The Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art at the College of Charleston is proud to announce their first exhibition of the 2018-2019 season

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The Image Hunter: On the Trail of John James Audubon. The exhibition will be on view from Friday, Aug. 17 to Saturday, Sept. 29 with a public opening reception on Friday, Aug. 24 at 6:30 p.m. The galleries are open to the public and admission is free.

The Image Hunter: On the Trail of John James Audubon features new work by the Italian artist Hitnes. The exhibition and its related programming have been developed as a special research initiative by the Halsey Institute given the primacy of Charleston to Audubon’s legacy.

In the early half of the nineteenth century, John James Audubon spent decades tracking birds and drawing them, hoping to create a compendium of all of the birds in the United States. Charleston played an important role in Audubon’s work as he kept a studio in the home of his friend and fellow naturalist John Bachman. Audubon hunted for specimens on the Sea Islands off of Charleston’s coast, and he even included the city’s distinctive skyline from the 1830s – replete with its church steeples – in his drawing of the long-billed curlew.

Nearly two hundred years later, the Italian painter and muralist holding the moniker Hitnes embarked on a twenty-city road trip to retrace and rediscover the America that Audubon traversed in the making of his opus The Birds of America (1827-39). Traveling along Audubon’s exploratory routes, Hitnes observed, sketched, and painted what he saw, creating an updated visual documentation of Audubon’s birds.

Hitnes’s exhibition will document his journey, elaborating on what it is that drives a person to dedicate multiple decades of their life to pursuing an obsession like Audubon did. The exhibition will feature a range of work informed by his own expedition, and he will include other objects and ephemera collected on his trek including his sketchbooks and the clothes he wore. The exhibition will also be accompanied by a feature-length documentary film on Hitnes’s trip, directed by filmmaker Giacomo Agnetti. Hitnes was an artist-in-residence at the Halsey Institute in the summer of 2017 and returned for a second residency in the summer of 2018.

Born in Rome, where he currently lives and works, Hitnes is a painter and muralist. A frequent traveler, Hitnes has completed residencies in countries including China, Australia, Mexico, Russia, Norway, Colombia, and the United States. His work has been featured in venues around the globe, including the Instituto Italiano di Cultura, New York; Museo Civico di Zoologia, Rome; 999contemporary, Rome; and Fifty24MX, Mexico City, among others.

Art and biodiversity have a unique rapport in Hitnes’ paintings. His name is invented, as are most of the animals he illustrates: species that do not exist in the real world. Expressing his talent through various techniques – from graffiti to illustration and fine art – Hitnes is a modern incarnation of the true Renaissance man. Since 2012 he has taught screen-printing courses at Rome’s European Institute of Design (IED), as well as workshops in muralism, including a masterclass in Adelaide, Australia.


All events are free and open to the public and take place at the Halsey Institute’s galleries unless otherwise noted.

Opening Reception

Friday, August 24, 6:30PM – 8:00PM

Artist Talk

Saturday, August 25, 2:00PM

Birds, Beidler, and Banding

A trip to the Francis Beidler Forest with Audubon South Carolina

Sunday, September 16, 8:00AM – 10:30AM

Francis Beidler Forest, Harleyville, SC 29448

Registration is limited, tickets required.

Halsey Talks: Street Art

Tuesday, September 18, 6:30PM

Family Day! for The Image Hunter

Saturday, September 22, 11:00AM – 4:00PM

Free for all Halsey Institute members

Curator-led Tour

Thursday, September 27, 6:00PM

Free for all Halsey Institute members


When Art Loses to Development in Charleston

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By Mark A. Leon

For those of you that have spent time or live in the James Island area, you are all too familiar with the strip mall that housed the old Cha Cha’s Mexican Restaurant and Bar and Rogue Motion, now in the hear of West Ashley.? That was a place that still holds special memories for me.? A place where I established new friendships that remain today.? That piece of real estate between Gold’s Gym and the Brick House Kitchen is nothing more than piles of rubble now, making way for a new look and feel of James Island and Charleston.

