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?

Friday Fiver with Jordan Amaker

Jordan Amaker is kind of a go-to girl. Need advice on how to shop more locally-conscious? Call Jordan. Want to join the fight to make Charleston bike-friendly13416984_1016142045122318_7848032368986182016_o (1)? Shoot her an email. Want to get in touch with Charleston’s first-ever Poet Laureate? Well, she’s got a hook-up there too (husband Marcus Amaker). And as Director of Marketing and Communications at Lowcountry Local First, she’s likely who you’ll get in touch with if you ever need the outstanding resources that LLF provides.

Lowcountry Local First is accepting applications (through the end of the day!) for their “Creative-in-Residence” program, where two winners will receive 6 months of desk space at Local Works and matched mentorship! The application is super easy and can be done in 30 minutes or less, and if accepted, you’ll have the added bonus of working alongside Jordan. Application here :

We sat down with Jordan for our Friday Fiver.

1. Having worked for Lowcountry Local First for more than a year now, have you discovered any surprising items we can buy locally? 

I’m surprised almost daily. On the food side, I’m most surprised that loofa (yes, what you use to exfoliate with in the shower) and sugar cane grow here. On the product side, I love learning about the rock star manufacturers we have in our backyard – from candles and handmade leather wallets made along Meeting St (Rewined Candles and J.Stark) to high-end light fixtures made on the Navy Yard (Urban Electric Co) – these products and so many more garner global attention but support our local economy.

2. You’re earning a reputation as a huge advocate for bicyclists in Charleston. Why is it so important for Charleston to create safe bike lanes and protect biker’s rights?

Where do I begin, and how much space will this get on the website? … Creating safe, equitable access on our streets means a healthier environment, fewer deaths and injuries due to collisions, less congestion, improved livability (aka easier to lure in those millennials every tech company is chasing), and it means all of our local businesses have an easier time attracting and retaining employees. Best of all, biking and walking is simply fun and good for the spirit. Charleston is getting left in the dust in this area due to stubborn leadership at the local and state levels and it poses a real concern for the coming years and the growth we face as a community.

3. What’s the best part about Local Works communal work space?

One word: community. The top reason our coworkers choose Local Works, and stay with Local Works, is the sense of community and connectivity it brings. People are able to get out of their homes, out of the noisy coffee shops – and into an inspiring place with fellow entrepreneurs and business owners who, like them, are itching to share stories, gather advice and work together.

4. Although Lowcountry Local First is not an arts organization, we know that you’re a lover of the arts in Charleston. Do you have a favorite local artist? 

We love supporting out local arts community. I’ve been able to meet and learn about so many talented creatives here through Local Works and our Buy Local campaigns. We just had our Buy Local Block Party and I fell in love with Alison Brynn Ross’ designs. We also rotate local artists’ work on our walls in Local Works, and we currently have Julia Deckman’s paintings of local business storefronts on display, which are colorful and inviting. I’ve personally been a fan of seeing our music scene mature and expand to include new hip-hop artists, jazz musicians and poets – so many wonderful ways to spend your time, dollars and energy across the Lowcountry!

5. Thanksgiving is coming up! Do you have any suggestions for where we can buy fresh produce and what will you be in charge of cooking? 

Fall CSAs with our local farmers are in full swing – and many of our local markets continue through December if not year-round. Get out and get to know who has what in their fields right now! We have a map online that you can search by product, farm or market – and use the key to the left. I am no chef, but look forward to my mom’s sweet potato casserole the most. (She puts marsh-mellows on top before roasting.)

Intern Alana’s Top 5 Art Spots!

Hi I’m Alana! I’m a junior I’m an Arts Management & Art History major at the College of Charleston. I came all the way down from Connecticut to study the arts in this beautiful city!

We took Alana to Waffle House for her FIRST ever All-Star breakfast!

It’s been so great interning for the Alliance. I’ve learned so much about the organization and can’t wait to further my knowledge in the arts in these upcoming months. I hope to use this knowledge to help me fulfill my dream of working at Sotheby’s one day.
Top 5 Art Spots!
  1.     The Art Walk– First Friday of every month I love walking from gallery to gallery observing all the beautiful art @Charleston Gallery Association
  2.     Robert Lange Studios– LOVE all the art there. It’s always so interesting! @Robert Lange Studios
  3.     The Gaillard– One of my favorite places to be in.  It feels like a palace when I’m in there. The theatre as well is so magnificent and great to watch shows. @Gaillard Center
  4.     Music Farm– Always going there for great shows! My top favorite shows are definitely Big Gigantic and Beats Antique @Music Farm
  5.     86 Market Arts Gallery– they sell local artwork as well as beautiful minerals and fossils. It’s such a calming place to be in. @86 Market Arts Gallery


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!

Screen Shot 2016-10-26 at 12.01.05 PM

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.




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.