Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Paintings & Drawings by Ilona Royce Smithkin

Below you will find a collection of oil paintings and sanguine drawings by Ilona Royce Smithkin.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Ina Crim Ingram's Oils

The paintings below were part of Ina Crim Ingram's Gallery Show at the Black Creek Arts Center in January 2010.
Self-Portrait as a Child


The Student

Anna Catherine

Shrimp Boat




On the Coast of Nova Scotia


The Peaches

Hanging Onions


Summer Harvest

Red Lily

Canoes on the Waterway

The Setter
For information about purchasing any of these paintings, contact Bruce Douglas at 843.332.6234.
The Black Creek Arts Center is located at 116 West College Avenue in Hartsville, SC.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Tobacco Barns of the Pee Dee

Tobacco Barns of the Pee Dee is a photography exhibit produced by Black Creek Arts Council and funded in part by the Humanities Council of South Carolina and the South Carolina Department of Parks, Recreation, and Tourism.
The photographs, which were displayed throughout the Pee Dee in 2009, are the work of Latta-based photographer Benton Henry.

This is a two-store packhouse at sunset. After the cured tobacco was removed from the barn, it went to the packhouse for further processing and storage. Workers removed the leaves from the sticks, sorted them by color, and tied them into bundles called hands. The hands of tobacco were bulked together to await transport to market.

This tobacco barn is typical of curing barns built from the 1940s through the 1960s. Curing barns were usually constructed of homegrown lumber, covered with sheathing, and roofed with tin. The standard size was 20 square feet with five rooms of tier poles for hanging sticks of tobacco leaves.

In the 1970s, tobacco farmeres began curing their crop in fuel-efficient all-metal bulk barns. Traditional barns like this one fell into disrepair. No longer in use, owners have little incentive to invest in maintaining them. Hurricanes have taken their toll as well.

A barn full of leaf tobacco could be cured in four to five days using artificial heat. Bottom leaves, lugs, were cured first. The middle leaves, cutters, were next. The uppermost leaves, tips, were cured last. In the Pee Dee, the harvesting/curing season usually lasted from late June into August.

A stringing shed sheltered work outside the bar. Workers fastened green tobacco leaves to wooden sticks with cotton string. The sticks were hung above flues that ran along the floor of the barn. Early barns heated with brick furnances fueled with wood cut from the owner's forest. in the late 1950s, kerosene and propane gas replaced wood as curing fuels.

The rustic character of the lumber on this barn testifies to its origins. These boards were likely sawn from pines that grew on this farm. The remnants of the pine forst can be seen in the in the distance. The stringing shed has been removed from this barn.

This interior view shows the beams that hled the tobacco sticks in the barn. In the bottom right, you can the sticks that the leaves were strung on. The round metal objects are burners. In this case, propane ws used to create heat for curing. Earlier barns would have used wood fires.

In the 1950s amd 1960s, one curing barn was needed for every six acres of tobacco. Approximately 90 percent of the weight of green tobacco was lost in curing. One acre yielded about 2000 pounds of cured leaf.

A few curring barns were built of concrete blocks. The insulating characteristtics of blocks saved fuel and justified their higher cost. Some block built barns have been converted to other uses. Others will stand as permanent reminders of the past.

This multi-purpose barn served as a tobacco packhouse, stable, and storage shed. Cured tobacco was kept upstairs, while horses and mules were kept downstairs. Eventually, tracotrs and implements replaced the draft animals. The truck is a Chevrolet, circa 1950.

A dilapidated tobacco barn sits abandoned, surrounded by cotton where tobacco once grew. As tobacco farming has declined, otton has regained popularity. This scene has become commonplace on many Pee Dee farms.

The sun rises on a former tobacco field. This well preserved curing barn bears witness to a past way of life in the Pee Dee. Fewer than ten percent of tobacco barns survice today. Many of those that have are in poor condition. Only a handful are being preserved as heritage assets.

The Mission of Black Creek Arts Council is to promote and foster the arts in Darlington County. BCAC's offices are housed in a state of the art 10,000 square foot facility at 116 West College Avenue in Hartsville , SC. BCAC offers a variety of programs includeding art classes of all styles, after-school activities, pre-school aged programs, private music lessons, and various types of gallery exhibits. BCAC also offers assistance with arts management, funding, education, and program coordination to arts and cultural organizations in Darlington County.