenido a ese pueblo sonriendo a pesar de tantas dificultades. Espero que reconozcan lo importante que es impartir educación artística desde tempranas edades a lo largo de toda la enseñanza a niños y adolescentes. Y aunque no recomiendo el modelo político cubano, espero que puedan considerar que uno de los aciertos que se pueden rescatar de ese sistema es el de la implementación de excelentes curriculums en escuelas de arte desde el middle school y la instalación y subvención de centros culturales ubicados en cada barrio. Además de todo eso, espero que disfruten intensamente la fuerte pasión que posee el artista cubano.

2. Your organization Art Pot will soon be opening a Hispanic Multicultural Facility in North Charleston. What impact will it be to have a permanent physical location? Su organización Art Pot pronto abrirá un Centro Multicultural Hispano en North Charleston. ¿Cuál crees que será el impacto de tener una ubicación física permanente?

The Multicultural Center that we will be inaugurating is located in Hannahan, but its services and activities are for the whole community. I believe that the first impact that a permanent space has is the seal of “We are here, and we have our space and you can see us here. Don’t forget that we form a part. Let’s work together because we are staying here”. That in the first instance, later in the day to day, it is a very important space, because in Charleston and its surroundings our presence is not felt besides some latino restaurants and grocery stores even though our population is growing. In other cities in the country, latinos have these places while here they do not exist. And this is not for us to isolate ourselves and stay in our native tongue, it is to collaborate in the necessity of integration, to find answers, and to find paths and orientation in the process. The path that we have chosen is fusing the artistic practice with community service, which we have been doing as a group for more than two years, but without this space everything was more difficult. Now, latinos and the rest of communities will have this place where they will come to get to know each other and express and work together in search of solutions.

El Centro Multicultural Hispano que inauguraremos está localizado en Hanahan, pero sus servicios y actividades son para toda la comunidad. Pienso que el primer impacto que tiene un espacio permanente es el sello de “Estamos aquí, tenemos nuestro espacio y aquí pueden vernos. No se olviden que formamos parte. Trabajemos juntos porque aquí nos quedamos”.  Eso en primera instancia, luego en el día a día es un espacio muy importante, porque en Charleston y sus alrededores además de algunos restaurants o tiendas de comestible latinas, no se siente nuestra presencia, a pesar de que nuestra población crece. En otras ciudades del país los hispanos tenemos estos lugares, aquí no existen. Y no es para aislarnos y quedarnos en nuestra propia lengua, es para colaborar en la necesidad de integración, encontrar respuestas, caminos y orientación en ese proceso. El camino que hemos escogido es fusionando la práctica artística y el servicio comunitario. Lo cual hemos venido haciendo como grupo desde hace más de 2 años, pero sin este espacio todo se dificultaba. Ahora la comunidad latina y el resto de comunidades tendrán ese lugar a dónde acudir para conocernos, expresarnos y trabajar juntos en la búsqueda de soluciones. 


3.Having traveled the world exhibiting your art, can you describe what the universal appeal of art is? Después de haber viajado por el mundo exhibiendo su arte, ¿puede describir cuál es el atractivo universal del arte?

I have not traveled as much as I want to, physically, but I have travelled a lot through books, the study of other cultures, the collaboration with people of diverse origins and their artistic manifestations, and the hunting of every performance, workshop, or exhibition that has been near me. More than attractive, I’d say that art is essential, since it is a sensible manifestation of the world that surrounds us which reflects with absolute liberty: ideas, feelings, and even historic processes. From the style most determined to achieve reproducing beauty to the most grotesque style to express oneself in art, a print is left in our senses, it leaves sensations and questions… Art can entertain us and delight us and question us and wake us, always with the sensation of enjoyment that creativity attains. In addition to the marvelous condition of not having language or idiosyncrasy barriers, art communicates and moves breaking any prejudice. It’s appeal surpasses the barriers; we can admire an architectural structure from a certain country even if we do not agree with its politics, we can enjoy a song even if we do not understand the lyrics; we can understand the feelings of an individual of a completely different culture than ours just with a dance, a stage performance, or a painting.

No he viajado tanto como quisiera, físicamente, pero he viajado bastante a través de los libros, el estudio de otras culturas, la colaboración con gente de diversos orígenes y sus manifestaciones artísticas, cazando cada presentación, taller, exhibición o presentación que ha estado cerca de mí. Más que atractivo diría que el arte es esencial, pues es una manifestación sensible del mundo que nos rodea, refleja con abosoluta libertad ideas, sentimientos y hasta procesos históricos. Desde desde el estilo más empeñado en lograr reproducir la belleza hasta el estilo más grotesco de expresarse dentro del arte, deja una huella en nuestros sentidos, deja sensaciones y preguntas… El arte puede divertirnos y deleitarnos y puede cuestionarnos y despertarnos, siempre con la sensación del disfrute que logra la creatividad. Además de la maravillosa condición de no tener barreras como el lenguaje o la idiosincracia, el arte comunica y conmueve, rompiendo cualquier prejuicio. Su atractivo sobrepasa las fronteras, podemos admirar una aquitectura de determinado país aunque no estemos de acuerdo con su política, podemos disfrutar de una canción aunque no entendamos su letra, podemos entender el sentimiento de un individuo que pertenezca a una cultura muy diferente a la nuestra solo con su danza, su actuación en escena o su pintura.

