Thursday, January 29, 2004

CHRONOLOGY Laura Spong 2006–2011

This Chronology is part of the catalogue for the exhibition
LAURA SPONG 2006 – 2011: Age As An Administrative Device
a if ART Gallery exhibition at Gallery 80808/Vista Studios, Columbia, S.C.

For more information about the exhibition, CLICK HERE. 

For an earlier Chronology of Spong's life and career with greater detail about the 1926–2006 period, CLICK HERE.

LAURA SPONG – A Chronology                                                Compiled by Wim Roefs

Before 1950
Born in Nashville, Tenn., as Laura Miles on February 20. In 1948, graduates cum laude from Vanderbilt University in Nashville as an English major, having taken two studio art classes and one art history class. Marries Ernest Maye Spong Jr. that year and moves to his hometown, Columbia, S.C. In 1949, gives birth to twin sons.

Gives birth to one daughter and three sons. Takes art classes at the Richland Art School of the Columbia Museum of Art and joins the Columbia Artists’ Guild. In 1957 is one of three winners of the guild’s Spring Exhibition at the Columbia Museum of Art, where she also shows that year as part of the Guild of South Carolina Artists annual juried exhibition. In 1958 is in an exhibition at the Columbia Museum with her two co-winners of the 1957 Columbia guild’s exhibition. Is again selected that year for the Columbia guild’s exhibition at the museum. Exhibits with J. Bardin in Nashville.

Wins an award at the 1960 Guild of South Carolina Artists juried exhibition. In 1961 again is among the three Columbia Artists’ Guild exhibition winners, resulting in another three-person exhibition at the Columbia Museum. In 1969 takes a job at the South Carolina Department of Archives and History, restoring and laminating old documents. Will hold the job for 18 months.

In 1973, her husband dies. Is diagnosed that year with breast cancer and has a radical mastectomy. In 1972 exhibits in the Guild of South Carolina Artists exhibition, and that year and in 1973 exhibits in the Springs Mills annual exhibitions and the Columbia Artists’ Guild shows. In 1973 also shows in an Augusta, Ga., exhibition of six artists from South Carolina and Georgia. That same year takes a job running arts and crafts programs for the Columbia Department of Parks and Recreation, a job she’ll keep until 1983. Occasionally takes art classes at the University of South Carolina in Columbia. In 1978 enters two paintings in the South Carolina National Bank’s annual oil painters competition. Has a solo exhibition that year at Columbia’s Little Corner Gallery, Rose Talbert Paint Co. In 1979 is selected for the Columbia Museum’s first Guilds Juried Exhibition, which includes work from members of several area artists’ guilds and associations.

Resigns from her Columbia Department of Parks and Recreation job. Tries several professions – creating educational children’s coloring books, working at a paint store and children’s clothing store, selling antiques and painting portraits. After 1985, takes art classes at Columbia College and the University of South Carolina. In 1989 has an exhibition at the Seibels Bruce building in Columbia.

In 1991 takes a studio at Vista Studios, an artists’ studio complex established in 1990 in Columbia’s downtown Vista district. Participates throughout the decade in scores of group exhibitions at Vista Studios’ Gallery 80808, where in 1993 she has a solo show. Has a solo exhibition in 1990 at the Cookeville Art Gallery in Cookeville, Tenn.; in 1993 at Beckman Art Gallery in Columbia; in 1995 at the Richland County Public Library in Columbia; in 1996 at the Sumter (S.C.) Gallery of Art; and in 1997 at the University of South Carolina Lancaster. Is selected three times for the annual NBSC Oil Painters’ Open Invitational Exhibition, winning awards in 1996 and 1998.  Is included in the annual Springs Industries Art Show in 1993 and three times in the BB&T–Florence Museum State-Wide Art Competition Exhibition in Florence, S.C., receiving an honorable mention in 1997. Is selected for group exhibitions at Columbia College in Columbia in 1998; at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, N.C., in 1999; and in Sumter, S.C., also in 1999. In 1997 joins Carol Saunders Gallery in Columbia, where she is part of a two-person show. In 1998 joins Hodges-Taylor Gallery in Charlotte, N.C. That same year joins Osmosis, an artist group in Columbia; over the next three years participates in five Osmosis exhibitions in South and North Carolina.  In 1999 is selected for the South Carolina State Fair Juried Art Exhibition, which travels to six venues.

