Meet the Artists: 2021 Artist-in-Residence

Every year the South Carolina State Parks Service hosts the Artist-In-Residence program. This program provides artists with the opportunity to gain inspiration from the natural and cultural resources of the South Carolina State Parks. In return for a week-long stay at a state park cabin, each artist produces an original piece of artwork that is presented to the park. This competitive program attracts outstanding artists from all over the state and beyond. Out of over 80 applicants, meet the 16 artists that were chosen for the 2021 Artist-in-Residence program.  *The Artist-in-Residence program application is released in the fall of each year. Subscribe to our newsletter or follow our Facebook, Instagram or Twitter accounts for updates on when the 2022 application opens. 

Esther and Michael Gambrell - Little Pee Dee State Park

Esther and Michael Gambrell are a married photography duo.  They own Shining Star Studios in Greenville, SC where they specialize in virtual tours and photography for small business owners. Having four young kiddos their personal passion includes photographing the universe.  They work together to compose, capture, and composite beautiful portraits of stars, landscapes, and anything else creation presents them.  

Website - Instagram - Facebook

Lauren Garner - Santee State Park 

As a South Carolina State Parks Ultimate Outsider, 38-year-old Lauren Garner from Lexington, SC is over the moon to have the opportunity to be an Artist-in-Residence!  She has been creating art her entire life and credits her mom, a retired elementary art teacher, for instilling a passion for art in her at a young age. Lauren's main medium is photography, but she also enjoys creating mixed media pieces. She finds inspiration from traveling to new places and loves to capture the beauty of the outdoors. 

Ms. Garner holds degrees from Belmont University and Columbia College and is a high school teacher who is passionate about advocating for public education. She plays the violin and guitar and loves supporting local music. Lauren considers the state parks to be one of the best things about South Carolina and is honored to be included in this talented group of artists!

Website - Instagram 

Linda Harvey Harrell - Barnwell State Park 

Linda Harvey Harrell, a basket maker living in Colleton County, has been making pine needle baskets since the summer of 2007, having learned the craft that summer in a class taught by Judy Mallow at the John C. Campbell Folk School in Brasstown, NC. Longleaf pine needles are harvested locally, dried and sewn into coils using artificial sinew, nylon thread, raffia, or other binding materials. Driftwood, beads, bones, seed pods and other natural materials are often used to enhance the pine needle basket. For the last 10 years, Linda has been an artist in the South Carolina Artisans’ Center in Walterboro. Her baskets are also found in the Edisto Museum on Edisto Island and The Swamp Log Gallery in Bishopville, both in South Carolina. Linda was awarded 1st place in Melbourne, Florida’s Native Rhythms Festival’s Nature Division, Art Competition, 2010, for her antler basket. In 2013, Linda was award 2nd place for her double antler basket at Walton Beach, Florida’s Musical Echoes Native Art Competition. She also had two baskets accepted into the Phillip Dickel Basket Museum exhibit “Nature’s Garden” which ran from May-September 2018.

Patrick Krohn - Hickory Knob State Resort Park 

After more than a 15-year break, Patrick is once again compelled to photograph the world around him. He was a photojournalist for two newspapers out West, and that documentary approach still influences his art as a nature photographer here in South Carolina. He works to blend what he knows about photojournalism with what he is learning about nature photography. "I let the story in a scene unfold in front of me. I want to explore the world as it is; I want my art to be an honest and fair representation of what was there at that exact moment," he said. 

The bulk of his work is created while commuting to and from his full-time job as a pricing analyst for Hubbell Power Systems in Aiken, SC. He earned his Bachelor’s of Journalism from the University of Missouri. After working as a photographer and photo editor for 10 years, he left it to pursue a career in sales for about 12 years. During that time, he earned his MBA from Augusta University. For Christmas 2016, he gifted himself a new DSLR camera. Since then, he has spent as much time as possible photographing the lesser, known areas of Aiken and South Carolina. He teaches photo workshops and displays his work at two local galleries: Art & Soul of Aiken, and 4P Studios in Augusta, GA.


Eric Lake - Lake Hartwell State Park 

Eric began working as an artist at a young age.  His father was a sign painter, muralist, and portrait artist, so Eric started working in the family business as soon as he could hold a brush.

For 20 years, he worked in New York as an art director.  This past year, he and his wife spent time painting on the west coast in California, and then back home on the east coast in South Carolina.  He enjoys working with a variety of mediums, but oils are in his blood—and under his fingernails.  He loves finding unique vignettes in nature and putting them on canvas.

During these challenging times, we have all been compelled to get outside and enjoy Nature.  A piece of artwork allows us to take something that inspires us and look at it every day to experience the calm, the peace, the excitement, the love, the hope, the joy—whatever inspiration we need to keep going.

