Welcome to Charleston, eclipse viewers and science nerds! We are so happy you're here. At Art Mecca of Charleston, we too are science nerds. In fact, we were just looking at some of our fantastic nature photography shots and had a discussion about whether or not the Roseate Spoonbill (Platalea ajaja) is related to the Platypus (Ornithorhynchus anatinus). Okay it's a mammal, so nope.
Anyway, we hear there are people visiting from all over the world - so we thought we'd share some our favorite nerdy Charleston spots - and some tips to help you live like a local while you're here.
7 Sciencey Things to Do in Charleston
1. Coastal Expeditions Kayak or Boat Trip - Take a boat or kayak trip through the marshes with a guided tour to get the most out of the experience.
2. HOBA - Like an Uber for boat tours, download the Hop On A Boat Anywhere (HOBA) app and go fishing, sailing, or just tooling around. For extra credit, have your captain take you to Shark Tooth Beach at low tide.
3. The Charleston Museum - Small but mighty, our museum is jam-packed full of cool natural history and artifacts you won't see any where else.
4. Charleston Water Taxi - Spot dolphins and pelagic birds while you enjoy the sea breeze. Ride from downtown across the harbor to the Mount Pleasant side, head to the roof top bar of the Fish House and have a drink while checking out the Holy City skyline. You can also get a nice Dark & Stormy at the Reel Bar in the Charleston Harbor Resort, $10 gets you an all day pass to the taxi, and riding it around in circles all day is totally legit.
5. Birds of Prey & SeeWee Restaurant - This is a twofer and you'll need a car. Visit the Birds of Prey Center in nearby Awendaw on Friday or Saturday, then stop for a really real Charleston style lunch at the SeeWee Restaurant.
6. Art Mecca of Charleston - We have over 40 local artists, including some incredible nature photographers, found-object artists, metalsmiths, and more. Your eclipse t-shirt will be worn to shreds next year - commemorate your visit with something lasting.
7. 32.7894° N, 79.8852° W - These are coordinates to a secret restaurant. We just call it The Wreck. It's not marked. Look for the red buoy at the drive. Go hungry. Shhhhh....
Tips for Enjoying Charleston Like a Local
Charleston is a quirky town. Here are some things to know:
1. People actually are just that nice. If someone invites you to tour their garden, there are no strings. Just enjoy.
2. We are 100-years-ago polite. Give it a whirl. It's fun.
3. It is respectable to have your first drink at breakfast. That's why we're so polite the rest of the day.
4. It's hotter than Hell's house cat here. Wear sunblock. Drink water. Drink more water. There are public restrooms near the pineapple fountain at Waterfront Park.
5. To get around, walk or ride a rickshaw taxi. It's a small town, you can cover it all on foot.
6. Kids sell Palmetto roses on the street. Buy them. We do.
We hope you have a wonderful time in Charleston this weekend. Please come see us at Art Mecca and let us know if you've done anything fun on our list!
Few things are more fun than a studio tour, and this week we weaseled our way into Amanda Tucker's delightful atelier. Amanda is a former Charleston resident who now lives in Richmond, VA with her husband and wee daughter. At first glance, Amanda's art is playful and whimsical. There's lots of pink and flamingos - and that makes our little hearts happy. However...
Wait. Let's look at those flamingos first...
Okay, and the giraffe....
However, there is something sophisticated and deeply contemplative about Amanda's use of color, even in these playful pieces. Her nudes and silhouettes are a revelation.
So we talked to Amanda about what makes her tick, and here's what she had to say:
Q: Tell us about how you came to be an artist.
A: I have always enjoyed drawing since I was a child and then all through out my school years. After graduating I was accepted into VCU school of the Art's where I received my bachelors in Fine Arts with a major in Painting and Printmaking. In school I was challenged by my talented professors to really step outside my comfort zone and grow as an Artist. While in school I also learned how to not only critique and analyze others work but my own as well. To this day while I'm painting I still hear some of the most talented voices. "Look closely at the colors you see. Dig deeper, what is the light reflecting?" Or "Amanda great marks but I want to see you be brave. Mark your page fearlessly. Don't lift up your pencil and hesitate. Just do it." I'm grateful for the time I spent studying my craft at VCU and this has helped me now to continue to use the tools they gave me to keep growing as an Artist and to continue to challenge myself.
Q: Your work has so much peaceful energy - how do you choose your colors?
A: I love playing with color. I love discovering the combinations that can create a completely different mood or feeling. I like the challenge of creating something that you still recognize the subject but I've played up the colors and was specific with my mark making. I'm currently drawn to a pastel color palette but as I create its evolving and I'm starting to play with bright and fluid colors.
Q: What's your connection to Charleston - and what's life like in Richmond for you?
A: I lived on Isle of Palms, SC with my husband for about five years. We loved living on the island and I worked downtown on King street. It was a great balance of the beautiful and busy downtown life to my home on the island where everything slowed down. Our time on the Island greatly influences my love for the coastal subjects. I currently live in Richmond, Va with my husband and little girl where we both grew up. I paint or create daily. I carry a sketchbook around and am constantly practicing my craft. Art is my passion and escape. After the family goes to bed I work in my studio for hours, releasing the stress of the day of running a business.
We have a very nice selection of Amanda's work right now, including those flamingos, the giraffe and the silhouettes. Come pick your favorite.