Spoleto Special: 7 Inspiring Charleston Artists We Adore

June 4, 2015

In case you aren’t from Charleston, the Spoleto Festival comes around this time every year. For two weeks, the city gets its own arts festival — internationally renowned ballet and theatre companies, musicians, performance and visual artists — you name it — fill every venue, bar, and street corner with more culture than you can shake a stick at.

It’s hard not to stumble upon something to do on any given day — from an early-morning cathedral concert to a free afternoon show in a park. Really, we are so lucky to experience this wonderful time brought to us by Spoleto. It’s also a great time to reflect on the artists who inspire us in and outside of our work at MDI, so we’d like to recognize the team’s favorite Charleston artists!


Liz: Emily Brown

Known for eschewing art brushes for her own hands, Emily Brown loves to be unconventional. Brown also explores using charcoal and paper among other things, as the artist’s inspiration changes with every new day.


Elisabeth: Lulie Wallace

Lulie Wallace often expresses herself on paper and canvas, but you can also find her creating everything from pretty fabrics and pillows to silk-screen prints. With a studio inside St. Philip Street’s Redux Contemporary Art Center, Wallace’s cheerful patterns range from eccentric tablescapes to fantastical floral prints.


Katelynn: Teil Duncan

Inspired by daily life, Teil Duncan paints mostly figurative and non-objective work. Duncan loves to incorporate interesting palettes and social interactions into abstract, pixelated compositions. Featured in countless publications, Duncan also designs whimsical silk-screen prints, stationery, and clutch purses. Her studio is located downtown within Redux Contemporary Art Center.


Alex: Mary Whyte

Based on Johns Island, Mary Whyte uses watercolors to create art that’s predominately inspired by the area’s Gullah people, descendants of coastal Carolina slaves. To view her paintings, head over to Coleman Fine Art at 79 Church Street, where her husband, Smith Coleman, creates gilded and hand-carved frames.


Alexis: Sally King Benedict

Sally King Benedict is an abstract artist who, although began her career in Charleston, has since relocated to Atlanta — but we still consider her a local gal! Her lively, vibrant works have been featured by the likes of Southern Living, Elle Decor, Garden & Gun, and more.


Margaret: Lese Corrigan

Charleston native Lese Corrigan uses oils to create her expressionistic art, but she also works with linocuts, photography, and clay sculpture. Her work can be seen at her Corrigan Gallery at 62 Queen Street.


Delta: James Rivington Pyne

A self-taught sculptor, Pyne creates from found wood as well as epoxies, plaster, casting stone, wood, and bronze. His intriguing works, from pelicans to pink flamingos, can be found at the Martin Gallery at 18 Broad Street.