Website - Instagram 

Sarah Mandell - Cheraw State Park 

Sarah Mandell was born in 1983 and grew up in Maryland. Throughout her childhood, she pursued art and received her BFA from the Maryland Institute College of Art in 2005. Sarah has lived in Greenville, SC since 2010 and balances her time between working as an interior designer and running her handmade business, Once Again Sam, where she makes and sells handmade jewelry and needle felted fiber art. 

Sarah’s 2D felting is often mistaken for traditional paintings at a distance, but these soft textured landscapes are made up of layered dyed wool fiber that has been matted down with a barbed needle. Her inspiration is almost always nature and landscape scenes from the South, particularly the marshes of the Lowcountry and the mountains of the upstate. Her work has been exhibited at multiple galleries in the last few years and she also teaches workshops online and in person. When she’s not in the studio, Sarah enjoys hiking with her husband and exploring all the beautiful places South Carolina has to offer. 

Website - Instagram - Facebook - Twitter

Sam McElveen - Givhans Ferry State Park 

Samantha McElveen is a ceramic artist and full-time art teacher based in Greer, South Carolina. She received her BFA in Art Education from the University of South Carolina in 2018 and is in her 5th year of teaching. 

McElveen was born and raised in Columbia and spent summers as a camp counselor in Aiken. She focuses primarily in functional art, and she finds inspiration from both the people close to her and from her surroundings. This summer will mark her second art residency with the South Carolina State Parks Service. She spent a week at Dreher Island State Park during 2020 and made a series of mugs for the park’s villas, and she is looking forward to her time at Givhans Ferry State Park in 2021.


Beth Melton Seabrook - Edisto Beach State Park

Raised in the South Carolina Lowcountry, Beth portrays conventional local images upon the unconventional surfaces of salvaged and repurposed materials. She thrives on combining the unexpected use of ordinary objects with the natural beauty of local scenery and wildlife.

Beth began her formal training in the field of art at the College of Charleston in 1982. She went on to study at Winthrop College with concentrations in painting and pottery. She spent a year on exchange at Bowling Green State University in Bowling Green, Ohio, where she experimented in such diverse areas as glass blowing, enameling, gallery installation, and art therapy. She received a BA in Psychology with a minor in Fine Arts. Beth’s love of diverse surfaces has been evident over the years. These unusual “canvases” have included interior and exterior walls, floors, fabric, glass, metal, clay, and furniture.

Her creations have received many awards over the years such as Best Children’s Room 1996 in the Mount Pleasant Parade of Homes, 2nd Place Best Display 2013 Summerville Flowertown Festival, and the 2014 Mayor Joseph P. Riley Certified Authentic Made in Charleston Award. Beth has also been chosen as an Exhibiting artist in the 2014 & 2015 Mt Pleasant Office of the Mayor Art Program and as a Participating artist in the West of ChART Box Project. Recently she was chosen as the featured artist for the KWLA Big Rock Fishing Tournament in Morehead City NC.

In addition, she is a past volunteer with the Arts in Healing art therapy program at the Medical University of South Carolina where she enjoyed bringing a little creative sunshine into the lives of oncology patients at the Hollings Cancer Center.

She lives, paints, scavenges for surfaces, and generally enjoys life in a coastal town outside of Charleston, SC with her very helpful Hubby, 4 daughters, 2 felines, and one very energetic pup!

Website - Instagram - Facebook 

Stacy Morgan - Poinsett State Park 

Stacy Morgan is a potter and painter living in Lexington, SC. She has always painted and started working with clay three years ago. Having grown up in Charleston, the Lowcountry continues to influence her work. She tends to work figuratively so that she can incorporate images of the ocean, beaches, and woods in both her paintings and pottery. Stacy typically throws clay on the pottery wheel, versus hand-building pieces. She paints images and lettering on the pieces using underglazes and incorporates lettering into the designs that reflect her background in graphic design (UGA). Her paintings are presently focused on pet portrait commissions, with the majority of them being dogs. The portraits are painted in tight detail using acrylic paint. "It is always fun to see the next animal that is commissioned for a portrait," she said. 

Website - Facebook 

Dave Schuppert - Dreher Island State Park 

After graduating from high school in 1965, Dave Schuppert was accepted into the School of Art & Design in Philadelphia where he studied fine art & illustration for four years.  After serving in the USMC as an illustrator for three years, he began his art career as an illustrator.  He has worked as a freelance artist and was represented by Creative Freelancers in New York and also worked for a major publisher where he eventually became art department supervisor.  Dave retired in 2013 and now does mostly landscape and wildlife painting.  His work has been accepted into both national and international exhibitions.  He has won numerous awards both as an illustrator and painter.


