Courtesy the Gibbes

A city steeped in culture and history, Charleston has experienced an explosion of new artists and galleries over the last decade, but the Gibbes Museum of Art has always led the way as a source of education and artistic endeavors. When the museum originally opened its doors in 1905 under the name the Gibbes Art Gallery, its purpose was to connect the world of art with our local and regional history, deepening Charlestonians’ connection to the city’s culture.

Now, more than a century later, the Gibbes remains as a central part of the city’s art and cultural landscape, bringing traveling exhibits, visiting artists, and a concert series to the community. But, the museum relies heavily on the support of locals and affiliate groups — the Gibbes Women’s Council and Society 1858 provide the resources the museum needs to create a vibrant schedule of cultural events.

As the first affiliate group for the museum, the Women’s Council is vital in creating a tight-knit group of art lovers that work to support the Gibbes’ efforts. “Everything that we do as a part of the council is to forward the mission and the vision of the Gibbes,” says Louise Allen, current president of the Women’s Council. “In the last few years, we have established a reputation for developing a really fun annual event that allows the community to learn and connect with other people.”

For the last 10 years, the annual Art of Design luncheon hosted by the Women’s Council has been the group’s main fundraiser. Hosted each year in March, the event invites guests to the Gibbes for the chance to learn from an established figure in the design community. In past years, speakers have included Hamish Bowles, Vogue‘s international editor-at-large, and Eva Chen, an integral Instagram fashion influencer. The event almost always sells out, this year included.

This year, the council welcomes Clea Shearer and Joanna Teplin, the two women behind The Home Edit, a brand that fuses the art of interior design with a specific method of organization to keep your space looking stylish yet functional. From its humble beginnings on Instagram, The Home Edit has evolved into a lifestyle brand with spin-off ventures like a television home makeover show, Master the Mess, and a co-authored book, The Home Edit: A Guide to Organizing and Realizing Your House Goals. Shearer and Teplin have even grown their clientele list to include celebrities like Gwyneth Paltrow and Emma Roberts.


“We pay a lot of attention to detail for this event,” says Allen. “From the speaker to the food, we try to create a really fun, beautiful atmosphere for people to learn and connect with each other.” The event has grown dramatically since its debut, selling out in a matter of weeks.

While you may not be able to make it to this year’s Art of Design if you haven’t already purchased tickets, there are still ways to get involved with the museum. Women throughout the area can join the Women’s Council to become active members and help foster the art and museum community in Charleston. “The women who are active in the council and those who support our activities, whether they’re members or not, is what underscores all of our efforts,” explains Allen. “We try to imbue a sense of comradery, purpose, and fun in what we do, and we want you to come and enjoy it, to come learn and think.”

Learn more about the Women’s Council at