CHERAW – Art and music lovers from throughout the area experienced both art and music, during the Third Annual Art Walkabout and Jazz in June, held June 2 in downtown Cheraw.
The event is part of the Cheraw Alive! summer series, a collaborative effort between the Town, the Merchants Association, Arts Commission and Cheraw Recreation and Leisure Services, designed to promote both the art community and businesses by providing entertainment in the downtown area.
Live music with “Jazz in June,” featured musical entertainment by Cheraw musician, Patrick Davis and The Ocie Davis Group of Charlotte,N.C., performing in Centennial Park.
The Art Walkabout showcased the creative work of local and regional artists with sidewalk exhibits throughout downtown, displaying workings in photography, basket weaving, painting and drawing.
Guests strolling the downtown had the opportunity to “peek” over the shoulder of an artists giving a demonstration, but the event provided a setting more intimate than the typical art exhibit. Artists and guests were able to interact and discuss art work, stylings, materials used, individual experiences and also purchase any of the art pieces that caught their eye.
Pawley’s Island resident, John “Witzel” Walters was one of this year’s featured artists. His exhibit at the Oyster Bar on Second Street, displayed paintings on recycled material like wooden planks and an old door, all reflecting his own unique style. The artwork was bright and colorful and painted in bold paint strokes, vibrant work that expressed the personality of the artist.
Originally from Hartsville, with family still in the area, Walters admitted to not visiting downtown Cheraw since the addition of restaurants, and said he enjoyed the atmosphere, restaurants, community and the people.
“It was a wonderful show and I met some great people,” said Walters. “The art was well received, and I felt like I was too.”
Walters shared his beginnings as an artist and talked about how a simple piece of wood, washed up on the shore, set the wheels in motion for his career. Having never studied Art, he said that “self taught” is the term others often use to describe him.
“I noticed a board that washed up in the marsh of Pawley’s Island, and I thought to myself, ‘that board is perfect,” said Walters who made mention that he didn’t know what he would use it for. “Two days later it took the form of a family of fish swimming happily, and then two weeks after that, the painting sold. An artist was born.”
Walters said that he learns and grows everyday from his surroundings and simple tasks like walking along the edge of a pond or a field.
“The beauty is all around us,” said Walters. “Just stop and breathe it in.”
The Cheraw Alive!! Summer Series will have host their next event on June 16 from 6 to 8 p.m. at The Cheraw State Park. The event on the shores of the lake will feature music by the local Reflections Band.
For information, contact the Cheraw Arts Commission and Cheraw Parks Recreation Leisure Services Department at 843.537.8420 or www.visitcheraw.com.
The Cheraw Arts Commission is supported by the SC Arts Commission which receives funding from the National Endowment for the Arts and the United Way of Chesterfield County