When Henry Horowitz founded Artisphere in 2003, he couldn’t have known the impact his actions would have on not only the arts community but Greenville as a whole.
At the time, Horowitz was chairman of the board of directors for the Metropolitan Arts Council.
“His involvement with the board of the Oklahoma City Arts Festival provided the perfect roadmap for Artisphere,” said Artisphere executive director Kerry Murphy. “He assembled a group of Greenville’s community leaders to visit Oklahoma City’s art show and, two short years later in 2005, the vision became a reality.”
Beginning with 282 applications and 100 artists accepted in the inaugural year, the nationally recognized fine arts festival grew to receive a record 1,163 applications for the 2018 festival with 135 accepted. In 2018, festival attendance neared 90,000 and economic impact grossed $5,810,394.
The 15th anniversary celebration of Artisphere May 10-12 will again feature 135 visual artists chosen from a pool of 952.
“Henry’s passion and persistence have resulted in 15 years of phenomenal results that multiply exponentially,” said Ed Zeigler, the 2019 Artisphere president.
Artisphere board member Judith Aughtry said Horowitz’s goal from the inception was to have the top fine arts festival in the country.
“Despite his numerous and frequent references to Oklahoma City’s arts festival (whose board he was on, and to which we usually roll our eyes and say ‘not again!’), I think even Henry would admit that Artisphere is cooler and better,” Aughtry said.
Artisphere will again take over South Main Street extending into the West End with visual artists, street performers, musical acts, and culinary offerings from some of Greenville’s top restaurants.
“Artisphere offers a visually and conversationally stimulating experience through an arts-infused weekend all over downtown, a platform for artists to engage in the community, be recognized, and make career strides in their practice, and not least, Artisphere draws tens of thousands of visitors to the city, bolstering the local economy in the best possible manner, setting up Greenville as a magnet for cultural activity,” Zeigler said.
Horowitz continues to serve on the Artisphere board as president emeritus and founder and in multiple other practical ways throughout the weekend.
“Whether he is out front helping to recruit sponsors or quietly checking on artists and vendors during the festival, Henry’s commitment to a successful festival each year has been unwavering,” said David Lominack, TD Bank’s South Carolina market president, who has worked with Artisphere on behalf of TD as a presenting sponsor.