Francis Sills - Oconee State Park 

Francis Sills (born 1974) earned an MFA from Parsons School of Design, New York, NY and a BFA from Syracuse University, Syracuse, NY. His work has been exhibited widely throughout the United States and he has been included in recent group exhibitions at Dutoit Gallery: Dayton, OH; The Painting Center: New York, NY; Manifest Gallery: Cincinnati, OH; Wright State University: Dayton, OH; Blue Mountain Gallery: New York, NY; and Santa Clara University: Santa Clara, CA. He is represented by Horton Hayes Fine Art in Charleston, SC and Kenise Barnes Fine Art in Kent, CT, and is an adjunct professor of Painting and Drawing in the Studio Art department at the College of Charleston. Francis Sills’ oil paintings are grounded in the perceptual-based, realist tradition. The artist works directly from observation in nature. In dealing with the intricacies and challenges of working from observation and the sustained experience of intense, visual scrutiny, the artist comes to understand and know his world. Sills’ paintings are dense and subtle, revealing specific nuances of color, light, and form. Often, the underlying geometry and architecture of the composition are apparent in the application of paint, the artist’s analytic thinking about structure and his methodology still evident in the finished work. Sills’ most recent series of paintings and drawings depict the evolving landscape of his garden and home in Mount Pleasant, South Carolina. The work is at once personal and universal, an observed world of nature, home and family.

Website - Instagram

Patty Waller - Table Rock State Park 

Patty Waller is a self-taught artist who has participated in the state parks' artist program multiple times.  With a degree in Zoology, she has studied animals, ecology, and the environment for almost 50 years.  And she has been interpreting and painting these subjects for most of that time in a realistic style.  Her mediums include oils on canvas, opaque watercolor, also known as gouache, watercolor, pastel, and stained glass.

Over the years as a professional artist, she has sold work and had commissions throughout SC, NC, Georgia, Kentucky, Pennsylvania, Indiana, and Japan.  Her depictions of wildlife, and also horses, have been juried into many fine art shows and received awards.  However, her current inspiration is in hiking, exploring, and photographing South Carolina State Parks during the week's stay that they provide.  These experiences are then interpreted in paint in her home studio in Fountain Inn, SC.  


Georgia Walters - Edisto Beach State Park 

Georgia Walters is a 49-year-old published writer and photographer based in Savannah, GA. She started her journey with photography in 2012 and has not put the camera down yet. During the pandemic, she bought a popup camper so that she could easily still travel and get out in the woods. All of nature, every part that makes it vibrate with life, is her inspiration. With her love of writing poetic prose, she tries to inspire others to get out in nature by sharing her images on Facebook and Instagram.

Georgia’s work has been published in numerous places, including magazines and novels. She is currently a volunteer with the Savannah National Wildlife Refuge and Caretta Research Project when she is not out exploring the forest and hammocks.

“There is natural beauty all around us, we just have to take the time to appreciate it. The forest is calling, don’t let it go to voicemail.”

Website - Instagram - Facebook

Meg Winnecour - Poinsett State Park 

Meg Winnecour is a mother, artist, teacher and poet living in Asheville, NC with her husband and daughter.  Along with being the art teacher at Hanger Hall School for Girls, she is primarily a still life painter working in acrylics, India ink and watercolor on birch panel.  Meg works from life and from photographs of natural arrangements of objects that occur on her kitchen table; her primary objective in painting is to capture the profound beauty in ordinary moments.  She is inspired by color, light, transparency, reflection and the spirit inherent in the every-day objects we hold and use. Born and raised in Charleston, SC, she has been painting her whole life, inspired by her mother who was also a still-life painter and by the special Lowcountry light. Meg is grateful to South Carolina State Parks for her week-long residency at Poinsett State Park and can't wait to spend time exploring and capturing the natural beauty of that landscape.  


Jeni Zapor - Little Pee Dee State Park 

Jeni Zapor is a 45-year-old artist from Summerville, SC. She originally prepared as an elementary school teacher but after a rekindling of her love of art, she returned for a second degree (graphic design at Trident Tech) in 2018. Jeni Zapor Photography had been in business since 2007 for family, wedding, and baby sessions. Drawing and painting have been happening since she could hold a crayon.

Nature, specifically birds, was her main inspiration. Other favorite subjects are horses, marsh landscapes, abstract, and people (a new challenge). Acrylic, oil, watercolor, ink, graphite and “film” are her favorite mediums. Large canvases are the most fun to paint, and she has a dream of someday painting an outdoor mural.

An avid South Carolina park visitor, she is thrilled to be contributing to the art that she has already enjoyed in-cabin stays in the past!

Website - Instagram - Facebook