Culture watch

More Than Just Gamecocks And A Crappy Mall

This is the true story of four Carolina artists, picked to live and work in a renovated 1920s Cadillac store in downtown Spartanburg and find out what happens when art stops being polite and starts getting real. While this may not be the official tagline to the HUB-BUB’s Artists-In-Residence project, it may as well be. The Spartanburg-based arts group’s answer to the Real World began this 11-month experiment June 1 in the ShowRoom Gallery, a joint studio and exhibit space. The idea is actually quite innovative, and it’s only one of the programs HUB-BUB is launching this year. Others include a new multi-media, music, arts and residence space — similar to the “creative commons” idea that’s been floating around Asheville for the past few years — which should be up and running later this year. While it’s kind of sad when a town like Asheville is shown up by an arts group in Spartanburg, S.C., at least we’ll be represented by Asheville-based sculptor Leah Brown.

Caison The Joint

On a particularly bad day, it’s hard for the jaded among us not to see the local arts scene as being little more than a collection of faux- folk “outsiders,” crummy hipster multi-media-ists and predictable crafters. And then there’s Les Caison III’s art, which is more like a visual metaphor for spending an entire weekend making out with people at a jazz club, carefully balancing an intake of ecstasy and Adderall while thumbing through poetry collections and Frank Miller comics. While he’s never really gotten the props he deserves here in Asheville, it’s doubtful he’s too worried about his local rep, as his piece “Blowing Smoke” was recently chosen to be included in the Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art’s Blurring Racial Barriers exhibit. S.E.C.C.A. (located in Winston-Salem) will be showing Barriers through Sunday, June 18.

It’s An Honor Just To Be Nominated …

Mountain Glass Arts Gallery & Studio was recently nominated for a Top Retailer Award, presented by Niche magazine. The nomination itself is something of an honor, but Mountain Glass still faces some very tough competition for the big prizes: More than 700 galleries, guilds, retailers and arts groups are vying for just 36 awards in 11 categories. The winners will be announced on Friday, July 21 — but just what will they win? According to the sponsor’s Web site, in addition to a write-up in Niche, they’ll take home ” … an award, a customized press release, a commemorative certificate, badge ribbons, and winner’s stickers.” Winner’s stickers — whoa.

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