It’s that time of year again, Charleston. It’s time for SEWE! Or, for you non-locals, the Southeastern Wildlife Exposition that runs this weekend from February 17-19th. This year SEWE will be celebrating its 30th year and will attract around 500 artists and exhibitors who will demonstrate their work to over 40,000 attendees. Though the emphasized focus of SEWE is the experts in wildlife and nature art, the event also specializes in conservation through environmental education.

As SEWE has grown since February of 1983, so have the programs goals. The many missions of SEWE are: to increase tourism traffic to the Charleston area during its normally slow season, showcase fine wildlife art and artists, invest positively in wildlife and nature education, and to aid in Charleston’s nature and wildlife preservation by spreading awareness and collecting the financial benefits SEWE brings in.

“SEWE provides the public with affordable access to cultural and educational opportunities…Its programs underscore the need for educating ourselves and our children about the conservation and preservation of our wild and natural resources” says the function’s website. Those who choose to participate in the event experience art of all kinds, meet artists, attend exhibits, lectures, and children’s educational programs.

We are thrilled to be a part of the weekend festivities.  Local painter Honor Marks, whose work focuses on indigenous wildlife and botanicals, will show new paintings at The Real Estate Studio beginning Feb 16.  The show, Wild at Heart, Paintings of SC Wildlife, begins SEWE weekend and will continue until March 26.  Marks grew up in Charleston and developed a love for art by photographing unique wildlife and pieces of the marsh with her family when she was young. Honing her skills further as she grew, Marks double majored in English and Fine Arts receiving her B.A. with honors from the University of the South in Sewanee, Tennessee.

Over the next several years Marks painted for renowned furniture company Habersham, worked in design and as a commercial artist, dedicating herself to oil painting full time in 1999. “My work is intended to reveal what is right in front of us but goes unseen,” Marks said about her painting. “We truly take for granted the enormity of the miracles that surround us. My work celebrates those miracles.”

Marks has been given several awards and honors for her art including: Best in Show at the 2003 Piccolo Spoleto Juried Outdoor Art Exhibit, 2005 Griffith Lowcountry Artist Award, and a narration of her species paintings by Rudy Mancke, host of television’s Nature Scene in 2006. Most recently, in 2009, Marks was commissioned by Medical College of Georgia to create five paintings of medicinal plants to hang permanently in the MCG Cancer Center.

Honor’s work appears in private and corporate collections across the country and is available through Trowbridge Gallery in Ojai, CA; Mary Pauline Projects in Augusta, GA; and online at

Mark’s Wild at Heart, Paintings of SC Wildlife series will be on exhibit at The Real Estate Studio February 16 – March 26 with an Opening Reception held Friday, February 17, 2012 from 5:00 PM – 7:00 PM.  For more information about the exhibit, contact The Real Estate Studio 722-5618. For a list of SEWE events, please click this link.

– Amanda Graham