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Arts at OneSouthCarolina 2014 contd

Mac Arnold, blues musician, Pelzer, is a renowned blues musician and recording artist whose love of the blues began at the age of ten when he learned to play his brother’s homemade guitar. His musical resume grew with his high school band, J Floyd and the Shamrocks, who often had guest pianist, James Brown, lend his talent to their performances. Mac’s passion for music led him to pursue a professional music career in Chicago with artist and saxophonist A.C. Reed. In 1966, he joined the legendary Muddy Waters Band which helped shape the electric blues sound that inspired the rock and roll movement of the late 60s and early 70s. Mac played on John Lee Hooker’s live album, Live at the Café Au Go-Go, and Otis Spann’s classic recording, Blues Is Where It’s At. After more than a year with Muddy Waters, Mac formed the Soul Invaders which backed up many artists, including The Temptations and B. B. King.  In the early 70s, he moved to Los Angeles to work at ABC Television and LAFF RECORDS (Redd Foxx).  He worked on the set of Soul Train from 1971 to 1975 and then with Bill Withers (“Lean On Me”) before moving back to South Carolina in the 80s where he has formed his own band, Mac Arnold and Plate Full O’ Blues. In 2010 he accepted the award for Best Historical Album for his participation in the 1966 recording, Muddy Waters – Authorized Bootleg: Live at the Fillmore Auditorium (Geffen Records).

Zelda Grant, textile and fabric artist, crafter and photographer, Georgetown, was to be one of the featured artists at OneSouthCarolina 2014. Grant was sick at the time of the event and later died on March 6. Born in 1953, Grant was one of four generations of Gullah heritage in Georgetown, and was a self-taught fabric artist, crafter and photographer, using repurposed dresser scarves, socks and clothing giveaways for her artistic creations. Grant conducted workshops and artist residencies for students and adults, and was a member of the South Carolina Arts Commission’s Roster of Teaching Artists for more than twelve years. As a participant in the newly formed Engaging Creative Minds Arts Initiative in Charleston, she worked to ensure that young imaginations would continue to be stimulated and inspired. Her book Fabric Crafts (Northlight Books) was published in 2002. Grant employed her creative passions, processes and teaching abilities to help others and to “see beyond.” She will be missed.                 

Jonathan Green, artist, Charleston, was born and raised in the Lowcountry of South Carolina, Jonathan Green is considered by many art critics and reviewers as one of our nation’s most outstanding African-American artists and as a master in the visual capture of Southern culture and traditions. While his work has ranged in styles, his best-known approach to painting may be termed "narrative realism." It is through his narrative art style that Green captures and records his life experiences and the rich cultural heritage of the Gullah community in which he was raised. It is Green's mastery of color and skillful use of the human figure that allow him to preserve and share with the viewer a deep sense of community and how the challenges of love, work and belonging are met among the Gullah people. His high level of social interest, cultural commitment, numerous exhibitions, and travel throughout the United States, Canada, Mexico, the West Indies, Switzerland, Germany, United Kingdom, France, Italy, and Japan have brought broad international recognition. Green’s work has been embraced by collectors and critics throughout the world. His paintings are found in major museum and cultural collections in California, Florida, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Vermont, Japan, Germany, Brussels, and Sierra Leone. Since 1982 Jonathan Green has received numerous honors and awards for art, social, civic, and cultural contributions. Among the many awards he has received are the Elizabeth O’Neill Verner Award for Lifetime Achievement (Columbia, SC, 2010); Key of Life Award - NAACP Image Awards (Los Angeles, 2009); Century of Achievement in Art Award, The Museum of Americas (Arlington, VA, 2003); Order of the Palmetto Civilian Award (Columbia, SC 2002); The HistoryMakers Award in Fine Arts, The HistoryMakers National Archives (Chicago, 2001); and the Leo Twiggs Arts Leadership Award (Charleston, SC, 2013). Green’s art, which graces the stage backdrops at OneSouthCarolina 2014, has been incorporated into productions of ballet, music, theatre, literature, film, and video documentaries. He has received honorary doctor of art degrees from the University of South Carolina and Coastal Carolina University for his capture and recording of Southern culture and history. Green graduated from The School of Art Institute of Chicago in 1982. Currently he resides and paints in his studio in Charleston’s island town of Daniel Island.

