Meet the Artists: 2022 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 nearly 100 applicants, meet the 22 artists that were chosen for the 2022 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 2023 application opens.
For more information about the program, visit our Artist-in-Residence page.
KC Christmas- Barnwell State Park
Growing up in South Carolina, KC Christmas has always enjoyed visiting the state parks and is now thrilled to be visiting as an Artist in Residence. Throughout her childhood, she has enjoyed art and received her BFA from Bob Jones University in 2015. KC currently lives near Greenville, South Carolina and enjoys sharing her artwork through local markets and art exhibitions.
KC is most well known for her acrylic paintings and paper collages. Despite the different mediums, nature is a huge inspiration and can be seen in almost every element of her work, especially local flora and water scenes. Her work has been exhibited in multiple exhibitions both locally and across the world. When she’s not in the studio, KC can be found with her husband at a local coffee shop or exploring the South Carolina state parks as they hope to soon become Ultimate Outsiders.
Jenny Dilworth - Givhans Ferry State Park
Jenny Dilworth is a native North Carolinian but has lived in South Carolina for 35 years. She currently works as a children’s librarian for Richland Library in Columbia. Jenny has had a Nikon in her hands since she was a teenager and has been involved in sports photography for many years. For the past 8 years, she primarily worked as a freelance photographer for the University of South Carolina Athletics Department. Jenny has covered most sports, including NCAA Final Fours for the men’s and women’s basketball teams, national championship competitions for the equestrian team and men’s and women’s golf. She also have extensive experience photographing historic structures as an architectural historian for the SC Department of Archives and History. Jenny also has a love of nature photography and says it’s a lot like sports – all uncontrolled action where you’ve got to pay attention and literally stay focused.
Esther Gambrell - Chester State Park
Esther Gambrell is a school portrait, commercial, and headshot photographer who lives in Greenville, South Carolina. After 15 years of professional photography, she picked up a digital paint brush to add more personality to her work. Esther photographs her subject and then transforms the image into an art piece by hand painting over it digitally. "This is more than adding a filter," She said. "It's a long process of hand-painting brush stokes on the canvas, but it gives the final image more personality and an intrinsic uniqueness." Esther says that she gets her inspiration from nature and relationships. She paints landscapes, flowers, butterflies, as well as children and families. Her favorite thing about being selected as an Artist in Residence is doing what she loves: spending time with her family and creating art. "The Artist in Residence program forces me to slow down, enjoy nature, and be present with the people I love the most. I don't have to leave my home state to do it! South Carolina is so beautiful, and it's a privilege to represent her in my work."
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Greg Hammond- Givhans Ferry State Park
A South Carolina native, Greg Hammond is familiar with South Carolina and everything it offers. Greg was born and raised in Greenville and now lives in the upstate with his wife. They have five adult children and one granddaughter. He attended the University of South Carolina to earn a bachelors degree and is now a retired mortgage banker. After retiring, Greg bought a camera and became a serious photographer by learning through classes, articles, books, clubs, and tutorials. He is inspired by nature and enjoys photographing all aspects of it. Aside from photography, Greg enjoys spending time with his family, especially his granddaughter, and volunteering. His two favorite organizations are Meals on Wheels and Habitat for Humanity. Although he is no longer able to physically build homes, he enjoys donating a framed photograph to each new homeowner and hopes to inspire them to explore our state parks.
Betsy Hughes - Dreher Island State Park
Betsy Hughes is a fabric and fiber artist who loves working with the many colors, textures and versatility of fabrics to recreate beautiful and interesting photos that inspire her. These could be photos of people, places or her favorite subject, nature. She remembers when she was a child her mother very patiently taught her to use a needle and thread and a sewing machine. Betsy describes her collage art quilting and thread painting process as challenging but therapeutic and rewarding.
Betsy has won awards and recognition throughout the country and exhibits her fabric art locally and nationally. She also recently was accepted into the Augusta University Health Healing Arts Program where she will have a month-long exhibit of her colorful collages that she hopes will bring smiles and inspiration to patients and visitors.
She and her husband, Dave, moved to Aiken four years ago from northwestern Pennsylvania, where Betsy was born and raised.
