Supper Table Spotlight: Flavia Lovatelli and Jocelyn Sanders

We’re featuring the artists from the Supper Table project throughout the summer. This is the 21st in our series on Supper Table Artists!

Flavia Lovatelli

Flavia Lovatelli

It’d be nearly impossible to give a complete list of adjectives describing Supper Table honoree Mary McLeod Bethune. In her lifetime, Bethune was an educator, activist, businesswoman, and political advisor. She was friends to the Roosevelts and referred to by FDR as “The First Lady of the Struggle” for her tireless advocacy for black communities in America. Is it possible to contain all that is Bethune into a single place-setting? A single theatrical performance? Even if not, with incredible artists like these, we’ve come as close as possible.

Flavia Lovatelli is a local artist who created our Supper Table place-setting for Bethune. Passionate about collecting what society typically views as the “throwaways,” she is an artist who creates innovative, imaginative artwork using recycled goods. Originally from Northern Italy, she moved to the states in 1979, where she founded the Art Ecology Group, a movement of sustainable artists. She was one of four artists chosen to represent Sustainable Charlotte during the Democratic National Convention in 2012, and her work has won several awards including the CharlotteArtPop.

As a paper artist, Lovatelli used recycled magazine paper and textbooks for her place-setting, the textbook pages specifically representing Bethune’s passion for education, the foundation of her activism. The color red is prominent within the piece and “represents the strife, anger, passion and fight the African American community have suffered in History which fueled Mary’s causes” while the gold represents Bethune’s work in the political spectrum.

Overall, Lovatelli hopes that from her place-setting, people see the “incredible life, full of achievements and strides Mary McLeod Bethune had.”

Supper Table Flavia final.jpeg

Tasked with using her body and voice to present the life of Bethune is native Columbian, Jocelyn Sanders. Sanders has been actively engaged in theatre ever since graduating from college. She was employed for several years at Trustus Theatre as Box Office Manager. While working with Trustus, she was also one of the original founding instructors of the African American Acting Workshop, which was later renamed the Multi-Ethnic Acting Workshop. She left Trustus and went on to teach; her last teaching position was with Eau Claire High School where she instructed teachers in integrating the arts into their curriculum.

Sanders is a director and an actor, having worked in numerous productions in the city. Some of her most memorable productions she’s directed are Crowns and A Wedding Band, with Trustus Theatre, and A Lesson Before Dying and The Color Purple, with Workshop Theatre.

Jocelyn Sanders

Jocelyn Sanders

Sanders has reflected on how different the times were when Bethune was an activist versus today, and believes that if Bethune were alive now, she would look around and still see a whole lot of work to be done. In her performance, she hopes to show the empowering nature of Bethune when she was alive as well as use it as a challenge to pick up our own crosses today and continue the work she once started.

Lovatelli’s complete place-setting and Sanders’ performance will be available for viewing at both opening events for the Supper Table. Our opening night event is Friday, September 6th, at Trustus Theatre (almost gone!), and tickets start at $50. Our second opening event is Sunday, September 8th, at Harbison Theatre, and tickets start at $15.

 -Christina Xan

The Supper Table is made possible by a generous grant from

Central Carolina Community Foundation


Supper Table Spotlight: Qiana Whitted and Annette Dees Grevious

We’re featuring the artists from the Supper Table project throughout the summer. This is the 20th in our series on Supper Table Artists

Qiana Whitted - photo Michael Danzler

Qiana Whitted - photo Michael Danzler

Known by Martin Luther King Jr. as “The Mother of the Movement,” Septima Clark was an educator and civil rights activist who spent her life fighting for literacy and equality for black Americans. Two Supper Table artists had the task of speaking life into Clark’s story, one through written word and the other through spoken.

Qiana Whitted is the literary artist who wrote a non-fiction literary essay about Septima Clark’s life. Whitted is the Director of the African American Studies Program at the University of South Carolina. Her research focuses on African-American literary and cultural studies, American comics, and graphic novels. Her recent book, EC Comics: Race, Shock, and Social Protest, explores representations of race and racism. She is also the author of “A God of Justice?”: The Problem of Evil in Twentieth-Century Black Literature and co-editor of Comics and the U.S. South. Additionally, Whitted is editor of Inks: The Journal of the Comics Studies Society and chair of the International Comic Arts Forum. She is the mother of two children, Naima and Alex.

The following is an excerpt from her essay:

Clark began her career during World War I on Johns Island at a school with over 130 students. Miss Seppie, as the Gullah folk called her, would go on to teach across the Carolinas, from rural classrooms in Mars Hill and McClellanville to Avery Normal Institute in Charleston and Booker T. Washington School in Columbia. After school hours and on weekends, Clark turned her attention to the needs of her students’ parents and grandparents. She helped local residents to write letters and speeches, fill out applications and mail-order forms, and organize sewing circles, immunization drives, and handwriting clinics. While her own training at Avery emphasized a pedagogy that embraced racial uplift ideology and respectability as core values, those early years as a teacher challenged her assumptions about the realities of social and economic inequality and demanded from her a different kind of resourcefulness. Clark gained a profound appreciation for adult literacy training, deploying what historian Katherine Mellen Charron calls “educational camouflage” to transform classroom basics into acts of recognition and resistance against white supremacy. Clark’s experience on Johns Island sowed the seeds for the Citizenship Schools, a grassroots educational initiative in the South that combined practical literacy with voter registration, civics instruction, and community action.

It was Clark’s advocacy on behalf of students and teachers that transformed her into a freedom fighter. Her first steps included taking part in the NAACP campaign to allow black teachers to be hired in Charleston’s public schools. Canvassing door to door with fellow teachers, and even a few sixth-graders, Clark tirelessly gathered signatures for the successful petition. She was inspired by black women activist educators such as Mary McLeod Bethune to expand her reach within teachers’ associations and women’s clubs during the 1930s. She helped to integrate the central board of Charleston’s YWCA and made a point to forge relationships with white-led civic organizations that focused on school reform and health promotion. When it came to education for citizenship, Clark was concerned by the way many Progressive era initiatives encouraged students to exercise their rights without disrupting the status quo of segregation. Therefore, when given the opportunity to develop her own curriculum, Clark modeled her endeavors after local education reformers such as Wil Lou Gray and Booker T. Washington’s principal, C.A. Johnson. She listened closely to the needs of black adult learners, respected their experiential knowledge, and nurtured their aspirations, whether they required help reading the newspaper or understanding election laws.

Annette Dees Grevious

Annette Dees Grevious

Embodying these words in the Supper Table theatrical performance is Annette Dees Grevious. Grevious is an Associate of Professor of Speech and Drama at Claflin University, where she has served as Theatre Program Coordinator and Director of the Theatre Ensemble for 17 years. She received an MFA in Theatre Performance from the University of Louisville and a BA in Theatre from Brenau University. Grevious has been performing professionally for more than two decades. She has performed with and on the following South Carolina theatre companies and stages: Trustus Theatre, Art Forms and Theatre Concepts, Inc., and Motion FilmWorks.

Septima Clark is a name full of such power yet a name so little known. In her performance, Grevious hopes to not only represent the struggles and success of Clark’s life but tell her story in a way that will ensure no one forgets her name again.

To read the rest of Whitted’s essay, located in our book Setting the Supper Table, and to see Grevious’ performance of Septima Clark, come to one of our opening events on either September 6th at Trustus (almost gone!) or September 8th at Harbison.


 -Christina Xan


Supper Table Spotlight: Christina Xan, assistant project director - by Cindi Boiter

We’re featuring the artists from the Supper Table project throughout the summer. This is the 19th in our series on Supper Table Artists

Christina reading her own poetry at Girls Block 2019

Christina reading her own poetry at Girls Block 2019

Christina Xan came to the Jasper Project by way of playwright and academician Jon Tuttle who, though he directs the honors program at Francis Marion University and lives in Florence, is a founding member of the Soda Citizen Auxiliary (no, there is no such thing as this). Jon introduced Christina to me when she first came to grad school at USC. The next year, Christina approached me about serving as an intern with Jasper and we were delighted to bring her and all her talents on board.

To say Christina fit right in would be an understatement. To say she pitched right in would be even more of an understatement.

In the year Christina has been involved in the Jasper Project she has risen to every challenge presented to her. An avid blogger, Christina has shared her writing, photographic, graphic design, administrative, editorial, and immense personable skills with Jasper and our friends with generosity and enthusiasm.

When it came time to invite writers to join the Supper Table project as essayists, there was no question in my mind that the young artist should be included. In addition to writing about Eartha Kit, Christina also stepped in when we needed someone to take over writing about Mary McLeod Bethune.

But Christina’s most profound impact on the project has been in her role as assistant project director — in other words, assistant to me. So I know of what I speak. I jokingly say that when Christina came on board (and she actually is on the board of directors for the Jasper Project now) it was like I grew another arm. But that doesn’t really cover it. Having Christina’s assistance has been great, but it has been the gifts she has offered via her insights, contributions, attitude, and enthusiasm that have made the difference in this project. Every time I felt like I was drowning Christina would be there to tap me on the head and remind me the water wasn’t really that deep. Every time she would meet a new artist on the team she suddenly had a new best friend. Her kindness and selflessness have magnified the element of love and mutual appreciation that has so characterized this project tenfold. Working with Christina has been an absolute joy.