4. What is one piece of advice you would give to an artist moving to the United States from another country? ¿Qué consejo le darías a un artista que se tralada a los Estados Unidos desde otro país?

I believe that the most interesting cultures have been formed by fusion of several cultures, and the USA is just that, a country built by immigrants bringing different cultures together throughout its history, which makes it a carrier of a long and rich artistic legacy. The main tip I can give to artists is to nourish themselves in this country’s art history, and when I say art, I mean music, visual arts, theater, architecture, film… But at the same time, I say to never leave your roots behind and to incorporate it to what goes on here, learning from what you see, letting the fusion continue, and making the richness greater and more extensive. 

Creo que las culturas más interesantes se han formado a partir de la fusión de varias, y justamente Estados Unidos es un país construido por inmigrantes a lo largo de su historia, lo cual lo hace portador de un rico y extenso legado artístico. El principal consejo que podría dar a los artistas es que se nutran de la historia del arte de este país, y cuando digo arte, digo música, artes visuales, teatro, arquitectura, cine… Pero a la misma vez, les diría que nunca dejen atrás sus raíces, y lo incorporen a lo que sucede aquí, nutriéndose de lo que ve, y que siga la fusión, para hacer más grande y extensa esa riqueza.

5. If you could wave a magic wand over Charleston and have one thing happen immediately, what would it be? Si pudieras agitar una varita mágica sobre Charleston y hacer que una cosa suceda de inmediato, ¿cuál sería?

How marvelous! I would love to have that magic wand! I would make it so that all theaters that one day were, with all of their little lights turned on and lines of people anxiously waiting for the doors to open and for the performance to begin, filled with audiences nourishing themselves from the good performances, not clothing stores and rental spaces for parties or events like some are at this moment.

Que maravilla! Me encantaría tener esa varita mágica! Que todos los teatros que algún día lo fueron, con todas sus lucecitas encendidas y las filas de personas esperando ansiosos a que abran sus puertas para ver el espectáculo, volvieran a ser teatros llenos de público nutriéndose de buenos espectáculos, no tiendas de ropa ni espacios de alquiler para fiestas o eventos como algunos lo son en este momento.




Friday Fiver: Kyle Barnette

Kyle Headshot #3 2012 (2)-minWhat If? Productions and Threshold Repertory Theatre are teaming up to bring the zombie-fighting franchise to the stage, with Evil Dead: The Musical, opening Friday, Oct. 14. We sat down with show director Kyle Barnette for this week’s Friday Fiver.

For more information on the show or to order tickets, visit

  1. The Evil Dead franchise was a low-budget horror series that became a pop culture sensation with a rabid cult following. What will movie enthusiasts of the franchise think of the musical adaptation? For a musical adaptation it is almost religiously faithful to the franchise, especially the first film The Evil Dead, although all three movies are paid homage to in the musical. Movie enthusiasts will recognize iconic quotes as well as bloody moments from the films all the way down to how each character becomes a demon and songs that take quotes right from the films! But you don’t have to be an enthusiast to appreciate the comedy and spectacle of the show.
  2. Some of the songs in the show include What the F@#k Was That?, Look Who’s Evil Now and All the Men In My Life Keep Getting Killed by Candarian Demons. Can you share with us what exactly a Candarian Demon is, and why they keep killing people? Well a Candarian Demon is what these stupid college kids conjure up when they come across the Necronomicon (The Book of the Dead) that they find in the cabin when they first arrive. Those demons are assholes who often talk in really bad puns which is a great running gag in the show.
  3. There are 12 seats available for each show in the “splash zone” in which you are “guaranteed to get drenched in some of the blood and guts throughout the show. Come dressed appropriately and get ready to get bloody!” What is ideal attire for getting drenched in blood and guts? Well I would recommend all white so everyone can see the blood and you can wear it like a badge. They can also pose on stage after the show on the set and hastag #evildeadchs to show they were there. We will also have a huge cutout of the poster in the lobby where you can stick your head in and become Ash, the hero of the show.
  4. What If? is known for its edgy, no holds barred productions. What is a production What If? has yet to put on but really wants to? Well we were going to do Carrie: The Musical this season before we decided the collaboration with Threshold for Evil Dead ….thinking two gory horror musicals would be too much in one season!
  5. If you could wave a magic wand over Charleston and have one thing happen immediately, what would it be? That sounds like witchcraft to me…we only deal in demonic possession!


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We need your input!

Don’t forget — we want to hear from you about funding!

The Charleston Regional Alliance for the Arts is looking for feedback from arts groups, artists and arts supporters about possible new funding initiatives. On Oct 18 and 19, we are hosting two Listening Forums to get input on how we can best serve you and your needs, in particular with regard to fundraising and a possible new funding program.

The meetings are:

  • Tuesday, Oct 18, 2016 from 2:00 PM to 3:30 PM, Buist Room 3rd floor, North Charleston City Hall
  • Wednesday, Oct. 19, 2016, from 11:30 AM to 1 PM, Charleston County Public Library, 68 Calhoun Street

We hope Arts Alliance members will bring any and all interested staff or Board members. But we also invite everyone who supports Arts Alliance members (in particular on days such as previous Giving Days) to show up and share their thoughts.

Please RSVP to Elise Hussey ( if you can make it! If you have questions in the meantime, don’t hesitate to contact us.