Although everyone in Scotland County may not be art critics, they had the opportunity during Friday afternoon’s Art Crawl held in downtown Laurinburg.
A variety of local talents displayed their pieces in downtown businesses in an event sponsored by the Laurinburg Downtown Revitalization Committee. More than 60 people perused the offerings of sculptors, painters, and potters throughout the event.
“We have seen a lot of friends that we haven’t seen in many years, and it’s good to see them out and about in Laurinburg,” said Emmy Gainey, who displayed her paintings on Friday evening.
The Art Crawl was the first time Gainey has exhibited her work.
“I have been painting for probably about 20 years, but when I retired I had more time to actually enjoy it,” she said. “It comes more freely now, I think, that I’m relaxed.”
Many artists hone their talents as a side hobby, but for some it is a vocation, as it is for Brian Shanks, a recent graduate of St. Andrews University. “Sculpting is what I do predominantly, I have my favorite, best piece here,” said Shanks. “It’s steel and ceramic together. Since graduating I don’t have the facilities to continue working, but it’s coming together.”
Shanks’ first official art exhibition was a student presentation at St. Andrews earlier this year. During the Art Crawl, he displayed a selection of photographs he took while studying abroad in Italy.
“I’ve been a selling artist for a few years now, but doing bigger shows is still pretty new for me,” he said. “I love it, I love the chance to talk to people.”
Shanks hopes to start work toward a master’s of fine arts degree at the University of North Carolina next year.
“UNC has a huge program and the head of their department is an installation sculptor, so I’m going to learn from people who have worked professionally on that kind of scale,” Shanks said. “Maybe one of these days I’ll be flown around the world to do corporate art.”
Ted McCormick brought his collection of graphite portraits for public viewing, including one that earned him a gold medal at the North Carolina Senior Games.
McCormick works primarily from photographs. Although he has worked as a professional illustrator, he recently returned to drawing for pleasure after a 30-year hiatus.
“All of these are really experimenting with colors and how you meld the colors,” McCormick said. “One is actually of my aunt, and the actual picture was not that dark. Everything had something I was trying to do to get my eye back.”
Stationed inside Art by Design was Olivia Dowdy-Brown, a potter who specializes in the ancient Japanese technique of raku. Dowdy-Brown has worked in the arts for 24 years and specializes in melding metal, fiber, and clay materials into unique jewelry pieces.
When she returned to college to study art, Dowdy-Brown was attracted to raku because of the technique’s unpredictable nature.
“Being at the kiln this morning and smelling the smoke and just seeing the colors; every time you open the reduction container, you never know what you’re going to see,” Dowdy-Brown said. “Most of these things have the same glaze, but you see the array of colors.”
Throughout the next three months, Dowdy-Brown will travel throughout the Southeast exhibiting her work: to the North Carolina State Fair, to Birmingham, Ala., to the Seagrove Pottery Festival, and to Greenville, S.C.
And she says that she would likely continue to create pottery even if she never sold a single piece.
“You have to have something that you do that you love,” said Dowdy-Brown. “I’d do this if I didn’t get paid.”