MYRTLE BEACH, SC.-
Milestones are those momentous occasions that mark our lives, from birth to death and all the important events in between. Milestones: Celebrating 70 and Beyond, an exhibition opening at the Franklin G. Burroughs-Simeon B. Chapin Art Museum
Sunday afternoon, January 17, 2010, from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m., recognizes a significant milestone 27 of South Carolinas most distinguished artists have reachedtheir 70th yearalong with their long and illustrious careers that have contributed to the cultural richness of the State. The reception is free and open to all.
The exhibition, which will feature two works by each artist completed within the last two years, includes sculptures, paintings, prints, quilts, batiks, photographs, collages and hand-carved bowls. The list of artists reads like a Whos Who in South Carolina Art and includes Deane Ackerman, John Acorn, Bobbi Adams, Betty Bee, Carl Blair, Ethel Brody, Carrie Burns Brown, Edward Byrd, Joseph Cave, Ray Davenport, Jeanet Dreskin, Dixie Dugan, Maxie Eades, Tom Flowers, Darell Koons, Jean McWhorter, Rose Metz, Dottie Moore, Boyd Saunders, Marlene OBryant-Seabrook, Laura Spong, Barbara St. Dennis, Jo Ann Taylor, Carole Tinsley, Leo Twiggs, Sam Wang and Don Zurlo.
While all have reached their 70th year, a number are into their 80s, with Jeanet Dreskin, born in 1921, leading the way. She is followed by Betty Bee and Darell Koons, both born in 1924, and Maxie Eades in 1925. All continue to be productive. Indeed, Barbara St. Dennis speaks for many when she says, There is not a day that goes by that I dont think or do art.
Perhaps it comes as no surprise that many of the artists are retired from careers as college professors from some of South Carolinas leading institutions. John Acorn long chaired the art department at Clemson University where Sam Wang also was on the faculty; Boyd Saunders created the printmaking department at the University of South Carolina; Darell Koons and Carl Blair had long tenures with Bob Jones University. Marlene OBryant-Seabrook was the first African American and one of only two women to be named to the faculty at the Citadel in 1975. Tom Flowers chaired Furman Universitys art department, and Leo Twiggs was the art department chairman and gallery director at South Carolina State University where Don Zurlo was also on faculty. Twiggs has the additional distinctions of being the first African American to receive a doctorate degree in art from the University of Georgia and the first visual artist to receive the Verner Award for outstanding contributions to the arts in South Carolina.
Some were late bloomers, turning to the arts after pursuing other careers, such as Edward Byrd who, after his retirement from the medical profession, earned degrees in studio arts and art history from the College of Charleston in 2007. Initially he was frustrated with his progress, but now notes that the work goes faster and better with each painting.
On the significance of achieving his 70th year, sculptor John Acorn said: Unless I look in the mirror, Im still the same kid I was with a hammer in my hand trying to make something. My art interest was sparked by my elementary school education when the boys in the fifth grade went to Manual Training and the girls went to Sewing and Cooking.