Rodel Gonzalez is truly representative of the term, “May the Force be with you.”

While he is not Yoda in the “Star Wars” series, he is very involved in doing prolific art for the genre, including the movie coming up this year.

Gonzalez, who grew up in the Philippines, now calls Los Angeles home and produces Lowcountry art as well as special reproductions from classic Disney movies.

Most people come to Hilton Head Island to relax. Jeff Boshart isn't like most people. Instead of playing a round of golf or playing in the sand, the seasoned sculptor and educator drove 17 hours from Charleston, Illinois, to play with 2,000 pounds of steel on a particularly warm October afternoon.

"It’s just ignorance, I guess," Boshart laughed, firing up his generator during the hottest part of the day.

Sculptor James Tyler doesn’t have a big head, but he does create them.

Inspired by the giant stone, clay and ceramic heads found in ancient cultures, the New York artist has unveiled more than 30 giant head sculptures at public parks, universities and sculpture gardens around the country.

His latest effort, Brickhead Orisha, is currently on display through Dec. 31 at the Coastal Discovery Museum at Honey Horn. The sculpture is one of 19 exhibits in place for the 2015 Public Art Exhibition, a bi-annual event presented by the Community Foundation of the Lowcountry.

Some people are born with a thirst for adventure. John “Skip” Barber, a retired race car driver and grand marshal of this year's Savannah Speed Classic, part of the Hilton Head Island Motoring Festival & Concours d’Elegance, is definitely the adventurous type. The former Formula One driver has been interested in racing for as long as he can remember — long before he even got an up-close-and-personal look at a race car. Once that happened, Barber was hooked and channeled his enthusiasm for racing into successful careers as a professional driver and racing instructor.


Julie Wade ran from chemotherapy treatment.

Sometimes, she changed shirts and wore slippers while reclining in what she equates to “medical lounge chairs” as chemicals coursed through her body, devastating the cancer within her.

But afterward, she’d lace up her Mizunos, and run the two miles to her Savannah home, making it four miles for that chemo session—because she’d also run to her treatments.

Even before Bluffton Police Chief Joey Reynolds, 57, was appointed to his position after 35 years in law enforcement, he and his wife wanted to move to the Lowcountry after falling in love with Bluffton after vacationing here.

The South Carolina native inherited a full-time staff of 33 officers in September 2012 when he took office; the police department now totals 49 with a support staff of five. The department’s $6.2 million budget and increased force numbers reflect Bluffton’s growth to a town of more than 13,600 residents.

Shawn Leininger knows he’s a Lowcountry cliché, the Ohio native and Ohio State Buckeyes alum drawn south by the siren call of the May River. Bluffton’s director of growth development once admired the town’s expansion from afar while forging his own real-life “SimCity” efforts up north.

Leininger made the move to Bluffton in 2011 and has spent the past four years using that admiration as a base for putting his own mark on the area’s growth plan. How does he think it’s working out so far?

Marc Orlando has been at the forefront of a decade of enormous change in Bluffton. He joined the town as a planning director in 2004, moving into positions as director of growth management and deputy town manager before taking over for retiring town manager Anthony Barrett in September 2014.

We let the 44-year-old town leader reflect on a decade of growth and what’s ahead as the once “sleepy little hamlet” evolves into a metropolis.


For many actors, the road to the stage is long and winding, with twists and frustrations and pitfalls at every turn. It’s a struggle you see time and again when you read about how Broadway stars slaved away waiting tables and doing bit parts in commercials for years waiting for their big break. Most of the time, raw talent is never enough.

Harrison Leahy, however, proves that sometimes it is.

The dream began to take shape 42 years ago. P.J. Tanner got to shadow his uncle, an officer with the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources.

“We rode in the DNR boat. They paid for him to have a truck. A boat, a truck and serving others? Wow. That’s a dream job right there.”

As he became an adult, he looked to apply for the DNR, but because of a budget freeze, there were no jobs available. So his uncle introduced him to Beaufort County Sheriff Morgan McCutchen, who hired him three days after his 21st birthday.