Sumter is home to many talented artists working in all mediums, and has a large, active artists’ guild. The Sumter Artists Guild was founded in 1966 by some of Sumter's most prominent artists with a membership that includes amateur, professional artists and art enthusiasts. It’s mission is "to promote, support and foster interest in art and to create an opportunity for our community of artists to engage in cooperative artistic enterprises and to be further active in supporting a variety of activities associated with art education, art instruction and art appreciation in our community." In August of 1966, the Guild held its first exhibition in the basement of the Sumter County Courthouse. The Guild was instrumental in founding the Sumter County Gallery of Art.
Throughout the year, the Guild holds monthly meetings that include artist demonstrations, lectures, “show and tell” and general artists’ fellowship. The Guild also hosts an annual Christmas party, a May Picnic and partners with the Sumter Count Gallery of Art for the annual Holiday Mart the first Saturday in December. You can keep up to date with Guild happenings by following the Sumter Artists’ Guild on Facebook. Outgoing Guild president Carole Carberry, and a core group including Laura Cardello, Vicki Hagner, and incoming president Michael Duffy work hard to maintain the energy and enthusiasm of the Guild. And their efforts have paid off - In recent years with the Sumter Artists’ Guild has attracted many “new” and younger artists.
The 2016 Sumter Artists’ Guild show is very special for a number of reasons. It is the 50th Anniversary of the guild and to honor this milestone, the prize money has been doubled. The Sumter County Gallery of Art is also taking the opportunity to remember several dear people - who were important to the gallery and the guild - who passed away in the past year and a half, by denoting the 1st, 2nd, 3rd and Peoples’ Choice awards in their names. First prize will be the Helen and Charles “Pap” Propst Gold Prize. Second prize will be the J. Eugene Matthews Silver Prize. Third prize will be the Dr. Wendell Levi Jr. & Patty Levi Barnett Bronze Prize. And the Peoples' Choice award will be the Ray Davenport Peoples’ Choice Award.
Karen Watson, Director of the Sumter County Gallery of Art notes that the Sumter Artists’ Guild Show is the most popular and well-attended exhibition the gallery presents. The influx of work by new artists, coupled with the high quality work by long time guild artists results in a fresh and diverse Sumter Artists’ Guild Show – a treat for art lovers in Sumter and surrounding areas. The Guild Show is a “judged” show, not a juried show, so every piece of artwork entered will be displayed. The Sumter Artists’ Guild Show also provides a great opportunity to purchase high-quality art at reasonable prices.
We are excited to have Catherine Walworth, new curator at the Columbia Museum of Art as our judge for the 2016 special 50th anniversary show. Dr. Walworth was born and raised in Iowa. She received her BA in Art & History from Cornell College in Mount Vernon, IA. She received an M.A. in 2000 from the University of Washington in Seattle, where she transferred her concentration from Renaissance Art towards European Modernism. She received her Ph.D. from the Ohio State University in 2013 specializing in Modern Art. Dr. Walworth has worked at the Seattle Art Museum (2004). She was Curatorial Fellow for Artistic Luxury: Fabergé, Tiffany, Lalique at the Cleveland Museum of Art (2006–2008), and was Curatorial Research Assistant for Silver to Steel: The Modern Designs of Peter Muller-Munk at the Carnegie Museum of Art in Pittsburgh (2014–2016). She has been an independent art writer, contemporary art curator, & exhibiting artist.
Walworth Curatorial Statement - As a lifelong painter, who has also struggled to center a ball of clay on the wheel, and sat huddled over many a life-drawing sketch, Art (with a capital “A”) is a tricky thing. According to the long backwards view of art history, art reflects the world at our own particular moment. Yet, rather than wondering what impact our work will have on the world at-large or how it will impress the critics, artmaking is a myopic struggle against this particular mark here, or that smudge there, and achieving a balance that simply feels right and good. With no preference for one particular style, and no bias toward either abstraction or figuration, I look for authenticity and a coming into one’s own artistic hand that is sure and distinctive. I want to feel a sense of calm in front of a work because it is so satisfyingly resolved, or a little jolt of intellectual joy because it says something about the world that hadn’t been said.
As with all of the exhibitions at the Sumter County Gallery of Art, this is a true community effort – especially since this show features all local artists. This would not have been possible without the support of James, DuRant, Matthews & Shelley Architects, The Historic Sumter Neighborhood Association, Elmore Hill McCreight Funeral Home & Crematory, Harkey Chiropractic, Black River Electric Cooperative, Karen Watson in memory of John Watson and the Evening Pilot Club, which provides the reception.
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