National Outdoor Sculpture Competition & Exhibition

metal boat-like sculpture in front of tree
blue abstract metal sculpture on pedestal

2022/23 Competition & Exhibition

sculptures in a park with trees and sidewalk

Location

North Charleston Riverfront Park
1001 Everglades Avenue
North Charleston, SC 29405
Viewing times: May 4, 2022 – March 19, 2023, public park open daily
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Opening celebration and award acknowledgements:
Charleston Area Convention Center
Exhibit Hall A
5001 Coliseum Drive
North Charleston, SC 29418
Wednesday, May 4, 2022 – 6:00-8:00pm
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Overview

Sculpture artists from across the nation were invited to participate in the 16th annual National Outdoor Sculpture Competition & Exhibition. Fourteen sculptures by artists from six states were selected for the 2022/23 exhibit. Awards for Best in Show, Outstanding Merit, and Honorable Mentions are TBD. Organized by the City of North Charleston Cultural Arts Department and presented as a component of the annual North Charleston Arts Fest, this unique exhibition offers established and emerging artists the opportunity to display their inspiring and extraordinary sculptures throughout the picturesque North Charleston Riverfront Park, set along the banks of the Cooper River. An estimated 50,000 people visit this public park annually to enjoy the amenities located in the heart of the city’s arts community.

Otocast - See. Here. Explore.

For those who want to learn more about the sculptures in the National Outdoor Sculpture Competition and Exhibition from the artists themselves, download a mobile audio guide on the free app, OtoCast. Users can select “North Charleston, SC” from the list of active tours to begin a self-guided audio tour through Riverfront Park. The app is available in the Apple App Store and Google Play.

About the Juror

The juror for the 2022/2023 competition and exhibition is Dr. Julie Sasse, Chief Curator at the Tucson Museum of Art (TMA) where she has served since 2000. She has organized more than 100 group and solo exhibitions and has written more than 40 publications about diverse subjects and artists including hybridity, the environment, Indigenous art, Latinx art, and women artists. In 2020, she released Southwest Rising: Contemporary Art and the Legacy of Elaine Horwitch, published by Cattle Track Press and TMA. Sasse received a Clark Art Institute fellowship (2008); a Latino Museum Studies Fellowship in Washington, DC (2007); a Louise Foucar Marshall Foundation Graduate Fellowship (2013); and fellowships in 2016 and 2017 at the Women’s International Study Center in Santa Fe. She recently authored an essay for Daddy-O’s Book of Big-Ass Art, published by Texas A & M University and the feature essay for a recently published monograph on New Mexico artist Patrick Mehaffy, published by Fresco Books.

Juror’s Statement

A Sense of Place and Relevance
Curatorial Statement for the National Outdoor Sculpture Competition,
North Charleston Arts Fest 2022
by Julie Sasse, PhD

The National Outdoor Sculpture Competition is situated in a public space that invites viewers from every walk of life and visitors from around the world. Each viewer brings with them a set of expectations, perceptions, and notions of what outdoor sculpture should be. In today’s world, art is increasingly expected to be relevant to today’s issues, struggles, and stylistic movements. For public art, however, there is an additional expectation that it will “hold” the space in an immense open-air setting such as Riverfront Park. Art cannot afford to be simply beautiful or simply reactionary—it must touch us in deep and profound ways—whether to bring us joy, encourage us to reflect upon the human condition, or to make us contemplate our rapidly changing environment.

I selected works with those observations in mind, while also acknowledging that diversity is increasingly important to us all, whether we are directly involved in the arts or participating as a supporter/viewer. Admittedly, I have never visited North Charleston’s River Park, but viewing this setting and the artworks that grace it, along with seeing the quality of sculptors who have entered this competition and exhibition, I am excited to visit some day to learn more about this special place. I wish I could give awards to each of the artists who I selected for the 2022 season, because they challenged our perceptions of public art with their artistic statements and use of materials. To make a final decision, I had to acknowledge that “commanding the space” in which the works occupy is as important as the statements being made. I selected the works that I would like to see from multiple angles and distances, all the while engaged in the themes, issues, and artistic approaches offered by the artists.

Hanna Jubran’s Doppler Effect is an elegant tribute to nature and science. In fabricated and laser-cut steel, Jubran has created a sail-like form and a spiraling cage in bright red that is alive with words and symbols that speak of the forces of nature. The words “evolution,” “atom,” and “spiral” remind us of structures in nature as do the two orbs that appear like the sun and the earth—wrapped in a dance of planetary cycles and interdependence. Brilliant, bold, and stoic, his sculpture stands as a reminder of our systems and our efforts to control and understand them. Best in Show

Adam Wall’s War Stories is another fine work that is both playful and thought-provoking. The slick surface of the work, embellished with lively patterning in cartoon-like biomorphic forms, is made more dynamic by exuberant colors of orange and blue on a white ground. Upon further inspection, those patterns are a kind of impotent camouflage—it could hardly disguise itself in its beautiful natural setting, set against majestic trees dripping with Spanish moss. The larger form appears like a mother or parent figure to a smaller version of this toy-like tank. They face each other in what could be seen as a nurturing exchange, but one could also read it as the dominant tank in a face-off with a much smaller version of itself—like a David and Goliath scenario. In our troubled times, especially the stand-off between the Ukraine and Russia, this piece sparks multiple interpretations all the while entertaining the viewer with its comical presentation. Outstanding Merit

Doug McAbee’s playful sculpture entitled Albert is meticulously crafted and joyous in its celebration of nature. The rich blue color of the piece echoes the freighter in the distance and the bright blue of the sky. And the crescent moon piercing the clouds and the bird references are uplifting and create their own special narrative about the world, reminiscent of the lively sculptures of Spanish artist Joan Miró. Honorable Mention.

Scorpionis Grande by John Parker is powerful and grand in scale, full of energy, multiple perspectives, and visual delights while anchored in abstract references to a menacing scorpion. This bright yellow sculpture is welcoming in its placement in a wide-open area which captures the sun and casts shadows on the ground. Its multi-faceted planes and bolted flat sheet metal material also enhance contrasts of light and shadow and emphasize its volume and presence in the space. Honorable Mention.

Appearing to be dashing away from its manicured setting of shrubs and palm trees, Richard Herzog’s Moving On is both playful and though-provoking. On the one hand, the rusted steel trunk leaning forward appears like a body, anthropomorphized into a living being, its roots like appendages that seem to carry it away, out of public view. But it also recalls the devastation that hurricanes and storms create in coastal areas. Moving on implies not only the loss of vegetation, trees, and houses from such storms and how we must physically move on from such disasters, but also that we must move on from our denial that climate change is real. Honorable Mention.

Submit Your Work

Sculptors from across the nation were invited to submit an application for participation in the 16th Annual National Outdoor Sculpture Competition & Exhibition. Up to 14 sculptures are selected for the exhibit and compete for cash prizes totaling up to $19,750. The application period for 2022/23 is NOW CLOSED (deadline: February 25, 2022). Call the North Charleston Cultural Arts Department at 843-740-5854 for more information, or to be added to the application mailing list.

2022/23 Competition & Exhibition Works