For former news anchor Carolyn Sawyer, art collecting and media work have always been linked. She bought her first piece, a mixed-media collage by Texas artist
, in the mid-1980s, while attending a convention for the National Association of Black Journalists. Frazier, who went on to make commemorative artworks
for the Congressional Black Caucus, had a long-standing relationship with the association. “He has always had a sociopolitical edge to his work, which is probably what attracted me in the first place,” said Sawyer.
Over the past four decades, Sawyer has focused her collection on work by Black artists and has narrowed in on her local community. She’s lived in South Carolina on and off since 1983—with stints in New York, Boston, and Atlanta—and embraces the Charleston art scene. “South Carolina has incredible African American artists that don’t get their due,” said Sawyer. “My mission became to collect and honor those who have done great work.”
Sawyer began her career as a network correspondent and anchor for outlets including ABC News, Lifetime, and WIS-TV (an NBC affiliate). She helped found Boston’s chapter of the National Coalition of 100 Black Women—a nonprofit that advocates for women of color—and served as a board member for the National Association of Black Journalists. In 1996, Sawyer founded the Tom Sawyer Company, her own marketing and communications firm which she runs out of Charleston, where she now lives.