Arts & Culture

Farmboy Fine Arts

Belmond Charleston Place recently completed a $40 million, multi-year renovation project, resulting in new guestrooms and suites, updated public spaces and expanded amenities. New art also graces the hotel’s walls and the guestroom collection, in particular, has been extremely well received. We recently sat down with Farmboy Fine Arts to learn more about the new in-room art collection, what inspired it and why it is resonating with our guests.

From where did you draw your inspiration for the art at Belmond Charleston Place?
At Farmboy Fine Arts (FBFA), we strive to activate spaces through the meaningful incorporation of art. We wanted to develop a thoughtful and relevant artwork collection for Belmond Charleston Place that would give guests a sense of place, reminding them that they are in the vibrant and historic city of Charleston. The artwork is a nod to the city’s rich history, while also providing visitors with a contemporary take on authentic Southern charm.

Tell us about the custom art collection guests will see in the newly redesigned guest rooms. 
Featured throughout the guestrooms, the art collection connects guests to the culture of this unique region, establishing the property as a gathering point for local society. FBFA’s high-level of expertise in the art consulting industry allowed us to curate, source, and develop a dynamic and arresting custom artwork collection influenced by Charleston’s narrative. Belmond Director of Marketing, Eric Monteiro, said it best when he confirmed, “The artwork is the grand finale, the last piece of flourish that brings it all together.”

There are a series of limited edition prints included in the collection. What makes these so special?
FBFA artist Jordan Hilliard created ‘Circle of a Square Paper,’ a sophisticated and original abstracted landscape painting, which we reproduced as a limited-edition fine art print for Belmond Charleston Place. The 150 prints feature hand decaled-edge heavy linen fine-art paper debossed to a depth of 1/8 inch. The traditional medium of painting is balanced by the contemporary circle motif and shadow box frame, elevating the simple composition. The countless guest inquiries regarding this piece, and many others from the collection, further confirm the impact it has on the property and the guest experience.

Can you tell us about your process? How long does it take to curate a commercial collection? What goes into the design and decision-making processes?
FBFA’s objective was to develop a collection that tells the story of the Charleston people and place, delivering on the property’s vision for a relevant, discerning art collection. The collaborative, iterative process of working with the brand gave us an opportunity to source artwork and content from the local arts community – our artist and gallery partners – that is authentic and inspiring. The end result provides guests with a purposeful, engaging art experience that juxtaposes the traditional design and feel of the stately building with the contemporary look of the artwork.

In your opinion, how does art on property impact the guest experience?
A successful art collection enriches the guest experience by stimulating dialogue and interaction between the artwork and a diverse range of individuals. Guests are left with an immersive, memorable experience marked by the artwork; the artwork’s emotional resonance strengthening their connection to the place. At FBFA, our goal is to change lives with art, and we feel that a well-curated, well-rounded collection can do just that for guests, whether they pass through for a minute or stay for a few days.

If a guest wanted to take home a piece of Charleston for their own collection, is that possible?
Although we routinely field requests from Belmond Charleston Place guests wishing to purchase art from the property’s collection, we cannot reproduce the limited-edition prints developed for the hotel. Due to the overwhelming inquiries, FBFA is exploring the options available to us in providing reproductions to interested guests, in hopes that we will be able to do so in the near future.

Ready to get your art meets eye candy fix? Explore Charleston’s vibrant arts scene, located just outside our doors. From the many galleries in the French Quarter to exhibitions by local artists at Redux Contemporary Art Center to permanent Lowcountry collections at area museums, there’s plenty here to delight in. Contact the Concierge for more information and directions.

Continue reading
Arts & Culture, Discovery

Your Guide to Charleston

Visitors to Charleston often remark on the historic district’s walkability yet many are surprised by the depth and breadth of the area’s offerings. One of the best ways to dive deeper in to the architecture, history and folklore of the region is with the help of a guide. From walking tours to carriage rides to sunset sails, our Concierge team recommends guests who are interested in experiencing the Holy City get up close and personal with the help of our favorite tour guides.

1670 Tours
A walking tour of Charleston’s residential district with 1670 Tours allows you to cover about 10-12 blocks with frequent stops at a casual pace. Tailored exclusively to the group, topics may include history, culture, architecture, wars and disasters. The licensed guides will lead you through private homes, public buildings, churches, gardens and graveyards, experiencing the ambiance of the various neighborhoods along the way. The tour features plenty of photo opportunities as well, and the guides know all the best Instagram-worthy spots.

