Friday, November 9, 2012

West Elm News Release

CHARLOTTE, NC October 19, 2012–Charlotte, NC artist Janette Grassi and Columbia, SC, artist Doni Jordan, collaborators since 1999, have created a one-of-a-kind art installation in the windows at West Elm. To celebrate the installation, the artists and West Elm will be hosting a reception on November 1, 2012 from 6-9 p.m. West Elm is located at 1100 Metropolitan Avenue in the Midtown area of Charlotte. 

Known for helping customers express their personal style at home with products that are authentic, affordable and accessible, West Elm Charlotte recently established a collaborative program with local artists to exhibit art and to share their creative spirit by designing window installations. Grassi and Jordan are the first artists selected to participate in this collaborative venture. "Connecting with our community and  celebrating local artists and crafters is a priority for us," said West Elm Charlotte General Manager, Jerry Gardner. "It's amazing to be able to inspire our customers with an installation created by artists from our own backyard."

Combining color, texture, patterns, visual repetition and typography in the massive storefront windows that overlook the skyline of Charlotte, Grassi and Jordan created a wall of possibilities in home design. Inspired by the words of American poet Emily Dickinson, dwell in possibility, they created a wall of art and found objects that reflect art, architecture and create a sense of history in the home. The art installation includes individual art created by Grassi and Jordan, West Elm products and found objects. 

Grassi is an abstract painter and includes works on canvas from her character series. Jordan creates assemblages made of found objects and includes items from her current body of work, tomes, a collection of heavy books. Both Grassi and Jordan have long been creative collectors of vintage items and the installation also includes vintage printers trays, portable typewriters, textile spools and shuttles and wooden boxes.

West Elm products featured in the window include a Kuba Crescent bench, a Parsons Wall Mirror in natural solid wood, Kite Kilim Floor Poofs and a Mongolian Lamb Pillow Cover. 

On Thursday, November 1, 2012 from 6-9 pm, West Elm will host an evening of art at the Metropolitan@Midtown location. Grassi and Jordan will be present to share their work and West Elm associates will be available to aid customers in their selections. West Elm Home Stylist, Quintel Gwinn will available to assist customers with design services including space planning and art hanging.

In October of 2011, Grassi and Jordan created an art installation of 50 painted chairs titled reserve your seat to benefit Nature’s Theater, the upcoming premier 500-seat outdoor performance venue at Saluda Shoals Park in the Midlands of South Carolina. This award winning art installation brought public art into the park and increased exposure and donations to the efforts to build a performing arts venue at Saluda Shoals. 

Janette Grassi is a native of St. Louis, Missouri. She now lives and creates in Charlotte, North Carolina. She spent her childhood and teen years in St. Louis and realized at five years of age that she was an artist. She attended Webster College where she studied fine art including sculpture, drawing and painting.  Her journey to fulfill her childhood dream to study at a college devoted to art was achieved when she was accepted to the Rhode Island School of Design after raising her children and seeing them off to college. After completing her schooling she moved to Columbia, South Carolina to pursue her dream of becoming a full time artist. Renting a studio in the Vista she began her career as a painter. Her focus turned from graphic design to abstract painting and she began to build a body of work and have her first one woman show at Gallery 80808. Since then she has participated in many shows made many art donations to raise money for causes close to her heart, rediscovered her love of collage, collaborated with Doni Jordan on art installations, created fiber, book and recycled art. Janette is in many collections from private to public and continues to create art full time.

Doni Jordan is a 2001 BFA graduate of the University of South Carolina (USC). She was recently inducted into the National Association of Women Artists (NAWA) in New York City. Jordan explores multiple mediums of art. Trained as a graphic designer, her love of design and typography is reflected in the art she creates. Inspired by the works of Anni Albers, Ida Kohlemeyer, Alexander Calder, Louise Nevelson, Robert Motherwell, Mark Rothko and Robert Rauschenberg, she creates assemblages, collages, book art, art installation, art textiles and steel sculptures.

