Sumter County Gallery of Art has much to see with 2 new exhibits



Don't miss out on two exhibits running through Feb. 21 at Sumter County Gallery of Art.

The first is the 42nd-annual South Carolina Watermedia Society Traveling Exhibition. The SCWS is the largest statewide visual arts group which promotes South Carolina artists by providing exhibition opportunities, programs to market their original works and coordinates educational programs. Three years ago the exhibition became a national competition with the 2019 exhibition having 12 states represented.

The juror for the 2019 show was North Carolina artist Ryan Fox, who works in a variety of water-based media including batik, fine art watercolor and giclee reproductions of locations across the world. He is a signature member of the American Watercolor Society and six state and regional watercolor societies. His work has been featured in Watercolor Artist Magazine, The Art of Watercolor and many more. He produces instructional DVDs, and he regularly teaches watercolor workshops nationally and internationally. He maintains a studio at Artspace in downtown Raleigh, North Carolina.

This year's winner of the SCWS Best of Show award is "Enxhi" by Ashley Arakas, a dreamlike portrait of a woman. Second-place winner is "Towing The Line" by Russell Jewel, and third place is Gail Cunningham's "DayDreaming." Karen Watson, director of the Sumter County Gallery of Art, said "The South Carolina Watermedia Society show is one of the most popular shows the gallery presents each year; we have been presenting it for more than 30 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 including landscapes, figural and still-life compositions."

The second exhibit is the Sumter Artists Guild Winners Show. The Sumter Artists' Guild is one of the most active guilds in the state, and 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 said, "This year's 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 are Curtis Phillips, Mark Duffie and Genevi ve Rath. Our Peoples' Choice Winner was Cindy Scott's nostalgic painting "Flowers For Sale." Two artists, Joshua Hatfield and Denise L. Greer, both entered and won awards in the S.C. Watermedia Society Exhibition, so they have pieces in both exhibits.

Both exhibits can be viewed at Sumter County Gallery of Art, 200 Hasell St. (adjacent to Patriot Hall), from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday.

Community sponsors for the shows are: Synovus, Covenant Place Continuing Care Community and the Sumter Artists' Guild. Flowers are courtesy of Fair Edmunds of Poinsett-Bland Garden Club and the Council of Garden Clubs of Sumter.