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 http://www.whatifproductions.org/evil-show-page/

  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!
edmusical

 

Interested in being featured in a Friday Fiver? Shoot an e-mail to mike@artscharleston.org.


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 (elise@artscharleston.org) if you can make it! If you have questions in the meantime, don’t hesitate to contact us.


Louis C.K. performing at The Gaillard!

Coming October 26th and 27th! 

Comedian Louis C.K. has announced a series of new tour dates, which will take him across North America through January 2017.

The announcement comes on the heels of the massive success of his latest international comedy tour, which sold-out crowds in some of the biggest venues worldwide from Paris, to Scandinavia, to the UK, to Eastern Europe, and all the way down to Israel.

Check out this hilarious interview with Jimmy Fallon!


OPEN Performer Schedule!

We have released our #OpenArtsExpo2016 performance schedule and we are thrilled with all of the fantastic artists we have lined up this year! Check out the schedule of events below, and plan on coming for any and all of them. We can’t wait to see everyone there for our best year ever!

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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.


Friday Fiver: Hirona Matsuda

Hirona Matsuda has done it all. Painting, sculpture, assisting, selling, managing, teaching. Anything that is arts related, it is likely that this Charleston power-house has done it. Perhaps best known for making tiny dioramas using dozens of different mediums, Hirona has made a name for herself as a visionary in the world of contemporary southern art. With her upcoming show, Hirona is exploring a more minimalistic approach, using paper as her surface. While the materials may be pared down, the result is, unsurprisingly, astounding. The show, “A Response to Paper”, will be a group exhibition also unnamed-1featuring Alan Jackson, Matthew Dietz, and Michael Hayes. See it tonight at Lese Corrigan Gallery at 5:00, or go during gallery hours through the month of July. We sat down with Hirona for our Friday Fiver.

You recently returned from a three-week trip through Europe. Tell us how that trip has influenced your upcoming show “A Response to Paper”.
My three colleges, Matt Dietz, Michael Hayes and Alan Jackson and I, came up with the idea for a show featuring works on paper because we had the desire to produce a cohesive show together even though our styles and mediums are vastly different.  By using paper as the uniting force we were able to stay true to our own styles yet create work with a common thread.  Paper is not my usual material of choice, but luckily this trip played into the concept perfectly.
I arrived in Sweden with a portfolio full of blank paper knowing that I had a show to put together when I got back.  The first leg of my trip took me to an old mill town called Fengersfors outside of Gothenburg.  The town now has only about 300 residents, but the old paper mill has been taken over by a group of artists called Not Quite http://www.notquite.se/.  They have made a good portion of the factory into beautiful studio spaces for working artists.
Being the scavenger that I am, I made a beeline for the areas that had yet to be renovated.  During my exploration I came across rooms and rooms of beautiful abandoned machinery.  It was like I had walked into a world that usually only appears in my favorite dreams.  The closest thing I can relate it to is exploring our old naval base ten years ago.
I found the inspiration for this show when I came upon the filing cabinets that held the paperwork for the factory when they were still in production.  Strewn all over the floors and spilling out of rusty binders were pages and pages of work orders and samples for all of the product they were manufacturing.  Each sample was signed off by an employee and had been cross hatched by hand to show how the paper handled ink.  The crown jewel was when I found a folder full of blueprints and plans for the machinery I had just explored.
Of all the awe-inspiring sights I took in and the amazing museums I visited during my travels, this portion of the trip was really the key to the body of work that I produced for this show.  The remoteness of this area and the unadulterated nature of the things I saw were more exciting than all of the master works I stood in front of.  Not to say that they aren’t going to play into my future work, but you know, one show at a time.
Although this show is all on paper, you work with a ton of different mediums and materials. What is the one thing you can’t live without to create your art?
Whether I’m working with paper or metal and wood, the key ingredient is a good adhesive to stick it all together.  I spend a lot of time searching out and testing as many varieties and combinations as I can find.   Because I was flying a bunch and didn’t want to carry a bunch of liquids in my suitcase, I brought the strongest, acid free glue stick I could find.  Without an archival glue that is customized to the materials I am trying to attach, my entire body of work could fall apart.  The biggest challenge is finding non toxic, studio safe alternatives to the harsher things on the market.
Having been in Charleston for the last 13 years, how have you seen things change for contemporary artists?
For the most part contemporary art in this city has seen a steady upward climb.  Over the past several years I feel like Charleston has become better known, not only as a place to find more traditional art, but also more modern or experimental art.
The biggest hurdle that contemporary artists face in Charleston is funding for non traditional art forms.  While sales of contemporary art art thankfully taking off in our galleries, there is still a lack of funding for artists who want to create work that is temporal, installation based, or performance based.  These art forms have few venues and almost no support, but are an important component of contemporary art.
Who are the top three artists that you would like to have at a dinner party?
I really enjoy dinner in the company of close friends over strangers.  But three artist that I feel might seem almost as familiar as the beautiful artists I’m lucky enough to call my closest might be Miyazaki the illustrator/filmmaker, Chris Ware the illustrator and graphic novelist (I must like illustrators), and maybe a wild card like Toulouse-Lautrec.  On second thought, all of these artists would probably fare better at three separate dinner parties.  Can’t complain about more parties.
If you could wave a magic wand over Charleston and one thing would change, what would it be?
I would make it easier for artists to make a living doing what they should be doing.  That includes funding for arts education in our public schools.  Most of us that are artists today, would never be doing what we do if we hadn’t been encouraged at a young age.  As far as I’m concerned, the more people making art and sharing it with our community the healthier our city will be.

