More To Annual Event Than Park, Square, & Center
By: Jeff Walker, Entertainment Writer
There are the high profile events during the Southeastern Wildlife Expo (SEWE) that usually catch everyone’s fancy. Outdoor types, hunters, and families with kids seem to gravitate to the Dock Dogs competition, the Birds of Prey and Fly Fishing demos, as well as Chef’s Demo’s in Marion Square and Jeff Corwin’s Live Animal Show at the Gaillard Center.
Aside from smaller private events a lot of the focus year in and year out seems to be on Brittlebank Park, Gaillard, and Marion Square which just happens to be situated in the center of downtown Charleston. There are a few events that happen outside the confines of downtown Charleston but primarily the central point to SEWE centers on the demos and shopping that happens in Marion Square.
But in case you didn’t know there is a whole lot more taking place if you only care to stray a little off the beaten path. You’ll find puppet shows and other interesting exhibits at several Charleston County libraries, art & fashion shows at the Marriott, Francis Marion, and newly opened Hotel Bennett. The Omar Temple over on Patriots Point and the Charleston Visitor’s Center on Meeting Street provide the backdrop for several parties and soirees. And the Wilderness Tour at the Caw Caw Center in Ravenel is quite informative.
Perhaps the most often overlooked venue is the Belmond Hotel at Charleston Place. One of the premier destinations on the peninsula, Charleston Place is one of the epi-centers for SEWE. The entire second floor of the renowned hotel is over-run with a plethora of SEWE exhibits pertaining to wildlife art, hunting, fishing, and unique shopping opportunities.
Inside their main ball room and the accompanying atrium you’ll discover dozens and dozens of artisans offering up everything from wildlife paintings created from oils, chalk, and a variety of natural substances. From outdoor landscapes to vivid animal imagery, there is something for everyone while strolling the indoor aisles.
Sandy P. Graves and Chris Maynard create heavy metal & light as feathers artistry. Jeff Birchill is a gifted marble chipper who releases animals from stone. Ezra Tucker travelled all the way from Colorado to showcase his wildlife art. Prolific wildlife artist Beverly Ford Evans made the trip from Franklin, Tn to let SEWE visitors soak in her works. Carrie Wild has a passion for horses and nature, and her works are beautifully displayed in graphite, charcoal, colored pencil and soft pastel.
The Red Fox Fine Art Gallery located in Middleburg, Va has brought several fine pieces of art and sculptures depicting 19th & 20th century artists that focus on the sportsmanship and exotic wildlife. Closer to home local artist Hilarie Lambert offers up whimsical and breathtaking images of scenic landscapes and colorful wildlife. Lambert is a gifted artist who approaches art with a sense of purpose and humor.
The award for the couple that made the furthest trip are Stephen & Karen Bassett who hail from South Africa and are making their debut at SEWE. An international artist with a unique flair, Stephen is known for his creations derived from ancient pigments. To say his work is extraordinary is selling his art form short. He is a master of his craft. The Bassett’s and the others listed above are just a few of the hundreds of artisans on display over the weekend during SEWE.
For those who love to shop you’ll find a bevy of ideas, trinkets, and baubles to entice you on the second floor at Charleston Place. Grady Ervin is a classic clothier who shop just happens to be located at 313 King Street. From across the pond (London) Purdey has sent up camp in a side room to showcase their line of guns and rifles. You’ll even find a Charleston area taxidermy table out on the main concourse.
At the top of the majestic staircase you’ll find Lisa Matthews with the Mark Lexton Collection, as well Christina Jervey Handcrafted Jewelry and Jenny Thompson of Theodosia. All are locally owned jewelry makers, as is the very vivacious Harriet with Casuarina. Harriet and her mom and sisters are more than happy to engage in spirited conversation on Harriet’s passion for making jewelry. From unique to chic, you’ll find jewelry crafted with that creative spark.
Marion Square may be the SEWE hub especially when it comes to demos, tastings, and exhibits with wide appeal, but if you have eclectic tastes, and are looking for something outside the box, you’ll discover a plethora of art, crafts, and exhibits all over Charleston if you allow yourself to step outside your comfort zone. Allow your mind and wildlife spirit to roam this weekend at SEWE. So think beyond the park, the square, and the center and you might just find some unusual, yet rather interesting additions to the Southeastern Wildlife Expo.
For a complete list of SEWE events click on https://sewe.com/events
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