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Apr 29, 2024

FLOW Fest at Palmetto Bluff Celebrates Artists, Community and Culture

Morgan Stewart

Photography By

Supplied by Palmetto Bluff
This family-friendly event will feature talented musicians, artisans, kids’ activities, and vendors, bringing together the community to celebrate music and culture in a spectacular setting along the May River.

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South Carolina’s Lowcountry has always brimmed with creativity and the region’s art scene boasts countless galleries and performance venues, showcasing the work of renowned artists and rising talents alike. 

The arts are also central to Palmetto Bluff, and the community has long been a magnet for those with a creative spirit. The Arts Initiative at Palmetto Bluff, a sweeping program conceived to inspire and enrich, annually spotlights a diverse curation of artists, craftsmen, musicians, and makers. This vibrant collaboration, including an Artist in Residence program and its lively exhibition space, FLOW Gallery + Workshop, fosters imagination while striving to forge a broader Lowcountry community united by artistry and the exchange of ideas. 

Bands play next to the May River at The Arts Initiative at Palmetto Bluff’s annual FLOW FEST.

In support of this pursuit, the third annual FLOW Fest – Palmetto Bluff’s beloved music and arts festival – will return to the community’s Wilson Village Green Sunday, May 19, from 2 to 6 p.m. 

This family-friendly event will feature talented musicians, artisans, kids’ activities, and vendors, bringing together the community to celebrate music and culture in a spectacular setting along the May River. Guests will be able to peruse an artisan market, indulge in delicious food and treats, and dance to the Motown, rock, and reggae beats from The Secrets and Deas-Guyz. 

Craft activities for all ages are a great way to get into the creative spirit at FLOW FEST.

New to FLOW Fest this year will be the Arts Initiative’s Annual Art Auction, which will feature an impressive collection of artworks graciously donated by the talented artists of Palmetto Bluff’s esteemed Artists in Residence. FLOW Gallery + Workshop artisans and will be on display at FLOW Gallery, with online bidding beginning May 17 and closing at the end of FLOW Fest. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit

A portion of the sales from FLOW Fest 2024 tickets and the artisan market, along with the proceeds generated from the new art auction, will benefit the Palmetto Bluff Inspiring the Arts Scholarship. This newly established scholarship from Palmetto Bluff, through the Coastal Community Foundation, aims to assist an outstanding high school senior in the Beaufort, Jasper, or Chatham County school system who showcases exceptional talent and dedication to the arts. The objective is to support and foster talented young artists in their pursuit of their passion while advancing their education in the arts. 

“We are excited to announce the Palmetto Bluff Inspiring the Arts Scholarship. Since the launch of The Arts Initiative at Palmetto Bluff in 2022, our intention has always been to incorporate a scholarship component,” said Amy Anderson, VP of Marketing at South Street Partners, owners of Palmetto Bluff. “It is the natural next step as we aim to expand the program’s impact beyond Palmetto Bluff and into Bluffton, Hilton Head, and across the Lowcountry region.” 

Earlier in the month, The Arts Initiative at Palmetto Bluff’s May 2024 Artist in Residence, Charleston-based oil painter Chris Groves, will hold landscape and still life workshops that draw inspiration from the community’s stunning natural surroundings – something he has done since he was a young boy given a nature drawing book from his parents. Groves’ work has received multiple awards and recognitions, and it ranges from realism to abstract. He has studied at the Florence Academy of Art in Italy, the Colorado Academy of Art, the Loveland Art Academy, the Cottonwood Art Academy, and the Denver Arts Students League.

“Lemons with Vase” by Chris Groves,  22” x 22”, Oil on Linen.

Starting with a complimentary welcome reception on May 8, Groves will demonstrate his talents in the FLOW Gallery + Workshop courtyard and chat with guests about his work and career while they enjoy light refreshments and original art from a world-renowned artist. Groves’ May 9 Reflections on May River workshop will feature the May River as his muse and explore the captivating world of light and water as he guides participants on the art of capturing their beauty. He will instruct attendees on the art of using a “quick sketch” approach to portray the scenic landscape as it appears from the vantage point of Wilson Village. 

While still life is a popular art style steeped in realism, abstract still life presents an exciting and eye-catching twist on an old favorite. In his May 10 Still Life Abstract Artifacts workshop, Groves will focus on single object still life using artifacts discovered on the property by Dr. Mary Socci and the Palmetto Bluff Archaeology team. Although still life typically demands a strong sense of tradition, this workshop will break away from the norm by focusing on abstract rather than realistic depictions. 

During the final workshop, Abstract Palmetto Bluff: A Study of Trees, workshop on May 11, Groves will impart his knowledge on tree structures and the use of painting techniques to convey shapes, forms, sky holes, and details in a speedy sketch format. The course draws inspiration from the iconic Palmetto Bluff logo and will concentrate on the two trees showcased in the design: a palm and an oak.

The Arts Initiative’s first Artist in Residence phase will finish in June with Katie White, who will invite guests on an artistic escape via her meditative watercolor classes, melding this gentle medium with an inspirational journey. Summer 2024 will host the inaugural “Artist in Residence Summer Sweetgrass Series,” consisting of acclaimed basket artisans Michael Smalls and Dino Badger in July and Jery Taylor in August, modern-day practitioners of the venerated Gullah-Geechee tradition.

The second half of The Arts Initiative at Palmetto Bluff’s 2024 schedule will include additional exciting artists and events. Southern expressionist painter Anna Vaughn will be September’s featured artist, and Clay Ross of celebrated Gullah folk band Ranky Tanky will be October’s Singer-Songwriter. November will host a showcase of Palmetto Bluff’s resident creatives in the Artists of the Bluff Fall Art Show, and hand-crafted cast iron kitchen and barware company Blanc Creatives will be the month’s artisan. Closing out the year’s thrilling programming will be December Artist in Residence Karin Olah, a Charleston-based artist who combines hand-dyed fabric and paint to create her signature multi-layered paintings.

FLOW Fest 2024 is sponsored by Frontlight Building Company, McLester & Niemiec, Second Home, Palmetto Bluff Real Estate Company, and South Street Partners. 

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