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Sculpture group vows to move forward

  • Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Jim Reaves, the incoming executive director of Sculpture in the South, called a meeting of the membership July 17 to brainstorm new ideas to revitalize the group. “I believe and have expressed publicly that decisions of that nature rest with the dues paying members, not with the board or the executive director,” he wrote in an email. TAYLOR GRIFFITH/JOURNAL SCENE

After recent controversy surrounding the area nonprofit organization Sculpture in the South, the group's incoming Executive Director Jim Reaves called a meeting of the membership Wednesday, July 17 to start planning the future of the organization.
The town council denied the group funding earlier this month, citing various opinions including that Summerville has enough sculpture already. The group's 2013 art show was also not as successful as previous events. In addition, Sculpture in the South has recently seen a large turnover of board members.
However, Reaves said these complications do not worry him.
“We will make all appropriate applications for grants. We anticipate a show in May,” he said.
About 20 of the organization's 75 members attended the meeting to discuss the direction the group should take to build excitement around public art again.
For Reaves, who has been involved with the Sculpture in the South for around 15 years, this means going back to basics.
“We need to go back to the roots: why we started, the way we started, and what was successful before,” he said.
Other members contributed different ideas, including partnering with other nonprofit organizations in the area to support each other, creating a newsletter, putting donation jars and fliers in local businesses, and building multiple marketing campaigns to reach all of their audiences.
According to Reaves, there has been a decrease in local support and involvement with Sculpture in the South, which he attributes to the group's recent lack of success.
“If you don't have local people involved, you don't have excitement,” said Reaves.
Eight-year member Julie Hucks agreed. “Do people realize what's in their midst? You can't put a price on enrichment.”
Throughout its 15-year tenure, Sculpture in the South has purchased and placed 23 sculptures by locally-, nationally-, and internationally-known artists around Summerville.
Regardless of their various strategies to get the group back to its former glory, it's clear the leadership and the membership both want to use the origins of the organization as a path to success.
“The primary mission of the show is to educate and expose the public to art,” said Darline Waring, the group's membership director. “We need art and we need to be here.”

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