Christina and author Dorothy Allison -Deckle Edge 2019

Christina and author Dorothy Allison -Deckle Edge 2019

Christina Xan is a poet, playwright, photographer, and adjunct professor of English. She graduated with an MA from the University of South Carolina, where she is now pursuing her doctorate. Her work has been published by Snow Island Review and Z House Publishing, and her play Glass was turned into a short film that toured SC festivals in 2017. Her art is influenced by her life, as each story contains a different element of herself, and she is inspired by the concepts and questions people usually hide away from.

Christina with FMU mentor Jon Tuttle

Christina with FMU mentor Jon Tuttle

-Cindi Boiter

Supper Table Spotlight: Tonya Gregg and Bonita Peeples by Christina Xan

We’re featuring the artists from the Supper Table project throughout the summer. This is the 18th in our series on Supper Table Artists

Visual Artist Tonya Gregg

Visual Artist Tonya Gregg

Alice Childress – playwright, novelist, actress. Born in Charleston, Childress dedicated her life to telling the stories of black Americans, specifically portraying the have-nots of society. Her reach was so vast, author Mary Helen Washington refers to her as “the only African-American woman to have written, produced, and published plays for four decades.”

Tasked with creating the place-setting for Childress is Tonya Gregg. Gregg is a painter who studied at the Maryland Institute College of Art where she became the first full-time art student to be featured in New American Paintings. Her paintings navigate different narratives relating to popular culture, class, consumption, colorism, ancient mythology, and interwoven topics related to black girls and women. She has had solo exhibitions in multiple places locally and has exhibited in several different countries throughout the world.

Gregg explored Childress’ work and specifically found inspiration from her play The Wedding Band, a story of an interracial relationship. This is exactly what Gregg wanted to contemporize in her place setting. She used acrylic paint to create a pop-art effect on both a ceramic plate and mug. Specifically, the artist says her place-setting “is intended to invite people to the Supper Table and provide conversation, comfort or healing within this theme.”

Supper Table Alice Childress by Tonya Gregg.jpeg

An artist putting Childress into conversation with her own body is Bonita Peeples, a theatre artist who is portraying Childress in the Supper Table theatrical performance. Peeples’ acting debut was performing a monologue of one of the greatest women in history, Madame C.J. Walker. She is a wife, a mother, and a working actor. She is a member of Kaufmann Forensic Actors, the NiA Theatre Company, and serves on the board of the Columbia Children’s Theatre.

Bonita Peeples

Bonita Peeples

Peeples recently reflected on how wonderfully human Childress was. When she would cast her plays, for example, if she had to choose between two friends auditioning for a role, she would be so fearful of hurting a relationship, she would scrap the entire project. While this could be seen as a weakness, Peeples believes it is actually a strength – proof that Childress’ love for others trumped all, a lesson that still can be learned today.

Gregg’s completed place-setting and Peeples’ performance will be available for viewing at both opening events for the Supper Table. Our opening night event is Friday, September 6th, at Trustus Theatre (going fast!), and tickets start at $50. Our second opening event is Sunday, September 8th, at Harbison Theatre, and tickets start at $15.


 -Christina Xan

Supper Table Spotlight: Bohumila Augustinova and Jocelyn Walters-Brannon

We’re featuring the artists from the Supper Table project throughout the summer. This is the 17th in our series on Supper Table Artists

Bohumila Augustinova - visual artist

Bohumila Augustinova - visual artist

Elizabeth Evelyn Wright lived less than 40 years but accomplished more in that time than most will do in 80. Wright was constantly motivated by the lack of education for her fellow black Americans, and instead of waiting around for a solution, she created one. She opened school after school, and even after those who wanted her to fail burned eight separate schools, she successfully founded what we know today as Voorhees College.


Honoring Wright’s journey with her copper-wire place-setting for the Jasper Project’s the Supper Table is visual artist Bohumila Augustinová. Augustinová was born and raised in Czechoslovakia, now the Czech Republic, but she came to the United States in 1998. She has a degree in fashion design, and after winning Runaway Runway, she quickly became part of the Columbia art scene. In 2015, she took over curating responsibilities at Anastasia and Friends Gallery. Augustinová is the leader of Yarnbombers of Columbia and is the art curator for Motor Supply Company Bistro. She works at the Columbia Art Center where she both makes art and teaches art to others.


Augustinová’s place-setting represents several elements of Wright’s life. For example, Elizabeth Evelyn Wright was biracial; she had a black father and a Cherokee mother, so the artist chose two different colors of wire that she wove together. This wire is woven into a flower, the edges of which are shaped like the flames of the arson fires that destroyed many of Wright’s schools, and the center of which represents her final success – Voorhees.



Supper Table Bohumila.jpg


Portraying Elizabeth Evelyn Wright for the theatrical component of the premiere is Jocelyn Walters-Brannon. Walters-Brannon is a South Carolina native and believer in the power of creative individuals to manifest joy and understanding into the world. She serves as Director of The Palmetto School of Protocol and earned a BA in Journalism and MA in Public Administration from the University of Georgia. Walters-Brannon has served on numerous artistic boards and committees, including Trustus Theatre, Columbia Children’s Theatre, Vibrations Dance Company, and the East African based In Movement. Her favorite stage credits include roles in Rent, Ain’t Misbehavin’, and Caroline, or Change.


Jocelyn Walters-Brannon

Jocelyn Walters-Brannon

Walters-Brannon finds Wright’s untimely demise particularly interesting. Wright was sick for numerous years before dying at the young age of 34. What she did in that time is testament to what people can do when they put actions to thoughts and words, but it also sparks the question, “What would she have done if she only had time?” This question is driving Walters-Brannon as she finalizes her performance of Wright.


To see Augustinová’s place-setting on Wright, Walters-Brannon’s interpretation of her life, and the chance to get a copy of a book or t-shirt, come to one of our opening events on either September 6th at Trustus (going fast!) or September 8th at Harbison.

-By Christina Xan

Supper Table Spotlight: Writer Kristine Hartvigsen and Actor LaTrell Brennan


We’re featuring the artists from the Supper Table project throughout the summer. This is the 16th in our series on Supper Table Artists

Literary Artist Kristine Hartvigsen

Literary Artist Kristine Hartvigsen

Althea Gibson is mostly remembered as a tennis player, and for good reason. She was the first black athlete to break racial barriers of international tennis, specifically when she became the first black American to win a Grand Slam title. Beyond this, though, Gibson was a golfer, a singer, and a woman, a human. She was a black woman trying to be a human being that had access to the same rights and activities as everyone around her, not through activism but through existing and doing her work.


The literary artist who captured Gibson’s life for the Supper Table is Kristine Hartvigsen. Former assistant editor of Jasper Magazine as well as a number of publications in the SC Midlands, Hartvigsen is an author who finds beauty in the human condition, using words to express raw stories of love, loss, hurt, anger, lust, envy and more. She currently holds a position at Piedmont Technical College as a public information specialist, but she has done much journalistic work throughout her years. Hartvigsen has had her literary work published in multiple outlets, including State of the Heart, Fall Lines, and more. She authored To the Wren Nesting, a poetry chapbook published by Muddy Ford Press, and she was twice a finalist at the SC Poetry Initiative. She is currently working on her next book, The Soul Mate Poem.


The following is an excerpt of Hartvigsen’s essay on Gibson written for the upcoming book, Setting the Supper Table, which will be launched on Friday night, September 6th at the Supper Table premiere event at Trustus Theatre:


Singles success at Wimbledon in 1956, however, was not meant to be for Althea. She had unwittingly exhausted herself in the tournaments played on the way to the All England Club. U.S. government officials were pleased overall with Althea’s world tour. She had conducted herself according to traditional conventions and represented her country well. She was more consistent and less nervous. Most importantly, she had done nothing to harm America’s equal rights image around the world. The U.S. Supreme Court had just declared bus segregation unconstitutional, so the country was on a race-relations roll.


Fast forward to 1957, arguably the pinnacle year in Althea’s tennis career. She was absolutely focused on Wimbledon above all other tournaments. She wouldn’t make the same mistake twice and made sure to be well trained and well rested before crossing the pond. Before it was all over, Althea was poised in Centre Court facing Darlene Hard in the final. This was the moment. In near triple-digit heat, it took Althea only 50 minutes to overwhelm Hard in two sets and win the singles crown. It seemed almost surreal as officials from the All England Club unfurled the red carpet at courtside, and Queen Elizabeth, who had witnessed it all, approached.


As cameras clicked rapid-fire, Althea executed her perfectly practiced curtsey, and Queen Elizabeth shook her hand before presenting the iconic Venus Rosewater platter. She was the first black Wimbledon champion in the tournament’s history. That evening at the time-honored Wimbledon ball, Althea delivered her acceptance speech, saying: “In the words of your own distinguished Mr. Churchill, this is my finest hour. This is the hour I will remember always as the crowning conclusion to a long a wonderful journey.” At the insistence of guests at the ball, Althea sang “If I Loved You” and “Around the World.” It was like a true-life fairy tale.


Taking this power and putting into a physical performance is LaTrell Brennan. Brennan is a professional stage, film, and voice over actor with over ten years of experience. She is a Trustus Theatre company member and has been seen in productions such as Silence! The Musical (Ardelia), Fun Home (Joan), Barbecue (Marie), and In the Red and Brown Water (Shun). Some of her film credits include Crosswalk, which won the 2013 Second Act Film Festival Audience Award, and Foundation, which won the 2012 University of South Carolina Campus MovieFest Best Drama Silver Tripod Award. For the latter film, she also won the Best Actress Silver Tripod Award and was a Best Actress Golden Tripod finalist at the 2012 Hollywood Campus MovieFest.


