Monday, February 28, 2011

North Charleston City Gallery to Exhibit Works by Barrie Hinson

The City of North Charleston’s Cultural Arts Department is pleased to announce that works by Barrie Hinson will be on exhibit at the North Charleston City Gallery from March 1-31, 2011.

Charleston Artist Guild member, Barrie Hinson, will exhibit plein air landscapes in oil in her exhibit of recent works, titled Landscapes of the Lowcountry. Hinson paints landscapes on location with the essential monochromatic value study, and then takes the piece to her studio where she lays in the color. She then pushes and pulls the color temperatures to create mysterious and intriguing focal points. Barrie is drawn to the intriguing demeanor of the Lowcountry, such as its lazy rivers, majestic live oaks, afternoon light and marshes. She says, “It is a thrill to be able to stand before nature and let her challenge me with her infinite beauty.”

Hinson grew up near the Blue Ridge Parkway in Asheville, NC, where she started receiving recognition in art early on in life. She was voted “most artistic” at Asheville High School and as featured in a one-man-show at the age of 18. She studied Painting and Printmaking at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro for two years and received a B.F.A. degree in Art Education from Virginia Commonwealth University.

In 1985 Barrie moved to Charleston, SC, where she taught art in public and private schools, introducing and encouraging many young people to pursue art as a career. In 2003 she retired from teaching to return to her first passion of painting oil portraits, murals, and black and white photography. She was past president of the Goose Creek Artist Guild and is currently exhibiting in the Charleston Artist Guild Gallery.

The North Charleston City Gallery is located in the Charleston Area Convention Center with free parking and admission during regular Convention Center operating hours 9:00AM – 5:00PM, daily. The Gallery is staffed on Friday, Saturday, and Monday only. Inquiries regarding artists or purchase information may be directed to the North Charleston Cultural Arts Department at (843) 740-5854. For information on additional exhibits, programs, and events, visit the Cultural Arts section of the City’s website at

The Meeting Place Window to Exhibit Works by Keller Lee

The City of North Charleston’s Cultural Arts Department will host an exhibition of works by Keller Lee in the display windows of The Meeting Place during from March 1-31, 2011.

In his exhibit, Inspiration and Interpretation, local artist Keller Lee will present fused glass objects that were inspired by items and patterns found in every day life. Most of Lee’s works function as some sort of practical object, from candle holders to coasters. Lee says, “Glass is a great way to make my life inspired art take on a functional form that can be used in everyday life.”

Glass fusion, often referred to as "warm glass," is one of the oldest forms of glass making. Torches and kilns are used to make the glass soft and molten. Handcut, broken, pulled and ground pieces of glass are used with each glass fusion project.

The Meeting Place is located at 1077 East Montague Avenue in the revitalized Olde North Charleston Business District. Parking is free. Display window exhibits offer visitors a continuous opportunity to view artwork by different artists every other month. Proposals are being accepted and considered on a continuing basis. Further inquiries about this exhibition and exhibition opportunities may be directed to the North Charleston Cultural Arts Department at (843) 740-5854. For information on additional exhibits, programs, and events, visit the Cultural Arts section of the City’s website at

North Charleston Rail Plan Provides Dual Access

By R. Keith Summey

My colleague David Mack and I share some common ground where the North Charleston rail plan is concerned. I agree that the stakes are extremely high and that community involvement is important.

But his recent column in the Post and Courier and the community meeting he convened at Military Magnet High School included many misstatements of fact that need to be clarified.

Since Mr. Mack represents citizens in the southern portion of the city, it's understandable that he would want less of the burden placed on them. Indeed, our LAMC communities are just as important to North Charleston as any other neighborhood.

That’s why before the partnership agreement with CSX and Shipyard Creek Associates was signed, it underwent extensive public review.  We met with the executive board of LAMC, the Chicora-Cherokee neighborhood association, we presented the entire plan in front of hundreds at the Felix C. Davis Community Center, City Council held public hearings, and all information was placed openly online, where it remains today.  The purpose of these meetings was to begin a dialogue that has been ongoing.

Inversely, the South Carolina Public Railways (SCPR) plan was approved behind closed doors, amongst bureaucrats in Columbia with absolutely no public input, and is forcibly being implemented through condemnation with no regard to communities affected.

