The Local Life: Stockings stuffed with opportunities in the arts

Voices from the Beaufort community

lisa@beaufortcountyarts.comDecember 5, 2011 

To paraphrase "A Christmas Carol," opportunity in the arts in Beaufort is alive. There is no doubt whatsoever about that.

For example, two weeks ago a young man walked into the arts council offices at ARTworks and said, "I can't believe there's a theater in Beaufort. I'm a stage tech, and I want to volunteer." I was in the middle of a meeting with J.W. Rone, who's the executive director who built that theater, and the two walked off to explore the tech booth, backstage passageways and lighting grid of the black box theater. That's the right way to end an arts meeting.

Each week for ARTworks' electronic newsletter, I list three or four opportunities for artists -- calls for public art proposals in Florida, deadlines for poetry submissions nationwide or links to grant and festival applications in this state. Finding these opportunities is a favorite part of my job, and right now the local opportunities for artists and audiences will have them busier than Santa's elves.

Georgia Phillips at the Charles Street Gallery has invited Cabell Heyward to show his new work, opening with a chimenea- and brie-fueled reception Dec. 9-31. This show is the opportunity to behold Heyward's work, the way he smoothes lush oil paint into highly realistic images and then extends, like a chicken's neck in one case, into the surreal. He's got a theme going with shadows, so watch for those -- and to whomever bought his "Word of the day: Inopportune" assemblage, lucky, lucky you.

The winter parade of local arts opportunities continues: On Dec.r 14, there's an "Art of Storytelling" workshop presented by Kim Weitkamp at ARTworks (her "Uncalled for Christmas" performance with the Bil Lepp and Andy Offut Irwin is at the Shed in Port Royal the next day). James Denmark and his grandson Dimitri have an ARTworks' gallery for January and February. If you don't know this internationally recognized artist who lives in Yemassee, here's your chance.

The library's "New Harmonies" Sunday concerts in January are on opportunity for recognition for local artists and the American roots genre: FolkUs from Sun City Hilton Head, local choirs at Penn Center, Blue Mudd (Vic Varner and Beek Webb) and Drink Small, who's the famed Blues Doctor from Bishopville. Open auditions will be held Jan. 11-12 at ARTworks for four productions by two different theater companies, including "Picasso at the Lapin Agile," a play written by Steve Martin. Season tickets to ARTworks' theater are an opportunity for easy online holiday shopping. You know how angels get their wings when a bell rings? Advance ticket sales are how community actors get their gumption.

Artists Paul Nurnberg, Kim Keats (whose show at the University of South Carolina Beaufort with Gary Geboy opens Jan. 12) and Trevor Foster offer the opportunity to develop skills in photography, basketry and pottery, respectively, in their classes at ARTworks in January. The next after-school session begins then too. Scholarships are available.

On Jan. 28, Mardi Gras Beaufort takes over the Shed on Paris Avenue in Port Royal. As yogi Kim Nichols Cech said, "the Shed is so Mardi Gras," providing the opportunity for dancers to sweat and holler to the accordion of Dwayne Dopsie and the washboard of Alex McDonald, known with their band as the Hellraisers. Tickets will cost $60 to $75 on Dec. 15 for this ARTworks fundraiser.

Finally, Jan. 29 is the deadline for artists to submit work upon the theme of Re-Nude for a February art show in support of women's rights in Beaufort. Email to join in. That's the right way to end the first month of the new year.

This parade of opportunities might be a lot to keep track of, but artists and audiences must carpe artis.

Lisa Annelouise Rentz is the transmedia publicity leader for ARTworks in Beaufort Town Center. Her story about the origins of Santa, "The Chimney," will be read by the Liar's League of London on Dec. 13, then posted in audio format on their site. She can be reached at, 843-379-2787.

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