LaTrell Brennan

LaTrell Brennan

Theatre artist LaTrell Brennan has been looking back on the life of Althea Gibson and at the nature of her existence to prepare for her role as Gibson in the upcoming performance of Gathering at the Table, the performative aspect of the Supper Table premiere to be held first at Trustus and then at Harbison Theatre on September 6th and 8th respectively. Gibson never wanted to be an activist; she just wanted to play tennis. She wanted to work at what she loved, wanted to be good at it, for what she could do, not for the color of her skin. Yet, everyone expected Althea to be an activist, to use her experiences of racial discrimination to fight back against a country that only wanted her when she was their winner. However, Althea Gibson chose to use her body to fight her own battles instead of her voice to fight others. Whether this is a weakness or a strength or a culmination of both, this is what Brennan hopes to highlight in her performance.


To read the rest of Hartvigsen’s essay, located in our book Setting the Supper Table, and to see Brennan’s performance of Althea Gibson, come to one of our opening events on either September 6th at Trustus (going fast!) or September 8th at Harbison.

Supper Table Spotlight: Lori Isom and Faye Riley

We’re featuring the artists from the Supper Table project throughout the summer. This is the 15th in our series on Supper Table Artists

Septima Clark. A name that should not only be known but revered in the minds of all those living in our country, especially in South Carolina. However, not nearly enough know her name. A 20th century educator and civil rights activist, Clark spent her near 90 years fighting for literacy and equality for black Americans. She developed literacy and citizenship workshops, which she called “Citizenship Schools” in order to educate black individuals on how to not just vote but to fight for their right to vote, to fight for their voice. Her relentless and passionate activism during the height of the Civil Rights Movement led her to be known by Martin Luther King, Jr. as "The Mother of the Movement".


Fortunately, two of our artists have dedicated and are dedicating their visual arts to ensure the name of Septima Clark is quick to all our tongues. Our place-setting artist for this task is Lori Isom. Isom has experienced a varied career as an artist, dedicating years to professional dancing, singing and acting. A figurative and portrait artist for over 20 years, she has been commissioned to do hundreds of individual & family portraits. Her work has been featured in a plethora of places including American Art Collector. She recently completed a one-year artist residency for the City of North Charleston, during which she had the privilege to work on several community-focused projects.

Lori Isom

Lori Isom

For her place-setting, Isom used a round baking sheet that she discovered at a local thrift store to represent her own love of baking in the project. Isom recalls that, in creating the piece, she “felt that although [Clark] was certainly a brave, dynamic trailblazer with incredible fortitude, she also seemed to be simple and understated.” Therefore, the artist chose a style for her plate that represented this simplicity. The plate features a portrait of Clark against a red, white, and blue background to represent her fight for voting rights. Colors of red, black, and green are also present to pay homage to her African roots. Quotes from Clark decorate the border of the plate.


supper table isom.png

Complementing the style of this place-setting, is a film by artist Faye Riley. Riley has a PhD in Theatre and Film from the University of Kansas and is a teacher, writer, and filmmaker based in Columbia. She has created ten short films and has taught scriptwriting for ten years. Her influences include Agnes Varda, Georgia O’Keefe, Ed Small, and her parents. She is consistently creating and working on new projects and has a feature film in New York in addition to this project.

Faye Riley

Faye Riley

For her film, Riley has selected a handful of archival materials on Clark. She has combined footage, photographs, and quotes masterfully with different soundscapes to represent, in 90 seconds or less, 90 years of passion and love. The aesthetic simplicity of utilizing these found images and recordings of Clark is able to do exactly what needs to be done – tell us who Clark is while proving she was, and still is in spirit, a force to be reckoned with.


Isom’s place-setting and Riley’s film will be on view at both opening events for the Supper Table. Our opening night event is Friday, September 6th, at Trustus Theatre, and tickets start at $50. Our second opening event is Sunday, September 8th, at Harbison Theatre, and tickets start at $15.

- Christina Xan

The Jasper Project Announces our 2019-2020 Tiny Gallery Season Line-Up by Christina Xan

Chris Lane Sabrina White Michael Krajewski

Mary Ann Haven Eileen Blyth

Bohumila Augustinova Vanessa Hewitt Devore

Mary Mac Cuellar Justice Littlejohn

Last year, Jasper launched its Tiny Gallery series. At the time, we didn’t know where this series would go, but it started with a hope that it would at least promote the art appreciation and accessibility and put some funds in the pockets of some of our beloved local visual artists.

The goal of Tiny Gallery is to provide accessible art from phenomenal local artists at a price most point folks can afford. We want people to see fine art and be able to take it home without breaking the bank. The art world in Columbia is vast and colorful, full of artists of different mediums and talents. Unfortunately, for many working people in our community, many of whom are students, artists themselves, or young adults just starting out, when they come across large, expensive pieces, they may fall in love with them, but they can’t bring them home.


At Tiny Gallery, we find a balance between ensuring artists are selling works worth their time, effort, and artistry with prices feasible to the average consumer. We also provide this in an intimate setting, where patrons can see the art and comfortably mingle with others including the artists themselves.


Our first year was a wonderful success, featuring artists such as Thomas Washington, Olga Yukhno, Kathryn Van Aernum, Will South, and Sara Cogswell. Now, we’re back for our new season. Our Tiny Gallery seasons run from August to June with breaks in January and July. We feature new artists every month, with shows on First Thursdays in our studio #7 at Tapp’s Art Center. The pieces the artists show cannot be larger than 15x15” or more expensive than $250, and they are encouraged to be smaller and less expensive.


Now, I’m so excited to share with you all our 2019-2020 season and the phenomenal 9 artists showing in the coming months, the first of which is this very evening.


Chris Lane

Chris Lane

This month, for August, we’re kicking off the season with local painter Christopher Lane. Born in Minnesota in 1968, Lane spent his formative years inspired by regional artists Thomas Hart Benton, Andy Warhol, Georgia O’Keeffe, and Roy Lichtenstein. He has traveled all over the globe and he eventually settled down in South Carolina. Here, he continues to use fantastic imagery to turn his life experiences into visual stories that primarily focus on people and their relationships with one another. They often offer historical, political, or spiritual narratives — subjects Lane is passionate about.


Lane is also our only extended artist of the season—in September, we’re offering you Christopher Lane Extended. Here you will have a second chance to see work you may have missed out on the first time around and even see new pieces. Lane is also doing additional gallery events throughout the months of August and September that we will be announcing on social media soon.

Michael Krajewski

Michael Krajewski

In October we have a special creepy show planned with artist Michael Krajewski, who is doing a Halloween themed show titled “Michael’s Monsters & Maniacs”. Krajewski is a self-taught artist who has shown in numerous galleries, collaborated on large commissioned pieces for museums, painted live at art events and been the subject of magazine and newspaper profiles. (Krajewski was Jasper Magazine’s first ever centerfold artist in 2011!) His style has been called neo-expressionist and compared to Jean-Michel Basquiat's, though Krajewski says he is less interested in defining, more interested in producing. He’s had solo shows at the HoFP Gallery, Frame of Mind and Anastasia & Friends in Columbia, SC, and participated in a two-person show at the Waterfront Gallery in Charleston and in a group show at 701 Whaley

Mary Ann Haven

Mary Ann Haven

In November we have Mary Ann Haven’s paintings. Haven works in acrylic paint, mixed media, collage, and photography. She has been an Open Studios artist with the 701 Center for Contemporary Art's annual studio crawl since 2011. In today’s hectic world, Haven says, the ability to find quiet can be a challenge. As an artist moving color across a canvas, she must be fully present listening to where her intuition guides her. She finds this is grounding, exhilarating, and peaceful at the same time. This art practice keeps her ever the explorer of the unknown and grateful for the opportunity.

Eileen Blyth

Eileen Blyth

In December, we have a show just in time for the holiday season with artist Eileen Blyth, who will be offering art pieces perfect to give as gifts. Blyth is a Columbia artist known for her paintings and sculpture. Originally from Charleston, Eileen has always thought of herself as a painter. She earned her Bachelor of Arts from the College of Charleston and studied graphic design at UofSC. She is inspired by the moment of creation when there is a sudden shift into a space of knowing and composition falls into place. Eileen’s studio is located at Stormwater Studios, and her work is represented by Carol Saunders Gallery in Columbia, Camilla Art Gallery in Hilton Head, and Art & Light Gallery in Greenville

Bohumila Augustinova

Bohumila Augustinova

We will take a break in January to celebrate the JAYS, but our February show will feature wire artist and ceramicist, Bohumila Augustinová. Augustinová was born and raised in communist Czechoslovakia, now Czech Republic. She has a degree in fashion design. She was always an artist. Bohumila came to the United States in 1998. After winning Runaway Runway, she quickly became part of the Columbia Art scene. In 2015, she took over Anastasia & Friends Gallery. Bohumila is a leader of Yarnbombers of Columbia and is the Curator of Art for Motor Supply Company. She works at the Columbia Art Center where she not only makes art, but also teaches art to others.

