The 11th annual Black History Exhibition at the Arts Center of Greenwood is a fusion of art and jazz, exploring jazz traditions during February. Highlighting jazz themes and connections between art in sound and sight, the exhibit includes works by five artists and vinyl designs by Taylor Cowan.
The exhibition is open in the main gallery through Feb. 25 and there is a free reception and live jazz concert 5-7 p.m. Friday.
The reception and jazz concert includes music by Steven G. and the Jr.'s and Louise Robinson. Also, be sure to check out the improvisational drawing demonstration by one of the exhibiting artists, Jeffrey Callaham, of Plum Branch.
Other artists who are part of the exhibition include Corey Barksdale of Atlanta, Georgia, Chuck Weber of Waukesha, Wisconsin, Carol Simmons of Arlington, Texas, and John Pendarvis of Greenville.
Weber, who used to own an advertising agency, said he paints full time now and that art is a second career for him. He creates more than 100 paintings a year. Many are portraits but others are not.
Weber said he often photographs street musicians in his travels and some of those photographs have inspired paintings that are part of the exhibit at the Arts Center.
"Street musicians are free spirits," Weber said. "Musicians just pull me in."
Weber said he strives to capture joy in his art. In addition to painting from photographs, Weber said some of his other music-inspired paintings in the Arts Center show are from "sketching" in his "imagination," resulting in paintings that are somewhat whimsical and light.
"Jazz is such a spontaneous celebration," Weber said. "It's poetry in sound."
Callaham, 47, said his works in this show are a transition from his well-known and acclaimed depictions of rural, small town Southern life.
"This is a structured effort to get out of my comfort mode," Callaham said. "All these works were done in charcoal before being painted with acrylics. These pieces have given me a second wind."
Callaham said the animation in his pieces is "definitely intentional as well as putting in facial features for some of them."
"You're kind of captivated with the colors and the movement and the universal concept of music," Callaham said, noting Greenwood's South Carolina Festival of Discovery Blues Cruise inspired sketches and doodles that grew into more complete works and inspiration.
"For someone who can't snap his fingers and dance, this is as close as I've gotten to keeping a beat," Callaham said, laughing.
One of the works, "Preacher Man," Callaham said, "embodies most of us."
"We (are) a nine-to-five job, or we are a mommy or a daddy or whatever it is that we do, but we're secretly a superhero," Callaham said. "We're bigger than where we are, but we're having to shrink down and keep all this energy compressed. That was one of the first sketches that took the paint."
Art, Callaham said, is healing and empowering. He is focusing on that in a new endeavor, a collaborative personal motivation seminar initiative, HEART LLC. For more, visit heartllc.net.