Friday Fiver: Total Eclipse of the Art

On Aug. 21, 2017, all eyes will be on the sky, as a total solar eclipse occurs for the first time in nearly four decades.

And two artists from Vermont will keeping more than just eyes on the sky. Michael Zebrowski, a professor of art at Johnson State College in Vermont, and Kelly Holt, his project manager, are planning on installing four art exhibits along the eclipse’s path across the U.S., and includes one right here in The Holy City.

The yellow tripods will be mounted with a time lapse camera and a live stream camera, and will capture the eclipse as it makes its away across the country.

Anyone interested in partnering with them on the project is encouraged to contact them at or Or, shoot us an e-mail at the Alliance and we’ll get you connected.

Michael Zebrowski

Michael Zebrowski

We sat down with Michael and Kelly for this week’s Friday Fiver.

What was the inspiration for taking on this ambitious cross-country project?

I have a fundamental desire in my artwork to challenge the scale of my work. I do this not necessarily through how big a structure or sculpture is, but through the relationship that the structure has to the immediate environment, earth and universe. So the event of the eclipse on August 21st fits right into this. I see this project like orchestrating a band’s US tour except all venues play the music at the same time almost and the band consists of the sun moon and earth. My thinking is if I place a modest structure at four points along the path of totality across the country then the works are more about their relationship to the Moon, Sun and Earth. And ultimately our relationship to these celestial bodies.

You have chose four locations for the installations – Charleston; St. Joseph, MO; Jackson Hole, WY; and Salem, OR? How did you select these locations?

I chose the four locations because I wanted to fully do justice to the entire eclipse event across the USA. The total event lasts 95 minutes roughly from land fall in Salem Oregon to exiting in Charleston. I love the idea that everyone will stop and look even if they don’t know about or anticipate the event. There is a type of movement in sculpture and other forms of art that are “site specific,” meaning a work that is placed in a particular place while responding to the conditions of the space. This work is site specific. I also like the idea of expanding this concept to include “time specific.” This work is also time specific. The multiple locations, one in each time zone, is important to following through further with this notion of connecting to time. More simply, the locations all exist on or very near the path of totality. The path of totality is where the true shadow of the moon will hit the earth. If you were on the moon looking at the earth, you would see the shadow cross the planet. Satellites will pick this up as well.

Once you have documented the eclipse, what will you do with the photographs?

The time lapse photography and video will be a way to see the eclipse no matter where you are. Our goal is to have a live feed in all four installations and beyond. We teach at Johnson State College in the Fine Arts Department. There will be live projections there for students and colleagues to see the event as it happens. It happens to be the first day of classes in the Fall. A great way to start the semester. The live feed will also be recorded as a set of four videos that can be projected as an installation in a gallery setting at a future date.

Where will you be for the eclipse?

My family regularly travels to South Carolina to go to Charleston and Hilton Head. We will be in Charleston or just north where we will be completely absorbed in the path of totality. The path of totality travels just north of Charleston proper. If funding through partnerships allow, we will have Kelly the project manager and other team members in each location across the country, monitoring cameras, coordinating with live-time locations and participating in conjunction with community partners during eclipse driven events.

Normally, we ask our Friday Fivers what they would wish for if they could wave a magic wand over Charleston. Today, however, we’re going to ask you this: If you had a magic wand, what one thing would you make happen ANYWHERE on Aug. 21?

Clear skies across the country, especially in Charleston where we will be. The goal is to install ECLIPSE Survey in all four time zones. The hope is that a collective pause during the eclipse signifies a cultural moment in time. I have never witnessed a solar eclipse. This work has been developed in preparation for personally seeing the eclipse and looking to share the event with a broad public audience; ultimately bringing the eclipse into the fold of my public art practice. I have been developing an approach to this moment over the last 5 years and the work presented in this proposal is the result of that process.

Interested in being a Friday Fiver? E-mail


TedX Charleston accepting applications

Are you ready to Shake It Up?

TedX Charleston is currently accepting applications for speakers and performers for the 2017 event, scheduled for Oct. 18 at the Charleston Music Hall, with the theme of Shake It Up.

Now in its fifth year, TedX Charleston seeks to “to gather inspiring people with diverse ideas to share the many untold  stories of Charleston’s thinkers, visionaries and fascinating teachers.”

To apply as a speaker, click here.