Vanessa Hewitt Devore

Vanessa Hewitt Devore

In March we are hosting potter Vanessa Hewitt Devore. All of Devore’s life she has enjoyed nature; in fact, some of her earliest memories are of her grandmother’s backyard.  Every day, she would help her plant and tend her flowers and she would point out to Devore all the different birds and animals that would visit her garden.  The memory of those times fills her with a sense of joy that she tries to convey in her artwork. Devore is not the only artist in her family; in fact, she is a fourth-generation artist.  Her great grandmother painted, her grandmother both made pottery and painted, her father is glass artist, Steve Hewitt and her my mother is the renowned artist and educator Mana Hewitt.. The wheel Devore uses every day belonged to her grandmother.

Sabrina White

Sabrina White

In April we are featuring fine artist Sabrina White. White incorporates a wide variety of mediums into her mixed media work and creates everything from drawings to paintings to sculptures to fiber art and textiles. Born in Charleston, SC, White holds a BA in Studio Art and a M.Ed. from Columbia College. She is an instructor who teaches classes and workshops throughout North and South Carolina. Most of her small format work focuses on one of the following three subjects: eyes, portraits, and animals.

Justice Littlejohn

Justice Littlejohn

In May we have painter Justice Littlejohn. Littlejohn is an abstract painter and educator. He was born and raised in Columbia and received his BA in Art History from Wofford and his MA in Art Education from UofSC. He has previously taught at the SC Governor’s School of the Arts and Glenforest School in Columbia. He is a father and professional exhibiting artist who has shown works in the city before at galleries such as Anastasia & Friends

Mary Mac Cuellar

Mary Mac Cuellar

Finally, in June, 2020, we close out our 2nd Tiny Gallery season with painter Mary Mac Cuellar. Cuellar is a mixed media artist who resides in Columbia, SC. She recently showed her work at Kinetic Derby Day.


More about these artists, their work, and their shows will be posted on our social media as their events draw closer, but be sure to go ahead and mark your calendars for First Thursdays at Tapp’s now.


When Tiny Gallery started, I was just an intern, in my first month of working with Jasper. Our first show was Keith Tolen, who I interviewed about the show, and then I helped run the event. From the moment I met Keith to witnessing the interactions between artists, patrons, and Jasper members, I knew Tiny Gallery was special. I’ve grown closer and closer to it over the months, and now, I’m the Host of the series. 


For me, as both a graduate student and an artist, I’ve always wanted to bring the art I saw in galleries home, but often, I couldn’t. Now, I never leave a Tiny Gallery empty handed. It fills me with happiness and pride to not only bring home the work of artists so dear to me but to know I am part of creating that opportunity for others as well.


I am absolutely floored by the round up of artists we’ve been able to put together for you all this season. Each of them is bringing their completely unique perspectives to the table, and my heart swells knowing you will be able to witness their magnificence. There isn’t one of these you’ll want to miss.


Be sure to follow The Jasper Project on Facebook and Instagram for more updates on our Tiny Gallery series and more details about our upcoming show, and stop by Tapp’s Art Center tonight between 6 and 9 pm to see Christopher Lane’s fabulous work.


 — Christina Xan

Supper Table Spotlight: Lee Ann Kornegay and Jordan Mullen Honor Eartha Kitt and Mary McLeod Bethune

We’re featuring the artists from the Supper Table project throughout the summer. This is the 11th in our series on Supper Table Artists

Filmmaker Lee Ann Kornegay

Filmmaker Lee Ann Kornegay

Both Lee Ann Kornegay and Jordan Mullen have special roles in the Supper Table as they are 2 of 12 filmmakers who are making 60-90 second short films on one of the 12 honored women at the table. Both artists have and continue to offer their skills to the project in additional ways.

Kornegay is our official project filmmaker and, as such, she has attended almost every project meeting and event to record the activity associated with the creation of the Supper Table. Kornegay has gone to the artists’ homes to record them while they created their place-settings, and will create a feature length film on the Supper Table demonstrating the process behind the project from inception to realization.

Mullen is our Kickstarter filmmaker. The main video on our Kickstarter was designed, filmed, and edited by Mullen, who continues to help us film and photograph additional Supper Table events.

Filmmaker Jorden Mullen

Filmmaker Jorden Mullen

Jordan Mullen is a recent Media Arts graduate from the University of South Carolina and has an Art Degree from White Knoll High School. She is known around the city for her remarkable work with animation having won Best in Show for her experimental film, “There’s A Monster In My House”.  

Mullen is using her unique animation style to create a film honoring Mary McLeod Bethune. Bethune was an American educator and civil rights activist best known for developing Bethune-Cookman University and co-founding UNCF. She was a national adviser to president Franklin D. Roosevelt who referred to her as "The First Lady of The Struggle" because of her fight for the African American community.


Lee Ann Kornegay also graduated from the University of South Carolina with a media arts degree and started working immediately as Broadcast Production Manager for Chernoff/Silver and Associates. In 2000, she took a chance and left this successful career to create L.A. Kornegay, Media Productions, pursuing a life-long goal to direct, shoot, and edit documentaries. Kornegay has won numerous national and local awards including Best Documentary at the Colossal Film Crawl for her film Boloba. This film, as well as many of Kornegay’s other documentaries, have aired on SCETV. Since 2008, she has served as Marketing/Public Relations Director for 701 Whaley.

Kornegay is creating a film on the powerhouse South Carolinian Eartha Kitt. She has recently been conducting research by traveling to Kitt’s hometown (near North, SC) and exploring it for herself. Kitt was a singer, actress, and dancer known for her still loved Christmas song "Santa Baby" and her role as Catwoman in Adam West’s Batman. Kitt was also a social activist who was never afraid to speak her mind and stand up for anyone who she felt was discriminated against, even if it meant taking putting herself in harm’s way.

Kornegay and Mullen’s films will premiere in September, but right now our Kickstarter has a limited opportunity to become a Film Sponsor. As Film Sponsor, you will be listed as the exclusive producer for the film of your choice. For only $300, you get this plus two tickets to our Harbison installation & show as well as a dedication to the SC woman of your choice to be included in the book, Setting the Supper Table..


These premiums are not only going fast – Kitt’s film has been sponsored while Bethune’s film is available – but the Kickstarter has less than 24 hours before it closes out.


To sponsor Mullen’s film on Bethune or one of the other 8 available films, click on the following link no later than noon tomorros (Wednesday, July 31st) Jasperproject/the-supper-table?ref=user_menu

Supper Table 1x.png

Supper table Spotlight: SC Poet Laureate Marjory Wentworth Honors Alice Childress

We’re featuring the artists from the Supper Table project throughout the summer. This is the 10th in our series on Supper Table Artists

marjory wentworth.jpg

I consider myself quite fortunate to have seen Judy Chicago’s Dinner Party installation when my husband and I were living in Scotland, where it was featured in the Edinburgh Festival Fringe during the summer of 1984.  The sheer magnitude of the work was overwhelming, and the enormous dining table which anchored the exhibit served as a powerful visual metaphor.  Many of the women honored there were unfamiliar to me, but they certainly deserved a place at the glorious table!       

So, I was particularly thrilled to participate in the Jasper Project’s The Supper Table Project. Cindi Boiter’s concept of focusing on 12 South Carolina women who devoted their lives to positive change is a brilliant way to pay tribute to the 40th anniversary of Judy Chicago’s Dinner Party. I was even more thrilled to have the opportunity to research and write about Alice Childress – a writer I had always wanted to know more about.  This award-winning writer deserves to be better known and read by a larger audience, and her plays should be seen around the world.  Many of Alice Childress’ plays are rooted in the South Carolina low country, and her characters are working-class African Americans struggling against systemic racism.  These are voices that can teach us so much about the present day. Childress was a ground breaking African American artist, and she should be celebrated and honored for her multitude of achievements. She paved the way for so many others, particularly African American women playwrights and actresses.  I am grateful for the opportunity to shine a spotlight on this extraordinary American icon.             

I love the way The Supper Table Project brings together so many of South Carolina’s working visual artists, writers, filmmakers, and performers.  This community of amazing women deserves the support of everyone in the Palmetto State who supports the arts and the rich culture of our home place. 

—Marjory Wentworth  


MARJORY WENTWORTH is the New York Times bestselling author of Out of Wonder, Poems Celebrating Poets (with Kwame Alexander and Chris Colderley). She is the co-writer of We Are Charleston, Tragedy and Triumph at Mother Emanuel, with Herb Frazier and Dr. Bernard Powers and Taking a Stand, The Evolution of Human Rights, with Juan E. Mendez.  She is co-editor with Kwame Dawes of Seeking, Poetry and Prose inspired by the Art of Jonathan Green, and the author of the prizewinning children’s story Shackles.  Her books of poetry include Noticing Eden, Despite Gravity, The Endless Repetition of an Ordinary Miracle and New and Selected Poems. Her poems have been nominated for The Pushcart Prize six times. She is the current poet laureate of South Carolina. Wentworth is a Senior Fellow at the Global Social Justice Practice Academy.  She teaches courses in writing, social justice and banned books at The College of Charleston.

 Please support the Supper Table in the last few hours of our Kickstarter campaign by visiting

Supper Table 1x.png

Supper Table Spotlight: Claudia Smith Brinson Honors Charleston's Grimke Sisters - Sarah and Angelina

We’re featuring the artists from the Supper Table project throughout the summer. This is the 9th in our series on Supper Table Artists

claudia smith brinson.jpg

The word “honor” comes up so often for me these days as the Supper Table enters its last month of preparation and, in light of the political climate we are living in, it is such a wave of relief, such a respite for the soul, to find myself surrounded by so many honorable women who want to honor others.

