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Event and exhibit champion the art of political cartoons

Aug 16, 2013 7:19 AM

Political cartoon enthusiasts are invited to attend “The Art of Political Cartooning,” a panel discussion at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, September 4. Cartoonists Robert Ariail and Kate Salley Palmer will discuss their work, with Charles Bierbauer, Dean of the USC College of Mass Communications and Information Studies, moderating. A reception will follow.


A corresponding exhibit of 21 political cartoons will be on display in Hollings Library September 2 – December 20. Both are sponsored by the USC Libraries’ South Carolina Political Collections (SCPC) and are free and open to the community.

“So many of us like political cartoons because they are easily understood, and they are wickedly funny,” said Herb Hartsook, Director of SCPC. “It is always fun for readers to see the powerful get their noses tweaked a bit. You’d think those leaders would be furious to have fun poked at them, yet so often those people themselves will ask the artist for the original cartoon. The panel discussion will provide an inside look at political cartoons, their subjects and the talented people who create them.”

A 1984 graduate of USC, Ariail is published in The Spartanburg Herald-Journal as well as in more than 600 other newspapers through United Features Syndicate. He was the editorial cartoonist for The State newspaper from 1984 until 2009. A two-time Pulitzer Award finalist, he has won international, national, regional and state recognition for his work.

A 1968 graduate of USC, Palmer is an award-winning former nationally-syndicated cartoonist for The Greenville News. Since the early 1990s, she has been writing and illustrating children’s picture books and has had more than 20 published. SCPC is home to a collection of Palmer's drawings, sketches and papers.

Cartoons created by Ariail and Palmer are part of the “Wreaking Havoc: The Art of Political Cartooning” exhibit, along with the work of now-retired Walt Lardner, an illustrator who was chief animator with South Carolina Educational Television and a political cartoonist for The State. The Walt Lardner Collection at SCPC consists of 585 original cartoons he created during the tenures of governors Robert McNair, John West, James Edwards, Richard Riley and Carroll Campbell.

“The exhibit will fill several cases with cartoons,” Hartsook said. “Some are originals and some are reproductions. Each original is a cartoon that was given to the subject of the cartoon. We have one cartoon by Robert Ariail that came off of the office wall of Isadore Lourie, a state senator whose papers are housed at SCPC. Another one is by Walt Lardner that Gov. McNair gave us. And one is by Kate Salley Palmer that Gov. John West gave us.”

Anyone wishing to attend the event on September 4 should contact the University Libraries Development Office at 803-576-6016 or by August 30.

SCPC is located in the Ernest F. Hollings Special Collections Library, which is accessed through Thomas Cooper Library on the USC campus. Regular building hours are 8:30 a.m. – 5 p.m. Monday – Friday. For more information, visit