Schooner Pride
See Charleston from a different point of view on the Schooner Pride, a classic 84′ three mast wooden tall ship. Tour Charleston Harbor for an exhilarating day sail or set out at sunset for a romantic cruise around the peninsula. More of a leisurely sail than a tour, take in the peaceful waters of the Cooper River as it meets the Atlantic and mingle with dolphins, pelicans and gulls on the relaxing two-hour sail.

Carolina Polo and Carriage Company
Family owned and operated by Charlestonians whose families have been here since the 1600s, Carolina Polo and Carriage Company offers an authentic tour experience. The one-hour fully-narrated group carriage tour takes guests through the quaint and charming streets of downtown. The passionate and engaging guides will regale riders with history lessons, pirate’s tales and architectural highlights. Beautiful gardens and parks, stately mansions, historic churches and buildings are all included.

For those hoping to mix learning with leisure on their upcoming Charleston visit, these tour guides offer a thorough glimpse into life in the historic district. Take some extra time to delve into a different view of the Holy City.


Continue reading

Interview with Marcus Amaker, Charleston’s Inaugural Poet Laureate

Charleston is well known for its blossoming culture and arts scene; from its well-preserved historic architecture, unique but approachable dining experiences, live music in cozy bars like the Thoroughbred Club, or the countless art galleries lining our historic streets, Charleston’s creativity resonates throughout the city. One art form in particular has come to the forefront of much of this creative spirit, and it is mostly due to Marcus Amaker, a creative who has spent his life dedicated to the arts and music. We reached out to Marcus Amaker, Charleston’s Inaugural Poet Laureate, to hear a little bit about what inspires him and some tips on how you can experience Charleston’s creativity.
How and when did you first get into poetry?
Vinyl. I first got into poetry the second that I heard music, as a child. My parents were very aware of giving me experiences with art and music. There was always vinyl around our house, and we were always going to concerts. Vinyl packaging was essential to my love of the written word, because lyrics were printed on all of my favorite album sleeves.

You are currently the City of Charleston’s Inaugural Poet Laureate. Why was this position created and what does it entail?
This position was created to promote literacy in our schools and to be an advocate of the arts. I am so honored to have the title. I’m now at the table for important decisions involving our arts scene. I’m asked to write poems for events and do a lot of workshops in schools. Connecting with students has been the most rewarding part.

You have had so many artistic endeavors over the course of your career. What inspires you to be constantly creating? 
Everything goes back to music. Listening to it, creating it, seeing it live. Music is the key to everything I do. The poems I write are songs without instrumentation. The graphic design that I creative has visual keys and rhythm. I’m totally plugged into sound and song.

You have produced poetry books, videos, workshops of all kids, what do you have in the works currently?
I’m currently working on a few new albums and producing our city’s first poetry festival. The albums are experimental electronic works, using analogue machines. The poetry festival will be in the fall of this year and will involve workshops and public displays of poetry plus events for all ages.

How does Charleston inspire your creative process?
Once settled in Charleston, it was impossible to not be inspired by this city. I feel the stories of our ancestors every time I walk down the street. I am in touch with the ghosts of our past and aware that we have to keep history alive, while moving forward. I can thank Charleston for an awakening that I would not have had in any other city

How can visitors get involved in the art scene?
There are so many entry points to our art scene. I love Redux Contemporary Art Center. They are putting on progressive shows using all kinds of mediums. The Halsey Institute is also an amazing spot for anyone looking to check out the visual arts.

What is your favorite spot in the Charleston area right now and what would you suggest for visitors to do while they are here?
My favorite spot in Charleston is the Upper Deck Tavern. The best dive bar in town. I’d love for visitors to visit the upper peninsula and go to Hampton Park. It’s the most beautiful park in the city, and there’s a wealth of history there. The Denmark Vessey statue is remarkable.

Do you have a poem you would like to share with our readers?
“the last word”

one day, 
someone will write
the last poem about injustice
and it will become 
our new national anthem. 
only history books
will hold the memory of hatred
and museums will be built
for the artifacts
of our awakening

one day,
someone will have
the last conversation about politics
because we realized 
there were problems 
that our politicians couldn’t fix. 
policies not built
to cure our addiction to division, 
no governing body
that compared to the bodies 
of the enlightened.

one day,
this poem won’t be
a manifesto for dreamers. 
we will wake up from nightmares
of our own making
and reject our attraction 
to darkness;
our love affair
with conflict.

You can stay up-to-date on Amaker’s upcoming events and and projects at his website.

Pictured above: The second edition of Mantra featuring new graphic design, poetry and artwork. Among the new poems in the book is “Reimagining History” – written with Marjory Wentworth, Poet Laureate of South Carolina. “Reimagining History” was commissioned by Charleston, SC Mayor John Tecklenburg for his inauguration.

Continue reading