One important point to keep in mind is we're not just talking trains. The majority of cargo coming from the new port is transported on trucks. If our proposal for an intermodal rail facility utilizing CSX's existing Cooper Yard is selected, trucks would travel through the Macalloy property on the port access road before hitting the interstate. However, if the SCPR plan is allowed to go forward on the condemned Clemson property, trucks would travel through neighborhoods on city streets to get to I-26.

Under the SCPR plan, trains would still run through Union Heights and Accabee; they would not be removed from these neighborhoods. And let us not forget that the SCPR plan calls for the rail yard to be constructed next to senior housing, homes, and apartments in Chicora-Cherokee.

Our plan allows for the LAMC Revitalization Plan to become a reality through providing funds for the redevelopment of the Stromboli corridor, a high priority for LAMC.  In addition, our plan would lead to the abandonment of 3.2 miles of rail line along Spruill Avenue.  Seventeen at-grade crossings would be eliminated, reknitting the community back together.  Despite the claims, the SCPR plan cannot ensure the closing of this rail line, because they do not own it.

Perhaps Mr. Mack's most egregious error was on the topic of dual access. Our plan provides dual access through a unique agreement spelled out by CSX in late January that gives Norfolk Southern access into CSX's rail yard at cost. Consequently, the entire state would realize long-term economic gain. (The Post and Courier reported on this breakthrough amendment to the North Charleston rail plan on Jan. 28.)

Let me repeat: The North Charleston rail plan allows for equal, dual access for both CSX and Norfolk Southern.

Ironically, the SCPR plan requires Norfolk Southern to cross a minimum of two CSX lines, whereas access from the south only requires one.

Another glaring omission in Mr. Mack's assessment of the two plans is that SCPR would own and operate the rail yard.  This is the real competition killer. Having a governmental third-party involved would make the intermodal rail facility less competitive by driving up costs.

Finally, Mr. Mack's assertion that "the city had nothing to show" for our investment in redeveloping the northern half of the old Navy Base is also dead wrong. Today the Navy Base is home to about 85 businesses and nonprofit organizations and nearly 2,500 employees. Horizon Village is a case study in affordable housing.  The City has invested public funds to create Riverfront Park and the Greater Charleston Naval Base Memorial.  Not to mention the huge private investment of residents and businesses surrounding the former base.

"Development is a complicated process and we all need to understand the consequences. Our children and grandchildren will be directly affected by the decisions made this year," according to Mr. Mack.

I couldn't agree more. But it's vitally important that as the rail debate continues, we ought to argue the facts of the case and not rely on the myths and misinformation meant to divide North Charleston’s residents.

To continue the conversation on the two rail plans, I have formally invited SCPR President & CEO Jeff McWhorter to a community forum, at a date and time of his choosing, so the merits of each plan may be discussed openly in a public setting.  I am confident that Mr. McWhorter will accept this invitation to discuss the plan which he so staunchly defends and will not defer these important talks to the Port Review & Oversight Commission.

R. Keith Summey is mayor of North Charleston.

Learn more about the Rail & Community Redevelopment project, here:

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

North Charleston Fire Station 5 Grand Opening

The North Charleston Fire Department, City Council, and Mayor R. Keith Summey hosted a Grand Opening for Fire Station 5, located at 6265 Dorchester Road, on Friday, February 18, 2011 at 11:00 am.

The ceremony will include remarks, a ribbon cutting, and a traditional station “WetDown.”  Station tours will be given after the ceremony.

The Station will house an engine and a ladder truck with a total of eight crew members each day.

View Fire Station 5 in a larger map

Friday, February 4, 2011

Major arts award trio named

“Combining this triumvirate of highly accomplished persons as namesakes for the Summey Barkley Rucker Medallion has great potential for elevating the work of mentoring young lowcountry artists,” said Mary Gould, director of the South of Broadway Theatre Company (SOBTC), announcing a new arts award named after North Charleston Mayor Keith Summey, Charleston Regional Alliance for the Arts Founding Chair Nella Barkley and Hootie & the Blowfish lead singer Darius Rucker. The award, sponsored by SOBTC and presented annually, will recognize group or individual efforts at training and developing young artists. A selection committee will name the award’s first recipient by early-March as other plans take shape for a longstanding SOBTC youth arts project.  

