Women given a place at the table

Twelve diverse South Carolina women will be honored with a “Place at the Table” at the University Place Gallery as part of a traveling art exhibit and theatrical production.

“The Supper Table” is a traveling exhibit and an actual supper table. The full-scale triangular-shaped table will be set with 12 distinct place settings representing 12 South Carolina women who played a substantial role in the history of the state.

Those settings will be surrounded by 120 tiles bearing the names of other great South Carolina women, living and deceased. The settings and the display will include artwork, essays and videos of and about the honorees, produced by 120 community members and artists to create an innovative arts installation that celebrates their contributions to South Carolina culture.

The 12 woman who are being honored with a place-setting range from abolitionists Angelina and Sarah Grimke, to entertainer Eartha Kitt and Civil Rights activist Modjeska Simkins. Others included are tennis player and golfer Althea Gibson, Mary McCleod Bethune, Alice Childress, Septima Clark, Mathilda Evans, Sarah Leverette, Julia Peterkin, Eliza Pinckney and Elizabeth Evelyn Wright.

“The Supper Table” was created as an homage to the 40th anniversary of Judy Chicago’s 1979 exhibit, which was titled “The Dinner Party.” In Chicago’s exhibit, 39 women received place-settings with 999 tiles beneath.

A theatrical production related to the exhibit will also be performed at 8 p.m. on Feb. 12 at the Adele Kassab Recital Hall.

Two theatrical presentations with artist panel talk-back sessions were performed at Trustus Theatre on Sept. 6, 2019 and Harbison Theatre at Midlands Technical College on Sept. 8, 2019, followed by an installation of the art at the theatre.

Scheduled touring destinations thus far include Francis Marion University, Sumter County Gallery of Art and the Jones Carter Gallery in Lake City, SC.

The exhibit will be at University Place Gallery, at 142 N. Dargan Street in downtown Florence, from Feb. 10 – 14. The installation will coincide with FMU’s G-Week, a week-long celebration that promotes gender awareness and inclusion through a variety of on-campus events.

Both the theatrical performance and the exhibit are free and open to the public. University Place is open Tuesday-Thursday 11 a.m.- 6 p.m., Friday 11 a.m. – 7 p.m. and Saturday 11 a.m. – 3 p.m.