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Cumbee, Joe

Cumbee with his work
Cumbee with his work

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Joe Cumbee, a retired tug boat captain from McClellanville in Charleston County, has captured important images of coastal South Carolina on paper and canvas. Mr. Cumbee has filled his free time before and after retirement by drawing and painting pictures of local ships, houses, flora, and fauna. Not only do Mr. Cumbee’s works provide a visual record of McClellanville’s history, but he uses them as cues for recalling more detailed oral history about the area.

Cumbee uses whatever materials he can find in creating his art – painting on anything from discarded house panels to old bedsheets. His body of self-taught artistic work provides a priceless documentation of South Carolina’s coastal heritage. Cumbee received the Jean Laney Harris Folk Heritage Award in 1991.

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