When not in her home studio you will find Betsy enjoying her daily walk, planting her spring flower garden, volunteering, or helping with the artist guild in Aiken. She and Dave have four grown children and three grandchildren. You may also find her cuddled with one or all of their three lovable and entertaining cats.
Steven Hyatt- Table Rock State Park
Growing up in the upstate and now living in Charleston, Steven Hyatt is familiar with the South Carolina landscape. Many things inspire him but little is more inspiring than nature. Steven has owned his own business in Charleston, called Imaging Arts Printing, for nearly 15 years. He focuses on photography and occasionally creates paintings and sculptures.
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Frankie Kellum - Poinsett State Park
Frankie Kellum graduated from Winthrop University, earning a Bachelor of Visual Arts. Since college, she has worn many creative hats including graphic designer, art director and interior decorator. However, her real passion has always been fine arts. Recently, she decided it was time to get back to painting and became inspired by the great outdoors. Her preferred medium is acrylics but she loves other mediums as well, including watercolor, pastels, oils, graphite and charcoal. A South Carolina native, Frankie has found that she does not have to travel too far for great subject matter to paint. She and her husband love to hike and kayak throughout the SC State Parks, finding many fun things to explore!
Patrick Krohn- Poinsett State Park
Patrick Krohn was previously a photojournalist for two newspapers out west. 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 Bachelors 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 in 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. He is also a member of the Atlanta Photography Group, where he has had his work juried into many of their recent shows.
Sarah Mandell- Dreher Island State Park
Sarah Mandell is the owner of Once Again Sam and is also an interior designer. Sarah grew up in the Baltimore, Maryland area and moved with her family to Denmark, where she first took interest in art and design. She attended the Maryland Institute of Fine Arts, where she received her BFA in 2005. Sarah specializes in jewelry making and fiber art, where she creates needle felted landscapes, punch needle and rug hook designs, and most recently, circular weaving. She is inspired by the patterns found in nature, beautiful views, and color. Having visited 21 parks, she looks forward to visiting more and publishing a memoir about her adventures in art and nature in South Carolina. When not creating art, she enjoys running, hiking, reading, organizing things, and spying on animals. Sarah currently resides in Greenville, South Carolina, with her husband Josh, and feels very lucky to be able to make art every day for a living.
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Steven Nisbet - Santee State Park
Currently residing in Port Royal, South Carolina, Steven Nisbet is looking forward to his time as Artist-in-Residence at Santee State Park. Steve spent his childhood in Australia and New Zealand, which led him to a life-long love for the natural world and admiration for nature.
Steven was looking for a hobby in 2009 and picked up some art supplies. He is primarily a self-taught artist but has some family with an artistic background; his grandfather had oil paintings on display in the national museum of New Zealand. He quickly learned that he did not enjoy oil painting as his grandfather had, instead he gravitated toward watercolors. He signed up for a few classes at local and online outlets, but found trial, error and practice are the best teachers. Steve has since added gouache, ink, color pencils and pastels to his arsenal.
Steven has participated in many juried Fine Art shows in the region. He was also selected to display in both the South Carolina and Georgia Watercolor Society year-end shows.
Bethany Plonski - Hickory Knob State Resort Park
Bethany Plonski is a nature photographer and writer based in the Atlanta area. She began her career in education and then transitioned into writing and editing roles, which gave her more time to pursue her interest in photography. She started taking photography classes at the University of North Georgia in 2018, and while she has experimented with many types of photography since then, her heart has always been with nature photography.
Bethany loves to spend time outside exploring the woods and learning about the plants and wildlife she finds there. She especially enjoys hybrid projects that blend photography and creative writing. For the past few years she has been working on a series of photos and poems that highlight unique characteristics of wildflowers and wildlife. State and local parks are vital to her photography practice, and she looks forward to giving back to the parks through her residency at Hickory Knob State Park later this spring.
