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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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.

OPEN, Sesame!

OPEN is getting close! Mark your calendars to join us on Sunday, Sept. 11, at the College of Charleston Cistern Yard for the annual celebration of arts in the Lowcountry.

Get to know awesome artists and arts groups, and experience performances throughout the day. In addition to coming out to have a great day of arts, can you help us out beforehand? We’d love for you to help us spread the word. Here’s a link to this year’s poster. Can you print it out and share it where you work or play? Can you share the link below on social media for us?

OPEN Arts Expo poster

Aw, thanks. You’re the best!

See you on Second Sunday!

Sign up now for OPEN 2016!

artexpoLOGO3OPEN is open! Registration for the 2016 OPEN Arts Expo is now being accepted. Interested arts groups and artists can click here to sign up for this year’s exciting day of arts, to be held Sunday, Sept. 11 from noon-4 p.m. at the Cistern Yard at the College of Charleston.

Co-hosted by the Charleston Regional Alliance for the Arts and the College of Charleston School of the ArtsOPEN Arts Expo is now in its seventh year, and is a great way for the artists and arts groups to get to know the community and share their passion for the arts with others.

So sign up and now, and spread the word to all your art loving friends. Because Arts Matter.

Charleston Stage awarded Alliance’s Boeing Vision Award

CS_Logo2            Unknown

The Charleston Regional Alliance for the Arts is excited to announce that Charleston Stage has been awarded the $25,000 Boeing Vision Award. The grant is for an innovative arts concept that will reach an underserved segment of the community. This grant will help Charleston Stage launch a program to offer sensory-friendly performances for specials needs children and their family, performed at the Dock Street Theatre. The grant was selected by an independent five-person panel of community leaders from the arts, business, and education communities that was selected by the Arts Alliance Board of Directors. Thank you to Boeing for their generous contribution to the arts, and thanks to Charleston Stage for bringing this innovative initiative to our community. To learn more about this exciting program, please visit Charleston Stage’s Boeing Vision Award.


Friday Fiver: Courtney Daniel

Courtney DanielCourtney Daniel has spent a lifetime in theater. As Executive Director for Threshold Repertory Theatre, she continues that lifetime passion, bringing shows to life at their home on Society Street. Courtney is a graduate of the College of Charleston with a BA in Arts Management. She is a Delta Zeta alumni and sits on the board of League of Charleston Theatres. She is also a licensed Esthetician and make-up artist. Threshold’s next production, part of Piccolo Spoleto, is “Fully Committed,” which opens May 27 and features a single actor portraying more than 40 roles. We sat down with Courtney for this week’s Friday Fiver:

Located on Society Street, Threshold is smack in middle of downtown. What are the challenges of being in the heart of the Holy City? The advantages?

There are always pros and cons to any location. Charleston has so much to offer and being downtown can be extremely beneficial for foot traffic, easy access to great restaurants for patrons, and the allure of the Lowcountry. Some of the challenges we face as a local non-profit organization in a quickly growing city is; property values increasing, lack of parking for staff, actors, and patrons, and competition with larger performing arts venues.

What is your favorite role you’ve ever played? What’s your dream role you hope to one day play?

My favorite role was Reno Sweeney in Anything Goes. My background in theatre is primary Musical Theatre and this role was a lot of fun. She was funny, caring, feisty, and you can’t beat music by Cole Porter. There are a lot of roles I would love to play. One off the top of my head would be Christine in Phantom of the Opera.

As a licensed Esthetician and make-up artist, what is something about theatre make-up that most people don’t know or realize?

Firstly, you must have a good base, you have to take good care of your skin to get the best results from makeup. So I would advise everyone to make sure they are cleansing, exfoliating, and moisturizing daily. Theatre makeup is naturally thicker than most daily makeups because it has to stand up to lighting and audience distance.

In “Fully Committed” actor Adam Miles plays 40 separate characters. Can you give us a couple of examples of the diverse characters we see him perform?

Fully Committed is filled with fun, witty, and unique characters. Some of the my favorites include; Bryce, the gay assistant for Naomi Campbell’s office; Jean Claude, the french maitre d’ with no manners; Bunny Vandevere, the V.V.V.VIP patron who expects special treatment; and Ms Wantabe, the Japanese patron that can’t speak English well. I think patrons will find multiple characters to love in this show.

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

We have a beautiful culturally enriching city with a multitude of arts organizations with dedicated and hard working people at the helm. If I could wave a wand over Charleston I would make it so these organizations had the appropriate funding to continue their work and have the ability to pay artists living wages. I would want to see organizations make larger impacts for youth, the underserved, artists, and our community as a whole without funding limitations.

 Interested in being a Friday Fiver? E-mail

Friday Fiver: Carolyn Rivers

Carolyn Rivers

Carolyn Rivers

Carolyn Rivers is looking the change the world. Founder and director of The Sophia Institute, Carolyn guides the organization as “she focuses on personal and societal transformation that fosters the emergence of the Feminine, cultivating wisdom and mindfulness, for a more just, sustainable, flourishing world.” The Sophia Institute conducts retreats, classes, and seminars year-round. Their next event, More Lessons in Becoming Myself on Saturday April 30, features Academy Award winning actress Ellen Burstyn, who “chronicles through story and poetry her latest lessons in her transformative journey as a woman and an artist.”

We sat down with Carolyn for this week’s Friday Fiver:

What is the significance of “Sophia” in your organization’s name?