Since 2005 SOBTC has sponsored Summer In The City (SITC), a month-long artististic residency program for aspiring Lowcountry actors, dancers and musicians ages 14-19. SITC participants reside at The Juilliard School in New York City while taking masterclasses with teachers from various performing arts institutions. According to Gould averages of ten students make the trip each year, however, the increased student turnout at SITC auditions held last month is expected to boost this year’s June 5 – July 2 residency to its highest enrollment. Gould will announce SITC participants later this month.

Mayor Summey and Youth Endowment for the Arts along with Mayors Joseph P. Riley, Jr. and the late Harry Hallman, Jr. were instrumental in launching the first year of SITC. “Mayor Summey is leading a transformation in North Charleston’s commercial and cultural appeal which impacts our work everyday,” Gould said. After taking office in 1994, Mayor Summey restored the city’s previously disbanded Cultural Arts Department to a full stand alone department which now has 13 employees and in 1999 established The Coliseum and Convention Center Complex, the lowcountry’s largest events arena.

Nella Barkley is a former Spoleto Festival USA General Manager, Founding Chair of the SCETV Endowment and of the Crystal-Barkley Corporation’s pioneering strategies for human resources management and author of The Crystal-Barkley Guide To Taking Charge of Your Career. “Nella is a towering force in many local, state and national endeavors and especially in the arts, education and the humanities,” said Gould. As board chair of the Charleston Regional Alliance for the Arts since 2006, Barkley’s reach in helping arts organizations is much sought after.

From his world-wide success as the lead singer of Hootie & the Blowfish to his solo delve into R&B, to his current meteoric rise to the top of the Country Music scene, Darius Rucker has sustained a successful music career spanning a quarter of a century. Songs from their debut album earned the group two Grammy’s along with a multitude of other awards, countless television appearances, and a fan base that crosses continents.  Rucker’s release of his solo record, Charleston, SC 1966, has reached #1 on the country chart as well as climbing to #2 on the Billboard Top 200. Gould cited Rucker’s “commitment to philanthropy, hard work, quality songwriting and energizing performances” as key elements in defining the purpose of the new arts award, the Summey Barkley Rucker Medallion.

“Indeed the life-works of these three persons is an inspiration to young artists and to the groups and individuals who help shape the lives of young artists” Gould said.

For more information call 843-814-4451 or visit website at:

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Village Antiques & Collectibles Show

We invite you to the City of North Charleston’s Village Antiques & Collectibles Show in Park Circle at the Felix C. Davis Community Center on February 26 & 27 from 11:00 am to 5:00 pm each day.

The Show will feature home decor, fine antiques, furniture, collectibles, antique guns, art, jewelry, rugs, crafts, vintage toys & games, silver, pottery, china, silver, salvage items, outdoor decor, vintage instruments, and more.

Admission is $2.00, all of which will be benefits The Spay Not Slay Endowment.

Dealer/Vendor space is still available.  10’x10’ for $65.00 with 6’ tables for $5.00 each.  Special rates at local hotels have been secured for vendors.  $15 of each space sold benefits The Coastal Community Foundation.

Park at no cost.
A food court to dine.

For more information, contact Lisa Reynolds at (843) 740-2531 or via email at

Reader's Digest "We Hear You America" campaign visits City Hall

The Reader's Digest "We Hear You America" Tour Bus made a stop by the North Charleston City Hall on January 26 and presented Mayor Keith Summey with a "stimulus" check.

Reader's Digest Tour Bus at City Hall

The campaign is a grassroots effort to travel to 100 cities across the United States to celebrate the Best of America and offer financial support to communities.

North Charleston was chosen as a tour stop and check recipient because of its Sustainable Urban Revitalization project, citing the renaissance of the Greater Park Circle Area as a great example of “green entrepreneurship.” 

The check was donated to The Sustainability Institute. As a partner in the project, The Sustainability Institute is instrumental in the City’s revitalization efforts and continues to empower South Carolinians to reduce their environmental footprint where they live and work.

Reader's Digest presents check to North Charleston