Experience the mystery of Greenville Open Studios

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"Happy Head" by Judy Verhoeven

The 16th annual Greenville Open Studios has 145 participating artists, making it another vital weekend for the area’s visual arts community.

Since 2004, over 483,000 visits have been recorded in the various studios, and over $2.81 million in art has been sold. In 2016, 38,913 visits were recorded, and the artists experienced record-high sales of $281,587. These impressive results are indicative of Greenville’s continually expanding support of our cultural offerings.

Our city’s arts community has significantly diversified over the past decade, and this weekend event showcases the talent and professionalism of the visual artists who work and live in our community. Each year since the event’s beginning in 2002, Greenville Open Studios has grown to include artists in virtually every neighborhood throughout the county.

The presenting sponsors for 2017 are SEW Eurodrive and South State Bank. Juergen, Christopher and Rainer Blickle, principals at SEW Eurodrive, have been very loyal supporters of Greenville Open Studios for many years, and we look forward to working with them in the future as our visual arts community continues to diversify and expand.

We also welcome South State Bank as a presenting sponsor this year, and we truly appreciate the dedication and commitment to the event by Katherine Odom and Chris Robinson of South State.

The event guarantees free and convenient community access to the visual arts by creating opportunities for interaction between artists and the general public. Greenville Open Studios has evolved into the premier sales and marketing event for area artists, and the weekend also provides an excellent way to learn more about artistic processes and sources of creative inspiration.

There are several ways to select the studios you would like to visit – for an official catalog, please visit the Metropolitan Arts Council (MAC) at 16 Augusta St. in downtown Greenville or visit greenvilleARTS.com for an electronic version. The catalogs were included in last week’s issue of the Greenville Journal, and they are available at many retailers throughout the downtown and Augusta Road areas.

Something on the Squares, an exhibit at the MAC Gallery consisting of one 12” x 12” (x 12”) work of art from each of the artists, provides you with a comprehensive overview of the event. The exhibit runs from Nov. 4 through Dec. 15, and the gallery is open Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. You can also visit the MAC website, greenvilleARTS.com, to view an extensive image gallery for most of the participating artists as well as directions to their studios and contact information.

MAC is offering a new app for the 2017 event. The app will allow you to sort the 145 participating artists alphabetically and by their medium, accessibility, and “Open Friday.” From an artist’s page you will easily be able to get directions to his or her studio through the GPS on your device. This application was designed and implemented by 10x Digital, and we greatly appreciate the time and investment that this company has provided for the feature. The Greenville Open Studios app will be available to download from the App Store for iOS devices.

It is imperative that we continue to support our existing cultural assets that make Greenville a remarkable place to live and work. The arts throughout Greenville County account for an estimated overall economic impact of over $217 million annually, and they play a major role in attracting new businesses and tourists to the area.

If the arts are to serve the public, then the public should, in turn, support the arts so that our quality of life is maintained and enhanced. Greenville Open Studios also provides an opportunity for area corporations to purchase art from local artists for their offices. Companies such as Countybank, Elliott Davis, Greenville Health System, Greenwood Capital, McMillan Pazdan Smith, Piedmont Arthritis Clinic, South State Bank, and TD Bank, to name just a few, have all purchased works by local artists for their facilities.

The hours of Greenville Open Studios are Saturday, Nov. 11, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Sunday, Nov. 12, noon to 6 p.m. Please feel free to contact the MAC office at 864-467-3132 at anytime throughout the weekend if you need additional information. Several artists will have their studios open on Friday, Nov. 10, from 6 to 9 p.m., as indicated in the catalog.

Francis Bacon, the late 20th-century English painter once said, “The job of the artist is always to deepen the mystery.” Greenville Open Studios provides you with 145 different opportunities to experience mystery throughout our great area. And no doubt, you will see some great art.

Alan Ethridge is the executive director of the Metropolitan Arts Council. Greenville Open Studios runs Nov. 10-12.

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