Gibbes Launches New Annual Art Charleston Event | Charleston scene

The clue is in the name. The Gibbes Museum of Art has announced a new annual Visual Arts Festival, which turns some of their tried and true signature events into a week-long celebration of art.

The concept, which formed during the pandemic hiatus, has long percolated among the Gibbes.

“We always thought about creating a week in Charleston dedicated to the visual arts, something that really encompasses the community,” said Angela Mack, executive director of the Gibbes Museum of Art.

Called Art Charleston, the festival celebrates freedom of creation this year and takes place from May 9 to 13.

Among the host of events are four of the museum’s signature events that previously ran throughout the year and are now grouped into a week to anchor the festival.

These are the Amy P. Coy Forum, Art of Design, Evening, and Gibbes on the Street.

During Art Charleston, attendees can also participate in artist talks, gallery walks, professional workshops, exhibition tours with experts, and an art auction.

The 2022 theme of creative freedom draws inspiration from the museum’s major spring exhibition “Fighters for Freedom: William H. Johnson Picturing Justice,” organized by the Smithsonian American Art Museum and premiering at Gibbes ahead of its national tour. The exhibition will be presented at the museum until August 7.

Amy P. Coy Forum, May 9

Stephanie J. Woods, 2021 recipient of the Museum’s 1858 Prize for Contemporary Southern Art, will be recognized at the Amy P. Coy Forum. A vanguard of contemporary Southern art, Woods’ work examines the performative behavior and cognitive effects of forced cultural assimilation through the exploration and use of textiles, photography, video, sculpture, community projects and material language.

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Museum visitors can view Woods’ multimedia work, Lavender Notes, in the Mary Jackson Modern and Contemporary Gallery throughout 2022. The forum will include a presentation by Woods followed by a Q&A with members from the public and a cocktail party to launch Society 1858’s Annual Art Auction. Tickets for this event are $40 for members or $50 for non-members.

Art of Design, May 10

Lewis Miller, a New York floral designer known for his ephemeral urban flower installations, will be the featured speaker at the 12th annual The Art of Design. This lunch and daytime conference will take place in the museum’s Lenhardt Garden. Miller, dubbed “the Banksy of floral design,” is also the author of “Flower Flash” and “Styling Nature: A Masterful Approach to Floral Arrangements.” Tickets will go on sale for this event on February 23 for $150 each.

Gibbes evening

Among the events that are part of Gibbes Museum of Art’s first Art Charleston is its annual Soiree event. Gibbes Art Museum / Supplied

Evening of May 11

A group of top Charleston chefs will be inspired by the creative freedom expressed in the design and aesthetics of this formal, intimate and refined dining experience. The evening will begin with special backstage tours and cocktails in the Campbell Rotunda, followed by a four-course dinner. After dinner, you can also dance in the museum’s Lenhardt Garden. Tickets for this event are $1,000.

Gibbes in the street, May 12

The museum will once again celebrate the city’s food scene at the annual Gibbes on the Street, a lively, food-focused street fair. Spanning a block of Meeting Street across from the museum, the event will feature more than 15 of Charleston’s top chefs serving up sweet and savory dishes, an open bar and live music.

Tickets for this event are $175 for members or $200 for non-members.

According to Mack, the goal is to add more programming and more opportunities for people to engage in the visual arts, including events at other institutions or other neighborhoods that coincide with the week at the Gibbes.

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Perhaps from there, Mack added, the week-long focus on the visual arts could become its own destination.

“It’s going to be about promoting the visual arts in Charleston through the Gibbes and we’re excited,” Mack said. “There is Art Basel… and now there is Art Charleston.”

For more information and to purchase tickets to Art Charleston events, go to

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Follow Maura Hogan on Twitter at @msmaurahogan.

Christopher S. Washington