To apply as a performer, click here.


Don’t miss our next workshop

Your money. Your health. Your legal protection.

Navigating the financial, insurance and legal waters can be challenging for organizations big and small as well as individuals. Join us for an informative and important workshop that will be of value to any artist or any group, big or small. We have gathered a panel of experts to help you tackle the topics of finance and investing, insurance in a changing healthcare environment, and legal hurdles and pitfalls for nonprofits.

In addition to providing valuable information on complex topics in a fast-changing world, we will have plenty of Q&A and opportunity for one-on-one discussions with our experts.

Space is limited for this free workshop, so please RSVP ASAP!

Feb. 20, 2017

1- 3 p.m.

Location Lowcountry Local First, 1630 Meeting Street



Jesse Dove, Investment Advisory Center, Inc.

Scott Helman, Helman Financial, LLC

Christa Divis, Trident United Way

Ryan Oberly, Wagenmaker and Oberly




Announcing an Arts Day of Giving

The Charleston Regional Alliance for the Arts is excited to announce an Arts Day of Giving to giving to support arts nonprofits in Charleston, Berkeley and Dorchester Counties. The Arts Alliance will be providing incentive funds to help make every participating organization’s day even more successful.

The day is scheduled for Sept. 12 and will be an opportunity for arts lovers in the Lowcountry to show their support for the arts and their favorite art organizations, with the opportunity to leverage their contributions into something bigger because of incentive funds.

More details will be coming out in the very near future. The day of giving will be open to any arts organization in the tri-county area that is either a registered 501(c)3 or operates under the umbrella of a fiscal sponsor with a 501(c)3.

It’s not time to panic over NEA news

A mural restoration at a historic downtown church.

An after-school strings education program to benefit inner-city elementary students.

Saving jobs that were at risk during the Great Recession.

That – and dozens more art-related initiatives – is what the National Endowment for the Arts has funded in the Charleston area over the last decade. It has been impactful and empowering. Recent news suggests that the NEA may be on the chopping block.

Anyone with a vested interest in the arts should be keeping close tabs on this. And thus, everyone should, because the arts affect us all. The federal budget is a large, slow moving beast of a creature, so undoubtedly any action will take time. We encourage you to study this issue. Now is not the time for panic, but for education and observation.

Additionally, now is the time to mark your calendars for Feb. 7, where you can join us in Columbia for SC Arts Advocacy Day. Every year, we head to Columbia and join artists and arts supporters across the Palmetto State to let our legislators know how much we appreciate their support of the arts. We hope you will be there with us this year.

Thank you for your support of the arts, and for sharing the message far and wide that #artsmatter.

Calling all visual artists!

Art Pop Logo Final Outlines TM 10-5-16 (2)The Charleston Regional Alliance for the Arts is excited to announce a partnership with ArtPop Street Gallery to launch an outdoor advertising initiative that will promote five visual artists in the area on billboards across the tri-county.

Thanks to billboard space generously given by Adams Outdoor Advertising, five select artists will have an image of their work on a billboard for a year.

The contest will open for submissions on Jan. 12 and is open to any visual artist in Charleston, Berkeley, or Dorchester County. For submission guidelines, visit The deadline for submissions is March 3, 2017. Four winners will be chosen by a panel of art experts. The fifth selection will be a People’s Choice Award, chosen by online vote at

Wendy Hickey, founder of ArtPop, launched the initiative in 2014 in Charlotte, N.C. Charleston will be the 13th ArtPop.

“Adams has incredible billboard locations that cannot be missed. The five local Charleston area artists who are chosen for the program will get such tremendous exposure to an ever changing audience. With the tourism in the market an artist simply never knows who is going to see their art on a billboard, fall in love and want to commission them! Thank you to our partners at Charleston Regional Alliance for the arts and Adams Outdoor Advertising for making this possible!  #enjoyyourcommute”

Mike Gibbons, Executive Director for the Arts Alliance, said he is thrilled to be able to team with ArtPop and Adams Outdoor Advertising to feature area visual artists.

“ArtPop has created a fantastic opportunity for artists in so many locations, and it’s really exciting to be able to bring that to the tri-county area,” he said.

UPDATE: Reprieve for strings program

UPDATE: It appears the strings program we wrote about below may have had a stay of execution. Read all about it here in the Post and Courier.