Ellen Richardson Conner - Lake Hartwell State Park
Ellen Richardson Conner was born and raised in Greenville, SC and currently lives in Piedmont, SC with her husband, Greg, and their two pups. She graduated from the University of South Carolina with a BA in psychology and devoted many years to careers in animal care and early childhood education, while nurturing her beloved artistic hobbies on the side. In 2018, Ellen decided to take a leap of faith and channel her lifelong passion for the arts into a full time creative venture. She launched a small business, Belle Terre Studios, to showcase her artwork and has found great joy in sharing her vision with the world through commissions, publications, and exhibitions. Ellen has dabbled in various mediums throughout the years, but her primary focus at the moment is photography. She also frequently collaborates with her husband to craft unique mixed media pieces made from locally sourced upcycled materials. Ellen's greatest inspiration is nature, hence the studio name Belle Terre, which means “beautiful earth” in French. She's always happiest when she's exploring the great outdoors and she strives to use her photography to encourage others to respect, celebrate, and preserve the natural world. When she's not busy creating, Ellen enjoys traveling around the US, collecting all things vintage, watching documentaries, indulging in delicious desserts, and rocking out at concerts.
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David Schuppert- Devils Fork State Park
Growing up in the town of Skippack, PA, David Schuppert developed a love for the outdoors and art at a young age. After graduating high school in 1965, David attended a four year commercial and fine arts program at the School of Art & Design in Philadelphia. After art school, he joined the Marine Corps and served in Vietnam. One of his drawings is even in the Marine Corps Museum in Quantico, VA. . Following his time in the Marine Corps, David opened an art studio and over the years has worked in screen printing, sign painting, murals, custom graphics and illustration. In 2016, he retired from a large publishing firm where he worked as an illustrator and art department supervisor.
David now focuses on landscape and wildlife painting primarily in acrylic and pastel. His work has been accepted into both national and international exhibitions. and he has won numerous awards both as an illustrator and painter. David and his wife, Patti, currently reside in West Columbia, SC.
Beth Melton-Seabrook - Myrtle Beach State Park
Raised in Mount Pleasant, Beth portrays the beautiful and colorful coastal low country. She works in acrylics and likes to embellish her work with mixed media elements, such as found papers and 3D objects. Beth has a BA in Psychology with a minor in Fine Arts and a graduate degree in Educational Psychology. She began painting after college in 1990 and started her business in 1994. At her business Elizabeth and Co Art, Beth teaches studio painting and workshops, licenses her designs for dome décor manufacturing, and sells limited art pieces to retailers in the Southeast. When she is not painting, Beth enjoys hiking, paddle boarding and yoga.
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Allen Sharpe - Table Rock State Park
Allen Sharpe grew up in the Dutch Fork area of South Carolina, where his family had about 30 acres of land and a pond. Here, Allen had plenty of space to roam and make discoveries. At 10 years old, he got his first camera and his love for photography and the outdoors began.
For 35 years, Allen worked for South Carolina ETV and worked his way up as a Producer, Director, Director of Photography and Director of Field Production for the NatureScene television program with Rudy Mancke, before retiring in 2005. NatureScene has taken Allen all around our state, county and internationally, and won numerous awards. This also includes a Silver Circle Lifetime Achievement Emmy Award for Allen.
Since his first retirement, Allen has been the primary still photographer for the University of South Carolina Athletic department. He has photographed every sport, team and individual photos, department events, championship and bowl games for the university. This includes 10 National Championship events, 2 Baseball College World Series Championships, and 21 football bowl game events.
At 75, Allen is now concentrating on still photography and looks forward to his residency at Table Rock State Park.
Casey Shoub - Edisto Beach State Park
Casey Shoub Jr. grew up in a small town just outside of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Casey is an outdoor photographer and videographer but specializes in drones. He currently lives in Greenville, South Carolina, and is more commonly known as the Upstate Outdoor Adventurer for capturing the beauty of the upstate. Casey has a BSBA in marketing, an MBA in Innovation and Technology Management and has a UAV Part 107 License to operate drones commercially. Other than photography, he enjoys spending time outdoors, especially hiking and chasing waterfalls. Edisto Beach State Park is one of the few parks Casey has yet to visit and he is excited for the challenge of capturing the landscape of the coast by the air and ground.
