Artist’s show to benefit Daughters of St. Paul

CHARLESTON — “Mary’s Garden,” a show of original works by artist Gary Hoff, will open this week at the Pauline Books and Media Center on King Street. Held in conjunction with the Spoleto Festival, it will benefit the renovation of the Daughters of St. Paul’s building.

The show’s opening, which includes a reception, will be from 5-8 p.m. June 3. The show will continue June 5-10.

The Daughters of St. Paul evangelize through the media and operate Pauline Books and Media at 243 King St. Their 168-year-old building is in dire need of repair; it has water damage, structural damage and a broken elevator.

Sister Jane Livingston, mother superior, felt the need for a renovation fund-raising plan become more and more pressing. One night, Sister Jane said, she had a dream in which the sister who had purchased the property in 1984 came to her with a grin on her face, “as if to say ‘everything will be all right.’ ”

“The very next day Gary Hoff called me and asked if we could collaborate for the Spoleto Festival,” Sister Jane said. The world-famous arts festival is held annually in Charleston and Spoleto, Italy.

Hoff, who is based in Poughkeepsie, N.Y., will display 30 to 40 original art works in the meeting room and front window of the bookstore. A portion of the proceeds from the show will be used for the building’s renovations.

Hoff works in oils and pastels and is known for his still lifes of flowers. He has been working on a painting titled “Mary’s Garden” for the show.

“I decided to name the show ‘Mary’s Garden’ because Gary is known for his florals and because the feast day for Mary Queen of the Apostles is an important one for our community,” Sister Jane said.

Hoff is primarily self-taught. He received formal training under New York artist Michael Aviano and has been recognized for outstanding work by the Salmagundi Club, American Artists Professional League and the Hudson Valley Art Association.

Hoff was inspired to try his hand at religious art in response to Pope John Paul II’s 1999 “Letter to Artists.” His life-size depiction of the crucifixion is found at St. Augustine Church in Highland, N.Y.

“In January of 2001, 20 sisters from our community had an audience with the Holy Father in Vatican City,” said Sister Jane. “Gary said to me, ‘If you see the Holy Father, please give him this,’ ” said Sister Jane. “It was a print of his painting of the crucifixion. I was last in line to see the Holy Father and I kissed his hand and gave it to him. That was very important to Gary that the Holy Father know how he had inspired him.”

And thanks to Hoff’s talent and willingness to help, Sister Jane hopes to put a dent in the $250,000 needed to make necessary repairs.

“I am so grateful that Gary has been kind enough to help us out in this way,” she said. “And this isn’t just a show for people wanting to purchase large art pieces. Gary will have regular and giclée prints and cards available for purchase as well. He will also be taking orders.”

For information about the art show, or to make a donation toward the building renovations, contact Sister Jane at Pauline Books and Media, (843) 577-0175.