Artisphere is once again ranked as one of the Top 10 arts festivals in the nation and this year’s version of Greenville’s celebration of the visual arts will have a distinctively local flavor.
Seventeen local artists were among the 135 artists selected for Artists Row for the 12th annual event to be held in downtown Greenville May 13-15.
Nearly 1,100 artists from 45 states, Canada, Israel and Portugal applied to be part of Artists Row, a record number.
“Having 13 percent of the artists selected being local speaks volumes about the works they’re producing,” said Kerry Murphy, Artisphere’s executive director.
Three of the local artists are new to Artisphere.
Kate Furman’s art jewelry has been juried into gallery exhibitions nationally and internationally, but she has not participated in an outdoor booth show like Artisphere before.
“Artisphere has a great reputation, and the caliber of art is amazing,” she said.
She’ll use the opportunity as one of two of the festival’s emerging artists to continue to expose Greenville to her art jewelry that is inspired by nature. Wearing one of her pieces to the artist announcement Tuesday morning, Furman said people usually have one of two reactions when they see her art jewelry – which she equates to the difference between high fashion and fashion – for the first time.
“Some people are blown away. Others are very confused and they wonder why I’m wearing a piece of wood,” she said. “I feel like I’m starting to be known in Greenville, and I want to continue that.”
While Furman’s goal is to become more known locally, Artisphere has already earned a reputation nationally.
Artisphere placed No. 9 in Greg Lawler’s Art Fair Sourcebook, a respected resources for artists and arts patrons. It’s the fourth year in a row that Artisphere ranked in the top 10 spots among 600 festivals ranked in the book.
“The caliber of artists who are attracted to the Artisphere Festival keeps getting better and better,” said Tod Tappert, Artisphere visual arts committee member and a 2016 Visual Arts juror. “We selected the very best of the best for the 2016 festival.”
The 2016 festival will feature 55 artists who have never before exhibited at Artisphere. A complete list is available at artisphere.org.
This year’s Artisphere will be expanded – both in number of artists on Artists Row and in footprint.
The festival for the first time will cross over Augusta Street on Main Street. Artisphere officials expanded the site because they thought construction plans at the Greenville News property on South Main would impact the festival more this year, Murphy said.
The extra space will allow Artisphere to expand Artists Row to 135, 10 more than the previous high two years ago, and to add an acoustic stage.
The outdoor festival, which brings thousands of people to downtown Greenville, set records for artists’ sales last year with average sales of $7,300, up from $6,800 the year before. Last year’s artists sold more than $920,000 of art and a Clemson University study put the festival’s economic impact at $5.5 million.
In addition to art in a variety of media, Artisphere features food, music, street performances and activities for children.
“Artisphere has a great reputation, and the caliber of art is amazing.”
Kate Furman, a Greenville-based artist who will be showing her work at Artisphere for the first time
Kent Ambler – printmaking
Hallie Bertling – watercolor
Joseph Bradley – oil/acrylic painting
Evangelos Courpas – furniture
Janina Ellis – oil/acrylic painting
Kate Furman – jewelry
Darin Gerhrke – ceramics
Lynn Greer – watercolor
Marie Gruber – photography
Jennifer Janeiro – drawing
Jerry Maxey – fiber
Danielle Miller-Gilliam – precious jewelry
Ray Mosteller – photography
Jacki Newell – oil/acrylic painting
Katie Poterala – semi-precious jewelry
Llyn Strong – precious jewelry
Judy Verhoeven – 2D mixed media
Year 1, 2005 – 17 local artists, 100 artists total
Year 5, 2009 – 14 local artists, 100 artists total
Year 10, 2014 – 15 local artists, 120 artists total
This year, 2016 – 17 local artists, 135 artists total
Artisphere announces bigger local lineup
The arts festival in May will feature 135 artists in Artists Row, 17 from the Upstate.