Sign up now for Public Speaking workshop

We are excited to announce that our next workshop is coming up soon! We are partnering with Jenny Maxwell, Co-Director of The Buckley School of Public Speaking to present “Three Ways to Make Every Presentation Better Now.” During this free workshop, attendees will learn how to manage the three often overlooked areas of public speaking: your open, your nonverbal communication, and the way you manage audience questions and challenges.

Wednesday, July 13th @ 3PM
Main Library, Auditorium
68 Calhoun Street
E-mail elise@artscharleston.org to reserve your space!
For 30 years, The Buckley School has been helping professionals get their ideas across through public speaking and presentations, hosting open-enrollment seminars for individuals and traveling to companies to facilitate on-site sessions. Based in Camden,S.C., the school provides training to Fortune 500 companies, think tanks, and advocacy groups–working with professionals and policymakers to help them fine-tune content and delivery for important speeches, contract pitches, media interviews, and panel discussions. 
Jenny Maxwell is co-director of The Buckley School and has been a public speaking coach with the school since 2000. A writer and television producer, she has also created documentaries for PBS and written series for The Food Network. She was editor of skirt! magazine in Columbia for eight years and headed marketing and community relations at WIS-TV, the NBC affiliate in Columbia, for seven years.

Marcus Amaker named Poet Laureate

Friend of the Alliance and exceptionally talented artist Marcus Amaker was named Charleston’s first “Poet Laureate” on Tuesday evening.

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Marcus Amaker shows Henrietta Snype, local sweetgrass basket artist, a clip from the “Arts Matter” video.

Some of you may know him as the mastermind behind our “Arts Matter” video, but most
Charlestonians will recognize him from his countless speaking engagements, musical performances, and of course, his incredible poetry. As Charleston’s Poet Laureate, Mr. Amaker will work with the Office of Cultural Affairs to encourage the artistry of poetry as both an important educational and cultural tool.

In a statement, Mayor Tecklenburg said “Marcus is a well-known artist in our community who has the drive, passion and talent to make poetry accessible to everyone.”

A reception to celebrate and commemorate this important occasion will be held at The City Gallery at Waterfront Park on Wednesday June 29 at 6:00PM. Mr. Amaker will be performing at the event.

We can’t imagine this honor going to anyone else and we are can’t wait to see what wonderful things Mr. Amaker will do with his new position!