Yet, behind the rubble, lies a reminder of some of the creative street art that has given Charleston is creative flavor and unique voice.? These remains, are another reminder of a different time, a different place, where the dollar wasn’t the dominate force that drove the decisions in this community.

This was a time and place where community, affordability, art and music, family and tradition were our foundation.

Today, we walked the grounds one last time to say goodbye to another piece of our history as we await the likes of a Target Store to reinforce the new landscape of Charleston.

GALLERY: Arts in the Park Comes to Hampton Park

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Charleston County Park and Hampton Park are proud to unveil four artistic creations from Georgia-based artist Joseph Dreher in Hampton Park.? These colorful wood and transparent cast acrylic pieces are now up and adding beautiful culture and added color to the beautiful surroundings of Hampton Park.

Details – First Art in the Parks Installation Displayed at Hampton Park

Come with us on a virtual walk through the park to see the new art display.



Fine Craft Artists Invited To Enter 17th Annual South Carolina Palmetto Hands Juried Fine Craft Competition & Exhibition

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Fine craft artists from across the state are invited to participate in the 17th annual South Carolina Palmetto Hands Juried Fine Craft Competition and Exhibition.? As the state’s only dedicated fine craft competition and exhibition, objects juried into the show may compete for cash prizes totaling up to $6500. The exhibition is presented as a component of the annual North Charleston Arts Fest, to be held May 2-6, 2018. A $15 entry fee applies. Artists may submit up to four entries. The application is strictly available online and can be accessed at Deadline for entries is Thursday, March 15, 2018. Artists in need of assistance with the application process may contact the Cultural Arts Department to schedule a one-on-one meeting, which can be conducted over the phone or in person.

Organized and presented by the City of North Charleston Cultural Arts Department, this unique exhibition offers fine craft artists from across South Carolina the opportunity to exhibit their inspiring objects in the media of clay, fiber, glass, metal, wood, and three-dimensional mixed media.? Thousands have enjoyed the refined talents of South Carolina fine craft artists during past annual exhibitions.? Following the close of the show, up to twenty works will be selected to tour the state through the South Carolina State Museum’s 2018/2019 Traveling Exhibitions Program.? Sites across South Carolina may request the exhibit to tour in their facilities, thus providing additional exposure for the selected artists.

The juror for this year’s exhibition is Rachel Reese, Associate Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art at Telfair Museums in Savannah, GA. She is a curator, arts writer, and independent publisher. Reese holds an MFA from City College New York and a BFA from the University of Georgia. She has held positions at Atlanta Contemporary, Fleisher/Ollman Gallery in Philadelphia; and Deitch Projects, Petzel Gallery, and Andrew Kreps Gallery in New York. As an arts writer, Reese was the former editor of BURNAWAY Magazine in Atlanta, and her writing and artist interviews appear in BOMB Daily, Temporary Art Review,TWELV Magazine, and ART PAPERS, among others. She has taught Critical Issues art courses at PAFA in Philadelphia and Georgia State University in Atlanta. At Telfair Museums since 2015, she has curated exhibitions with Nick Cave, William Wegman, Triple Candie, and a group exhibition titled Generation with Iraqi-Canadian artists Sawsan AlSaraf, Sundus Abdul Hadi, and Tamara Abdul Hadi. Reese is opening 2018 exhibitions with Carrie Mae Weems, and Atlanta-based Paul Stephen Benjamin in January.

The 17th Annual South Carolina Palmetto Hands Juried Fine Craft Competition & Exhibition will be on display May 2-6, 2018, at the Charleston Area Convention Center, located at 5001 Coliseum Drive in North Charleston. A free public reception and announcement of awards will be held at the Convention Center on Wednesday, May 2, 2016, from 6:00-8:30pm. For more information about the North Charleston Arts Fest, Palmetto Hands, or other exhibition opportunities, contact the North Charleston Cultural Arts Department at (843)740-5854, email, or visit

Charleston Pour House 2017 Mural Competition

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CALL FOR ARTISTS: Pour House Mural Design Contest
The Charleston Pour House and Charlietown Prints are proud to announce the 2017 Mural Competition. The mural project is a competition for local artists to create representational art all around the Charleston Pour House.There will be a total of 15 spots available, with varying sizes but most within the range of 8’x10’.

