Charleston, SC, regularly makes the top ten lists for great vacation places—mossy Lowcountry terrain, pristine sandy beaches, and great restaurants where a bowl of She-crab soup is served with a cruet of sherry. But never mind the beaches and the bistros. After visiting this past weekend, art lovers should consider Charleston as a fabulous art destination, too. On Friday the Charleston Art Dealers Association threw open their doors for an art stroll, and so did galleries along Broad Street and in the French Quarter district.
On Queen Street, Robert Lange Studios presented its first Women Painting Women show. An array of provocative paintings by artists such as Terry Strickland, Mia Bergeron, and Shannon Runquist hung on the walls while a cool, shoulder-to-shoulder party unfolded in the gallery. Mia was featured in Southwest Art’s 21 Under 31 themed-issue in September while Shannon is spotlighted in this month’s 21 Over 31 story.
The wonderful thing about Charleston is that the 35 galleries are all within walking distance of each other, and owners exude the warm, southern hospitality that the city is known for. By the way the galleries often nest in charming, historic buildings. The artful weekend also included a plein-air painting event on Saturday morning in the tree-shaded Washington Park followed later in the day by the Charleston Art Auction, where paintings by living and deceased artists went up on the auction block. By the time the weekend was over, artists and visiting art lovers were buzzing about moving to Charleston, or, at least, returning next year for the annual festivities. –Bonnie Gangelhoff