2000 – 2005
Has a solo exhibition at the University of South Carolina Sumter in 2000; at Vanderbilt University in Nashville in 2001; at the Conn Gallery in Landrum, S.C., in 2004; and at Gallery 107 N in Winnsboro, S.C.. Participates in group shows at Gallery 80808 in Columbia in 2000, 2002, 2003 and 2005 and at Davidson County Community College in Lexington, N.C., in 2000. That same year is in a two-person exhibition at Carol Saunders Gallery in Columbia. Is selected for the Florence Museum’s State-Wide Art Competition Exhibition in 2000 and three times for the traveling NBSC Annual Oil Painters’ Open Invitational Exhibition, winning awards in 2004 and 2005.  In 2000 is selected for the South Carolina State Fair Juried Art Exhibition, which travels to six venues. Joins Fish or Cut Bait Gallery in Edisto, S.C., and I. Pinckney Simons Gallery in Beaufort, S.C., in 2001. Is among four artists whose work is purchased in 2003 for Midlands Technical College’s new Center of Excellence for Technology in Columbia. In 2004 is among the artists whose work is acquired for the new Columbia Metropolitan Convention Center.

In February has her 80th birthday exhibition, Laura Spong at 80: Warming the Chill Wind with Celebration, at Gallery 80808/Vista Studios, organized by if ART, International Fine Art Services of Columbia. The exhibition is accompanied by a 32-page catalogue with a biographical sketch of her career by if Art’s Wim Roefs; a critical review of her work by Teri Tynes; an article about the Columbia art scene in 1950s and 1960s by Robin Waites; and a detailed chronology of her career.

In February also has a solo exhibition at Carol Saunders Gallery and is in a two-person exhibition at Vinson Gallery in Decatur, Ga.

In the Spring, after more than 30 years, has a recurrence of breast cancer. “Now I am finally symmetrical again,” she commented after her second radical mastectomy.

In May is part of the Elizabeth O’Neill Verner Governor’s Awards for the Arts Luncheon & Art Sale, a fundraiser for the South Carolina Arts Foundation, which supports the work of the S.C. Arts Commission.

In May­­ – June is part of a group exhibition at Fish or Cut Bait Gallery in Edisto, S.C.

In April – June, is part of State Art Collection 1987 – 2006, an overview of art acquired by the S.C. Arts Commission, at the Sumter Gallery of Art. Earlier that year the Arts Commission had purchased White Flowers, 1958, and Dancing Under The Street Light, 2003.

In July – August, In Retrospect: Works by Laura Spong, 1950–2006, is at the University of South Carolina’s McMaster Gallery in Columbia.

In April – June, Laura Spong: 80th Year Celebration is at Hampton III Gallery in Taylors, S.C.

In November is part of New Crop: New Art, an exhibition of Vista Studio artists at Gallery 80808. Others in the show include Stephen Chesley, Jeff Donovan and Don Zurlo.

In November joins if ART Gallery in Columbia, which opens its doors that month.

In December 2006 – February 2007 is in Group 07, a group exhibition at Upstairs Artspace in Tryon, N.C.  Among others in the exhibition are Mana Hewitt, Ralph Paquin and Paul Yanko.


In February is in Abstract In Nature, an if ART Gallery exhibition at Gallery 80808/Vista Studios with Katie Walker, Paul Reed and Mike Williams.

In April – June is in Studio Visits, an exhibition at the Greenville County Museum of Art in Greenville, S.C., with David Boatwright, Dorothy Netherland, Alicia Timberlake, Jay Owens and David Yaghjian.

In May participates in Columbia Open Studios 2007.

In July, the Greenville County Museum of Art purchases It’s After Me Again, 2007.

During the summer creates Good Report, Bad Report, No Report, a composite painting of 100 x 80 inches, consisting of 25 smaller paintings, 20 x 16 inches each. The painting is shown at the March 2008 exhibition Abstracted In Nature.

In August – September Laura Spong: The Early Works, presenting almost 20 paintings from the 1950s through 1980s, is at if ART Gallery. 

In August – October has a solo exhibition at Francis Marion University in Florence, S.C.

In September is in The Fame Factor, an if ART Gallery exhibition at Gallery 80808/Vista Studios. Others with works in the exhibition include Benny Andrews, Karel Appel, Lynn Chadwick, Corneille, Jacques Doucet, John Hultberg, Richard Hunt, Wifredo Lam, Ibram Lassaw, Ger Lataster, Lucebert, Hannes Postma, Reinhoud, Paul Reed, Edward Rice, Kees Salentijn, Leo Twiggs and Bram van Velde.

In October, the South Carolina State Museum purchases City Street, 1957, and The Forest Eats Itself, 2001.


In March – April is in Abstracted In Nature, an if ART Gallery exhibition at Gallery 80808/Vista Studios with German artists Reiner Mährlein and Silvia Rudolf.

In May participates in the South Carolina Arts Foundation’s 40th Anniversary Benefit Auction at the Columbia Museum of Art.

In May participates in Columbia Open Studios 2008.

Creates It Was A Good Year, a composite painting of 80 x 60 inches, consisting of 12 smaller paintings, 20 x 20 inches each. The painting will be shown in her February 2009 solo exhibition.

The Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston, for its Art for Healing program at the university’s new Ashley River Tower, purchases Reds On The Move, 2006, It’s Not All Bad, 2005, and the diptych Stay In Your Yard, 2005.

In October, travels with South Carolina artist H. Brown Thornton to Kaiserlautern, Germany, for a residency at the Wollmagazin, a shared space for visual, literary and performing artists. At the conclusion of the residency is part of a group exhibition in Kaiserslautern.

In November – December is in Strings of Pearls: 30 Years of Upstairs Gallery at Upstairs Artspace gallery in Tryon, N.C.  Others in the exhibition include Carl Blair, Michael Brodeur, Jim Campbell, Diane Kilgore Condon, Philip Dusenbury, Hank Fuseler, Phil Garrett, Mary Gilkerson, Glenda Guion, Doug McAbee, Jane Nodine, Janet Orselli, Katie Walker, Sam Wang and David Yaghjian.

In December is part of The Salon I & II, a two-part if ART Gallery exhibition that takes place simultaneously at the gallery and Gallery 80808/Vista Studios.


In February, Laura Spong: Still Screaming, an if ART Gallery exhibition, is at Gallery 80808/Vista Studios, alongside another if ART exhibition, Leo Twiggs: Targeted Man.

In August, a dozen of her paintings appear in the Lifetime TV show Drop Dead Diva on the walls of the law firm where the show’s main character works. The paintings continue to feature in the show’s first two seasons and are expected to reappear if the show stays on the air.

Is included in State Art Collection: 1987 – 2006, a publication of the S.C. Arts Commission documenting two decades of acquisitions for the state art collection.

In November is in The State Art Collection: Contemporary Conversations II, the second part of an exhibition of 118 of the 448 artworks in the S.C. State Art Collection, curated by art critic Eleanor Heartney. The traveling show opened at 701 Center for Contemporary Art in Columbia and traveled to the Arts Center of Coastal Carolina in Hilton Head, S.C., in November 2010, and Clemson University’s  Arts Center, Lee Gallery and Brooks Center for the Performing Arts in Clemson, S.C., in January 2011.


In January – March participates in Milestones: Celebrating 70 and Beyond, an exhibition of South Carolina artists 70 years and older at the Franklin G. Burroughs–Simeon B. Chapin Art Museum of Myrtle Beach, S.C. Others in the exhibition include Carl Blair, Ethel Brody, Ray Davenport, Tom Flowers, Jean McWorther, Boyd Saunders, Leo Twiggs, Sam Wang and Don Zurlo.

In February – March, Laura Spong: Renovations, an if ART Gallery exhibition, is at Gallery 80808/Vista Studios along with another if ART exhibition, Anna Redwine: Frauenau. “In the historical tradition of vanitas or still-life painting,” reviewer Mary Benz Gilkerson wrote in Columbia’s Free Times weekly of one of Spong’s paintings, “she has created strong reminders of the ephemeral nature of life, of the ever present cycle of abundance and endings.”

In March – April, Laura Spong: The Early Works, is at Hampton III Gallery, Greenville, S.C.

In April, the Johnson Collection in Spartanburg, S.C., purchases Untitled, c. 1965, and Yellow Circle On White Rock, c. 1969. The collection consists of more than 600 works of art from or about the U.S. South from the 1700s to the present. Others in the collection include Sigmund Abeles, Benny Andrews, John Biggers, Charles Burchfield, Lamar Dodd, Aaron Douglas, Minnie Evans, Robert Gwathmey, William Halsey, Edward Hopper, Alfred Hutty, William Henry Johnson, Ida Kohlmeyer, Anne Heyward Taylor, Leo Twiggs, Elizabeth O’Neill Verner, William Aiken Walker, Hale Woodruff and Edmund Yaghjian.

In May, the Greenville County Museum of Art acquires Untitled, c. 1965.

In September is part of The Augusta-Columbia Connection: Six Artists from the if ART Gallery, Columbia, S.C., as part of the Westebou Festival in Augusta, Ga. Others in the exhibition, a co-production between if ART Gallery and Augusta’s Mary Pauline Projects, are Jeff Donovan, Philip Morsberger, Edward Rice, Mike Williams and David Yaghjian.

In November – December Laura Spong, a solo exhibition, is at the Fine Arts Center of Kershaw County in Camden, S.C.

In December, one of her paintings, Viva La Vista, 2010, is featured on a large screen at New York’s Times Square as part of a public relations campaign by Marriot’s SpringHill Suites hotels, for which the chain for a few hours exhibited local artists in its hotels in Columbia and Chicago, Ill.

In February, Laura Spong 2006 – 2011: Age As An Administrative Device, an if ART Gallery exhibition celebrating her 85th birthday, is at Gallery 80808/Vista Studios, accompanied by an exhibition catalogue.