Dates available for artists to work will be Aug 28. thru September 3, a week of voting will take the place the following week. Voting from the public will end on Sunday September 10. There will be prizes awarded in each category including concert tickets, and a cash prize.

1977 Maybank Highway, James Island, SC.

Sizes are a rough estimate of the size in which to scale your submissions.

There are a total of 15 available spaces that will be judged for competition. Mural entries should be sized based on the dimension in which each artist would prefer to paint, we shall try our best to make sure each accepted entry will paint the preferred sized spot but ultimately the judging panel shall have final say on where each participant shall compete…
Space sizes are as follows:

8’x8’ (deck area, one spot available)
4’x8’ (deck area, one spot available)
6.5’x11’ (wooden fence behind The Lot, three spots available)
8’x10’ (back yard area, ten spots available.)

The overall top prize shall receive: a $500 cash prize, a one year admission into shows at the Charleston Pour House, and we’re excited to announce that this year’s winning mural will be used as a new design for tee shirts to be sold at the Pour House made with love by Charlietown Prints.

2nd Place: a cash prize of $200, a $50 gift certificate to the Pour House as well as a 3 month free admission to shows at the Pour House.

3rd Place: a cash prize of $100, a Pour House merch package and a one month free admission to shows at the Pour House.

What We Are Looking For?
We would like each artist to submit a mural design with the inspiration being promoting community through music. Submissions require a non-refundable entry fee of $15 that shall be used by the Pour House to provide paint and materials for use, but of course artists are encouraged to bring anything that they would like to add to the mix if PoHo supplies are not enough to create the artist’s vision. Make sure that the mural will be able to stand up to outside weather, i.e., sealant, polyurethane etc., any and all styles are welcomed for submission.

? Artists must be at least 18 years of age

? Artists must submit samples or images of the proposed mural design with application

? Entries must be artist’s original work

? If accepted, artist’s work must be complete (including weather proofing) by September 3, 2017

? Paint and some other supplies (brushes etc.,) will be available for use

A panel of Pour House staff along with Charlietown Prints will select participants based on the artist’s submissions and the demonstrated strength of the artist’s concept and craftsmanship, as well as originality of the proposed mural. Submit your design in the size of the dimension in which category you prefer to take part, but final say will be from the staff in deciding what area each artist design will fit best. When creating the design, think Love, think Live, think Music.

August 1, 2017: Deadline for entry. Please email submissions to and

You can pay the application fee online here: PayPal Payment
Please leave your name in the comments section.

PayPal – The safer, easier way to pay online!

August 8, 2017: Notification to artists (via email)

August 15, 2017: Artist meeting with Pour House Staff and Charlietown Prints

August 28, 2017: Artist can begin painting!!!

September 3, 2017: Mural Competition Celebration with Live Music!

September 4-10: Voting for best mural in each category

September 13: Winners announced for each category

Save The Landing Brave Sculpture at Charles Towne Landing

The following is from the petition started by Charleston’s Kelly Gaskins and can be found at?

Charles Towne Landing is permanently removing their wooden Indian sculpture from the park with no plans to preserve it.

To honor Native Americans,? Peter Toth carved a sculpture called the Landing Brave and donated it to Charles Towne Landing in 1977. He donated his time and resources so that visitors would recognize the Native American contribution to our historical fabric. The carving depicts the?head of an Indian brave wearing a feather headdress. The magnificent sculpture was carved from an old oak tree and measures?approximately 22 x 3 1/2 x 3 1/2 ft.? Since 1977, The Landing Brave has not only served as a tribute to Native Americans but it has also been a backdrop to countless family photos of visiting travelers from all over the world!