Claudia Smith Brinson is a perfect example of the breath-of-fresh-air kind of person I’m talking about. Claudia Smith Brinson was a senior lecturer and program coordinator of the Writing for Print and Digital Media major at Columbia College in Columbia, S.C. She worked as a journalist for 30 years, mostly for Knight Ridder, and was honored with more than three dozen state and regional awards. She was a Pulitzer Prize finalist as a member of the team covering Hurricane Hugo. She also writes short stories and has won an O.Henry. Claudia is at work on a book on the untold stories of civil rights activists in South Carolina.

Claudia was charged with writing a third-person, creative non-fiction essay about the Grimke Sisters—Sarah and Angelina—from Charleston who became abolitionists and human rights activists for most of the 19th century. Claudia writes with painful candor about the world of slavery the sisters bore witness to and their early decision to leave their churches, join with the Quakers in Philadelphia, and eventually, be disappointed with Quakers and organized religion in general.

What must arise in the heart and head that allows you to see all about you are morally and ethically wrong? What does it take to act? And to continue despite condemnation and abuse? What is in you that allows you to think and act hundreds of years ahead of your time? The brilliance of sisters Sarah Moore Grimke and Angelina Emily Grimke force these questions on us, as well as the frustrating realization that we have yet to meet their standards of equality and goodness.

Brinson continues:

The prisons of gender and color were asphyxiating: Only white men could vote. The enslaved were owned but owned nothing, including their own bodies. Enslaved women were vulnerable to rape; any children born to them, no matter whom the father, were born enslaved and could be sold. Free white women lived under the control of their fathers, and, once married, had no legal identity. Free married women were considered one with the husband; any property, inheritance, income, or ensuing children fell the man under the law of coverture. Poor free women might work as cooks, domestics, seamstresses, and assistants to tradesmen and shopkeepers, but income they made belonged to their husbands. During the sisters’ adulthood, fewer than fifteen percent of women worked outside a household. Not only the law but Christianity confined them: Slaveholders used the Bible to justify white male control of sisters, daughters, wives, and the enslaved.

How does a person, then, gain a sense of her own humanity and her right to have rights? How does a woman find her own self and her life’s meaning when selfhood is denied? And how does she then apply that not only to herself but to others in extremis? The Grimke sisters developed young a repugnance and resistance to cruelty and abuse, to repression and denial while all around them people of their race acclimated. The sisters seem, perhaps through their quests for education and a nondiscriminatory religious community, to have fostered their awareness against odds and opposition into an individuality that knew right from wrong – despite the rules of their times, religion, and country – and also into an individuality that fought for what was right – despite the countering messages of gender, society, and law. To say they were geniuses is exclusionary; they eventually found a like-minded community in women such as Lucretia Mott, Lucy Stone, and Elizabeth Cady Stanton. To call them prophets is depressing; much of what they called for has yet to come to pass.

Claudia Smith Brinson’s full essay on the Grimke Sisters will appear in our book, Setting the Supper Table, which launches on Friday, September 6th at Trustus Theatre as part of the premiere of the Supper Table installation, performance, and film premieres, then moves to Harbison theatre at MTC for on Sunday September 8th for a performance and installation. Setting the Supper Table will be available via a limited edition printing for $25, but you can secure your copy now by contributing to the Supper Table Kickstarter campaign — which closes in less than two days—at the $50 and above levels.

Supper Table 1x.png

Supper Table Spotlight: Emmy-Nominated Filmmaker Laura Kissel Honors Modjeska Monteith Simkins

We’re featuring the artists from the Supper Table project throughout the summer. This is the 6th in our series on Supper Table Artists.

Filmmaker Laura Kissel

Filmmaker Laura Kissel

Columbia native Laura Kissel is an Emmy nominated documentary filmmaker. Kissel’s work explores contemporary social, cultural and political landscapes through multiple film genres, specifically the use of orphan films.


Kissel has nearly 20 films to her name including short documentaries Tan Mian Hua and Window Cleaning in Shanghai which both premiered at the Robert Flaherty Film Seminar in 2011 and were included in The Flaherty’s touring festival City Symphonies in 2011-2012. Her most recent feature length documentary, Cotton Road, is about the global supply chain of cotton; the film follows cotton’s life cycle, alongside human labor, as it travels from farms to consumers. The film has won eight festival awards and been translated into four languages.


Named the South Carolina Arts Commission’s Media Arts Fellow for 2007-2008 Kissel has received numerous fellowships and grants for her work, including a Fulbright Award, a MacDowell Fellowship, funding from the South Carolina Humanities Council and the Fledgling Fund. Currently, she is a professor of Media Arts and Film at the University of South Carolina where she also serves as the Director of the School of Visual Art and Design.


We’re honored that Kissel has joined us in our project. For the Supper Table, she is creating a film to honor the pervasively influential Modjeska Monteith Simkins.


Modjeska Simkins was, as the National Park Service refers to her, “the matriarch of the Civil Rights Movement in South Carolina.” She was a leader in African-American public health and social reform across the state, specifically in Columbia. Simkins referred to herself as a human rights activist, and that she was.


Simkins lived a life of power and turmoil. She was the Director of Negro Work for the South Carolina Tuberculosis Association before she was fired for her increased involvement in the NAACP. For this same involvement, unnamed individuals shot at her house in the mid 1900s, despite which Simkins remained unwavering. Any fear she may have had, she did not show, instead allowing it to propel her forward into defending the rights of those who did not have the opportunity to use their voices in the way she used hers. 


Kissel’s film will be unveiled, with 11 others, at the Supper Table’s premiere events at Trustus Theatre this September 6th and Harbison Theatre on the 8th.


On our Kickstarter campaign, at the $300 level, Laura Kissel’s film on Modjeska Simkins is available to sponsor. In sponsoring this, you will become the film’s exclusive producer, plus you will receive tickets to see the films at the Harbison event. 3 of the 12 films are already sponsored, and our Kickstarter only has a week left, so if you want this opportunity, click on the following link to claim it:

 - Christina Xan




Supper Table 1x.png

Supper Table spotlight: Olga Yukhno and Carla Damron Honor Sarah Leverette

We’re featuring the artists from the Supper Table project throughout the summer. This is the 5th in our series on Supper Table Artists.

An overhead view of Olga Yukhno’s place-setting honoring Sarah Leverette

An overhead view of Olga Yukhno’s place-setting honoring Sarah Leverette

Originally from Russia, visual artist Olga Yukhno lives in Columbia, South Carolina, where she is the Gallery Director for the School of Visual Art and Design at the UofSC. After learning and creating in multiple art forms, Yukhno found a home in ceramic sculpting, where she feels that she has no limits.

With ceramics, Yukhno can create anything that she can imagine and even those which she can’t. No two of her completely handmade pieces are identical. Yukhno has used the limitless possibilities of her craft to create a place setting in honor of Sarah Leverette for the Supper Table.

Sarah Leverette was, and is, a powerful inspiration to women in and outside of South Carolina, having spent her life breaking glass ceilings wherever she went, from the Civil Air Patrol to the School of Law at USC.

Yukhno’s place-setting honors all the different aspects of Leverette’s remarkable life. The artist says she wanted to use her piece to “show the parts of her life that were the most significant and impressed her the most personally.” Having been impressed by Leverette’s quotations, she incorporated them all around the border of her place-setting, using small wing symbols with the logo of the Civil Air Patrol.  From there, each layer from bottom to top represents a different period of the subject’s life.

As Yukhno says, the book represents her contribution to the library system of South Carolina, to which she dedicated 15 years of her life. Despite her contributions, school officials at USC would not make her faculty because she was a woman. The next tier of Yukhno’s place setting contains multiple nails, which represent the obstacles Leverette faced to become a full professor.

The very top culminates in a bowl showing a fist having just broken through a glass ceiling. As Yukhno says, “Leverette’s whole life was dedicated to fighting for women’s and civil rights, and the element of this broken glass is repeated throughout the piece to show the relevance of this pursuit throughout her lifetime.”

Finally, the goblet was created with multiple hands supporting it, to “show that in everything she did, she always built other people up.” Leverette was a mentor to many well-known lawyers who themselves brought about significant changes and continued the fight for people’s rights.


Supper Table detail olga - leverette.jpg

Carla Damron is a professional writer (The Stone Necklace, USC Press, 2016) who uses her experience as a social worker throughout her work, as witnessed in her novels Keeping Silent and Spider Blue. Damron has spent over 20 years focusing on her work in mental health, where she connects this to her novels in hopes to fight stigmas surrounding the topic of mental illness. Her very own clients have been her best teachers.

Damron used her background to tackle the task of writing a creative non-fiction essay about the life of Sarah Leverette, a task she was more than ready to tackle and conquer. As Damron says, “[Leverette’s] words, and her spirit, live and breathe in our state’s constitution, its code of laws, and in all the people she touched.”

The following is an excerpt from Damron’s essay on Leverette:

Sarah always wanted to emulate her heroes Lindbergh and Earhart. And now, as a member of the Civil Air Patrol, she was about to take her first flight.

She climbed a ladder to the biplane wing, grabbed hold of the edge of the cockpit, and hauled herself into the copilot’s seat. She grasped the seatbelt and clicked it into place. Snug goggles covered her eyes. Behind her, the pilot started the plane, which gave a little shimmy as it roared to life. Breath entered her lungs in short gasps. She was nervous. Excited. Ready. 

They moved. The plane bumped and rattled up the runway, getting louder and louder as the pilot lifted the throttle. Sarah held to her seat and swayed with the movement. 

