Are you a Lowcountry art lover? We’ve got just the exhibit for you

Tun Ping Wang
Tun Ping Wang Submitted photo

Things were quiet in the gallery of the Arts Center of Coastal Carolina late Friday afternoon, the kind of quiet we all recognize as the calm that settles in just before something very important is about to take place. We knew that come 5 o’clock, artists and art lovers would begin to fill up the gallery space.

Art League of Hilton Head board president Janice Gray was carefully moving among the collection of art works while several others were seeing to the details of the opening reception of Biennale 2017, the national juried exhibition of the Art League.

“This is the 25th edition of the longest running national juried art exhibition in the area,” said Gray. “... we received entries from more than 550 artists from all around the country. Our jurors — Linda Bloom, Amiri Farris and Mary Segars — took the first steps, and actually juried in the 100, now installed in the gallery. Then our judge, Susan Mayfield, a national award winning artist, educator and juror, stepped up to make the final determinations of the award winners.”

I took my own walk through before the guests arrived. I wanted to see the varied formats and mediums — oil, acrylic, watercolor, pastel, charcoal, mixed, pastel and pigmented ink, conte and pencil, ink, colored and graphite pencil, reductive woodcut and photography. There were also a collection of dimensional pieces in alabaster, marble, bronze, Raku, ceramic, clay, wood, kiln-formed glass, fabric, bead embroidery, silver nitrate, hand cut paper, clay with terra sigillata and porcelain.

Just before the doors opened, a couple from Moss Creek, the Parks, had seen the painting of Bluffton artist Murray Sease, and were hopeful that they could arrange the purchase, and see the application of the well known sold “red dot” that evening. Happily, the transaction was successful, and, when the exhibit closes May 31st., “Market Day,” in oil will be added to their collection.

Just about 5, guests began to surge into the gallery space. Clusters of the very interested spoke softly with each other about an artwork they “could not live without.” Others circled the room, then circled, again, reaffirming their selections.

When the awards ceremony was announced, the crowd was asked to come together for the designation of over $7,000 in cash prizes to the winners and runners up.

If you have not seen the exhibit, do plan on dropping in at the Art League of Hilton Head Gallery in the Arts Center of Coastal Carolina.

Artist, musician, teacher and writer Nancy K. Wellard focuses on portraying and promoting the cultural arts, first in Los Angeles and, for close to 30 years, in the Lowcountry. Email her at

If you go:

What: Biennale 2017 presented by Art League of Hilton Head

Where: Arts Center of Coastal Carolina, 14 Shelter Cove Lane, Hilton Head Island

For more information, go to or call 843-681-5060

The winners:

1st Place: “Undefined #2”, Pastel. Tun Ping Wang, Long Island City, N.Y.

2nd Place: ”Studio Book Pages,”Acrylic. Laurie McIntosh, Camden, S.C.

3rd Place: “One Cabin Left,” Photography. Zachery Grether, Hardeeville.

Honorable Mention: “Bonnet Aerial #1,” Photography. Cate Brown, North Kingstown, R.I.

Honorable Mention: “Ancient Lady,” Raku. Jacqueline Charnigo...Bluffton.

Honorable Mention: “Charleston Sleeps,” Oil. Sally Hickman, Bluffton.

Honorable Mention: “Clayton,”. Photography. John Honeycutt, Oakboro N.C.

Honorable Mention: “Lue, Fla., ” Photography. Laird, Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla.

Honorable Mention: “Le Reve,” Mixed Media. Marsha Leniberger, Hilton Head Island.

Honorable Mention: “Local Color,” Pastel. Eve Miller, St. Helena Island.

Honorable Mention: “Cedar Center Hardware,” Photography. Charles Mintz, Cleveland, Ohio

Honorable Mention: “Denny,” Charcoal Jonathan Murrill, Roanoke, Va.

Honorable Mention: “Red Brigade,” Oil. William Schneider, Village of Lakewood, Ill.

Honorable Mention: “The House That Built Me,” Clay with terra sigillata...Katty Smith, New Smyrna Beach, Fla.

Honorable Mention: “Face Book,” Acrylic. Randy Van Dyck...Boise, Ida.