According to the?park’s director of corporate communications the ridiculous reason for the Indian sculpture removal is because it is <quote> “not historically accurate to Charles Towne Landing.”? She stated the sculpture <quote> “does not depict the Kiawah (Indians), the Yemassee(Indians) or the Edisto (Indians) or any of the cultures that were in South Carolina at the time.”? According to the Landing Brave creator, Peter Toth, the sculpture is intended to pay tribute to the?Native American culture by highlighting the significance of the regional tribes in South Carolina.

This communications director also said the sculpture is a safety issue because of its age and rotting. When asked directly if anyone had been injured from the sculpture she said removing it is a preventative measure. Here’s why that doesn’t make sense: In 2005 the Landing Brave sculpture was restored and treated for termites. The creator, Peter Toth says the sculpture was carved from oak and should last 100+ years with minimal care. If the park wanted to, they could install a safety barrier around the sculpture. The park has no interest in preserving or maintaining the sculpture–just removing it permanently.

The Native Americans have always held a deep respect for the land and to take only what was needed, and to thank every plant, animal, or thing that was used. They were conservationists and ecologists long before this became popular. ?Charles Towne Landing now has an opportunity to follow the examples set forth by the Native American people by keeping & preserving this historically relevant sculpture.

Your help is absolutely necessary to save the Landing Brave sculpture! Your voices must be heard to demand it stays in the park for future visitors to enjoy! Here’s how you can help:

1.) Please sign the petition!

2.) Call or email the director of the state park service: Phil Gaines:

3.) Post on the Charles Towne Landing YELP page:

4.) Post on the Charles Towne Landing Trip Advisor page:

5.) Visit the park office at Charles Towne Landing or call to demand the Landing Brave stay in the park! They are located at 1500 Old Towne Rd, Charleston, SC 29407
PHONE: (843) 852-4200



6.) Contact your media or lawmaker friends and request their help in raising awareness about the Landing Brave and making noise to keep it in the park!

This petition will be delivered to:
State Park Director: Phil Gaines

The Summer of Bill Art Opening and Movie Series Kicking Off at Charleston Music Hall Tomorrow

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The Charleston Music Hall is thrilled to present The Summer of Bill Film Series, a 7 film series composed of Bill Murray films with a corresponding art exhibit. The Summer of Bill Art Exhibit will have a Free opening party on May 31st from 5:30 – 7:30pm. Local Murray-lover, Tiffany “Mish” Pretlow, is organizing the art exhibit with over 20 local artists contributing Bill Murray inspired works in all different mediums. Pretlow organized the “Where’s Murray?” Art Show at King Dusko a few years back. Rumor has it a life-size jaguar shark may make an appearance. The art exhibit will be on view from May 31 – August 20.

We will be presenting 7 Bill Murray films between May 31 and August 20. We originally had four films for the series, Caddyshack, Ghostbusters, Lost in Translation, and Life Aquatic. We texted Bill to make sure he was fine with us doing this series. He responded saying he was honored and loved that we were doing the series, but he wanted to see some of his “failures” included in the series. He mentioned that we only included the hits and that everyone wanted to see the hits, but they needed to also see the flops, so we added three more films: The Razor’s Edge, Rushmore, and Jim Jarmusch’s Broken Flowers.? We love all three of these films, but they all failed at the box office.

We love the way Bill Murray has inspired playfulness in our community, and we are excited to pay homage to this amazing artist. Each film will start at 7:30 with the bar opening at 7pm. The films will be $8 each, or you can purchase a 7 Film Pass for $35. The film series will open with Caddyshack on May 31 and will include The Razor’s Edge on June 6, Ghostbusters (1984) on June 14, Rushmore on June 29, Lost in Translation on July 26, Broken Flowers on August 2, and The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou on August 20.