Faster. She couldn’t see the speedometer but knew they were approaching eighty-five, full throttle, as the nose of the plane tilted up. As they lifted off, all smoothed.  

She looked above, the sky a vast blue bowl with a few feathers of white. She looked down: Trees became green pencil pricks. A wide, turbulent river was just one of many of Earth’s many arteries. Everything was different here. How wide the world is, she realized, when you are away from the clutter of land.

To read more of Damron’s essay and to see more of Yukhno’s place setting, be sure to reserve your copy of Setting the Supper Table at the $50 sponsorship level or above on the Supper Table’s Kickstarter campaign page at the link below, and join us this September as we unveil the Supper Table for the first time.



Supper Table Spotlight: Eva Moore and Laurie Brownell McIntosh Honor Eliza Lucas Pinckney

We’re featuring the artists from the Supper Table project throughout the summer. This is the 4th in our series on Supper Table Artists.

Paper Mache Bowl with Indigo Ink, hand-dyed indigo napkin, and indigo branch flatware by Laurie Brownell McIntosh

Paper Mache Bowl with Indigo Ink, hand-dyed indigo napkin, and indigo branch flatware by Laurie Brownell McIntosh

Each of the 12 (actually 13 with the Grimke sisters) honored & historical women seated at the Supper Table is being celebrated by four different artists including a visual artist, a literary artist who writes an essay about the subject for the book Setting the Supper Table, a filmmaker who creates a 90 second film, and a theatrical artist who will perform a staged oration during our premiere in September.

Laurie Brownell McIntosh and Eva Moore are, respectively the visual and literary artists honoring Eliza Lucas Pinckney, the colonial entrepreneur who, with the vital assistance of the enslaved individuals who were attached to the Pinckney plantations, cultivated and developed indigo as a cash crop accounting for 1/3 of the total exports from the colony.

About her place-setting McIntosh writes, “I sought guidance on all things indigo from South Carolina, indigo dye artist, Caroline Harper. I attended two workshops with her to learn the growing and dying process used in dying fabrics with traditional indigo. She supplied me with some of her precious South Carolina grown indigo pigment that she and her husband harvest and produce yearly... as well as the seed and roots from the plant.”

McIntosh continues, “All of the blue you see in my piece is made from this dye mixed with different paint mediums. (the exception being the writing on the bowl... that is just dark blue ink... after many tries I realized I could not get the consistency to flow freely enough for handwriting). The yellows in my piece represent the middle phase of the dying process. Once the fabric is submerged into the dye vat of the indigo mixture the fabric surprisingly turns yellow and stays this way until it is pulled from the vat and the oxygen turns it the rich dark blue associated with indigo. The three apothecary bottles in the setting represent this graduated process.”

Supper Table Laurie indigo vials.jpeg

Eva Moore is a Columbia-based writer who cares about food, local government, and outdoor places. The former editor of Columbia’s Free Times newspaper, she now works in state government. In her eloquent look at the controversial Eliza Lucas Pinckney’s contributions, Moore writes, “At Wappoo plantation, where Eliza lived when she first came to South Carolina, her family enslaved 20 people. In later years there would be more. … Eliza Lucas Pinckney lived a remarkable and fortunate life, but did so at the expense of other lives.”

Moore continues, “Indigo is not like other natural dyes. It doesn’t come out of the indigo plant easily; in fact it doesn’t come directly out of the plant at all. After harvesting, the leaves must be pounded and fermented over hours or days to create a chemical reaction. Depending on who you ask, fermenting indigo smells like ammonia, urine, cow poop or wet dog, and the odor is so intense that the fermentation must be done well away from places where people live and eat. Done at a large scale, it can attract flies and other insects.”

“In colonial South Carolina, in the mid-1700s, indigo processing took place during the hot summer and fall,” she writes.

“It’s hard to comprehend the horrors of the process, because lately, indigo dyeing has made its way into the boutique textile category in South Carolina. … Eliza Pinckney almost certainly didn’t pound the indigo leaves or stir the stinking vats. She didn’t till the ground, or weed the fields, or harvest the leaves. That work was done by people enslaved by her family.“

To read more of this fascinating essay and 11 others, be sure to reserve your copy of Setting the Supper Table at the $50 sponsorship level or above on the Supper Table’s Kickstarter campaign page at

We're Setting the Supper Table & You'll Be Able to Feed Your Soul There Soon - A Message from Cindi


The Supper Table – Honored Subjects

Mary McLeod Bethune Alice Childress

Septima Clark Matilda Evans

Althea Gibson Angelina and Sarah Grimke

Eartha Kitt Sarah Leverette

Julia Peterkin Eliza Pinckney

Modjeska Monteith Simkins Elizabeth Evelyn Wright

Laurie Brownell McIntosh’s place-setting inspired by Eliza Lucas Pinckney whose development and cultivation of indigo accounted for 1/3 of colonial SC’s economy prior to the Revolutionary War.

Laurie Brownell McIntosh’s place-setting inspired by Eliza Lucas Pinckney whose development and cultivation of indigo accounted for 1/3 of colonial SC’s economy prior to the Revolutionary War.

It’s all coming together.

More than 10 year ago I started having this dream of using Judy Chicago’s iconic feminist arts installation, The Dinner Party, as a model for an arts project that would honor some of the amazing women from South Carolina history whose work in the arts, sciences, education, business, athletics, and human rights literally — and usually without a lot of fanfare — changed the course of human history. I realized that 2019 would be the 40th anniversary of Chicago’s project and, about 4 years ago, decided to try to make this fantasy a reality using the structure of the Jasper Project to do so. It was terrifying. I appreciate so dearly all the people I spoke to who, when I told them how terrified I was said, “yes, you’re supposed to be” because there are any number of times I might have chickened out had they not.

But with the support and advice of people who are smarter and more experienced than I am, especially my board of directors at the Jasper Project, I jumped in. Central Carolina Community Foundation was kind enough to invest in us with a Connected Communities Grant funding almost two thirds of the project. Friend and arts patron Bill Schmidt stepped up as soon as I told him about the plans and committed to sponsoring not just a place-setting (he chose the Grimke Sisters) but also a third of the table itself. But more importantly, he gave me his faith and he shared the project with others.



So, I was off!

The first thing I needed to do was to gather together the first two groups of artists — the visual and literary artists — as well as to find a woman to build the actual table for the Supper Table. I can’t remember who recommended the amazing Jordan Morris to me but, whoever it was, thank you.

Jordan is the Maker Coordinator at Richland Library and has been a maker most of her life. Grade school consisted of macaroni ornaments and sugar cube igloos, but it wasn’t until she met an inspiring high school teacher that her creative mind was ignited and took flight. That journey continued on through college at the University of South Carolina where she earned a BFA in sculpture. She continued with ceramic work and expanded into woodworking and computer numerical control production. Jordan’s professional journey led her to an art museum, tech startup, and teaching, but nothing felt quite like home until landing at Richland Library as the Maker Coordinator in February 2016.

Jordan rose to the challenge of creating the table for the Supper Table magnificently, integrating a Southern aesthetic into her design all the way down to the wood she chose. I couldn’t be happier with her finished product.

Supper Table Jordan Morris.jpg

On January 20th of this year we brought together the 25 literary and visual artists who would inaugurate the Supper Table project with their work on place-settings and essays honoring the 12 women at the Supper Table. Over the next few weeks we will be posting daily blogs featuring these artists and the gifts they have brought and are bringing to the project.

While the essays and place-settings are complete there is still much work to be done before we premiere the project on September 6th at Trustus Theatre and move the next day to Harbison Theatre at MTC for our first installation.

The film artists are all at work now under the direction of Mahkia Greene, and Vicky Saye Henderson is casting the actors who will portray out 12 honored women in the theatrical productions.

Kathryn Van Aernum has taken all the photos for the book and the poster and is working on those now.

We still need to frame the 12 portraits Kirkland Smith created which will accompany the installation and we are working on our walls to display the 120 tiles created for our Array of Remarkable SC Women by Brenda Oliver, Bohumila Augustinova, and Diane Hare and embellished by local women and girls.

Lee Ann Kornegay is working on a long-form film that won’t even be ready to view until spring 2020.

I’m editing constantly with the help of assistant project director Christina Xan, who will also be sharing some blogs with you.

So, please stay tuned as we roll out as much information and celebration as we can through summer’s end and into the fall.

The Supper Table will be touring in 2020 and we’d love to talk to you about bringing the installation, along with the book, films, portraits, and tiles your way.

But most importantly, we really need your help raising funds to put some change in the pockets of these artists who are honoring these amazing 12 women from SC. You can sponsor a place-setting, a tile, a film, or the portrait collection or you can share this info and link with someone with the resources to do so.

Here’s the link:

Thanks for helping us along.

The plate from Mana Hewitt’s place-setting honoring the legendary Eartha Kitt.

The plate from Mana Hewitt’s place-setting honoring the legendary Eartha Kitt.

Fall Lines Volume VI Announces Winners - Kimberly Driggers and Derek Berry!

Jasper is delighted to announce the winners in this year’s competitive Fall Lines categories.

Congratulations to Kimberly Driggers whose poem, IMAGINE THE SOUND OF WAVES, is the winner of the Saluda River Prize for Poetry and to Derek Berry whose prose piece, SASQUATCH, is the winner of the Broad River Prize for Prose.

