{ SC's July Calendar + Our Featured SC Event }

Columbia, July 16, 2015 | This year's July Calendar of Events is brought to you by Columbia's annual Palmetto Tasty Tomato Festival at City Roots Farm. Presented by Sustainable Midlands, the festival is a celebration of locally-grown food – the people who grow it, the restaurants that place it on their menus, the markets that sell it, and the people who eat it. Continuing its tradition of old-time festival fun, Tasty Tomato's programming includes a free heirloom tomato tasting, live music on two stages, local food, a craft beer garden, tomato bobbing, and the highly anticipated Tasty Tomato Contest! Festival food will feature local restaurants serving local food with a tomato theme!

{ Win $150 in the SC Picture Project's Photo Contest }

Winning $150 could be a snap(shot)! SCIWAY is hosting a photo contest, and the theme is South Carolina landmarks. If you have a photo you'd like to enter, please upload here. Submissions will be accepted until 11:59 PM EST, Sunday, July 3, 2015. We will then pick 18 finalists and post the photos on both SCIWAY's Facebook Page and the South Carolina Picture Project's Facebook Page.

Voting will commence Friday, July 8, 2015, and each Facebook "like" will count as one vote. You are welcome to share your photo(s) or the contest as often you'd like. You are also welcome to like your own photo(s) and comment on the contest. The photo with the most likes as of 11:59 PM EST, Sunday, July 17, 2015 will win!

Photos must be sent at the highest resolution and they may not contain watermarks. Please note on the form that your image is for the contest. You may submit as many photos as you'd like. By submitting your photo, you permit SCIWAY.net, LLC to display it on Facebook, Pinterest, Google Plus, SCIWAY, and/or SouthCarolinaPlantations.com. You also permit us to credit you as its photographer.

{ Remembering Artist Jim Harrison:  Man of Generosity and Spirit }

Kerri, Robin, and I once had the pleasure of visiting artist Jim Harrison, who passed away earlier this month, in his Denmark gallery. He was hosting an art show for one of our South Carolina Picture Project photographers; he frequently encouraged other local artists along their journeys to success. Harrison exuded graciousness and humility towards everyone in the gallery that day, speaking to each guest like an old friend. We left enchanted with both his kind nature and his artistic talent. He is best known for his depictions of covered barns, salt marshes, Coca-Cola signs, and other familiar scenes that reflect the optimism of those who respect the simple elegance of the rural South. Yet anyone who had the pleasure of meeting Harrison understands that it was his generosity of spirit, his love of community, his support of other artists, and the joy with which he greeted visitors to his Denmark gallery – the same joy with which he cheered on his beloved Gamecocks – that will be his legacy. (Tara Bailey)

( Larry Gleason of Aiken, 2003 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent )

Most renowned artists follow the market and live in large cities where major art buyers can be exposed to their work – not so for Denmark native and award-winning painter, Jim Harrison. Harrison, who was educated at Denmark High School and the University of South Carolina, took an unorthodox road that ultimately led him not just back to his hometown but to the very building where he first connected with a paintbrush.

( Larry Gleason of Aiken, 2012 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent )

One of America's foremost artists of rural scenes, Harrison began as an apprentice for sign painter J.J. Cornforth, painting the Coca-Cola logo on local buildings. Harrison's mother saw potential in her son and purchased an art kit to encourage his artistic pursuits. As much as Harrison loved art, however, he saw a future in teaching and coaching and decided to major in physical education in college. Upon graduating from USC, he successfully led three South Carolina high school football teams during his eleven-year stint as a coach, at Bamberg High School, Orangeburg High School, and Elloree High School.

( Larry Gleason of Aiken, 2011 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent )

Harrison's career in education led him to befriend Allendale art teacher Zita Mellon, who inspired him to take his art seriously, not simply as an avocation but as a possible profession. Thanks to Mellon's influence, the more he painted, the more he felt pulled to pursue art as his life's work. In fact, the pull was so strong that Harrison turned down an assistant coaching position at Furman University in order to return to Denmark and paint.

( Larry Gleason of Aiken, 2012 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent )

His first foray into the world of professional art was in 1970, when Harrison and his wife, Margaret, traveled to New York City for the fall Greenwich Village sidewalk art show. He sold only one piece during that first show, but undeterred, Harrison continued to produce scenes of his home state until his print, "Coastal Dunes," was published in the 1970s. Following his success as a limited edition print artist, Harrison kept painting and eventually became associated with Hammer Galleries in New York, actually selling out his first show there in advance.

( Larry Gleason of Aiken, 2012 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent )

The public was hungry for Harrison's rural buildings and landscapes - scenes that continue to define southern Americana - and his good fortune during that first show at Hammer was replicated in subsequent shows there and in San Francisco. Harrison heeded his calling, creating originals while also selling prints of his timeless classics at the Jim Harrison Gallery in Denmark, situated in the shadow of the town's iconic water tower (which features a dogwood flower that he designed) and in the same building where J.J. Cornforth first ignited Harrison's passion for art.

( Larry Gleason of Aiken, 2015 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent )

When he was not greeting art lovers in his gallery, Harrison could be found working in his studio in the back of the building. Harrison's contributions to South Carolina led to his receiving the Order of the Palmetto, the highest honor awarded to a civilian in South Carolina, in 2008. His popularity in his hometown resulted in the naming of the intersection of United States Highway 321 and United States Highway 78 in Denmark "Harrison Crossroads." Sadly, Harrison died on June 18, 2015 of an apparent heart attack in his gallery office.

( Larry Gleason of Aiken, 2015 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent )

The Jim Harrison Gallery will be closed while his family and friends mourn, but it will reopen in mid-July. It is located within the historic Denmark Tea Room, built in 1894. Travelers staying at the Denmark Hotel across the street would dine here before retiring for the night. The Denmark Tea Room operated here for decades under different owners before moving into the building directly behind it; that business eventually became a diner called the Edisto Drive-In. The tea room was resurrected in the early 2000s when a seasonal restaurant called the Gallery Cafe operated from the back of Harrison's studio. The cafe opened for lunch on Saturdays during August, serving sandwiches and salads; it is now closed.

{ A Special Thanks to a Special Friend }

This issue of SCIWAY News would not have been possible without the help of our friend and longtime South Carolina Picture Project contributor, Larry Gleason. Larry lives in Aiken and is by far one of the most talented photographers in our state. He has a wonderful ability to capture what I call "honest photos" – crisp, clear images that show SC landmarks in their best light but are not distorted or overly processed. This skill is becoming increasingly rare, as more and more photographers depend on computer software to enhance their work. From a documentary perspective, Larry's work is invaluable. He is doing worlds of good when it comes to preserving the history of our state. Larry often travels on weekends, and we are very grateful that he was able to visit the small town of Denmark – home to Jim Harrison – earlier this year. Thank you, Larry, for helping us share the story of one of South Carolina'a great sons. We think you are one of our state's great sons too. (Robin)

Previous Issues of SCIWAY News

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