Giving Matters: Greenville Center for Creative Arts inspires community with classes, exhibits and studios

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Sunlight streams through the tall windows of the historic upper floors Brandon Factory Fabric Building in West of Greenville as students broaden their horizons in summer art classes. Artists create in nearby studios, and three galleries exhibit their work – and the work of others – from the upstate and beyond. Inspiration is everywhere at Greenville Creative Arts Center and extends to the community through awareness programs.

“There is always something meaningful to be created at GCCA, whether it’s a career path, a friendship, an expression or a respite,” says Kim Fabian, who joined as executive director in February 2020, just in time for the pandemic to bring many artists trying to come to a screeching halt.

But the challenges of the past year have led to the development of new ways of bringing GCCA’s offerings to a wider audience. The virtual and in-person courses were well attended. Galleries now have extended opening hours and are free and open to the public from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday. The excitement is high as more guests return for events like the Metropolitan Arts Council’s First Friday Gallery Crawls.

Jameson Akers Exhibition
Jameson Akers exhibition, photo provided

The event on the first Friday in August, from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. on August 6, will serve as the opening reception for GCCA’s sixth annual showcase, which will be on display in the Main Gallery until September 22.

“GCCA’s annual showcase offers the community a wonderful opportunity to experience all that GCCA has to offer,” says Fabian. “This free evening includes an exhibit of artwork created by our own members, the announcement of our next Brandon Fellows class, a special exhibit showcasing the creations of young people from our eight week summer camp,” the launch of our fall program of classes with art demonstrations and tours with our talented studio artists. We hope the community will join us as we celebrate the richness of the visual arts in Greenville.

Artist painting
Photo provided

The center supports artists by providing shared and private studios, rotating exhibitions featuring local, regional and national artists, and events to engage audiences. Each year, three artists between the ages of 21 and 30 are chosen to receive the Brandon Fellowship, which includes free studio space, mentorship, and art classes.

Arts education is an essential part of AMCC’s mission and classes are available for all ages and skill levels using a variety of mediums including clay, fiber, jewelry, mixed media, drawing and painting. Last year, 33 instructors conducted 70 classes serving 447 participants. Outreach programs serve approximately 20 students per month at community centers in Sterling and Freetown through a partnership with the South Carolina Arts Commission.

The AMCC was formed in 2016 to meet the needs of the artistic community with the help of donors, including the Greenville Community Foundation.

“Long-time board member Tracy Hardaway got me involved in the early stages of planning for what would become the Greenville Center for Creative Arts,” said Bob Morris, president of CFG. “It’s an incredible story of persistence and persuasion and our $ 100,000 grant was matched by the founders to raise $ 1 million for the purchase of their building.”

Renovations to the building will begin in September to incorporate the space previously occupied by a tenant. The new section, expected to be completed by December, will include four open studios, seven private studios, and jewelry and printmaking classrooms.

CFG Board Chair Liz Seman applauds the development of GCCA as a hotbed of the arts. “The mission of the Community Foundation is to help build a vibrant and inclusive community and the work of AMCC aligns perfectly with this effort. Greenville is fortunate to have such an incredible asset among us.

For more information visit artcentergreenville.org or follow GCCA on social media.

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