August 2015

Hello Halsey-ites!

As I write this, the City of Charleston is still reeling from this summer’s tragedy at the Mother Emannuel AME Church. Our city is forever changed, and from the looks of it, we are modeling positive change that can and should be emulated nationally. I am proud of our resilient city and its graceful residents.

We are still celebrating William Halsey at 100, as 2015 is his centennial year. There have been many anniversary events throughout the state, and we are pleased to continue dedicating our year’s programming to him. I think he would be particularly pleased by our fall exhibition schedule, as it represents a broad array of genres, styles, and approaches.

Here at the Halsey Institute, we have had some transitions that are worth noting. Lizz Biswell, longtime Curator of Education and Public Programs will be leaving us in September to attend the graduate program in Museum Studies at the University of Leicester in the UK. Lizz developed the Looking to See program from scratch, and has organized countless tours, lectures, film screenings, symposia, and other events for which the Halsey has become synonymous. She has also been the associate editor of several of our award-winning catalogues. We wish her well! Emily Rigsby, our Membership and Development Coordinator, will be moving on as well. She has taken a new position at The Vendue and will be working with Robert Lange Studios to present 3-4 exhibitions annually. Emily has grown our Membership program by a whopping 80% in her three years here. She, too, will be greatly missed.

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In The Marion and Wayland H. Cato Jr. Center for the Arts, the Halsey Institute has a much-expanded space on the first floor of this five-story building. The Halsey occupies two interlinked gallery spaces, a dedicated media room, and a library/resource area.


The Halsey Institute is supported by a variety of private and public funders, including: Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Asian Cultural Council, Bishop Family Foundation, City of Charleston ATAX Grant, Coastal Community Foundation of South Carolina, Elizabeth Firestone Graham Foundation, E. Rhodes and Leona B. Carpenter Foundation, Furthermore: a program of the J.M. Kaplan Fund, Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelley Foundation, Graham Foundation, Harpo Foundation, Henry Luce Foundation, Henry and Sylvia Yaschik Foundation, Japan Foundation, Joanna Foundation, South Carolina Arts Commission, National Endowment for the Arts, and NASA


In addition to grant funding and the funding from the College of Charleston, we sustain our dynamic programming with the encouragement and support of our Members and Community Partners – those who keep the mighty Halsey afloat. The cash and in-kind donations from these individuals, businesses, and organizations afford us the ability to maintain free programming for the community. Members and Community Partners enjoy a variety of stratified perks. Each year, we offer a new set of limited edition prints available exclusively to our Patron members. Artists who have been a part of the Halsey Institute’s programming have specially created these prints for us. Beginning at the Postmodernist level ($350), Members may choose from one of the prints we have available. To find out more about our Membership and Community Partners programs, click here.


The Halsey Institute produces free educational programming in conjunction with the exhibitions that are relevant and accessible, including: guided exhibition tours, artist lectures, symposia and workshops, printed materials, audio tours, and a blog. The Looking to See guided group tours are available to any school group or organization. The tours are often accompanied by hands-on projects and writing activities. For each exhibition, the artist(s) will give a public lecture and lead a walk-through of their work in the gallery space. For some exhibitions, we create an audio tour that shares background information on the artist and observations from the staff. The Halsey Institute’s blog provides deeper information on our exhibitions on topics such as the artist’s process and thoughts, insights from the curator, and interviews with the artist. To learn more about our educational programs, click here.


Many of the Halsey Institute’s exhibitions travel to museums and galleries nationally, and some internationally. We provide these exhibitions at a subsidized rental fee to established venues that wish to show adventurous art at an affordable price. Recent venues that have hosted our exhibitions include the Monterey Museum of Art, CA; Mint Museum of Art, Charlotte, NC; Tufts University Art Gallery, Medford, MA; Visual Arts Center of Richmond, VA; Mobile Museum of Art, AL; and the Laband Art Gallery, Loyola Marymount University, Los Angeles, CA. To learn more about out traveling exhibitions, click here.


Each year, the Halsey Institute screens independent films in conjunction with the exhibition on view. The films’ content varies greatly, but the events always have the same focus, to bring independent film and filmmakers to Charleston for stimulating conversation and to serve as a meeting place for community members, no matter their interests. Discover the value and magic of independent films! To learn more about our films, click here.


The Halsey Institute maintains an online shop for our exhibition publications, tote bags, and video soundtracks. Click here to see what’s new from the Halsey!


The Halsey Institute has a reference library that is open to the public for browsing. Biblioteca contains exhibition catalogues, art history books, artist monographs, rare books and books on uncommon topics. This is a non-lending library that offers a cornucopia of inspiration for those interested in visual culture.



In 2013, we commissioned artist Michael Moran to create a unique video-viewing environment.  He chose to create a cavern, complete with stalactites and stalagmites, comprised of stratified layers of wood. In this space, we screen the artist videos produced for our exhibitions. To watch our videos, click here.


Photographers from the Halsey Institute often document events. Your photograph might be taken and used by the Halsey Institute in its standard and non-profit educational, news-related, and/or editorial purposes. Images could appear in print or digital media, and may be posted online.


The Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art at the College of Charleston School of the Arts provides a multidisciplinary laboratory for the production, presentation, interpretation, and dissemination of ideas by innovative visual artists from around the world. As a non-collecting museum, we create meaningful interactions between adventurous artists and diverse communities within a context that emphasizes the historical, social, and cultural importance of the art of our time.


Housed within the School of the Arts at the College of Charleston, less than a block away from the busiest pedestrian intersection in the state, the Halsey Institute’s public facilities include two interlinked museum quality exhibition spaces totaling 3,200 square feet, a dedicated media room, a reference library, and archive. In our complex, we have proximate access to two theater spaces, a recital hall, lecture hall, and film screening facility that we use for a variety of presentations. Our host institution, the College of Charleston, offers extraordinary academic and administrative resources. We interweave the intellectual capital around us into the fabric of our ongoing programming, working with faculty and international colleagues as guest curators, consultants, or advisors on specific projects.


The Halsey Institute was originally named the Halsey Gallery for the artist William Halsey, an accomplished Charleston native whose modernist works were exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Art Institute of Chicago, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, to note a few. Halsey was the first individual to teach a studio art course at the College of Charleston beginning in 1964, and continuing to teach here for twenty years. Upon his retirement in 1984, the Studio Art faculty voted to name the art gallery after him to honor his contribution to the arts in Charleston. Mr. Halsey died in 1999. Since 1984, the gallery bearing the Halsey name has presented hundreds of exhibitions by regional, national, and international artists. In 2005, the gallery changed its name to the Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art to more accurately reflect the range of programming produced. Conceived as a non-collecting contemporary art facility, the Halsey Institute remains a vital cultural resource for the City of Charleston, the State of South Carolina and the region. The Halsey Institute hosts between five and seven exhibitions per year, highlighting adventurous contemporary art by emerging and mid-career artists of national stature. All exhibitions are accompanied by extensive educational programming. In addition, the Halsey Institute has maintained a strong international component over the years, bringing in artists from all over the world for residencies, lectures, and exhibitions. In 2012, the South Carolina Arts Commission presented the Halsey Institute the Elizabeth O’Neill Verner Award with special recognition to director Mark Sloan. This is the highest honor the state gives in the arts.



We originate between five and seven exhibitions per year, many of which travel nationally, and host a year-round schedule of lectures, panels, symposia, screenings, discussions, and special events. We also produce video documentaries about the artists and exhibitions that we originate. These videos provide keys to understanding the artist’s creative process and are permanently archived on our comprehensive website. We also produce award-winning publications for many of our exhibitions. These catalogues feature thoughtful commissioned essays  that provide meaningful context for the exhibitions and offer a permanent record of the artist’s project with the Halsey Institute. Our emphasis has long been on providing audiences with privileged access to the creative process itself. We enjoy sharing our belief that there is much that can be learned by seeing how an artist turns “a thought into a thing.” Charleston, South Carolina has a remarkable history as a port city and cultural crossroads. The Halsey Institute is committed to building on and exploring the complex and sometimes troubling history of this place through diverse exhibitions and an international artist-in-residence program. To find out our current and upcoming exhibitions, click here.


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About once a year, we host an artist-in-residence for a period of weeks or months. The purpose of the residency is to provide artists with a unique opportunity to produce new work, which will be exhibited at the Halsey Institute. We seek to foster meaningful interactions between our artist-in-residence and the community whenever possible, through public events, lectures, and workshops. We aim to provide further insight into the life of an artist and their creative process. Often, a video is produced, documenting the artist’s time in residence. Past artists-in-residence include Long-Bin Chen, Tiebena Dagnogo, Eames Demetrios, Htein Lin, Rikuo Ueda, and Motoi Yamamoto among others.


The Halsey Institute often partners with other departments on the College of Charleston campus, as well as with local businesses and organizations. These partnerships enrich our exhibitions and extend our footprint outside of the galleries. On campus, we have collaborated with the Addlestone Library, and the Avery Institute, as well as Art History, Arts Management, English, Geology, the Lowcountry Hall of Math and Science, Sociology, and Studio Art. Off campus, we have worked with the City of Charleston, Clemson University Architecture Center, Medical University of South Carolina, NASA, New Music Collective, Pure Theatre, and Redux Contemporary Art Center among others to produce special programs in conjunction with our exhibitions and events.



art-o-mat The Art*O*Mat is a repurposed cigarette vending machine converted to sell art. The mission of Artists-in-Cellophane (A.I.C.), the sponsoring organization of Art*O*Mat ®, is to encourage art consumption by combining the worlds of art and commerce in an innovative form. With roughly 400 contributing artists from 10 different countries, A.I.C. has created an opportunity to purchase original artwork while providing exposure and promotional support for the artists. A.I.C.’s belief is that art should be progressive, yet personal and approachable. What better way to do this than with a heavy cold steel machine? Better yet – make it Circus-themed! Wouldn’t you like to see your own work in our machine? Visit

Community Partners 2015