by Alan Ethridge
Scheduled through Nov. 30, the 19th Greenville Open Studios has 133 participating artists, making it another fantastic event for the area’s visual arts community. Since 2004, over 620,000 visits have been recorded in the various studios, and over $3.8 million in art has been sold. In 2019, 44,093 visits were recorded, and the artists experienced record-high sales of $376,022. These impressive results are indicative of Greenville’s continually expanding support of our cultural offerings.
With the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, all of us at the Metropolitan Arts Council (MAC) are committed to providing the participating artists with as many opportunities to interact with the public as possible. In response to these challenges, MAC has created a YouTube channel that offers brief, introductory videos of each artist in his or her studio space explaining artistic processes. The channel can be accessed through the app, greenvillearts.com/open-studios-app. These videos also serve as an effective marketing tool for the artists throughout the year. By visiting this channel, you are able to learn about the hours that each artist elects to have visitors in his or her studio throughout November.
The presenting sponsors for 2020 are Pelham Architects LLC, SEW-Eurodrive, SouthState Bank and the Peace Center. We are very grateful for Bill Pelham of Pelham Architects LLC for his amazing generosity. 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 welcome SouthState Bank as a presenting sponsor for the fourth year, and we truly appreciate the dedication and commitment to the event by Mike Coggin and his team at South State. The Peace Center’s sponsorship reflects the organization’s commitment to all of the arts in our community, and we thank Megan Riegel and her dynamic staff members for their support. MAC also thanks the Greenville Journal and WYFF-TV for being such generous media sponsors.
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 event also provides an excellent way to learn more about artistic processes and sources of creative inspiration. Each year since the event’s beginning in 2002, Greenville Open Studios has grown to include artists in virtually every neighborhood throughout the county.
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There are several ways to select the studios you would like to visit – for an official catalogue, please visit MAC at 16 Augusta St. in downtown or visit greenvillearts.com/greenville-open-studios for an electronic version. The catalogues were included in the Nov. 6 edition of the Greenville Journal, and they are available at many retailers throughout the Upstate. The 12” x 12” (x 12”) exhibit that is an integral part of Greenville Open Studios is accessible on the MAC website, greenvillearts.com/greenville-open-studios-exhibit. This exhibit includes one work of art from each of the artists, and it provides you with a comprehensive overview of the event. The exhibit runs through Dec. 31, 2020. Please feel free to contact the MAC office at 864-467-3132 at any time throughout the month if you need additional information.
Once again, MAC is offering the mobile app for the 2020 event. The app is accessible for all smartphone devices and can also be downloaded from the MAC website. The app will allow you to sort the 133 participating artists by hours of operation, appointment preferences, medium and wheelchair accessibility. Choose and create a map of your favorites and travel to the studios through Google Maps. This application was designed and implemented by Robojuice, and we greatly appreciate the time and investment that this company has provided for this remarkable feature.
Losses within our arts community are estimated to be in excess of $30 million by Dec. 31. During the pandemic and other critical times in our history, the arts are more vital to our community than ever. While we all are concerned with personal health, we must also realize how critical the arts are to our emotional and intellectual health from both a personal and a community standpoint. Greenville Open Studios provides you with 133 opportunities to interact with and support our fantastic individual artists who add greatly to Greenville’s quality of life. We guarantee an enriching experience.
Alan Ethridge is executive director of Metropolitan Arts Council.