We also commissioned 5 local artists to create 7 unique film posters. Caddyshack by Jason Groce, The Razor’s Edge by Bennett Jones, Ghostbusters by Seth Deitch, Rushmore by Taylor Faulkner, Lost in Translation by Karen Ann Myers, Broken Flowers by Karen Ann Myers, The Life Aquatic by Anne Peyton, 7 Bills Series Poster by Karen Ann Myers. These specialty poster prints will be for sale all summer at the box office.

Charleston Music Hall Official Website

Summer of Bill Art Opening Details

Charleston Parks Conservancy Selects First Artist for Art in the Parks Program

Joe Dreher ArtFields

LAKE CITY / CHARLESTON, S.C. – The Charleston Parks Conservancy has awarded its first ArtFields exhibition prize. Artist Joseph Dreher of Decatur, Georgia, received the award at the conclusion of the event on Saturday in Lake City, S.C. ArtFields is an annual art exhibit and competition showcasing the work of artists around the Southeast.

Dreher’s submission at ArtFields was a 144-foot by 288-foot piece titled “Not a Mural Mural,” portrait stencils carved out of veneer plywood. He will receive a $5,000 cash prize from the Conservancy and will be invited to create a work of art to be displayed at a City of Charleston park later this year.

An architect, photographer and poet, Dreher describes himself as a “social artist.” He says, “My work is about celebrating people and community. I use a number of tools and media to create my work, including photography, murals, street art, wheatpaste, painting, sculpture, architecture, and poetry to name a few. People are my primary interest and it is my appreciation for people that informs so much of my creative work.”

The award is part of the Conservancy’s new Art in the Parks initiative, an effort to install temporary public art displays in Charleston city parks through collaborations with other arts organizations, including Artfields, the City of Charleston Office of Cultural Affairs and and the nonprofit Redux Contemporary Art Center. The Art in the Parks program also will offer educational opportunities and artist-led workshops for adults and children.

“As part of our mission to inspire Charlestonians to connect with their parks, we want to make contemporary art that is accessible to all of our citizens and provides another reason to visit the stunning parks that Charleston has to offer,” said Harry Lesesne, executive director.

The exhibition award was made possible by The Speedwell Foundation, Employees Community Fund of The Boeing Co., The Joanna Foundation and the Henry & Sylvia Yaschik Foundation.

Founded in 2007 by philanthropist Darla Moore, the Conservancy is celebrating a decade of connecting people to their parks and creating stunning public spaces and strong communities throughout the City of Charleston.

Through a public-private partnership model, the Conservancy works with the city’s Parks Department as well as community leaders, neighborhoods and engaged citizens to transform and activate the city’s parks and green spaces. The Conservancy is currently working in 25 parks, including Colonial Lake, Allan Park, Wragg Square, McMahon Playground at Hampton Park, Magnolia Park and Community Garden, Marion Square, and Medway Park.

About the Charleston Parks Conservancy

The Charleston Parks Conservancy is a nonprofit organization dedicated to inspiring the people of Charleston to connect with their parks and together create stunning public places and a strong community. The Conservancy opens doors to individuals and organizations in Charleston wanting to engage with their parks and green spaces in a kaleidoscope of positive ways. With the help of its Park Angels, the Conservancy improves, enhances, and invigorates these spaces, making Charleston even better, stronger, and more successful. For more information about or to support the Charleston Parks Conservancy, please visit


Charleston Parks Conservancy on social media:

Twitter / Instagram @charlestonparks


Charleston Native Shepard Fairey Shows His Support for the Women’s March and Solidarity

By Mark A. Leon

Charleston native and world renowned artist Shepard Fairey released “American Civics” a series of protest posters with a message of “We The People”.

In this series, you will see depictions of Latina, Muslim and African American women all centered around the red, white and blue.? This is a similar representation, Fairey did eight years earlier with the Barrack Obama Hope posters.? He wants to share a message of equality, hope and promise to a nation of equality for all.

These posters are quickly becoming the symbol of a movement that sweeping the country.? Yesterday 2.2 million plus, in various cities, around the nation stood together in protest.

