Artisphere returns to Greenville this year after last year’s postponement due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Artisphere, presented by TD Bank, brings hosts of people to downtown for a weekend when creativity and imagination run wild as visitors explore a variety of art mediums by a diverse group of artists from around the country.
It’s also an opportunity to connect artists with patrons. Over the past year, many artists haven’t been able to present at galleries and larger events like Artisphere, says the festival’s executive director Kerry Murphy.
“It’s something that we hope will be the catalyst for healing in our community and getting back to some semblance of normalcy,” Murphy says.
The 105 artists at this year’s festival were chosen out of the almost 1,000 who applied to participate in last year’s event.
“After being absent for over a year, Artisphere’s return to the arts is vital. Many artists and galleries have struggled this past year, and being back in person on S. Main Street allows our community and the arts to thrive in a meaningful way,” says Artisphere Board of Directors president Allison Spinks. She adds that with over a hundred artists at the event, hope and creativity in the community will be reinforced.
Twenty-four states and 17 mediums will be represented, according to Murphy. Sixteen artists are local. It’s a chance for local artists to see what artists in other regions of the U.S. are doing. During the festival, visitors can check out the various booths from artists, as well as see art being made. There will be demonstrations in glassblowing, metalworking and painting.
Greenville artist Patricia DeLeon says her multi-surface work will focus on balance.
“I’m wanting to represent, like the feeling that we’re all having of coming back into the moment, finding our place now that things are getting back to normal and just finding our center and our balance again,” DeLeon says.
Janina Ellis, who works in a studio in the Village of West Greenville, says it was heartbreaking when COVID-19 forced the postponement of Artisphere in 2020.
“‘I’m happy to be seeing everybody again and happy to be showing my work,” she says. “I’m happy to be seeing all the other artists — it’s been a while.”
Ellis says Artisphere has always been a great way for people to get a chance to see art up close and personal.
“Not everyone is comfortable going into a gallery and not everyone is comfortable walking into a studio, so this gives everybody from all walks of life exposure to the arts, which is important for the community. But it’s also important for the artists so they can get their work out there as well,” Ellis says.
And since Artisphere is one of the first festivals to reemerge from the pandemic, it’s also a chance for people to experience downtown Greenville again.
View this post on Instagram
“The beginning of May brings excitement and the return of activities that were deeply missed last year in the city of Greenville,” Mayor Knox White said in an emailed statement. “Artisphere is more than an art festival. It is an experience. We’re grateful to the staff and volunteers who make the event possible. Downtown restaurants and retailers will welcome the additional customers.”
“The arts are so important to our community’s quality of life, right?” Murphy says. “They enhance the community. They, in some ways, speak to the character of the community and the personality of the community — they give a community some pizzazz.”
Know before you go:
- Attendees will be assigned a two-and-a-half hour block of time as a precaution against COVID-19. Tickets should be purchased in advance.
- Time blocks will require a $5 reservation fee that will act as a $5 gift card redeemable for purchases at the event.
- Masks will be required, sanitizing stations will be available and social distancing is recommended.