Feature Articles

September 2013

Arts Council of Beaufort, Port Royal and the Sea Islands in Beaufort, SC, Offers Sam Doyle Celebration

The Arts Council of Beaufort, Port Royal and the Sea Islands in Beaufort, SC, will present an exhibit of paintings from private collections by Sam Doyle, on view at ARTworks, from Sept. 22 through Oct. 6, 2013, as well as a fundraiser on Sept. 22 in celebration of Sam Doyle.

This celebration of ingenuity and expression is a rare opportunity to see the art work of Sam Doyle, presented in the community where he spent his life and derived his inspirations. All paintings on display in the gallery at ARTworks will be on loan from private collections. The Sam Doyle Celebration is a partnership between ARTworks, Penn Center, the Red Piano Too Gallery, and Gordon W. Bailey.

Born in 1906 on St. Helena Island in the Lowcountry of South Carolina, Doyle attended Penn School (now called Penn Center and a national historic landmark) and was a self-taught artist who, according to ARTworks friend, art collector, Gordon W. Bailey, “Fashioned his uniquely-styled personal portraits and tributes with evangelical enthusiasm, blending ancestral Gullah lore and his devout Baptist faith into a rich multicultural impasto.”

In the 1960s, Doyle’s outdoor history lesson evolved into the “St. Helena Out Door Art Gallery.” The artist filled his property with portraits of people important to his community, such as Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King Jr., First Black Midwife, Penn Drummer and many more icons. Local personalities, like Food Stamp, He/She, Mr. Fool, Mrs. Fool, and root doctors were included. He also created two important series: “Penn” (school) which paid tribute to people associated with the historic center and “First” (achievements) which commemorated special events such as the first football game played on St. Helena Island.

In 1982 the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington, DC. selected Doyle to be a part of the seminal exhibition Black Folk Art in America 1930–1980. His work is now highly sought after and his achievement is celebrated by his community.

On Sunday, Sept. 22, from 2-5pm, ARTworks offers an exclusive opening reception. Special guests will share their first hand stories of the folk artist, Victoria Smalls will present an informative talk, and everyone will enjoy a buffet at the “Wellcome Table,” inspired by one of the artist’s paintings. Explains Gordon W. Bailey, a noted expert on Doyle’s work: “He left little room for speculation in this poignant work, emphasizing with unambiguous clarity his hope that all races will one day join each other at “well” tables.” The $25 tickets benefit ARTworks, the arts council of Beaufort, Port Royal and the Sea Islands. For ticket info call 843/379-2787.

To continue his legacy, the Sam Doyle Celebration committee will distribute original lesson plans and copies of “Haints and Saints” a definitive look at Doyle by Bailey (Raw Vision Magazine, 2007) to local educators in the late artist’s own community.

“I have been intrigued by his art, and the man, since I moved to Beaufort twenty years ago,” said Claudette Humphrey, a board member for ARTworks. “It’s time that we have a Sam Doyle Celebration so the rest of the community can be inspired by his unique art style and talent. The children and the community need to be enriched by his creativity and the diversity of Gullah art.” Penn Center will continue the celebration with their own collection and the children’s component.

ARTworks is the community arts center in Beaufort, the coolest arts council in the Carolinas, and it applies the many creative tools of The Arts to strengthen artists, and enrich audiences, collectors, and visitors through high quality arts experiences and arts education programs 365 days a year.

For further information check our SC Institutional Gallery listings, call the arts council at 843-379-2787 or visit (www.artworksinbeaufort.org).

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