MUSC Celebrates 200 Years Through Art Inspired by Bicentennial Guiding Principles

Tapping into the power of art to spark emotion, prompt reflection and turn pain into healing, MUSC proudly presents the Bicentennial Art Collection, which resides here and inside the MUSC James W. Colbert Education Center and Library on the MUSC Charleston campus.

This display of meaningful pieces represents the vital principles MUSC aspires to embody: a commitment to the importance of honoring history and truth, a firm dedication to the values of diversity and inclusion in all facets of the enterprise, a promise to tackle problems through innovation and excellence, and a vision of a higher calling through the ideals of creativity and inspiration.

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Appreciation of History & Truth

Amiri Farris

Artist Amiri Farris

Amiri Farris

Bluffton-based artist Amiri Geuka Farris received his Master of Fine Arts degree from the Savannah College of Art and Design, after which he became deeply involved in community organizations like the Penn Center, the first school in the South for formerly enslaved West Africans. During this time, he also learned more about his Gullah-Geechee ancestors and was christened into the community.

“Being a Gullah-Geechee descendant is an honor and a legacy,” he says. “It’s very important for me to carry on the traditions and stories passed down from the elders by using my visual arts.”

Farris is currently the artist in residence at the Penn Center and a professor at the University of South Carolina Beaufort, where he teaches studio and fine arts. His murals and public art can be seen in locations throughout South Carolina and Georgia, and his work has been featured in more than 50 exhibitions both nationally and internationally.

His art combines vivid colors and dramatic textures created by techniques like collage, drip painting and layering. He often uses imagery evocative of barrier island and Gullah-Geechee culture, but he also enjoys blurring the boundaries between traditional and contemporary art.

Learn more at Farris's website and on Instagram at @amirifarris.

Video interview with Amiri Farris

Amiri Farris discusses “Bicentennial Heirloom” and explains how it connects to a deep appreciation of history and truth.

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Diversity & Inclusion

Natalie Daise

Artist Natalie Daise

Natalie Daise

Natalie Daise, an artist, storyteller, actor and author based in Georgetown, SC, was born and raised in upstate New York before relocating to South Carolina as a young adult. She holds a Master of Arts in Creativity Studies and has traversed a wide spectrum of successful endeavors, from TV to gallery shows to teaching the creative process to communities, educators and anyone with a curious mind.

To Daise, her most important work is her role as a creative catalyst, teaching others to find expression that allows them to tell their own story.

"A creative catalyst is someone who inspires creativity in others," she says. "To me creativity simply means, how do you follow your curiosity? It is a process, not a product, and I'm very good at helping people manifest that."

Daise's visual art is deeply rooted in story and song, often inspired by dreams. Her most recent series is a colorful, joyful evocation of history and family through paintings of people and collard greens. Her work has been featured in exhibits throughout the Southeast, and one of her collard paintings was recently installed as a mural in Washington, DC.

Learn more at Daise's website and on Instagram at @gullahmama.

Still from Natalie Daise video.

Natalie Daise discusses "We the People" and describes her work as a creative catalyst to inspire expression that goes beyond words.

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Excellence & Innovation

Artist Lisa Willits

Artist Lisa Willits

Lisa Willits

Lisa Willits trained as an oil painter by taking evening classes at the Gibbes Museum of Art in Charleston while maintaining a full-time career in a research lab. With her love of color, knack for precision, and sense of awe in the presence of natural beauty, she flourished as an artist and stepped into the life of a full-time painter in 2005.

Willits is an owner-member of the Lowcountry Artists Gallery and an exhibiting member of the Charleston Artist Guild. She has held numerous other membership and director positions and has participated in juried art shows throughout the Carolinas.

Willits's work has evolved to capture the rich and ever-changing colors of the South Carolina sky. "Because much of the local landscape is flat in the Lowcountry, I find that the drama in the sky makes an amazing focal point," she said.

She also maintains a sense of whimsy, relating sky paintings to the sense of being a child and finding fun and interesting shapes in the clouds.

Learn more at Willits's website and on Instagram at @lisawillits.

A snapshot of a video interview with Lisa Willits.

Lisa Willits discusses "Above and Beyond" and shares how connection to nature can inspire excellence and a sense of possibility.

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Creativity & Inspiration

Heather Lumb

Artist Heather Lumb

Heather Lumb

MUSC Bicentennial Art Contest Winner Heather Lumb is a project manager in the Planning, Design, and Construction Department at MUSC. In her work, she channels her creativity into architecture and design projects to support the diverse needs of a large academic medical center.

But beyond her position at MUSC, she has been a lifelong painter, beginning during her childhood in England and continuing through her many travels and time spent living in Maine. She settled in South Carolina in 2021 and has been creating and exhibiting her work locally since.

Lumb draws inspiration from nature and loves to capture the essence of people as they enjoy it. She often focuses on the joy and relaxation she sees in beachgoers, using her brush to reflect on the unique beauty of each individual.

"Painting gives me a chance to get into a creative zone and revel in the scenes and colors before me," she said. "I enjoy making it, and I love that I can share the result with other people."

Lumb's work has been exhibited at art shows along the East Coast, and she is a member of the Oil Painters of America.

Learn more at Lumb's website and on Instagram at @heatherlumbartist.

A snapshot of a video interview with Heather Lumb.

Heather Lumb discusses "Inspirational Morning" and shares how a creative outlet enlivens her own life while also giving joy to others.