National Outdoor Sculpture Competition & Exhibition

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Sculptors from across the nation are welcome to submit an application for participation in the National Outdoor Sculpture Competition & Exhibition. Up to 14 sculptures are juried into the exhibit and compete for cash prizes totaling up to $16,250. The application deadline for the 2014/15 Exhibition has passed. Call the North Charleston Cultural Arts Department at 843-740-5854 for more information, or to be added to the application mailing list for 2015/16.


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2014/15 Competition & Exhibition

Where & When

North Charleston Riverfront Park
1001 Everglades Avenue, North Charleston, SC 29405
Viewing times: May 1, 2014 – March 24, 2015, public park open daily
Free admission & parking


Sculpture artists from across the nation applied to the ninth annual National Outdoor Sculpture Competition and Exhibition, a component of the 2014 North Charleston Arts Festival. Presented by the City of North Charleston Cultural Arts Department, this unique, eleven month exhibition offers established and emerging artists the opportunity to display their thought provoking, extraordinary sculptures, as well as compete for up to $16,250 in Exhibition Honorariums and Awards. Eleven sculptures were selected by the juror, Brad Thomas, Director of Residencies & Exhibitions at the McColl Center in Charlotte, NC. Once installed at the exhibition site, Brad selected pieces to receive awards for Best in Show, Outstanding Merit, and Honorable Mention.

The eleven sculptures selected for exhibition are by eleven artists from six states.

Sculpture sites are located throughout the picturesque North Charleston Riverfront Park in North Charleston, SC. The park is set on the banks of the beautiful Cooper River. Visitors may enjoy ten acres of walking paths, a performance pavilion, picnic shelter, a fishing pier and boardwalk, an oversized sandbox, and children’s play fountain. The historic site is centered in the Noisette District, the largest urban redevelopment project ever undertaken in the US. North Charleston Riverfront Park is open daily and admission and parking are free.

About the Juror

We are pleased to announce the Juror for the 2014/15 competition and exhibition is Brad Thomas, Director of Residencies & Exhibitions at the McColl Center in Charlotte, NC. Thomas recently served as Curator of Modern & Contemporary Art for Charlotte’s Mint Museum where he led advances in the Museum’s collection. In addition, he organized residencies for Japanese installation artist Motoi Yamamoto and FECUND, the multi-disciplinary work of John W. Love, Jr. Thomas served on the Mecklenburg County Public Art Commission for five years and was chair of that commission from 2008-10. Prior to the Mint, Thomas was the director and curator of the Van Every/Smith Galleries at Davidson College. Thomas led initiatives to integrate visual art into the learning experience, most notably through the establishment of Davidson’s Campus Sculpture Program, which features major outdoor installations by Magdalena Abakanowicz, Antony Gormley, Juame Plensa, Joel Shapiro, and William Tucker. He also produced exhibitions and publications on Magdalena Abakanowicz, Ewan Gibbs, Herb Jackson, Robert Lazzarini, Reverend McKendree Robbins Long, and Joel Shapiro. His partnership with the College Writing Program in 2012 led to the release of Davidson Collects: 100 Writers Respond to Art, the first interdisciplinary book on Davidson College’s permanent art collection.

Stay tuned for award announcements, images, and artists’ statements!


2012/13 Competition & Exhibition

About the Juror

The 2013/14 National Outdoor Sculpture Competition and Exhibition juror was Janet Kagan, a Founding Principal of the Public Art Collaborative, an interdisciplinary consulting group that brings together artists, government representatives, arts administrators, urban planners, landscape designers, architects, and historians to initiate and refine cultural arts policies, projects, and programs.  Kagan has more than three decades of experience in strategic planning with established and emergent art programs, and management of projects representing both artists and agencies.  She has held positions in city government; local and statewide non-profit organizations; international architectural and interpretive design firms; and, on boards and committees of national and regional arts organizations.  She leads and directs design teams, and serves as liaison among artists, clients, public agencies, and elected officials.  Since 2010, Kagan and her colleagues have also been creating and directing innovative alliances between nationally recognized artists and small manufacturers in rural counties to foster economic revitalization.  She is currently Associate Editor of the International Journal of the Arts In Society, participates on artist selection panels and juries, and teaches about public art to artists and communities.  She holds an MA in Philosophy of Art and an MBA.

Juror’s Statement

“I am honored to jury the 2013 National Outdoor Sculpture Competition and Exhibition at Riverfront Park. It is a privilege to contribute to the appreciation of art in a landscaped, public context. Art that fluently traverses the boundary between the language of studio practice and public space is work to which we should carefully attend. Each of the 2013 selections eloquently speak to us and elucidate how the artists’ ideas translated into material form, the works’ relationship to both physical and human nature, and our evoked impulses for interaction and surprise. These nine sculptures create surface tensions that play with angled voids and intersections. No two perspectives are the same as we walk toward, around, and in the works. There is also a heft associated with these artworks – not just in their material, color, and scale, but in their aesthetic request for connection and dialogue. I hope you will mingle with, touch, and listen to the voices the works articulate.” – Janet Kagan, May 2013


TheBurning_PAlexanderParis Alexander
Raleigh, NC
The Burning – Carved Limestone

“I have spent a life time of trying to present visually the things I fail to express verbally, so often I stick to a technical explanation of the work. This work is of carved limestone. I am a direct carver, meaning I don’t work from preplanned drawings or models. For the most part I will simply draw a few simple forms on the stone and start carving. The lines that flow across the surface are made from a tooth chisel, one of my favorite tools, which is essentially a chisel with cuts down its face like a heavy rake.