Sophia means “divine wisdom” in the ancient Greek and is portrayed in all the world’s traditions as the Feminine divine nature. In Christianity she is portrayed as Sophia or Mary, in Buddhism as Tara or Quan Yin, in Hinduism as Saraswati. She’s also the basis of philosophy- philosophy, the love of Sophia. At Sophia Institute our work is centered on the rise of the feminine, cultivating wisdom and mindfulness, for a more just, sustainable, and thriving world. Wisdom awakens us to new ways of living and being on the planet that honors the sacredness at the center of life and moves us to love in action to make the world a better place.

The Sophia Institute seeks to bring change to our world by “using a new model of spiritual partnership and integration between feminine and masculine values.” What is one way you hope that people can see the world differently through this new model?

I think the world is in a time of profound transformative change as more and more people awaken to what they are truly called to, to a wholeness that is part of their own innate nature. We have the opportunity now to move from “power over” or domination, to “power with” or true partnership and to cultivate a world that is more egalitarian, just, sustainable, and potentially a much more conscious world.

Your next speaker is acclaimed actress, storyteller, and author Ellen Burstyn. Why Ellen Burstyn as your choice for a speaker?

Ellen Burstyn

Ellen Burstyn

We’ve always loved Ellen Burstyn and the roles that she’s portrayed for women in our culture through film and theater. When we read her memoir Lessons in Becoming Myself we were truly moved by that, because we understood that the roles that she’s chosen and portrayed so well come out of a deep wellspring that she has found within herself, a wellspring that she’s cultivated, she’s worked hard to excavate through study, through her depth in Sufism, and through her mentor Lee Strasburg who really helped her perform from this deep wellspring, from her own true nature.

When you travel in your car, what’s on the radio?

Either its music like that of Harold Budd or All Things Considered.

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

Charleston would become a model city for greening consciousness and for greening the planet — for racial justice and environmental justice. It’s really what Sophia Institute is investing in now. It’s central to our evolving work.

Interested in being a Friday Fiver? Email

Friday Fiver: Mark Sloan

Mark Sloan has seen the Charleston arts scene change dramatically since he took the helm of the Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art in 1994. A North Carolina native, Sloan is an accomplished artist who has exhibited across the country, and has authored or co-authored 14 books, with topics ranging from Russian contemporary art to 20th century circus life. At the Halsey, Sloan has showcases a wide range of contemporary art and brings an interactive component to each of the exhibits, in particular on each exhibit’s opening night, which usually features the artist. We sat down with him for this week’s Friday Fiver.By Nancy Santos

The Halsey’s current exhibit is “Young Contemporaries,” an annual showcase of College of Charleston students and recent grads. What trend(s) did you find in this year’s submissions?

There seems to be quite a lot of figurative work this year. It varies year to year, but the figure is present in sculpture, printmaking, photography, drawing, and painting.

The Halsey prides itself on finding art out of the mainstream to showcase. What artist with “out there” art were you most pleased to see the public’s reaction about?

Well, Jumaadi, our Indonesian visiting artist was pretty Out There, and the public seemed to eat him up. He was in residence for 45 days and did a variety of projects while here, including creating an evening of shadow puppet theater with local puppeteer Geoffrey Cormier and a group of dedicated artists and musicians, working with Academic Magnet High School students to produce an evening of shadow puppet theater that they produced, and he made an exquisite series of paintings, drawings, and cut outs that we displayed in the gallery. More than 100 people came to his going away party, so he had a big effect on our small community!

Visitors to the Halsey, particular during openings, are able to meet and chat with the artists. Tell us a little bit about the positives of the public having personal interaction with the artists.

We have always been committed to de-mystifying the creative process. One of the best ways to do that is to create opportunities for the public to interact with the artists in an informal setting. That way, people learn that artists are just like everyone else, but they happen to work in a visual medium.  It has been gratifying to witness these interactions. One visitor asked artist Lonnie Holley if he could articulate his reasons for making a particular piece. His memorable response was “If I could describe it in words, I wouldn’t have to make it.”

You have been the curator since 1994. How has the art scene in Charleston changed since then?

Charleston has changed tremendously since 1994. I think the contemporary art scene has grown exponentially.  It has been wonderful to watch the transformation and to have been a participant in this city-wide effort.  I am so pleased to see that we now have many other venues for the display of contemporary art—both for profit and not for profit spaces. The level of sophistication is also much higher. People from other major cities who have moved here brought their expectations, and Charleston has risen to the challenge. There seems to be much more community engagement with art and artists now. I think the Kulture Klash series did a great job of breaking down barriers between artists and audiences.

If you could wave a magic wand over Charleston and make one thing happen immediately, what would that be?

You mean, if I were a fairy princess?  I would magically transform the attitude toward local arts philanthropy.  I have lived and worked in Richmond, Charlotte, San Francisco, and upstate New York before moving here. I can tell you that getting people to financially support non profit arts organizations is much harder here than anywhere else I have lived. It seems the people here feel entitled to it, and therefore do not give. The Halsey Institute has an even harder time fundraising because many people wrongly assume that the College provides us with all the money we need.  That is certainly not the case. We have had to become quite successful at raising money through grants, private foundations outside of South Carolina, through earned income (traveling show rentals and catalogue sales), and through corporate sponsorship.  We do have a robust membership program now, but it has taken years to cultivate.


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Upcoming workshop: Selling Without Selling Out

The Charleston Regional Alliance for the Arts is teaming up with 4th Wall for a fantastic workshop on April 27. Selling Without Selling Out is the perfect place for artists looking to enter the business, or those looking to enhance their brand.

Space is limited, so sign up soon! For details, click here.