Simply complete the form, and be sure to include your mobile number so you can vote via text. To activate your votes, check in at the Welcome Center at 133-A East Main Street during the festival.
Jury Panel | Camden, SC
Retired Art Educator
Keith Tolen was born in Batesburg, SC received his Bachelor of Science from SC State University in Orangeburg, SC and went on to earn his Masters at Francis Marion University in Florence, SC. Tolen taught art at Camden Middle School for thirty years and conducted workshops at the Fine Art Center of Kershaw County, Columbia Museum Art, and the Governor's School for Arts and Humanities.
As an artist, Tolen studies drawing, painting and photography. Currently his art is on display at a local gallery in Columbia, SC.
Tolen believes art gives children an immediate voice and a connection to being expressive creativity. He says, "In elementary and kindergarten we do not ask which kids are artistic or creative, we treat them all as gifted. Students in school who continue down an artistic path enjoy the freedom of creativity throughout their daily routine." Tolen continues, "Art is power for all people of every age."
Jury Panel | Charleston, SC
Artist & Educator
Chambers Austelle is a contemporary figurative painter and educator living and working in Charleston, SC. Austelle is best known for her compositions of vivid color and female subjects. The isolated environments challenge the viewer to question the way beauty and women are perceived in our culture.
Austelle’s work has been exhibited nationally and exists in many private collections. She was awarded Best in Show at The City Gallery for “Piccolo Spoleto’s 2016 Jury Exhibition”, as well as Charlie Magazine’s “50 Most Progressive”. Most recently, she was the 2018 recipient of St. Thomas’ Artist Grant. Austelle’s work has been featured in publications such as Expose Art Magazine, The Artist Catalogue, Fresh Paint Magazine, The Jealous Curator, Create Magazine and more.
The arts are vital to the development and nourishment of children. It teaches and fosters independence and creative problem solving. It helps them explore their emotions and cultivate appropriate, healthy, and gratifying ways of expressing themselves. Participation in the arts is also advantageous to our children’s future, as it promotes dedication, perseverance, and self-confidence.
Jury Panel | Myrtle Beach, SC
Education Coordinator, Franklin G. Burroughs - Simeon B. Chapin Art Museum
Arielle Fatuova has been the Education Coordinator at the Art Museum in Myrtle Beach, SC since 2010, working with over 1,500 children each year sharing art exhibitions and fine art techniques with children as young as three and up to 18 years old. She has played a vital role in the Art Museum's first expansion in its 20 years of existence as they reach completion of a fully equipped Pottery Studio on the ground level of the Art Museum.
Since 2012, Arielle has been a member of the Cultural Arts Committee for the city of Myrtle Beach as well as several community organizations to ensure a strong artistic future for the local community. Arielle has a strong passion for the arts and using art as a form of therapy for children and adults with special needs.
Arielle earned a Studio Art degree with a focus in Ceramics from Coastal Carolina University in Conway, SC.
Having the arts in your life helps you stay mindful, become more observant, and strengthens your ability to think creatively and independently. It helps children to feel confident in their abilities and talents in order to pursue a successful career path. Art is, without a doubt, the foundation of a strong community.
Review Panel | Florence, SC
Tiffany Thomas is a native of Florence, South Carolina. Born in 1985, she was raised on a farm and experienced the ups and downs of living a farm life. She incorporates her childhood into her paintings by using bright colors, which are associated with playfulness and collage paintings with reclaimed wood that her family discarded from old houses, buildings and dumpsters. Her clay of choice is translucent porcelain, fired with colorful stains and glazes. Her ceramic work focuses on an array of designs; from cups and mugs to light fixtures and table pieces. All of her pieces are hand carved.
Tiffany believes students have a fresh mindset when it comes to art and design. Their refreshing views on color and composition can help to bring about new ideas that may have not been considered in the professional art world. She says, "I’ve always had a love for children art and I’m excited to participate in this years Artfields Jr. exhibition."
Review Panel | Atlanta, GA
Art Farm Director, Serenbe
Megan Schaeffer is the Art Farm Director at Serenbe, a progressive community connected to nature on the edge of Atlanta. After receiving a BA in Arts Management from the College of Charleston, Schaeffer completed the Sotheby's Institute of Fine Art intensive program on Gallery Management and Curatorial Studies. She also was a founding team-member of the Charleston, SC chapter of Creative Mornings and managed a gallery space in Charleston before moving to Atlanta in 2015, where Schaeffer spent two years as the Artist Liaison & Art Resource Coordinator for a prominent Atlanta art consulting firm. She is driven by a passion to build creative communities and create meaningful opportunities for artists.
Participating in the arts means that children can explore what it feels like to create something new and unique, also serving as a way to connect with others. The sense of community that is established when children work together to finish, say, a community mural, or participate in an art competition, is important because it helps one gain a sense of self and belonging in the world.
Review Panel | Columbia, SC
Artist and Assistant Professor of Ceramics, SC State University
Alexander Thierry is an Assistant Professor of Ceramics at South Carolina State University in Columbia, South Carolina. His work has been shown all over the United States in museums, galleries, and juried and solo exhibitions. He recently won First Prize at the Fine Contemporary Craft Exhibition at Artspace, in Raleigh, North Carolina.
Born in St. Louis, Missouri, Thierry began working in clay while in high school. He attended the Truman State University in Kirksville, Missouri where he received a B.A. in Painting, B.F.A. in Ceramics, and a M.A. in Visual Art Education. After graduation, Thierry traveled to Oak Harbor, Washington to teach high school pottery and design. Thierry left teaching high school to attend the University of Kansas where he received an M.F.A. in Ceramics, evolved as an artist, and built a well-funded visiting artist series which led him to his current role.
Art in a student’s life is as important and math, science, social studies, and language, because it challenges students to use all of the skills learned in other subjects and use them to create a visual language, express emotion, make decisions, and physically construct object and composition based on a theme or style.