Both literary artists will be published in Fall Lines - a literary convergence, Volume VI which launches on Sunday, August 18th from 2 - 3:30 with a reading and awards ceremony at Richland Library. The event if free and open to the public.

Fall Lines is sponsored by the Jasper Project in partnership with Richland Library and One Columbia for Arts and Culture. The two winning authors will each receive a check for $250 sponsored by the Richland Library Friends & Foundation.

Judges for this year’s contests included Judy Goldman (prose) and DeLana Dameron.


Additional authors whose work will appear in the 2019 volume of Fall Lines include:

Teresa Haskew

Ellen Malphrus

Loli Molena Munoz

Libby Bernardin

Len Lawson

Susan Craig

Lawrence Rhu

Worthy Evans

Curtis Derrick

Terri McCord

Al Black

Ruth Nicholson

Heather Dearmon

Randy Spencer

Tim Conroy

Suzanne Kamata

Frances Pearce

Bo Petersen

Jon Tuttle

Kathleen Warthen

Kristine Hartvigsen

Gil Allen

Andrew Clark

Kevin Oliver

Yvette Murray

Ed Madden

Ray McManus

Nathalie Anderson

Fall Lines.png

REVIEW - Heathers at Trustus Theatre by Frank Thompson

Here she is with two small problems

And the best part of the blame

Wishes she could call him heartache

But it's not a boy's name…

-From the song “Appetite” by Prefab Sprout (1985)

Lisa Baker, Brittany Hammock, and Katie Leitner

Lisa Baker, Brittany Hammock, and Katie Leitner

While the music and lyrics for Heathers: The Musical are all original, created for the stage version by Kevin Murphy and Laurence O’Keefe, I couldn’t get the above Prefab Sprout song out of my head when pondering how to address the production from a critical standpoint. For those unfamiliar with the Daniel Waters film upon which the stage adaptation is based, the story centers around Veronica, a seventeen-year-old high school student who develops a darkly romantic relationship with a charismatic nihilist, J.D., whose moral relativism is softened by a genuine concern for the underdog. Coming from a dysfunctional, single-parent home, J.D. is cynical beyond his years, and quite capable of handling himself in just about any situation. Veronica comes from a different world, with an almost-stereotypical loving-but-clueless “Mom and Dad” straight out of central casting.

Veronica’s life isn’t a horror story, but she suffers all the usual travails of a cute-but-nerdy young woman navigating the world of geeks, jocks, outcasts, and the rest of the archetypes that exist in high school to this day. In a funhouse-mirror version of the Pygmalion myth, Veronica finds herself thrust into the world of the uber-cool girls who rule the school’s social scene. Her malevolent new mentors, each named Heather, decide to make a sport of transforming Veronica into one of their own, yet maintain social dominance over her. After utilizing Veronica’s skill at imitation handwriting, the Heathers enjoy unlimited hall passes and excuse letters, and decide to play a cruel trick on a nerdy girl who happens to be Veronica’s best friend. The joke goes terribly wrong, resulting in the breaking up of a party and Veronica’s expulsion from the group by ringleader Heather Chandler. While attempting to make amends, Veronica (with J.D. at her side) accidentally poisons Heather Chandler, having just dismissed J.D.’s suggestion that they do exactly that. A hastily-forged suicide note covers their tracks, but their victim’s ghost remains prominent in Veronica’s psyche. After several comparably dark experiences, Veronica wants nothing more than to return to her previously-normal life, but J.D. has the conflicting goal of essentially murdering the entire student body. Without spoiling the denoument for those seeing the show for the first time, I will simply say that the final few minutes will not only have you on the edge of your seat, but also leave you pondering the concepts of right and wrong in this particular situation. This is by no means meant to suggest that Heathers: The Musical is without lighthearted moments, but even the hilarity is grounded in a macabre reality that never completely releases the audience from a feeling of impending disaster.

The cast is comprised of an outstanding brio of Trustus regulars, familiar faces from other venues, and a few first-timers, all of whom come together to create a believable and cohesive ensemble. Katie Leitner’s Veronica is immediately relatable and sympathetic, falling (as did most of us) somewhere around the middle of the school’s social spectrum. Presenting her as a latter-day Carrie, minus the pig’s blood, would have not only been overdone, but would also have somewhat absolved Veronica for her actions. Leitner displays her strength at creating three-dimensional characters by making Veronica a normal kid caught up in a disturbingly abnormal set of circumstances. As with her recent portrayal of Daisy Fay in Trustus’ The Great Gatsby, Leitner succeeds in being likeable but flawed. As her figurative reverse-mirror image, Michael Hazin provides a level of sync with J.D. that brings to mind a well-choreographed ballroom dance. Hazin offers a darker reflection of Leitner’s image, with J.D. flying (for the most part) under the social radar, as opposed to swimming midstream. Each character has the potential to survive through relative social invisibility, but neither their respective personalities nor the situations that arise allow either to embrace that option. Both Leitner and Hazin are in fine voice, and only a small suspension of disbelief is required, but their clearly trained and experienced vocal work almost cracks the façade of their being teenagers. Both are youthful twentysomethings in real life, and are physically believable as high school students, so this is hardly a negative point, but when they sing, it’s obvious that these are well-taught professionals.

Clearly reveling in every malignant power move and verbal smackdown, Brittany Hammock deliciously chews the scenery as Heather Chandler. Her alpha-of-all-alphas interpretation of the role is spot-on, taking command of the triad in everything from physical presence to the occasional “putting in place” of the other two Heathers. Interestingly, once she becomes a ghost, Hammock asserts her new quasi-immortality through a slightly softened approach to Veronica. Sometimes a whisper is more frightening than a shout, and Hammock utilizes both between her corporeal and ghostly forms. Though not physically connected to the world of the living, Heather Chandler becomes even more of a puppeteer after her death, as we see her leisurely chip away at Veronica’s sanity. Her eponymous cohorts, Heather McNamara (Rachael Mitchum) and Heather Duke (Jazmine Rivera) initially appear to be Heather Chandler clones with slightly less authority, but after her death, they begin to reveal more depth of character. Mitchum, while never coming across as deferential, is somehow the most humane of the three, heaping slightly less attitude and intimidation on her fellow students. It’s a subtle choice, but Mitchum makes it work well in setting up a moment of high drama in the second act. Rivera’s Heather Duke, by contrast, brings out the fangs and claws when Heather Chandler’s death leaves an opening for the group’s leader. Though not mentioned in the script, the performances of all three Heathers suggest a variety of control mechanisms employed pre-mortem by Heather Chandler. Combining Hammock’s dead/undead personae, one could easily see her slightly softening to control Heather McNamara, while displaying a more fierce approach to managing Heather Duke. Kudos to all three for creating a depth and texture that enhances the story while remaining faithful to the playwrights’ dialogue.

As “bad boy” football stars, Kurt and Ram, Paul Smith and Josh Kern are less defined by the script, yet never allow themselves to slide into caricature. At first they appear to be nothing more than bullying jocks, but a set-up midnight encounter with Veronica displays their more vile and predatory natures. Jordan Harper’s ever-put-upon Martha adopts a similar style, introducing herself as a stereotypical nerdy girl, then revealing herself to be much more emotionally textured in a second-act spotlight number that showcases her impressive vocal range. The rest of the cast fills in the remaining students and adults orbiting the main story, and there truly isn’t a weak link in the bunch. A particular standout is Cassidy Spencer, whose work I’ve not seen before, but look forward to seeing in future productions. As an ensemble member, Spencer may have had two or three lines, but most of her acting was done through face and body language, which she presented most memorably. (In reviewing my notes, I referenced her several times as “girl in denim skirt,” each time with a comment on her commitment to the scene, her character, and the reality established by the principal players.)

On the technical side, Heathers: The Musical is mostly successful. Sam Hetler’s set is streamlined, yet totally evocative of a neon-hued, white-tiled 1980s, Amy Brower Lown’s costume design is scrupulously faithful to the period and gives a respectful nod to the film, while maintaining an originality and freshness of vision, and Lighting Designer Frank Kiraly brings his customary skill at creating multiple settings with different combinations of shading and color. Choreographer Grayson Anthony and Musical Director Randy Moore keep the movements (both physical and musical) brisk and sharp, and Stage Manager Brandi Smith nicely corrals all of the elements into a cohesive and smooth production. My only real complaint is that the vocals, even in ensemble numbers, were a bit difficult to hear over the band. In talking with Moore and several cast members following the performance, I found out that there were several mic and sound issues the night I was there, and I feel confident that those small issues have since been ironed out. One other small issue is entirely script-related, as I had the same reaction when reviewing another production of the show earlier this year. The adults are double/triple cast, often with little or no time for costume or wig changes, which can lead to a bit of confusion as to which is whom at any given moment. Matthew DeGuire, Jonathan Monk, and Lisa Baker turn in delightful performances as the multiple grown-ups, but I do wish the script made it easier for them to change back and forth more easily.

Director Dewey Scott-Wiley has, as usual, assembled a winning cast and created a world which is both believable and captivating. I frequently find myself using the word “thoughtful” to describe her work, and Heathers: The Musical is no exception. In her Director’s Notes, Scott-Wiley observes that in today’s more violent society, things like murdering your classmates aren’t as outrageous as they were thirty years ago, and this level of directorial awareness is part of what makes the show work. By immersing the audience in an era-specific set of mores, she succeeds in getting stylized-yet-believable work from her cast while essentially giving the audience permission to laugh at things that would strike too close to home in today’s world.

