Historical society plans big Saturday

PICKENS — The Pickens Historical Society, along with art teacher Avis Fisher and history teacher William Wagner, recently offered Pickens Middle School students both an amazing challenge and opportunity in the form of a historical watercolor painting competition.
Marge Schaefer, PR representative for the Pickens Historical Society and a watercolor artist herself, said that the primary goal of the Pickens Historical Society is to preserve history for future generations. Pickens County is home to a rich history and heritage; however, there are a lot of residents who are not aware of the culture the area has to offer.
“We wanted to get the students involved and excited about history in Pickens County, and using art was a wonderful way to do this,” said Schaefer. “Some of the children had never experimented with watercolor before, which made it even more fun.”
Eighth grade students at Pickens Middle were asked to choose one of the following historical sites in Pickens County — Hagood Mill, the Hagood Mauldin House, Andrew Pickens’ home in Clemson, Old Stone Church, Table Rock or The Museum (aka The Old Gaol). Once students had selected an historical site of their choice, they would depict the site in a watercolor painting. One winning artist’s painting will be chosen for each historical site.
“The winning paintings are going to be made into placemats and sold to raise money for the Pickens Historical Society,” explained Schaefer. “One side of the placemat will be the watercolor rendering, and written on the back will be a brief historical description of the painting.”
Awards for the winning paintings will be announced at 11 a.m. in the staging area at the Azalea Festival on Saturday, April 21.
Wayne Kelley, another member of the Pickens Historical Society, will present guest Robert Graham, a nationally renowned artist from Charleston. Graham, who specializes in Civil War and Native American Cherokee art, will announce the Historical Society art contest winners.
In addition to the six award-winning paintings that will be used as the designs for the Pickens Historical Society placemats, other awards will be given in categories such as best use of color.
“The judging has been done, and we were so impressed with the children’s artwork and enthusiasm that we couldn’t limit the awards to only six winners,” said Schaefer. “All of the paintings surpassed our expectations. They were so well-done that the judging was incredibly difficult.”
In addition to the award ceremony on Saturday, the Pickens Historical Society is also hosting the grand reopening of the Hagood-Mauldin — Irma Morris Museum of Fine Arts. Closed for renovations since September 2011, the Hagood-Mauldin House boasts a newly renovated and freshly painted front porch and façade.
Another of the Pickens Historical Society’s fundraisers, an annual yard sale, will also take place at the Hagood Mauldin House on Saturday. People are welcome to celebrate the grand re-opening with a tour of the house and the gardens.
“People can sit in the sun and relax or find treasures at the large yard sale,” said Schaefer. “Right now the roses are all in bloom in the gardens and they are spectacular. Anyone who needs a little pick-me-up should drop by and smell the roses.”