The Artside: Artist guild's best showing in Aiken

Aiken has a well-documented history as a winter colony for horse enthusiasts, and today it is gaining something of a reputation as a year-round art colony. The Aiken Artist Guild boasts more than 130 active members, many of them having been drawn to the area from other parts of the country.


The guild’s annual member exhibition at the Aiken Center for the Arts illustrates the impressive range of art being produced in the Aiken area. Jurors for this year’s exhibit, Don and Joyce Nagel, of Hilton Head Island, S.C., selected award winners from more than 120 works in the show.

Deborah Tidwell Holtzscheiter won the Phil Permar Best of Show Award for her painting Abiding Calm. A native of Albany, Ga., Holtzscheiter earned a bachelor’s degree from Georgia State University. After a career in marketing, she began to pursue her interest in fine art, studying with Al Beyer at the University of South Carolina Aiken.

In the landscape category, Gail Smith won first place, Jim Stafford second place and Gail Wheeler third. Marilyn Hartley was first in the portraiture/figurative category, with Susan Sallstrom second and Jim Bradshaw third.

In the still life category, Mary Ann Brock was first place winner, with Carolyn Bohn taking second and Lauren Kerbelis third. Mary McCullah won in the animal/wildlife category, with Meghan Benge and T.L. Harris taking second and third. Jim Stafford was first place winner in the abstract/experimental category, with Irene Williamson second and Anne Nielsen third. Terry Smith won the William Colgate Aiken Scene Award.

In addition to their juried exhibit in the main galleries, Aiken Artist Guild members are featured in two other concurrent shows.

Pastel artist Jeanette Shoemaker is showing in the Aiken Artist Guild corner gallery at the ACA during May.

Shoemaker moved to Aiken in 2011 from the Finger Lakes region of New York. She studied with master pastelist Nicora Gangi, and her work has been shown in several upstate New York galleries. She won first place in the floral category of the 2011 member show.

Mary McCullah is exhibiting Nature’s Potpourri, a collection of watercolor and acrylic nature-inspired paintings during May at the Hitchcock Health Center in Aiken. Born in Missouri, McCullah has lived in several areas of the United States, and has worked closely with zoos and nature preserves on conservation-related programs.

She has been painting for more than 35 years, and has been active in teaching and designing educational materials, books and segments for television.

Since retiring to North Augusta with her husband, she has been selected as artist in residence at Cheraw, S.C., State Park, Poinsett State Park, and Saluda Shoals State Park. Her work is in private and corporate collections in the United States and Canada.


THE NORTH AUGUSTA ARTS and Heritage Center is hosting a retrospective show of works by Georgia Brooks.

A resident of North Augusta since 1997 and an artist since age 5, she exhibited at the World’s Fair in New York in 1964. The exhibit in the balcony gallery features paintings from the 1960s and 1970s.


THE GREATER AUGUSTA Arts Council’s Wet Paint Party will begin at 7 p.m. Saturday, May 19, at the Old Government House, 432 Telfair St. The annual event gives local artists, who are often asked to donate work for charity, the chance to auction their work, with a set price going to the artists and overbids going to the arts council.

The evening will include a fashion and hair show, painting demonstration and other entertainment. The event is free to GAAC members, and nonmembers can join at the door. Visit or call (706) 826-4702 for membership information.

AT THE MORRIS Museum of Art, Arthur J. Phelan will be the featured speaker for Art at Lunch Friday, May 18. Phelan’s collection of Western art is on display through July 21. Reservations are required by calling (706) 724-7501.


FIDDLER Megan Lynch, who is currently appearing on the Grits and Glamour tour with country music legends Pam Tillis and Lorrie Morgan, will perform with guitarist Adam Chowning for the Music at the Morris series Sunday, May 20. A reception will follow. See Lynch’s Web site at


THE GERTRUDE HERBERT Institute of Art has posted a call for entries for the 32nd annual fine art competition, A Sense of Place. Juror for this year’s show is Nancy Solomon, director of Solomon Projects, an Atlanta gallery dedicated to new and experimental solo presentations by emerging and mid-career artists.

The competition is open to American artists ages 18 and older. Entries may be in painting, drawing, mixed media, printmaking, photography, ceramics or sculpture, and must have been completed on or after June 1, 2010.

A prospectus is available on the Web site at Entry deadline is June 1. The exhibit will be held in September, with awards to be presented during the Arts in the Heart festival.


ARTIST KATH GIRDLER ENGLER’s sculpture Dorne’s Daughter won a juror’s merit award in the Red Clay Survey at Huntsville Museum of Art.

She also has works featured in a show opening May 18 at Mason Murer Gallery in Atlanta.

At local galleries