Now Shepard Fairey is offering the opportunity to download the prints and share them as a show of solidarity.

Click Here to Download the “American Civics” series prints in high resolution


Welcome to the Fantasy World of Charleston’s Nathan Durfee – Artist and Dreamer

By Mark A. Leon

In 2009, Sarah Harbin was enjoying an Art Walk with friends and like many, a Charleston Art Walk is not complete without a stop down the historic corridor to East Bay Street to Robert Lange Studios. Known for its uncompromising excellence in identifying talent that is without limit and exploding in creative flow, Robert Lange Studios has become the model for art, not just in Charleston, but throughout the country. Their culture of acceptance in the art community has brought in admirers from all walks of life including Kevin Costner. As Sarah soaked in the diverse range of exhibits, she was taken by one particular piece that was hanging in the single use restroom. Robert Lange Studios has a practice of highlighting an artist in the restroom area. As she absorbed the detail, she knew the artwork was already “mine in my heart.” She purchased it and today it is still a very meaningful part of her home.

That artist was Nathan Durfee. Today, Sarah’s painting has very defined meaning and that young artist, whose work she purchased, was awarded the Best Visual Artist Award four consecutive years from 2010 through 2013 by Charleston City Paper. This has been a long journey for the creative mind of Nathan Durfee. This isn’t a rags to riches story. This is a creative talent in the art community that has a wonderful story to share. Through his images and colors, Nathan creates a visual world that has taken flight and mesmerized children and adults throughout the Charleston community.

When I met Nathan at Kudu Coffee downtown, he was working diligently on a new piece for his father. one that would compliment a birthday gift of a new bike. I wanted to break the ice quickly and dig into the personality of this artist.

“What inspires you Nathan?”

He replied, “eavesdropping, other artists and brilliant people talking.”

Quite a profound list uttered without hesitation. This opened the door to a very candid few hours with this middle child who studied illustration in Savannah, GA. His playful, giddy laugh showed his childish innocence and proves very important in his works which combine adult subject matter and elegant landscapes. This careful tapestry of beautiful tragedy incorporates the bittersweet imperfections of life with elegance and sensitivity.

Many find that moment when inspiration hits and they can pinpoint that exact time when they just knew. For Nathan, he never had that moment. He summarized his career as “scattering a bread crumb trail” until he found his destiny. Now featured in Charleston, Savannah and New Orleans, Nathan’s work has found a niche in the Southeast. His style and approach is one of spontaneity. Many approach art with the idea of meticulously preparation, thinking though each brush stroke mentally for hours paint is lain on canvas. Not Nathan. He takes an idea and begins. It is refreshing to see him go from mind to creation so quickly and grow the idea with each minute and hour of passing time.

Like many creative types, ego does play into the personality type and is critical to pushing oneself to seek out their inner greatness. Nathan felt this early in this career, even when he was struggling to find an audience, Over time, he has developed a resistance because having too much of an ego could not help him become a better artist. Nathan also, on occasion will listen to patrons talk about his work and gain insight into how others perceive his style, characters and image depictions. It is part of his continuous learning curve.

Nathan, who shows tremendous maturity at this early stage in his career has been greatly influenced by Joe Sorren, Illustrator Phil Hale and Illustrator Dave Mckean . If you look closely and compare the colors and styles, you can see how the influence has rubbed off on Nathan.


Over the course of our discussion, we talked about memorable commissioned works, great customer experiences and future plans. On December 5, 2014, Nathan and Robert Lange Studios will be unveiling an eagerly awaited new collection.

“Nathan, if you are in front of a young student, whose life ambition is to become an artist, what advice would you give?”

  • Don’t get discouraged
  • Don’t get cocky
  • Stay in between

This is exemplary advice from an artist whose style is already influencing other.? For now, we see many years of amazing work ahead that will gain further exposure and further accolades for this Charleston talent.

Nathan Durfee Official Website