If I were to apply an inspiration for the imagery, I would say this work best fits in with my “Memento Mori” series. These works are those themed around the visual pairing of life and the death to follow. When I named this piece “The Burning” I was visually speaking of the desire to live a life so fully and purposeful as to make an inevitable death somewhat less daunting. In essence the burning desire that drives an artist to create.”


Cowl_CBillingsleyCarl Billingsley
Ayden, NC
Cowl – Oiled Steel





Bunny_JBrewerJeffie Brewer
Nacogdoches, TX
Bunny –  Steel
Best in Show

“I make things.
I show people how to make things.
I have an insatiable desire to know, to understand, to create.
I work with my hands.
I work with my head.
I strive to make art that is accessible and enjoyable for everyone; that engages a wide variety of audiences and connects with each viewer at some level – hopefully without selling myself short or being patronizing to the viewer.
At the core of my work is an underlying theme of fear mixed with desire, and an honest search for beauty.  By combining fun and whimsy (don’t take yourself too seriously) with fear and loss (oh crap, I’m gonna die), this artist stays grounded.
The intention is to provide just enough information, allowing for a narrative without delving into total non-representationalism.
All art-speak aside, I make art for the same reasons the cave man did… I am a cave man.”


Transponder_GGreskoGary Gresko
Oriental, NC
Transponder –  Steel
Honorable Mention



Transponder, although made of heavy steel seems to be floating up into the atmosphere. Our lives today are filled with signals both receiving and sending. We don’t see them until they appear into a material form such as a picture or text.”




Melanie_TierIIAnn Melanie
Greenville, NC
Tier II – Painted Steel
Outstanding Merit


“My work represents my explorations in methods, materials, and scale. The work is structural in nature drawing from constructivism, minimalism, and my affinity for straight lines and right angles; it encompasses a wide variety of media and process, ranging in scale from miniature to monumental I choose simple geometric shape as the basis of my work, this allows me great latitude in the creation of my sculpture. These simple forms lend themselves readily to casting, carving, fabrication, and construction; it also allows me unlimited opportunity to explore surface. The use of simple shape establishes a level of recognition for the viewer. The repetition of same or similar elements strengthens the viewers’ sense of the familiar. The rectilinear forms represent windows and doors; windows, which look from my world into yours but keep us apart, and doors, which allow us, passage through. Windows and doors are not literal images, but act as a symbolic reference to ideas, images, and emotions. My work is the sum of my life experiences it has no specific meaning and it means everything. The work is simple in its form and complex in its construction.”


DaddyLonglegs_JParkerJohn W. Parker
Glendside, PA
Daddy Longlegs – Steel

“The forms from nature that I have drawn from for this sculpture are taken from insect life-segmented, hard shelled bodies, robotic and armor coated, yet able to instantly take flight. The large scale of these otherwise small creatures comes from reality and fantasy of the prehistoric world. Steel plate is my material of choice; man-made and industrial in its purchased form. I enjoy the challenge of making something animated and weightless with iron. The possibilities have been endless for me in the way I have been able to transform this heavy material. Strong and durable, my sculptures withstand the test of time and I’ve had great success in public sights. Outdoor sculptures have to function in a comprehensive way as a drive-by experience, as strong and dynamic silhouettes. With further exploration for the passer-by or neighborhood resident, a deeper appreciation and enjoyment can be explored walking around, under and through the pieces. Art is not an instant snapshot. It is meant to be lived with and experienced. The importance of outdoor sculpture is that one does not have to go to a museum to experience it.”


Life_AWallsAdam Walls
Lauvinburg, NC
Life– Painted Steel
Honorable Mention


“My artwork often deals with concepts of memory, fantasy, and life. In this sculpture I was focused on the issue of life in its beginnings. This work is for me a representation of creation, pregnancy, and birth. I have in this sculpture barrowed ancient symbols for male and female in in such a way to depict a mother carrying a male child. I also enjoy the potential for interpretation that viewers may bring to my work. I have heard others discuss this work as potentially representing topics such as intercourse, religion, and home. I am open to these interpretations and I am always excited that people can engage and interpret my work in their own personal way.”


EndersEnigma_DWhitefieldDavis Whitfield, IV
Mountain City, TN
Ender’s Enigma – Corten/Painted Steel





ALittleLessthanMeetstheEye_BWoodBill Wood
Fairfax, WV
A Little Less Than Meets the Eye Fiberglass and polished aluminum
Honorable Mention


“My goal is to make pieces that when seen in passing they make the viewer stop and question what they had just seen.  “A Little Less Than Meets the Eye” came to life when I wanted to make a piece that appeared to have less space that it actually does.”