by Kelly Rae Smith
When Charlynn Knight began exploring art as a child with her elementary school art teacher Joanne King, she could have never guessed that one day it would all come full circle. The two recently crossed paths again when Knight walked into a watercolor class she was teaching at Karen's Korner Frame and Art Gallery in Mt. Pleasant. Her old art teacher was among her students, and it was she who suggested that Knight look into the North Charleston artist-in-residence program.
"It's pretty cool to be teaching my elementary school art teacher watercolors," Knight says. "She was such an inspiration to me and helped spark my passion for art at an early age, and for her to take my class and recommend me for the artist-in-residence program was an honor."
Knight's acceptance into the program offers her an opportunity to work with 36 different schools across North Charleston throughout the 2013-14 school year, offering artistic guidance and inspiration to everyone from young children to young adults.
"I will be working with elementary up to high school ages along with Carolina Youth Development Center," Knight says. "This allows me to talk to the kids about being an artist here in Charleston and sharing with them my passion for art — and hopefully spark interest in one, if not many of them to pursue an interest in art, and spark their inner creativity. I'll be sharing many fun techniques with working with watercolors that I use every day in my own paintings." Knight paints mainly landscapes and architectural paintings, making use of intense colors and small, swift brushstrokes.
Her visual arts expertise is available upon the request of the schools, plus she's able to lead workshops with seniors in community settings, such as assisted living facilities, and organizations offering youth programs. Her experience and enthusiasm for any creative challenge seems to be what made her perfect for the part.
"Charlynn is a seasoned artist and teacher, having the combination of experience and talent we hope for in offering these programs to a wide range of ages in a variety of settings in North Charleston," says Nancy Rodriguez, the City of North Charleston's cultural arts coordinator. "She's excited to share her love for art and in particular for the medium of watercolor and the interesting techniques she's learned through the years. Her passion for art is contagious and she believes wholeheartedly in the benefits of developing creativity."
Knight plans to work closely with as many students as possible to inspire both budding artists and anyone in search of a new form of expression. "Through the opportunities of this residency program, I can share how art is a wonderful tool to allow our children to express themselves and have a break from the rigorous testing and structured curriculums," she says. "Art is a way to remind us and our kids to just be, and enjoy color, textures, shapes, and have fun through a pencil or paint brush. It opens up our eyes to see our world in a new and unique way."
See Charlynn Knight's work at Karen's Korner in Mt. Pleasant, Laura Alberts on Daniel Island, or at her own West Ashley studio. The North Charleston City Gallery will also hang her work this January. For more information, visit her website at charlynnknight.com.