This past weekend, without any real knowledge of the event I was about to attend, I went to the annual Jail Break art event in downtown Charleston. Held in the Old City Jail, and rumored to be hiding a decommissioned electric chair, walking in I was a bit apprehensive. However, it only took a few moments before I forgot the dark history of the place, and focused entirely on all the different forms of artistic expression filling the different, crumbling rooms. From comedians to theatre to puppets to oil paintings and collages, and even blacksmithing; you name it, it was there. Overlaying all of this was incredible live music performances in the back, where you could buy good food or shop at a small market of local artisans.
What really struck me about the event was the diversity of the audience. There were people ranging in ages six to seventy milling around, at least for the first few hours of the event. Jail Break seems to reach to out to all members of the community, not just artistic-types, and this obviously puts them at a great advantage in advertising, revenue, and general knowledge about the event. I would definitely recommend other people to attend. I know I’m going next year; I can not wait to see what the artists have planned.
On September 28, 2013 I attended Redux Contemporary Art Center for the first time for their Redux Revival event. The event included Gwyneth Scally’s Wilderness Management Exhibit , the Outta My Huevos food truck, a live band, and an art yard sale. The 3D exhibit, Wilderness Management, was an attention-grabber as soon as you walked into the gallery as it allowed viewers to walk through the exhibit making the art more interactive than a typical painting on the wall. I did not do much research about the event or the featured artist prior to attending and I wish I would have as the information online about the artist’s exhibit allowed me to have a better understanding and appreciation for Gwyneth Scally’s work, inspiration, and experiences as an artist. I feel that if this information had been featured somewhere within the event patrons would of had a stronger connection with the work instead of just wondering why jellyfish and pine tree branches were suspended from the ceiling.
The event had a wide age range in attendance from young adults to elderly couples viewing the exhibit and looking through the pieces of art on sale. There was an opportunity for the staff and artists of Redux to educate and fulfill their mission of having dialogue between their artists and their audiences and this opportunity was lost. There was no information on the artist on display and there was a loud band playing that stopped much of the talking within the arts center which could have allowed patrons to connect and relate to one another through the art work on display. I would recommend this event to others as I enjoyed the event but learning about what Redux has to offer. I think there are definitely more ways for Redux to reach a wider audience by communicating clearly and creating an atmosphere that allows them to truly educate the low country area about art and our talented local artists.