Last Friday, I made a trip to Summerville, SC. I'd heard that the area had a growing fine arts community and I wanted to to check out their gallery scene. Summerville is a pleasant little Southern town. It's proximity to the major employers of North Charleston has kept it from suffering the decline that one sees in less affluent areas. The tree lined streets are lined with interesting shops and lot of quaint cafes that are full of customers. AND I am pleased to report that there is indeed a strong art presence in the area. There are lots of small galleries and fine art craft stores, and most of the local businesses exhibit the work of local artists on their walls.
First stop on the trip was Art Central Art Gallery. This gallery owned and operated by thirteen local artists The gallery offers a unique selection of paintings, photographs, hand-made jewelry, pottery and prints by local artists and artisans. I was especially impressed with the mixed media of artist Helen K. Beacham.
Next stop was People Places and Quilts. It has been rated as the number one quilt shop in the country. 'Why is a landscape painter visiting a quilt shop?', you ask. I used to teach Fiber Arts, and still love looking at non-traditional uses of fiber. The moment I stepped through the door of this place I fell in love with the place. The building used to be an old hardware store. The shop is arranged in a series of rooms... each with its own character and purpose... one for social gatherings and training, one for traditional quilts, one for children filled with bright colorful cloth, and one with contemporary batiks and subtly patterned fabrics. There is color and creative ideas on display everywhere. The shop not only sells fabric but has a fine display of both traditional and art quilts. A visit here will really get your creative juices flowing.
I also visited several other places in the area including the Finishing Touch, which offers a nice array of original artwork and prints, and fine handcrafted gifts.
The community offers an art walk on the Third Thursdays (5 - 8 pm) from March through September where artists set up out of door exhibits along Central Ave. There will also be an Open Studio Tour in April.The art walk, galleries, and the many fine dining establishments are just a few of the many reasons to pay a visit to Summerville, SC.