Carlton Simmons, blacksmith, Charleston, is a nephew of famed Charleston blacksmith Philip Simmons, who was the most celebrated of the Charleston blacksmiths of the 20th century. Carlton went into the blacksmith shop at the age of 13, the same age his uncle Philip began his noted career. During the years he worked as a team with his uncle and cousin, Carlton participated in the fabrication of many of the iron gates, fences, balconies, and window grills that the Simmons Blacksmith Shop is known for and that beautify many areas of Charleston. While apprenticing with Phillip Simmons, Carlton learned the traditions of his craft well; however, his own design style is freestyle, with an eye to nature and natural themes. Typical of his work are “mini scenes,” such as one depicting blooming flowers through a patch of grass that almost appears real. His heart, fish, and plant hangers are becoming a “must have” by those who visit his Charleston shop. Accompanying Carlton Simmons at OneSouthCarolina is Joseph McGill, who represents the Philip Simmons Foundation. McGill is the founder of the Slave Dwelling Project and previously worked with the National Trust for Historic Preservation as a field officer.

Michael Smalls, sweetgrass basket maker, Bluffton, continues one of South Carolina’s signature traditional arts as a seventh generation sweetgrass basket maker. Strongly committed to preserving this art, Smalls learned the basics of "sewing" baskets at the age of eight from his great-grandmother Lucinda Pringle, who was the daughter of a slave at Laurel Hill Plantation in Charleston County. Smalls’s work has appeared in the annual Mount Pleasant Sweet Grass Basket Festival and at Columbia’s McKissick Museum’s basket day festival at the University of South Carolina. As part of the Museum for African Art’s traveling exhibition Grass Roots: African Origins of an American Art, his work has been exhibited at the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of African Art and at many other venues throughout the United States. One of Smalls's Fanner baskets was part of the foodways exhibit “Roots, Rice, and Beans: Africa in Our Fields and Cooking Pots” (2010), curated by Roots Cuisine and displayed at the Southern Food and Beverage Museum in New Orleans. Smalls and his work were featured in the 2011 PBS series, Getting Away Together. In 2009, Smalls moved from his native Mount Pleasant to Bluffton. He currently displays and demonstrates his work at Hilton Head’s Coastal Discovery Museum at Honey Horn.

Thomas Williams, cane-maker and woodcarver, McClellanville, makes some of the most beautiful and distinctive hand carved cypress knees, lamps, and tables, walking canes and walking staffs in South Carolina. He is continuing in the tradition begun by his father, who began carving in the late 1930s. The craft was handed down to Thomas's older brother, CeCe Williams, and finally to Thomas, who has been carving for more than 22 years. Williams’s canes and staffs are made from single pieces of oak, cherry, dogwood, and hickory wood. He “sees” the creatures and the secrets living within the wood, which he gathers on private land and from area forests, with permission from land holders. Williams’s familiarity with how trees grow and the secret patterns that lay in their branches came with 26 years spent working in forestry in the area around the Francis Marion National Forest, a job he lost after Hurricane Hugo came through in 1989 and laid many of the majestic trees in the Lowcountry flat. In the ensuing 25 years, Williams has turned the talent he learned from his father into a successful business, one that helped support his two biological children and four more that he and his wife adopted after Hugo. Williams’s canes and sticks range from simple but elegant one-color lacquered models made of dogwood and oak to fanciful, intricate sticks carved with abstract patterns and the faces of animals such as snakes, birds and porpoises. He customizes his walking sticks and will fit canes to the buyer while they wait at his sales stand on Pawley’s Island, where he is known as the “caneman” and has been selling his one of a kind works for the past 18 years. Williams and his brother, CeCe, also make hand-tied cast nets out of intricately tied nylon cording, which Williams says is a dying art along the coast.