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Judy Thomas and Scott Vrana - Oconee State Park
Scott and Judy are from Mechanicsville, Virginia, and have one adult son living in Santa Barbara, California. They currently share their home with a dog named Fluffy, who considers herself their muse.
Judy is a retired social work professor, now botanical artist, who has exhibited regionally and nationally. She uses colored pencil, ink, graphite, and pastel, as well as monotype printmaking, often in combination, to illustrate native plants, exotic tropical, and heirloom plants.
Scott is an Emeritus Professor of Psychology at Virginia Commonwealth University and has lived and photographed up and down the East Coast. He is primarily interested in nature and landscape photography and taking reference photographs to assist Judy in her work.
Both Scott and Judy love state and national parks and lands and are excited to have their first experience in a South Carolina State Park.
Margret Vetter - Cheraw State Park
Looking for a creative outlet after the kids went off to college, Margaret took a stained-glass class and fell in love with combining colors, light and textures. Quickly realizing cutting, foiling and soldering would take a long time to master she found that cutting the pieces smaller would allow for “happy accidents” and more creativity. Self-taught, her work evolves as she continues to learn.
Margaret earned a BFA in Theatre and dabbled in acting for a bit. Cooking then became her creative outlet for years, living in the DC area, working with caterers and catering on her own. After moving to SC in 2002 she continued cooking , working for a restaurant and a country store and owning her own lunch business.
Six years ago, while living in Lexington, Margaret challenged her husband to a “year of hiking, 26 different hikes”, Table Rock was one of the highlights. Never having hiked before, this opened up a wonderful world and inspired her mosaic work. Most of her pieces are nature related, whether “realistic” or whimsical, trees are a favorite subject. Since that time, they’ve moved to Travelers Rest, closer to more hiking.
John Walters - Santee State Park
Growing up in the rural community of Hartsville, SC, John Walters began his lifelong passion of creating art by spending his days fishing and drawing. He originally began creating art through pencil drawings of his favorite comic characters in grade school. Outside of school, his childhood involved adventures along the South Carolina rivers and forests and he was always inspired by the tiniest of details which can be found in the natural world.
As an adult, John worked as a dive master in the Turks and Caicos, where they were looking for a 16th century ship wreck. His adventures in the Caribbean introduced him to a whole new set of colors, creatures and beauty to be inspired by. John studied English in college and began his career as a full time artist in 2012 when he created his business Witzel Art. He is a self-taught artist who uses oils on canvas to create contemporary representational art focusing on the themes of the South, mixed with the hues and vibrancy of the waters and reefs of the Caribbean. A true Southern story-teller, John’s artwork is compelling, telling a story on the canvas meant to challenge the viewer to see the subject in a new light.
Georgia Walters - Little Pee Dee State Park
Georgia Walters is the wife of a lawyer, mother of 4, and grandmother of 2. She is an avid camper, explorer, and lover of nature, and is a full-time nature photographer, providing physical art through her store, Merchants on Bee, in Savannah, GA as well as her website. Georgia is severely hearing impaired and wears 2 hearing aids and although she can’t hear Mother Earth properly, she fully appreciates the natural beauty of life. Her passion is wildlife, but she also loves a gorgeous landscape. Georgia uses social media to write about her experiences and hopes to encourage her viewers to enjoy our natural wonders and protect them for future generations.
Once a model, Georgia realized that she missed “pictures”. Her mother-in-law suggested that maybe she needed to be on the other side of the camera and in 2012 sent her a camera to try out. She was instantly hooked and won her first award 3 months later. She has since been published on covers of books (Interitas), in magazines (South, Our Savannah), a digital publication from National Geographic, and won many awards. She currently volunteers as a photographer with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service at the Savannah Coastal Refuges Complex.
2022 is Georgia’s 10-year anniversary of her love story with photography and what better way to celebrate it than exploring a state park, camera in hand. Nature never goes out of style!
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Meg Winnecour - Edisto 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, she is primarily a still life painter working in acrylics, India ink, gouache 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 Edisto Beach State Park and can't wait to spend time exploring and capturing the natural beauty of that landscape