“All the better, red, ” gouache painting by Hallie M. Bertling

Greenville’s downtown will buzz this weekend with some of the country’s most talented exhibiting artists during the 12th annual Artisphere, presented by TD Bank.

Ranked sixth in Greg Lawler’s Art Fair Sourcebook Fine Art Show list, a Best Overall Show in ArtFairCalendar.com and included in the Southeast Tourism Society’s Top 20 Events, Artisphere welcomes the most talented fine art and craft artists to Greenville’s signature cultural spring event.

This three-day arts celebration provides the opportunity to color your visual, culinary and performing arts palette with unique opportunities to experience, watch, learn and interact with artists, local creators and performers.

The diversity of art that Artisphere presents to patrons has been a driving force behind its success and economic impact. With attendance close to 85,000, the event brings in over $5.5 million to the Greenville community as attendees patronize our hotels, restaurants and shops, as well as purchase art at the festival. Last year, the average artist sales were $7,300, up from $6,800 the year before. We look forward to another record-breaking year at Artisphere 2016.

Artist Row features 135 juried artists selected from an applicant pool of 1,100 in 17 different medium categories, from painting, glass, jewelry, drawing and mixed media, to photography, ceramics and more. Fifty-five of the participating artists will be first-time exhibitors at Artisphere, and all exhibitors will show and sell original works of art while offering art enthusiasts the opportunity to meet the artists and inquire about their work.

Artist Demo Row allows art lovers to observe an artist at work – watching them live in action. Glassblowing, metalworking, printmaking and woodworking demos enlighten and expand appreciation of these skillful art forms. Artists of the Upstate and the Greenville County High School Juried Exhibits, as well as Clemson’s art demonstrations, showcase the area’s most talented aspiring and veteran artists alike.

Those who feel inspired by the surrounding art can experiment at the Art Lab, where instructors demonstrate how to create individual masterpieces in jewelry; experiment with painting techniques such as infusing hot wax with pigments, known as encaustic painting; and learn the early photographic craft of wet plate collodion process that gave way in the mid-1850s to the more practical daguerreotype.

In addition, children will have the opportunity to learn how to create kites, puzzle quilts and superhero masks at Kidsphere. Next, venture into the science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics activities in the STEAM Exhibit, where the whole family can experience the intersection of art and technology.

Take in colorful musical performances as national, regional and local performing artists play on the Main Stage, the Culinary Arts Café Stage and the new Acoustic Café Stage on South Main Street. In Falls Park, be prepared to engage in Brian Olsen’s live painting demonstration of popular culture icons set to music at the Art in Action Stage and participate in London artist Julian Wild’s communal sculpture, Making the Connection.

Artisphere provides the opportunity to also please your palate – sip, taste and experience selections from some of the most popular restaurants in Greenville at the Culinary Arts Café. Don’t miss the tastings from the trendiest craft beers and premium wines at the Wine & Craft Beer Experience.

There are many ways to create a colorful experience at Artisphere. Come find your perfect medium and enjoy Greenville’s growing arts community May 13–15. Whatever it is you’re looking for, at any age, you are sure to discover it at Artisphere.

Marion Crawford is president of the Artisphere board of directors. David Lominack is S.C. market president of TD Bank. Knox White is the mayor of the city of Greenville.

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