Fletcher Williams III completes latest sculpture funded by Coastal Community Foundation's annual Lowcountry Artist of the Year Award

Portrait by Andrew CebulkaArtwork Details

“Homestead” 44 x 44 x 84 in. 2018
Tin Roof, Picket Fence, Interior Wood Paneling, and Rebar
Fletcher Williams III

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Throughout the past two years, I've dedicated a significant portion of my practice to exploring, collecting, and documenting communities within the South Carolina Lowcountry that are representative of African American entrepreneurship and ingenuity. I typically find myself roaming urban spaces, but just recently began exploring rural South Carolina. I've found countless examples of master craftsmanship, agricultural expertise, and architectural beauty.

Homestead is an assemblage of various iconic materials collected during my explorations. The overall form of “Homestead” is representative of a multi-use barn, located near the outskirts of Walterboro, SC. It is a grand and elegant matrix of rafters, timber columns, and rusty corrugated tin. At its height, it housed grain, hogs, cauldrons, farming tools, and served as an appliance repair shop for neighboring businesses. I've represented the exterior structure with an exposed rafter system, comprised of reclaimed picket-fence and rusted tin roofing salvaged from a Freedman’s Cottage. The center concave segment is comprised of haint-blue tongue-and-groove siding; the platform is comprised of inverted picket fence decorated with a series of rebar hooks identical to those used by black farmers in butchering livestock.

I have used the picket fence in many of my latest works. It is an opportunity to critique and subvert a distinctly American symbol and bolster the creative practices that have allowed black communities to thrive, independent of proprietary ideas of prosperity and liberty. The picket fence is relegated to its aesthetic value and used only to elevate a cultural treasure.

About The Griffith/Reyburn Visual Arts Fund

The Griffith/Reyburn Visual Arts Fund was created in 2003 by Michael Griffith and Donna Reyburn as an endowment with Coastal Community Foundation. The endowment provides the annual “Lowcountry Artist of the Year Award” to support the creation of a work of visual art that represents an aspect of the South Carolina Lowcountry’s unique life, culture, or environment— its “look and feel.” The award is intended to assist the artist during creation of an original work of art which is then the personal property of the artist, to keep, show or sell at his or her discretion.

Each spring, applications from local artists are reviewed by a panel of volunteers with expertise in visual arts. The coveted award has gone each year to a very talented artist who has brought immense pride to the donors and to the Foundation.

With a purpose to help create vibrant communities by uniting people and investing resources, Coastal Community Foundation is deeply rooted in the community. CCF has more than four decades of experience working with people and organizations who want to make a lasting difference through permanent, endowed funds for philanthropic impact.