Lowcountry Local First’s ‘Love A Local’ community-wide art instillation shows up at Crosby’s on Folly Beach

By Lorne Chambers | Editor

On Valentine’s Day a mysterious Octopus sculpture suddenly appeared along the marshfront at Crosby Fish & Shrimp Co. What was it there for? What does the giant 3D brick “O” that it’s wrapped around mean?

The piece is part of a community-wide 10-part art installation entitled “Love a Local,” created by Lowcountry Local First (LLF), a Charleston-based local business advocacy group, as a way of celebrating its 10-year anniversary.

Without announcement and by cover of night, 10 “local ninjas” placed 10 letters all over the Lowcountry that together, spell “Love A Local.” The sculptures will be on display through the end of March.

“We wanted a highly visible way of showing our gratitude to the local business community. What better way to do that than utilize our fantastic local arts community to produce an installation that encourages interaction, appreciation and awareness? asks Jordan Amaker, director of marketing and communications for LLF. “We wanted the first two weeks to have an air of mystery and intrigue around the letters — ultimately creating a scavenger hunt effect to find all 10. We invite you to get out and try to find all of them!”

If you need a little guidance, as of this week, LLF released a map with all 10 letters and locations at www.lowcountrylocalfirst.org/ten. It also just announced a contest, running until March 31, anyone who tags a photo of a letter on Instagram with #LoveaLocal will be entered to win two free tickets to LLF’s 10th annual Chef’s Potluck on April 30 at Middleton Place.

The Folly Octopus is was done by local artists Jordan Fowler and Danielle Lewis. Fowler, who works at the College of Charleston sculpture studio, created most of the letters along with Lewis, , as well as one of the sculptures. Lewis is a senior at CofC studying studio art and biology and presently is featuring her work in the Hill gallery in the Cato Building at CofC.

“We chose to do the O. Several of the letters were already chosen and we thought it was just an interesting composition to work with,” says Fowler. “We are both primarily sculptors so our plan was something on top of or coming out of the letter.” They drew some abstract designs and realized what they had sketched kind of looked like an octopus wrapping around the letter O. Fowler had done a previous painting entitled “Cooper River Kraken,” which depicted a large octopus hanging off of the Ravanel bridge. “We wanted to bring it back to life on the letter and used the same blue and purple colors from the painting,” says Fowler, who hoped it would fulfill the mission Lowcountry Local First was pursuing by creating some mystery and force people to find out what it was all about.

“I’ve seen the letters on social media and I’m happy to see people talking about the mystery of it and spreading support for local businesses,” says Fowler. “My work personally consists of large public sculptures and I hope too that this adds interest in more of that kind of work around the Charleston area.”

For more information and a map of all the locations, visit www.lowcountrylocalfirst.org/ten/


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