Speaker Series: Dwight McInvaill

Alice Ravenel Huger Smith:  Beloved Family and Cherished Friends, Special Catalysts to a Charleston Renaissance Artist

Alice Ravenel Huger Smith (1876-1958) was central to the artistic renewal of Charleston, SC, during the first half of the twentieth century.  Through her work as a watercolorist, author, and teacher, she helped to rekindle the cultural life of her birthplace.  Her creativity, in turn, was spurred onwards by key private interactions with devoted family members and with close friends.  As a precursor to an upcoming exhibit at the Edmondston-Alston House from October 23, 2016 – June 17, 2017, entitled Alice Ravenel Huger Smith:  Sharing Her Legacy, this Speaker Series program on September 29, 2016, will illuminate through reference to little-known archival materials the importance of some very special personal connections to Alice Smith’s achievements.       

As the Georgetown County Library Director since 1996, Dwight McInvaill has provided innovative civic service for decades in South Carolina’s Lowcountry.  Under his leadership, the Georgetown County Digital Library (www.gcdigital.org) has been established with over 42,000 historical images and documents online.  His public library has also produced so far over 325 local-history videos (https://www.youtube.com/user/GeorgetownCountyLibr/videos).  Recently, he served on the founding steering committee of the Digital Public Library of America (DPLA).  In 2008, the Georgetown County Library became the first institution in the Palmetto State ever to have been awarded at the White House an IMLS National Medal for library and museum service.  In 2009, McInvaill received from the Carnegie Foundation and the New York Times an “I Love My Librarian Award.”  With artist Jonathan Green and others, he has served on the Lowcountry Rice Culture Project Board (http://www.lowcountryriceculture.org).  His library hosted the Rice Forum 2015 in Georgetown County last September with art history lectures and with cultural programs related to the impact of the state’s former rice industry on Lowcountry culture.  McInvaill is now writing a biography – derived considerably from private archives – on a leading Charleston Renaissance watercolorist entitled Pursuing Perfection:  The Artistic Lessons of Alice Ravenel Huger Smith, 1876 to 1958.