The school district released this statement:

“We thank the community for the outpouring of interest and support we have received regarding the ‘elementary strings’ programs in our schools. In response to a communication that many parents received yesterday (January 3, 2017) related to discontinuing the programs in some of our elementary schools. We want you to know that this communication was released prematurely, before the matter had been discussed with senior district staff, the superintendent, and the Board of Trustees. CCSD is fully committed to continuing and even expanding the strings program and is resolutely determined to locate highly capable strings instructors for our students.”

While it may not be a permanent fix, at least it buys the program some time. And clearly, the voices of the arts supporters in the community were heard, loud and clear.


Our previous post regarding the program:

Once again, in the face of looming budget shortfalls, the arts are on the chopping block.

This time, it’s the elementary strings programs, which teaches violins and violas to children in Charleston County. The eliminations begin in just weeks, starting with several schools in West Ashley and James Island, and will shutter all by the end of the school year.

According to the Post and Courier, “The district hopes to use its limited resources to bolster the middle and high school strings programs, which meet during regular periods for class credit.”

While bolstering the middle and high school programs sounds nice, if there is no elementary feeder program, it certainly seems those will dry up in a few years.

The $18 million shortfall is very real budget crisis. And certainly there are other areas taking a hit beyond the arts. More than 100 teacher positions and and 80 office positions have been eliminated. But any time you see the arts cut, it begs the questions: Was this necessary? Or are the arts viewed as expendable, a luxury?

They are neither. Those children learning the strings are having a valuable building block of the complete student taken away. We hope the school district will reconsider this move, and hope you will consider attending a school board committee meeting on Monday and a full meeting on Jan. 23.

Because arts matter.


Moe’s mural sent packing

The mural on the side of the Moe's on Houston Northcutt Boulevard in Mount Pleasant shows John Lennon, Al Capone, and Marilyn Monroe. The Town of Mount Pleasant Board of Zoning Appeals has made its decision – they do not want to #savemoesmural. In fact, they want it gone.

We told you a while back about the effort to save the mural. But, the town voted 4-3 Monday night that the mural must go.

Read more about the mural from the Post and Courier, including a series of comments sent to BZA from residents in support of the mural.


Noms open for City Paper’s Best

2017_boc_socialmediatag-nominateus_smallThe Charleston City Paper wants your noms, noms, noms.

Nominations are being accepted for the 2017 Best Of Awards, and we want to remind you to get online and share all of your opinions on restaurants, shopping and the like. But we REALLY want to make sure you let ’em know who you think should be included for Culture, Arts and Entertainment. From art gallery to theater company to male and female vocalists, the gamut of the arts world is spanned in this year’s categories. Three new categories have also been added for 2017: Best Place to See Local Music, Best Local Podcast and Best Recording Studio.

Nominations close Friday, Jan. 1, 2017 just a tick before midnight. Those who nominate in more than 35 categories will be entered in a drawing to win tickets to the #BOC16 party. As for the actual voting for the winner, the previous winner and the top four vote getters from nominees will move on to final voting, which be held from Feb. 1-24, 2017.

So get out there and vote for the best. And, should you need a little incentive, take a few moments and watch the stirring Joe Esposito single that inspired a generation of young Danny Larusso’s to be The Best:


Putting out the call to #savemoesmural

The mural on the side of the Moe's on Houston Northcutt Boulevard in Mount Pleasant shows John Lennon, Al Capone, and Marilyn Monroe. A Mount Pleasant Town Council member is calling on the community to help save a mural on the side of Moe’s restaurant on Houston Northcutt Boulevard.

The mural, featuring Marilyn Monroe, John Lennon and Al Capone, was deemed to have been in violation of the town’s signage allowance. Although the mural is simply that – a painting, with no words or anything related to the Mexican restaurant – it was still considered signage.

Town Planning Director Christiane Farrell told the Post and Courier, “We do not prohibit murals, but they are counted towards the allotted building signage allowed.”

In a recent letter to the editor to the Moultrie News, Council Member Mark Smith called on residents to #savemoesmural and for the Board of Zoning Appeals “to work with small business owners, not against them.”

Moe’s has filed an appeal, which will be heard by the BZA on Dec. 19.

What say you, arts lover? Will you reach out to #savemoesmural? Or is this a case of just needing to follow the rules?