Fletcher Williams III completes latest sculpture funded by Coastal Community Foundation’s annual Artist of the Year Award

Fletcher Williams III standing in front of “Homestead” in its early stages of construction at his Park Circle Studio. Photographer – Andrew Cebulka

Fletcher Williams III is the 2018 recipient of the annual “Artist of the Year Award” granted by Coastal Community Foundation. With these funds, Williams was able to utilize an array of materials collected over several years and craft them into a 7-foot house-like structure indicative of vernacular architecture and agricultural practices unique to the Lowcountry.

Throughout the past two years, Williams has dedicated a significant portion of his practice to exploring, collecting, and documenting communities within the Lowcountry that are representative of African American entrepreneurship and ingenuity. It is common for Williams to scour his familiar urban terrain but just recently he began venturing into rural South Carolina where he’s come across vestiges of master craftsmanship, agricultural expertise, and architectural beauty. Homestead is an assemblage of the most iconic fragments collected during Williams’ explorations. 

The overall design of “Homestead” was inspired by a multi-use barn near the outskirts of Walterboro, SC. It is a grand structure that housed grain, hogs, cauldrons, and farming tools. It is an elegant matrix of rafters and raw timber columns enclosed by dull corrugated tin. Williams has mimicked these fixtures in “Homestead” by creating an intricate exposed rafter system using weathered picket-fence and wrapping the core structure with rusted tin roofing recovered from a Freedman’s Cottage located on upper Meeting St. The haint-blue concave section of the structure is comprised of  tongue-and-groove siding taken from a small vacated home located only a few miles from the barn. And to represent the barn’s agricultural component, the sculpture is decorated with a series of rusted rebar hooks identical to those used to aid farmers in the butchering of livestock.

The Griffith/Reyburn Visual Arts Fund was created in 2003 by Michael Griffith and Donna Reyburn as an endowment with Coastal Community Foundation. The endowment provides the annual “Lowcountry Artist of the Year Award” to support the creation of a work of visual art that represents an aspect of the South Carolina Lowcountry’s unique life, culture, or environment— its “look and feel.”  The award is intended to assist the artist during creation of an original work of art which is then the personal property of the artist, to keep, show or sell at his or her discretion.

“Homestead” 44 x 44 x 84 in. 2018. Tin Roof, Picket Fence, Interior Wood Paneling, and Rebar

Each spring, applications from local artists are reviewed by a panel of volunteers with expertise in visual arts.  The coveted award has gone each year to a very talented artist who has brought immense pride to the donors and to the Foundation.

With a purpose to help create vibrant communities by uniting people and investing resources, Coastal Community Foundation is deeply rooted in the community. CCF has more than four decades of experience working with people and organizations who want to make a lasting difference through permanent, endowed funds for philanthropic impact. 

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