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About the Project

The Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC), in partnership with the Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art at the College of Charleston have developed a multi-year collaboration called the Palmetto Portraits Project. Noted and emerging photographers from throughout the state of South Carolina have been commissioned to focus on portraying South Carolinians in the Lowcountry, the Piedmont, and the Upstate—reflecting the full range and diversity of the state’s citizens, occupations, and recreational activities. In creating a collection of art to display within MUSC’s educational and clinical buildings, the University hopes to remind students, faculty, staff, and visitors of those they serve at MUSC and throughout South Carolina. MUSC and the selected photographers have broadened the impact of the project by donating an identical set of photographs to the permanent collection of the South Carolina State Museum in Columbia.

The project partners include MUSC, the Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art at the College of Charleston, and the South Carolina State Museum in Columbia. The partners are producing this four-year project that commissions approximately 60 prints annually for a permanent collection at MUSC and the State Museum. MUSC did not provide any guidelines or restrictions as to whom the photographers chose as their subjects. In this, the conclusion of the third year, the photographers from Palmetto Portraits II selected these photographers for this year’s project. This year’s photographers have now selected their successors for next year. In this way, the photographers themselves help perpetuate the project, thereby broadening the scope of participation and reaching photographers throughout the state. Though the goal of 240 photographs by 24 photographers over four years is ambitious, we feel this unique collaboration will provide an important cross-sectional representation of the people of South Carolina for future generations to enjoy.

The Book

Cover of the palmetto Portraits bookNow available for online purchase.

This beautiful hard cover catalog showcases portraits from all 24 photographers featured in the Palmetto Portraits exhibit. Over 175 full-color portraits show South Carolinians from all walks of life at work and at play. Featuring forwards by author Josephine Humphreys, director and senior curator of the Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art at the College of Charleston, Mark Sloan, the director of the Medical University of South Carolina, Ray Greenberg, and the South Carolina State Museum’s chief curator of art, Paul Matheny.

order yours for only $29.95 »


Black Star Rising
May 17, 2010
Eye on Image-Making: Palmetto Portraits
The Aiken Standard
April 30, 2010
Museum Celebrates Portraits
Post and Courier – Preview
Sept 10, 2009
Lesson in Survival: Palmetto Portraits at MUSC, Olivia Pool

The Artists