Arts and Culture 2011

Amy Holtcamp


I recently purchased a painting by an artist from the S.C. Lowcountry. Can you tell me more about this area? We want to stay five days around the first of July in this area but have no idea what attractions there are for us. - Sue, Venice, Fla.
The Lowcountry is made up of South Carolina’s four southernmost counties, bordered on the east by the Atlantic Ocean and on the west by the Savannah River and Georgia. Traveling through this beautiful coastal region will bring you to some of the state’s most atmospheric towns and beaches.

The area offers a variety of different attractions. Art lovers will appreciate a stop in Walterboro at the South Carolina Artisan Center, and the town is filled with antique shops, perfect for an afternoon of browsing.

If you like history and architecture, head to Beaufort and sister city Port Royal. In addition to the lovely waterfront scenery you’ll find a marvelous collection of antebellum homes spared destruction during the Civil War.

Nearby, military enthusiasts will find Parris Island, a Marine training depot with an excellent museum that traces the history of the Marine Corps.

Hilton Head Island offers miles of sandy beaches, great golf, shopping, and art galleries. The Coastal Discovery Museum gives an overview of the area’s history and ecology, as well as nature trails, a heritage garden and special tours.

But the real draw of the entire region is the unique natural attractions: moss covered live oak trees, salt marshes, cypress swamps and ocean views.

For more information on planning your Lowcountry vacation visit
We will be in the Charleston area for a week in early June. Are there any special events going on? We’re especially interested in African-American history and heritage. Thanks! - Sondra, Brooklyn, N.Y.
You are in luck. The annual Sweetgrass Festival will take place on June 2 from noon to 8 p.m. at the Mount Pleasant Waterfront Memorial Park.

This stellar event, designated as a “Top 20 event” in South Carolina by the Southeastern Tourism Society, seeks to expose visitors to the history of the Gullah Geechee People, African-Americans with roots in the Lowcountry and the Sea Islands.

This is a great chance to learn more about South Carolina’s African heritage through folklore and storytelling, African drumming, praise dancing, arts and crafts and, naturally, some tempting Gullah cuisine from more than 15 Lowcountry restaurants.

Of course, the stars of the show will be the sweetgrass baskets. Basketmaking demonstrations will give insight into the creation of the baskets and the festival will include an extensive showcase of baskets created by Lowcountry artists.

The festival (and parking) is free..
Are there any events coming up this spring for book lovers? Thanks! - Denise, Anderson

If you’re a bookworm, I would check out the schedule of events for the 5th Annual Clemson Literary Festival, which is being held on the upstate campus on April 11-15, 2012.

This year’s event will feature Pulitzer Prize-winning author Richard Ford along with a host of other hot authors including Steve Healey (Earthling, 10 Mississippi), poet Heather Christle, Chris Bachelder (Bear vs. Shark, Abbott Awaits), Harmoney Holiday (Negro League Baseball), Laura Van Den Berg (What the World Will Look Like When All the Water Leaves Us) and many others.

The four-day event will also offer readings, a book fair, readings and live music events.

For more information and a schedule of events, click here.
We will be staying in South Carolina for July 2012. I am looking for adult workshops or art classes in photography or painting in the area of Myrtle Beach and Charleston. Do you have any suggestions? - Ivan, Switzerland
There are a number of opportunities for you to learn some new art skills on your vacation!

In Myrtle Beach:

Check out Art and Soul: An Artisan Gallery. They offer a variety of classes in drawing and painting, Monday-Friday. Their summer schedule isn’t up yet, but if you visit their website it will give you an idea of their class offerings. You also can call 843-839-2727 for more information.

Or give the folks at Southern Portraits and Accents a call. Their classes, for both children and adults, are taught by professional artists who exhibit in the downtown Myrtle Beach art gallery. For more information visit the website, call (843) 448-3303 or email

In Charleston:

The City of North Charleston’s Cultural Arts Department offers monthly Open Studio Workshops, which allow participants to learn a variety of artistic techniques directly from local artists. Visit the website for more information.

Redux Contemporary Arts Center also has a wide array of adult classes available. Their course catalog is filled with classes in everything from acrylic painting and figure drawing to making a zine and street art. More information can be found here.

If you are more interested in photography, the Charleston Center for Photography offers practical lessons for all skill levels in both traditional and modern, digital photography. Visit the website for the class schedule and details.
What is the Pendleton Spring Jubilee? I saw a reference to it and it looked exciting. - Julie, Black Mountain, N.C.
The Historic Pendleton Spring Jubilee is always one of the most anticipated spring events. Some 300 artists compete for 110 spaces at the festival, now in its 35th year.

Spend a leisurely afternoon drifting through the booths that showcase the work of some of the best local and regional artists and artisans. On display you’ll find pottery, painting, jewelry, glasswork, artisinal foods, and even native plants. Food trucks line the grounds offering delicious lunch options and local bands and dance troupes take the stage to keep the crowd entertained.

This year’s Spring Jubilee will take place on April 7 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and on April 8 from noon to 5 p.m.

Click here for more information and directions.