The Claussen’s Bakery opened in Greenville in 1930 and for years supplied the city with delicious treats and baked goods. Greenville-based artist Melissa Anderson has taken the history of the bakery — and the Augusta Street building it once occupied — and created a new series, “Historical Fiction: The Faces of Claussen’s Bakery.”
The bakery is now home to McMillan, Pazdan, Smith Architecture, where, from now until September, guests can see Anderson’s paintings at the Sift Gallery in the building lobby.
“When I heard that various rooms in the building are named for the original bakery rooms, I was immediately intrigued with the history of the place and the people that worked there and I eagerly began my research,” Anderson said.
After her research, Anderson said she let her imagination go. She imagined the people who had worked there.
“The master baker became the ‘Maestro’ of the orchestra. The dietician-hostess, Mrs. Babbitt, became a 19th century garbed woman daring you to mess with her event. The ladies who cut and wrap inspired a modern lady in high heels wielding large and sharp scissors,” Anderson explained.
“We are a creative group of people, and we enjoy learning and meeting other creative people,” said Sift Gallery curator Cary Perkins. “It was a really natural direction for us to turn that extra lobby space into an art gallery and host local artists. It allows us an opportunity to learn about other people’s design processes and their ideas.”
Perkins said the firm and gallery are big fans of Anderson’s work. Anderson surprised them by contributing a completely new set of paintings for the show.
“The fact that she told the history of this building through her paintings, it was just such a surprise to us,” Perkins said. “She found a lot of stories, newspaper articles, photographs, about these men and women who worked in the bakery, and so she’s basically telling their story and telling the story of Claussen’s Bakery.”
Anderson’s work has also been featured in the Greenville County Museum of Art, the University of South Carolina School of Law, the Greenville Spartanburg International Airport and the Clemson School of Nursing as well as in private collections. To find out more about her work visit www.melissaandersonstudio.com.