West Elm Art Installation

Friday, October 5, 2012

reserve your seat returns to unearth at saluda shoals park

doni jordan and janette grassi are two of 35 artists juried into unearth, a celebration of naturally inspired art at Saluda Shoals Park in Columbia on Sunday, October 7, 2012 from 1-5pm. reserve your seat: doni jordan + janette grassi,  an art installation  of 50 painted chairs to benefit Nature's Theater at Saluda Shoals Park which was unveiled during unearth in 2011, will be featured. Small stones, a natural element, were painted using the four vibrant colors (pink, purple, orange and green) used in the original art installation and the words nature's theater were hand painted on each stone. The stones represent the support still needed to build the theater. unearth visitors will receive a stone  to take home. Architectural renderings of Nature's Theater will also be on display. The small Addy awarding winning commemorative book, reserve your seat: doni jordan + janette grassi, will be available for preview. 

volumes: women bound by art @ The Portfolio Gallery

volumes: women bound by art, an altered book exhibition opened at The Portfolio Art Gallery in Five Points, at 2007 Devine Street, Columbia, SC, 29205, on Thursday, September 20, 2012. The art exhibition includes a collection of 13 altered books created by 13 women artists: Eileen Blyth, Cynthia Colbert, Jessica Cruser, Janette Grassi, Doni Jordan, Susan Lenz, Susan Livingston, Yukiko Oka, Kay Reardon, Liisa Salosaari Jasinski, Virginia Scotchie, Lani Stringer and Laura Windham.

Conceived and curated by artists Susan Livingston and Doni Jordan, each artist was given a volume of an oversized trade journal (Thomas Register of American Manufacturers Products and Services), which was retrieved from the curb outside the Orangeburg County Library by fiber artist Susan Livingston. The artists, which include art professors, potters, fiber artists, graphic designers, illustrators, painters, photographers and mixed media artists, were given total creative freedom for the project.

The art exhibition will run through Thursday, October 182012 at The Portfolio Art Gallery. The University of South Carolina Upstate Curtis R. Harley Gallery will host the exhibit during their 2013-14 exhibition season.

Friday, July 20, 2012

reserve your seat:doni jordan + janette grassi travels to the columbia museum of art

reserve your seat: doni jordan + janette grassi, an art installation to benefit Nature's Theater at Saluda Shoals Park, travels to the plaza of the Columbia Museum of Art during the 2012 Annual Gala: The Chair-ity Ball which celebrates the opening of The Art of Seating: 200 Years of American Design.. Thanks to Allen Anderson for sharing these fantastic photos.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

A Day at Camp Gravatt with my bUddYs

Yesterday I spent the day at Camp Gravatt, a place of rest and renewal in the woods near Aiken, South Carolina, with my bUddYs Mary, Kay and Leslie. It was a day which brought back many fond memories of my days at summer camp as a child. We shared our dreams, we laughed, we explored the camp and then had lunch with all the young campers. It was a day that renewed my soul!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Times Square

I never thought I'd see my face on the billboard in Times Square. During the 2012 Family Circle Tennis Cup at Daniel Island near Charleston, SC, my sister-in-law and I stopped by the Dove booth to render our support of the Dove campaign that sees beauty in all women. Yesterday, I received an e-mail from Dove stating that my image had appeared on the billboard. Guess I can now mark that one off my bucket list!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

reserve your seat @ Artista Vista

Stop by the River Runner Outdoor Center in the Vista during Artista Vista on Thursday, April 26 from 5-9pm and you'll find Janette Grassi and me along with a sampling of the art installation reserve your seat that we created to benefit Nature's Theater at Saluda Shoals Park. We'll be signing our Addy award winning commemorative book designed by Lani Stringer of Mustard Graphics including photographs of the installation by nature photographer Kent Porth. Dolly Patton from the Saluda Shoals Foundation will be on hand with renderings of the upcoming premier 500-seat outdoor performing arts theater in the Midlands. Hope to see you there!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

South Carolina Arts Foundation, 2012 Verner Awards Art Auction + Sale

Join me along with 60 other South Carolina artists and hundreds of art patrons for the 2012 Verner Award Art Auction and Sale on Wednesday, May 2, 2012 at the Grand Hall at 701 Whaley in the historic Olympia Mills neighborhood in Columbia, SC. This juried event is the centerpiece of the South Carolina Arts Gala, a celebration of the Elizabeth O'Neill Verner Governor's Awards for the Arts sponsored by the South Carolina Arts Foundation.

National Association of Women Artists Spring exhibition

I was elated to receive news that Tome:54 was juried into the National Association of Women Artists Spring exhibition. Although the organization is located in New York City, the exhibition will open this year at the Midday Gallery in Englewood, NJ on May 4, 2012 and run through May, 28, 2012.

