Wednesday, February 6, 2013
On Feb. 23, the Heart Association will host the 16th annual Charleston Heart Ball. More than 500 Lowcountry business, medical and community leaders will gather to raise funds and awareness to combat the health epidemic that threatens our state’s economy and vitality. They will also celebrate the many lives in our community that have been saved and improved because of the American Heart Association’s work locally.
The featured artist is Mount Pleasant resident Shannon Runquist who joins 15 other artists who generously donated pieces to be auctioned off for the association.
Traditionally these pieces go for thousands of dollars. All of the money raised from the event goes back into the Lowcountry through AHA funded grants and patient education.
Runquist has been a strong supporter of AHA, as her husband Dr. Lars Runquist is a cardiologist in the community.
Runquist has been showing professionally here in Charleston since 2004 and has been involved with the Heart Association in some capacity for some time as well. She has chaired the event and volunteered to make it all happen. In addition she is a member of Circle of Red which helps to fund the Go Red Luncheon held each year.
Her husband Lars did his residency here and a fellowship at the Medical University of South Carolina in cardiology, and volunteering and supporting with the Heart Association was a natural fit for the couple.
Runquist was honored to be named as the featured artist this year, and has donated her piece called “High Cotton.”
Runquist spent the last year documenting cotton fields in South Carolina. She grew up in south Georgia and her family grew cotton and corn and all types of crops. She said she has always had a fascination with cotton and a farmer in Manning let her document the entire growing season - from planting through harvest. The painting that will be featured at the Heart Ball is one of the cotton before it was exfoliated. Runquist is working on a whole series of cotton still-life and landscape. She also incorporates antiques into still-life such as things she has collected.
The Runquist family is passionate about heart health.
As head of the cardiac rehab center at Roper St. Francis Healthcare, her husband has passed that importance on to Shannon.
“My family has a history of heart disease and I have lost family members to it,” she said.
“We try to live a heart-healthy life style.”
She explained that through exercise and diet the couple has taught their children the importance of those issues, “It is hard to make decisions, good decisions, about what to eat and not to smoke. Our kids hear it and see it from us and they too are learning to make heart healthy choices,” she said.
“My husband is very passionate about his job and loves it and I fully support that.”
She explained that they are quite a mixed couple.
“He is supportive of the arts here in town and it is a nice give and take relationship because we are both supportive of each other’s work.”
Runquist’s piece is much larger than the other artists who have donated their time and work.
Her piece will be a three-by-four original displayed prominently at the ball.
“I feel like it is an honor to have been asked to be the featured artist this year, given those that have doen it is the past - like West Frasier, Rhett Thurman, and John Carroll Doyle. I totally respect all of the artists who have done the event and those donating their paintings and time and creative talents this year are a really diverse group. It is a good mix.”
Runquist has always been influenced by the south and southern types of things. She considers herself a southern realist artist.
“I have been here 17 years now and it is amazing how the art market has changed. There are so many and new galleries and artists from all over. It is great to live in a city that is infused with art.”
When asked how long it took her to compelte this finished piece, she said, “41 years. I work on multiple pieces at a time and do glazing and layering and don’t really keep up with the amount of time spent on something. It’s always been a progress in the making.”
The Runquists collect pieces from other local artists and she has displayed her own works at Horton Hayes since 2005.
For more information on Runquist, visit www.shannonrunquist.com.
For more information and tickets to the Heart Ball, please call 843-853-1597 or visit the website at www.heart.org/charlestonscheartball.
• 16th annual Charleston Heart Ball Art and Wine auction
• Feb. 23
• The Crystal Ballroom - Downtown Marriott
• 6 p.m.
• Black tie
• Silent auction and cocktail hour
• Seated gourmet dinner
• Live auction featuring local artists
• Entertainment and dancing
• With featured artist Shannon Renquist, “High Cotton”
• Heart disease and stroke are the nation’s No. 1 and No. 4 killers, claiming the lives of more than 813,000 Americans.
• More than 1 in 3 adults has some form of cardiovascular disease.
• Heart disease kills more women than all forms of cancer combined.
• Nearly 12,000 people in South Carolina died of heart disease or stroke in 2009.