Baby it’s cold outside! The Sumter County Gallery of Art provides the perfect getaway with two perennial exhibitions in warm, temperature controlled galleries: The 42nd annual “South Carolina Watermedia Society Traveling Exhibition” returns this year, and the “Sumter Artists’ Guild Winners Show”. The South Carolina Watermedia Society (SCWS) is the largest statewide visual arts group with a mission to promote South Carolina artists by providing exhibition opportunities, special programs t and educational programs. Three years ago the SC Watermedia Society became a National competition. The 2019 exhibition has twelve states represented. Since 1977, the then South Carolina Watercolor Society – now Watermedia Society, has been promoting the artistic and professional interests of its members as well as showcasing their accomplishments to a broader South Carolina audience. The juror for the 2019 SCWS show was North Carolina artist Ryan Fox.
This year’s Winner of the Best of Show award is “Enxhi” by Ashley Arakas, an enigmatic, dreamlike portrait of a woman. Second Place Winner is “Towing The Line” by Russell Jewel, and Third Place went to Gail Cunningham, “DayDreaming”. Karen Watson, director of the Sumter County Gallery of Art states that “The South Carolina Watermedia Society show is one of the most popular shows the gallery presents each year; we have been presenting it for over thirty years. This show has a wonderful selection of diverse work by artists, with a little something for everybody. The variety of imagery and subject matter is stunning; from mixed media abstract works to more traditional representational work.
The Sumter Artists’ Guild is one of the most active, vibrant Artists’ Guilds in the state. President Laura Cardello – a multi-talented artist, works to expand the Guild’s artistic presence in Sumter in a variety of creative ways. She is supported by a group of hardworking officers, Vicki Hagner. Jennifer Franklin, Erin Duffie, and Lisa Melton. SCGA director Watson notes, “This years Sumter Artists’ Guild Winners exhibition is particularly exciting because the work for the 2019 Sumter Artists’ Guild Show was so strong. For the first time, the juror suggested and the gallery awarded a Best of Show award, adding an additional artist to the Winners’ Show. The exhibition includes a broad range of styles and media with an emphasis on representational and mixed media. Accomplished watercolorist Joshua Hatfield won Best of Show with his intricate mixed media, “Forest Worm”. Jenna Brown won first place with her Polaroid transfer “Stay Out Of The Forest, Halimah Shah won second place with her ceramic piece “Tiny Crack” and perennial winner Denise L. Greer took third place with her mixed media collage, “Tempest”. Honorable Mentions included, Curtis Phillips, Mark Duffie and Geneviève Rath. Our Peoples’ Choice Winner was Cindy Scott’s nostalgic painting “Flowers For Sale” which resonated with many visitors. Two artists, Joshua Hatfield and Denise L. Greer both entered and won awards in the SC Watermedia Society Exhibition, so they with have pieces in BOTH exhibitions. This speaks to the high quality of artistic talent in Sumter.
This popular show would not be possible without our community sponsors: Synovus, Covenant Place Continuing Care Community and the Sumter Artists’ Guild, which does the fabulous reception. Flowers are courtesy of Fair Edmunds of Poinsett-Bland Garden Club & the Council of Garden Clubs of Sumter.