Heathers: The Musical runs through 27 July, and tickets can be purchased online at, or by calling the Box Office at (803) 254.9732. They’re likely to go quickly, so don’t delay in making your reservations.


Frank Thompson is proud to serve as Theatre Editor for JASPER.


REVIEW: Fierce & Fabulous Cabaret - an Entertaining Concert with Potential for Growth

by Frank Thompson

workshop fierce.jpg

   (As always, I open with the disclaimer that I am a frequent director and a member of the Board of Trustees for Workshop Theatre.)

   The Fierce & Fabulous Cabaret, running through Sunday at Workshop’s new home at Cottingham Theatre on the Columbia College campus, bills itself as “celebrating the women of Broadway,” and there’s certainly no shortage of celebrated talent onstage. Featuring several well-established Midlands-area chanteuses alongside a few new faces/voices, last Saturday evening’s performance brought the audience to its feet more than once with multiple show-stopping bravura turns by some of the best female vocalists in town.  The acoustics at Cottingham are nice and hot, and while live mics are utilized, I doubt if even half the cast needs any amplification. These ladies know how to project and sell a song, and if you’re looking for a showcase of outstanding music plucked from Broadway hits from the 1950s to today, you’ll find it at The Fierce & Fabulous Cabaret.

   Following a full-cast rendition of  “I’m A Woman” from Smokey Joe’s CaféRegina Skeeter sets the bar high with “Home,” one of the lesser-known but most vocally powerful ballads in The Wiz. (This was my first time seeing Skeeter perform, and she delivers strength as well as a sense of dreamy wonderment to her turn in the spotlight.)  Columbia legend Valdina Hall absolutely soars with Sondheim’s  “Send In The Clowns,” and Robin Gottlieb’s signature number, Cabaret, quite literally had the crowd shouting for an encore. The second act rocks open with Katrina Blanding  delivering  Dreamgirls  “And I’m Telling You I’m Not Going” with her usual powerhouse voice and innate storyteller’s gift for conveying a song’s emotional foundation. On Jason Robert Brown’s  “I Can Do Better Than That,”  Emily Northrop engages the audience from intro to post-applause, demonstrating  not only impressive vocals but also an understanding of  true cabaret technique, and Mandy Applegate Bloom’s  “She Used To Be Mine” from Waitress brings down the house in classic eleven-o’clock-number style.

   The rest of the cast offers solid work across the board, and there truly isn’t a weak link, though those mentioned above are particular standouts. While watching the performance, I began to realize that I was missing the sense of an overall emotional arc, framing piece, or central theme to segue the audience from each number to the next. Some of the performers simply took the mic and started singing, others utilized a few lines of dialogue, and a few (see above) took a moment to connect with the audience. If this sounds nit-picky, it’s because The Fierce And Fabulous Cabaret is of such high quality, I truly hope it comes together as a more thematically cohesive piece. Who are these women? Are they the actual people we see onstage? If so, great! I would suggest having each song tied to the singer's life experience, allowing a glimpse of the real-life woman known to many only as her onstage personae.  (Gottlieb and Northrop are particularly skilled at bonding with the audience, as is Emily Clelland, who relates a personal experience that motivated her as a performer, followed by an enthusiastic song-and-dance rendition of  “If They Could See Me Now” from Sweet Charity.)  A few of the pieces, while quite splendidly performed, seemed randomly inserted. Kathy Seppamaki’s  “Christmas Lullaby” (Songs For A New World) is one of the best-sung ballads in a show full of A-list talent, but feels somewhat out of place between two comedic bits, and without context . Lou Boeschen’s  “On The Steps Of The Palace” (Into The Woods) is lovely, and dovetails nicely into Rodgers and Hammerstein’s  “Stepsisters Lament,” yet nothing is said about the Cinderella myth. This would have been a perfect opportunity to comment on any number of themes relevant to modern womanhood. Once I realized that I was seeing a sort of hybrid concert/cabaret, I just sat back and enjoyed the music, all the while thinking how interesting it is to watch the artistic process unfold. With a stronger sense of identity and a commitment to one specific reality/style, The Fierce And Fabulous Cabaret could easily tour as a professional show. The talent is there, the music is solid and representative of classic and contemporary Broadway, and the basic structure is in place. All it needs is a more defined sense of identity and an answer for “why is each song in its particular spot?”

   The set is simple and sleek, designed by Patrick Faulds to provide tiered seating for the cast, who stay onstage the entire show. As usual, Dean McCaughan’s steady hand keeps sound well-balanced and smooth, though I was disappointed to see that the production utilizes pre-recorded music tracks instead of live accompaniment. For future gigs, I would suggest a single pianist who could also serve as a narrative voice, presenter, and general point of connection between the singers and their audience.

   The Fierce And Fabulous Cabaret is well worth your time and money exactly “as is,” and I strongly recommend you see it now. With a little scripting revision and specific motivation behind each number, it could have a significant future, and you’ll want to catch this act from the very start of its evolution.

   There are only three performances left, Friday and Saturday at 8pm, and Sunday at 3pm. Tickets can be purchased by calling (803) 799.6551 or visiting


Columbia Museum of Art Curator Will South Reflects on the Loss and Future of Art

We made them, and it is we who must preserve them. Or, in extreme cases, remake them.

-Will South

The young artist Will South on the bank of the Seine

The young artist Will South on the bank of the Seine

Art is not forever. Paper fades to yellow then brown and turns to dust. Rust never sleeps, and corrodes sculpture. Canvas and panels swell and shrink, paint cracks and falls away. Objects are stolen, bombed, and buried beneath the ocean.

And then there is fire, the universally feared and ever-present threat to the survival of objects. Buildings can and do burn to the ground, and all that is inside may be destroyed completely. The number of paintings, drawings, books, furnishings, inventions and—most importantly—people that have perished in flames is incalculable.

The burning of Notre Dame in Paris is the latest, and one of the greatest, reminders of the fragility of all things. Even the largest, most impressive monuments need protection. We made them, and it is we who must preserve them. Or, in extreme cases, remake them.

The burning of Notre Dame raises other issues injurious to our global cultural life. In the wake of the fire, some have mourned “the loss of a thousand years of history.” Not so. We know as much today about the history of Notre Dame as we did before the fire. History is judgement, and is made by people—it answers the question: how did we get from A to B? Those judgments are with us (and subject to ongoing revision). Many have already declared that Notre Dame “witnessed so many seminal events” and observed such historical luminaries as Napoleon and Joan of Arc. Actually, the stone and glass that made Notre Dame witnessed nothing. Our tendency to anthropomorphize everything on earth only serves to keep us thinking that everything is about us. Notre Dame is an object, not a living thing.

Why is it so special then? Because not all objects are equal. Size varies, weight varies, colors, texture and so on. When something is made, it functions (most often) to serve a purpose: we use forks to eat, shoes to protect our feet, bowling balls to entertain. A massive Gothic cathedral such as Notre Dame was made to express in a grand holistic manner the faith and world-view of a civilization. Arguably, this was a more ambitious purpose, if less perfunctory.

Study a fork, and you quickly get the point: it’s necessary to eat and a fork helps. Shoes, however fetishized in the modern world, help us navigate the environment by preventing cuts and blisters. Bowling balls are part of a very broad narrative of how important it is to have leisure time—play is not frivolous. It is part of forming a balanced personality.

Now, study Notre Dame, and the entirety of a complex belief system unfolds, as does the economic and social fabric of Europe in the Middle Ages. For Notre Dame to have been built eight hundred years ago remains an astonishing feat—what social force could have been so powerful as to propel its construction?

One answer that must be considered is status. Whichever city had the largest cathedral could claim preeminence. This status would attract kings and pilgrims alike, driving the local economy and serving to consolidate the power of that city. To build the tallest cathedral (one sign of its superiority) was no small task, it required all available resources and over one hundred years to build. Cities competed for this status, as they do today.

And, study of Notre Dame inevitably leads to the centrality of faith in human history. Status exists across the animal kingdom, thus the top dog and the queen bee. But it is the human species that has experienced a profound and relentless belief in a non-material world beyond the one we directly encounter each day. Faith, perhaps more so than status or economics, has driven creativity to its most glorious heights, whether in the Sistine Chapel, the Taj Mahal, or in Milton’s Paradise Lost. To understand ourselves as a species, we need to access the most complete expressions of our desires. Which are not forks, shoes or, however useful, bowling balls.

We need Notre Dame. Though it is an object, it is one that arose from magnificent forces, and one that can be a factor in transformative experiences. Meaning, an individual standing inside that incredible architecture may experience the most exalted of human ambitions, as opposed to the most ordinary. It is in us to feel that magnificence, that exaltation. Notre Dame, a work of art as well as a house of worship, enables those precious experiences, whatever one’s beliefs.

Notre Dame can be rebuilt, and must be. Not to preserve history, that is not its function. Nor to be an ongoing witness, that’s a physical impossibility. We need to experience it. That experience—to see and smell and hear an object designed and built to touch the miraculous—can become part of us.

In a world of endless needs, where children starve and veterans go homeless, perhaps this year we can stretch just a little bit more and contribute to the rebuilding of one of our priceless treasures, the Cathedral of Notre Dame, a testament to our search for the transcendent. — Will South

How to Help —

 Please visit the Friends of the Notre Dame de Paris to make a financial donation.

Visit Jasper’s specially created Facebook “event” to share your own thoughts about the Notre Dame fire and preserving/protecting/rebuilding the places that create our cultural landscape — at