It's hard for emerging artists, even those who work at universities, to have their work shown. An exhibit is always treasured, and no more so than when it is included as part of an inaugural event.

Charleston Southern University couldn't have chosen a better emissary of the arts than Bret Lott to highlight its new fine and performing Arts Week at the school Feb. 17-23.

Events are both on campus and in the local community as students and faculty from the Horton School of Music, Theatre, English, Graphic Design, Drawing and Painting have their work displayed.

There will be a special CSU Chapel service at 11 a.m. Wednesday in the Whitfield Center for Christian Leadership, featuring Lott, as well as other performances, readings and exhibits throughout the week.

Lott, a professor of English and writer-in-residence at the College of Charleston, will deliver a lecture on the idea of "story," drawing on a text from the Gospel of John. Lott's most recent book, "Letters and Life: On Being a Writer, On Being a Christian," (Crossway, 2013) is a series of essays discussing the role of the Christian in the arts community.

Other events include a reading from CSU faculty member Jeremy B. Jones' upcoming book, "Bearwallow: A Personal History of a Mountain Homeland"; the first of three site-specific theatrical events presented by Professor Thomas Keating and students from CSU Players; and the concert "Wondrous Love," featuring the Horton School of Music Choral Ensembles. The latter will be Feb. 23 at Summerville Baptist Church.

"The idea for Arts Week came about as a result of several conversations amongst our very gifted arts faculty," says Dr. Jennifer Luiken, Professor of Music in the Horton School of Music at CSU. "Literary, visual and performing arts are very much a part of the fabric of CSU, and there are hundreds of students here on campus involved in the arts each and every day."

Ditto for the thriving arts community that is developing in North Charleston.

Slave artifacts on exhibit in Columbia

Michael Haley, the first gentleman of the state, is inviting the public to view a one-of-a-kind exhibit of pieces originally owned by The Old Slave Mart Museum and Library in Charleston.

For many years, the small, private museum collected and preserved art and artifacts related to the slave trade. The building itself was taken over by the city of Charleston in the early 1990s after the two sisters who owned it closed it in 1987.

The exhibit, showing artwork and memorabilia, is on display in the basement of the Lace House, within the Governor's Mansion Complex, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. through next week on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.

The Lace House may be accessed from Gadsden Street and there is no charge to view the display.

The exhibit is part of Black History month celebrations, and worth the detour to the capitol if you happen to be in the area.

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