CURRENTS

INTO THE WILD

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For more than 30 years, the Southeastern Wildlife Exposition (SEWE) has showcased wildlife and sporting art in Charleston. One of the longest-running events of its kind, SEWE hosts hundreds of artists and wildlife experts who share their skills and knowledge with more than 40,000 attendees from across the country.

The 35th annual event will run this year from February 17 – 19 at multiple venues around the Charleston area. Over 100 artists—painters and sculptors— will exhibit work available for sale. In addition, exhibits at the Gaillard Center will include handcrafted furniture, knives and nature photography.

Busch Wildlife Sanctuary, a longtime SEWE favorite, will provide attendees with closeup looks at alligators, bobcats, foxes, birds of prey and more. Additionally, the Center for Birds of Prey will conduct free flight demonstrations of raptors (falcons, eagles and hawks) in the arena at Marion Square and explain their important roles in our ecosystem.

At Brittlebank Park, experts from Charleston Angler will give demonstrations in fly-fishing, fly tying and net tossing. There will be food vendors and live bluegrass music, as well as educational programs and activities for children: pony and camel rides, an exotic petting zoo and much more. Visit the website or call for more information. 843-723-1748, sewe.com.

A MUSEUM MAKES HISTORY

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The Smithsonian’s Museum of African American History and Culture opened last fall on the National Mall in Washington D.C. with much fanfare. Affirming the importance of African-American history in the story of our country, the museum continues to draw enormous crowds to view its important collection.

Over 3,500 objects (part of a collection of almost 37,000 artifacts) are on display in the 400,000-square-foot museum. They include a set of slave shackles, a Tuskegee Airmen biplane, a fedora owned by Michael Jackson, Carl Lewis’ Olympic medals, and rock legend Chuck Berry’s cherry-red Cadillac. Current exhibits focus on African-American history from African origins to the present as well as contributions to sports and the arts.

The process of collecting donations has made history, too. When a slave cabin from Point of Pines Plantation on Edisto Island was dismantled for transport, it turned into an occasion for descendants of slaves and slave holders to come together and bear witness. Since the museum is drawing large crowds, an advanced pass for a timed admission is required. 844-750-3012, nmaahc.si.edu.

TOP HATS

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In winter, Charleston milliner Natalie Simmons is busy fulfilling orders for her spring and summer custom hats—hats that will make their debuts at weddings, derbies and garden parties in Charleston and around the world.

You might think that Simmons loves this time of year for all the business it brings her. That’s true. But there’s another reason: In winter, she gets to wear her favorite style, the cloche.

The cloche is a bell-shaped, eye-accenting style that was popular in the 1920s and ’30s. Simmons makes them in her Daniel Island workshop by blocking them on a wooden mold or shaping them by hand. She calls the process “hand sculpting” and admits it appeals to her creative side.

Simmons fashions her winter hats from quality materials—felt made from sheep’s wool, rabbit or beaver fur—and dresses them up with grosgrain bands, feathers or vintage brooches. Her trims are all hand-stitched, never glued. Fit is paramount. “Everyone can wear a hat,” says Simmons. “But if it doesn’t fit right, it won’t look good.” That’s why custom hats have an advantage over the store-bought variety—crown heights and brim widths can be adjusted to flatter an individual’s face.

Simmons, who has been designing hats since she was a teenager, says she most enjoys helping family members design a hat for a loved one. “Seeing the look in my customer’s eyes when she realizes I merely made the hat but allowed her loved ones to completely design it—that is a wonderful feeling!” she says.

Simmons meets with clients by appointment at her workshop. She can also be found at the Charleston Farmer’s Market in Marion Square every Saturday from April through December. 843-608-HATS, carolinamillinery.com.

FOR ART LOVERS

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The Columbia Museum of Art (CMA) modestly opened its doors in 1950. Today, it’s housed in a sleek, state-of-the-art facility in the heart of downtown Columbia. Over several decades, the museum has expanded its collections to include art of international significance in virtually all media.

Besides works from other countries, the CMA showcases American art, ranging from Frederic Remington’s classic sculpture titled Bronco Buster to Charles Willson Peale’s classic painting of President George Washington. Visitors can also enjoy CMA’s growing collection of contemporary art, which features such artists as Andy Warhol, Chuck Close and Sally Mann among others. Be sure to check out the following exhibits on display this winter:

Cut! Costume and the Cinema includes 43 period costumes from 26 films that depict five centuries of history, drama and comedy in cinema. The glamour and artistry of cinematic couture is represented by garments worn by film stars such as Johnny Depp, Keira Knightly, Kate Winslet, Amy Adams, Natalie Portman and others. The collection of more than 100,000 costumes and accessories was made by renowned British costumer Cosprop. Through Feb 19.

Salvador Dali’s Fantastical Fairy Tales features 36 colorful prints from The Dalí Museum that will appeal to visitors of all ages. Prints were a major part of the work of Salvador Dalí, one of the greatest artists of the 20th century. On display are works used to illustrate stories such as Alice in Wonderland, Don Quixote and the tales of Hans Christian Andersen. Explore the connections between art and literature while appreciating Dalí’s inventiveness and fine craftsmanship. March 11 thru May 21. 803-799-2810, columbiamuseum.org.