As one of the newest participants in the South Carolina Ag + Art Tour, West Main Artists Co-op will welcome guests on Saturday, June 23, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. with several members demonstrating how they create art and the agency sponsoring a pop-up art market.
Now in its seventh year, this free self-guided farm-and-art tour educates people about where food and fiber comes from, as well as introduces them to local artisans, Clemson Extension Agribusiness Agent and Tour Administrator Ben Boyles said. “We are so glad to have added Spartanburg County and West Main Artists Co-op to the tour this year,” Boyles said. “This is a unique opportunity for the public to tour various ag-related businesses, farms, and art facilities in Spartanburg and to give people a better knowledge of what is produced in their own backyard. West Main Artists Co-op is well known for producing and showcasing ‘The People’s Art,’ which works well with our tour.” West Main Artists Co-op is located at 578 West Main Street, Spartanburg.
The South Carolina Ag + Art Tour is a free self-guided tour of farms and farmers markets, featuring artisans at every stop and occurring every weekend in June. The first Ag + Art Tour was held in 2012 in York County as a way to blend agriculture and art. The tour expanded to include Lancaster County (2013); Chester and Fairfield counties (2014); Union County (2015); Chesterfield, Darlington, Horry and Kershaw counties (2016); Florence and Newberry counties (2017); and Spartanburg County (2018), making it the largest free farm and art tour in the nation.
“West Main Artists Co-op is one of Spartanburg’s largest arts agencies and one of the few places where you can actually see art being made,” the agency’s President Beth Regula said. “In addition, we have the largest retail outlet for locally made art. It is an honor to participate in this tour, and we invite the public to spend the day touring the farms and to stop by the Co-op to see how we make art in Spartanburg.”
West Main Artists Co-op’s participation will include Roderice Cardell -- THEMADDDARTIST -- creating non-representational works of art. “I usually begin a new painting with random brush strokes of color or I sling paint onto the canvas to create violent and uncontrolled responses to the music,” he said. “The work’s unpredictability creates movement to the rhythm of the music and emotional connection I have with the content of the music. I connect sound to emotion, and I see colors when I hear the music. The music gives me a sense of direction when I create.”
Cardell, a Spartanburg native and Winthrop University alumni, is a triple-threat artist who is on a mission to save the world through art! As an emerging artist, Cardell has spent his career telling his story of overcoming dyslexia and fighting anxiety using art as an outlet. The “MADDD” in his performance name -- THEMADDDARTIST -- stands for Making Art Diverse, Daring, and Distinguished.
Other West Main artists who will be demonstrating that day are Regula, Annette Giaco, Dave Sawyer, Shelley Sperka, and Barbie Workman. The pop-up art market will be in the “Venue,” West Main’s largest gallery, which was once a church sanctuary.
From 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m., the popular Herb’N Eats food truck will be stationed at West Main Artists Co-op. The menu often features items such as Smoked Gouda Mac ‘N Cheese Bites, Buffalo Bleu Cheese Fries, burgers, sandwiches, wraps, and Nana Puddinnn.
Tour stops include farms and farmers markets with art featured at each location. Artisans on the tour range from weavers, painters, musicians, storytellers, metalworkers and craftsmen, to poets and live musical performances. Some of the farms will offer value-added products, such as jarred and canned foods, honey, baked goods or even farm-fresh meals. There is no fee to attend, and visitors can start and stop their tour at any location.
Participating ag businesses and art agencies in Spartanburg include Billamere Farm, Dave’s Bee & Honey Farm, Harp & Shamrock Croft, Inglenook, Strawberry Hill USA, Thicketty Mountain Farms and the Cleveland Preserve, Blue Farms Natural Market, Chapman Cultural Center, Hub City Bookshop, and Hub City Farmers Market.
In addition to the tour, some counties will host kickoff events to introduce the featured farm sites and artisans to their communities. Kickoff events include a range of activities, such as farm-to-table dinners, barbecue and blues events, and special activities at local farmers markets. More information about these events and the tour can be found online at www.agandarttour.com.
For more info on West Main Artists Co-op, please visit online WestMainArtists.org or call (864) 804-6501.