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October 8, 2010

Bookzilla Lives!

BookzillaIf you have seen a monster of a sculpture in front of the Gaillard Auditorium during the past few days, don't be alarmed! You have witnessed "Bookzilla," an innovative project of the Charleston Volunteers for Literacy designed to build support for the Charleston Book Buddies program operated in five Charleston County School District (CCSD) schools. 

Local artist, Karl Beckwith Smith is designing and building the “Bookzilla” sculpture made entirely of books.  Smith began building Bookzilla on Tuesday, October 4 and will complete the book-friendly creature at 6 p.m. on Saturday, October 9. Come see this exciting project first-hand, and help Bookzilla grow. For every five dollars donated to the Book Buddies program, one book will be added to the sculpture. You can also help by bringing your gently used books to donate.

About Charleston Book Buddies

BookzillaThe Charleston Book Buddies program serves children at James Simons Elementary, Burns Elementary, Mary Ford Elementary, Mitchell Elementary and Memminger Elementary.  Each tutor has the same child each week in a one-on–one tutoring session. Each child is tutored for 45 minutes twice a week, and tutors are invited to sign up for once or twice a week. If once a week, the tutor will be paired with another tutor to serve one child. Lessons are planned and materials gathered for the tutor by a paid, trained reading specialist, who is available during sessions to support the tutors.

About the Artist

Bookzilla artist Karl SmithSmith is originally from Saranac Lake, New York and graduated from Princeton University with a B.A. in art history. He painted for ten years while living in Tribeca, was a studio assistant for a Guggenheim Fellow and manager for a gallery for imported art in the Soho District.  He moved to Charleston in 1992, where he opened Halcyon Place Gallery on Wentworth Street and a design studio on Folly Beach. An avid supporter of the arts in Charleston, Smith lends his incredible talent to many worthwhile charities.  Smith is excited about being involved with the Charleston Volunteers for Literacy’s unique fundraising event, Bookzilla for the possibilities the event can have for Charleston’s youth.

"By creating a large sculpture using discarded and unwanted books I hope to draw attention to the books’ endangered status and the commendable effort being made here in Charleston to make sure that all our young people have the opportunity and ability to read,” said Smith.  “At least temporarily,these books will escape their eventual trip to the landfill. I will build a structure using cast off books on the terrace of the Gaillard Auditorium that gives a nod to the wealth of knowledge, surprises and entertainment that can be found within their covers;and will strive to create an "experience" with a "revelation" the viewer will come away with.”

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