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Jasper…The Power of Pink

Check out the newest edition of Jasper: The Word on Columbia Art magazine that features women in the arts in our community. Released during a Power of Pink launch party at Gallery 80808 during Women's History Month, more than three dozen women are featured in the March/April edition. Among them… artist Susan Lenz, poet Cassie Premo Steele, artist Heidi Darr-Hope, artist Virginia Scotchie, arts administrators Harriet Green and  Karen Brosius and many other great women in the arts in the Midlands. Edited by Cynthia Boiter with strong writers including Kristine Hartvigsen, this magazine is a great gift to the residents and visitors of our city. Check it out at

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Books I'm Reading…

…dreams are illustrations…from the book your soul is writing about you. Marsha Norman

• Thin Places: An Evangelical Journey into Celtic Christianity
Tracy Balzer/Leafwood Publishers
…the dividing line between earth and heaven seemed thin.

• Sheila Hicks:50 Years
Joan Simon and Susan C. Faxon/Yale University Press
…her photographs reveal consistencies in point of view, compositional strategies, and morifs with her weavings and sculpture

• Annie Leibovitz: Pilgrimage
Introduction by Doris Kearns Goodwin/Random House New York
…she was solitary the way Thoreau was solitary.

Joseph Cornell: Master of Dreams
Diane Waldman/Abramsbooks
…convinced that the unconscious was the essential source of art and life, the Surrealists set out to explore the hidden recesses of the mind.

Mapping: The Intelligence of Artistic Work
Anne West/Moth Press
…imagination is an essential instrument for knowing the self and the world. Calvino

Your Mythic Journey: Finding Meaning in Your Life Through Writing and Storytelling
Sam Keen and Anne Valley-Fox/St. Martin's Press
…when we forget our stories, leave our heroes unsung, and ignore the rites that mark our passage from one stage of life into another, we feel nameless and empty.

• Nests: Fifty Nests and the Birds that Built Them
Sharon Beals/Chronicle Books
…as of the latest estimate, there are about ten thousand avian species, with new ones still being discovered.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

An Egg a Day: Phil Burns @ Richland County Public Library

I recently attended a book signing and reading by award winning author Ron Rash of his book Saints at the River, which is the current selection of One Book, One Columbia, a city wide initiative supported by the Richland County Public Library (RCPL) to reduce illiteracy and encourage reading in the Midlands.

While at the RCPL, I discovered an inspiring art exhibition in the downstairs gallery by artist and illustrator Phil Burns. After undergoing back surgery and suffering from chronic back pain, Burns was encouraged by surrealist artist Pavel Tchelitchew to draw an egg a day. Using a crow quill pen and India ink on illustration board, Burns has sinse created 3500 egg drawings. The exhibition, An Egg a Day: Drawings by Phil Burns, is on view through March 4, 2012.

Friday, February 24, 2012

The Dance Theatre of Harlem Ensemble (DTHE)

Last night I attended a performance by the Dance Theatre of Harlem Ensemble (DTHE) at the Township Auditorium in Columbia, SC. Their second ballet, Adagietto #5, that was choreographed by Royston Maldoom with music by Gustav Mahler, was undoubtably the most breathtaking dance performance that I have ever seen. Thanks to the Cultural Council of Richland and Lexington Counties and Palmetto Health Foundation for bringing this inspiring dance troupe to our city. Several dates still remain on their 2012 tour. GO, even if you have to travel to see them. You won't be disappointed.

reserve your seat @ 2012 Artista Vista

art installation and book signing

April 26, 2012

A photography art installation of 50 chairs from the art installation reserve your seat: doni jordan + janette grassi, which was created to benefit Nature's Theater at Saluda Shoals Park in the Midlands. A collection of miniature twig chairs painted by the 2011 Saluda Shoals Park Summer Safari Campers (grades 1-12) along with paintings of their favorite chairs will be featured in the outdoor patio space. The evening will include a commemorative book sale and signing by the artists to benefit the theater and a drawing for a basket of Saluda Shoals park day passes and items. Dolly Patton, Executive Director, of the Saluda Shoals Foundation along with Foundation member and River Runner owner Guy Jones will be present to answer questions about Nature's Theater and to share architectural renderings of the upcoming premier 500-seat outdoor performance venue in the Midlands. Photography courtesy of nature photographer Kent Porth of Lexington, SC. Look for a collection of the chairs on the plaza of the Columbia Museum of Art on April 27, 2012 during the 2012 Annual Gala: The Chair-ity Ball which celebrates the opening of The Art of Seating: 200 Years of American Design.