In the post-Valentine’s haze of deflated balloons, budget-busting dinners, and drooping red roses, what’s not to love about people donating money to the creation of something that endures? Or a foundation that acts as a matchmaker to get those funds in the right hands?

The Coastal Community Foundation unveiled their new Rutledge Avenue building at a reception Friday night featuring art by Elizabeth McKeever. As the winner of the Griffith/Reyburn Lowcountry Artist of the Year Award, McKeever was given $5,000 to create paintings that were evocative of the look and feel of the Lowcountry. In 2010, 24 artists submitted applications for the award, and an anonymous committee put together by CCF chose the winner.

McKeever’s award-winning centerpiece “Different Perspectives” was inspired by the artist’s attempt to imagine life from a different point of view. The 4-by-8 foot triptych explores the fine line between preservation and growth, reflecting the push and pull between the sometimes oppositional ways of thinking. McKeever wrote a poem to accompany the show, ruminating on the concepts of history versus progress. “We collide together like waves to shore. One to hold fast; another, breaking crests who return to beat unceasingly. When the skies darken and the storm approaches, our battle rages.” In one panel, a historic downtown church reflects history and preservation, while another depicts a large container ship with the Ravenel Bridge in the background, reflecting progress. An abstract panel in the middle speaks to the blending of the two forces or the energy of the waves crashing on the shore.

McKeever graduated with a master’s degree in painting from the Savannah College of Art and Design and has taught at the Gibbes Museum of Art. Using mostly oils, she paints impressionistic landscapes as well as boldly colored abstracts in a variety of shapes and sizes. Twenty-eight paintings in the show are from the last few years and reflect her continued fascination with the physical and spiritual world.

Architect James Verkaik designed CCF’s new center in Wagener Terrace with the intention of creating an industrial and contemporary building that would still fit in with the surrounding historic neighborhood. Contractor Cox Schepp also worked with a goal of attaining LEED certification, using local resources, providing recycling during the building process, and being energy-efficient. A two-story elevator shaft surrounded by glass is the highlight of the building.

As a centerpiece in this new building, you could say McKeever’s triptych is about relationships. The artist reveals the beauty to both sides of the story, and the exciting potential of the two different perspectives coming together.

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