Spartanburg Art Co-op to Host All-Member Show with Tours
West Main Artists Co-op will host its annual all-member art exhibition: “Open Doors” Nov. 15–Dec. 29. The exhibition will showcase new work created by 48 local visual artists who are members of West Main Artists Co-op. The exhibit opens with an evening of open studio tours and a reception during ArtWalk on Nov. 15, 5-9 p.m., when most of the organization’s studio artists will literally “open their doors” to the public. It will remain on view during regular business hours Tuesday–Saturday 10 a.m.–4 p.m. at no cost until Saturday, Dec. 29.
This exhibition is different from most. It was conceived as an opportunity for all of the Co-op’s members to have their best and newest work on view to share with their friends and the public and to be able to sell their work for the holiday season. With most of WMAC’s exhibitions, the work stays in the gallery until the end of the exhibition. With this one, the work can leave with the buyer after the opening reception, and the artists may then exhibit additional pieces of work as space allows. “Patrons may take home their purchases immediately rather than wait until the end of the exhibit, making gift buying more convenient,” Committee Chair Nancy Williamson said.
While open-studio events are popular this time of year, “Open Doors” offers the rare opportunity to visit at least 25 of the member artists in their working studios and another 15 artists as they greet guests, talk about their work, or give demonstrations — all at one location. The studio tours provide an intimate view into the artist’s life and studio, plus visitors will be able to see where and how ideas are conceived and developed. The artists will discuss their work, and there will be various demonstrations throughout the evening on letterpress, printing, pottery, jewelry making, glass arts, watercolor, textile arts, and more. To encourage seeing as many studios as possible, the refreshments will be scattered throughout the building, mostly in the artists’ studios. This will promote a “scavenger hunt” type of atmosphere as patrons search the building for their favorite artists and refreshments.
WMAC is home to six performing artists. During the November 15 Open Studio reception, at least two members will perform. Josh Tennant, guitarist, will entertain guests with his guitar; Sandy Staggs and Proud Mary Theatre Company will entertain with show tunes.
In addition to the opening reception on Thursday, Nov. 15, two other special events will give patrons the opportunity to interact with the artists while viewing “Open Doors.” On Saturday, Dec. 1, the Co-op will host “Studio Saturday” 10 a.m.-4 p.m. The day will include many artists working and receiving patrons in their studios, refreshments, and a 2 p.m. performance by Sparkle City Impro. “Some people just cannot make ArtWalk on Thursday evenings, so we have this Saturday event to accommodate people who use the weekend for community activities and holiday shopping,” Williamson said.
The exhibit’s closing reception will be on Thursday, Dec. 20, 5-9 p.m. during ArtWalk. Again, many of the artists will be on hand to greet patrons, discuss their new work, and answer questions. “Even though this is closing reception, the exhibits will stay up until Saturday, Dec. 29,” Williamson stressed.
“Because of the size and diversity of the exhibit, the Co-op is promoting it both within Spartanburg and throughout the region,” Williamson said. “Last year, we had a great many visitors from North Carolina and areas outside of the Upstate. It’s not often that an exhibit of this size with strictly locally made art comes around. It is not just an exhibit, it is an event and an art destination.”
The arts venue is located in a 20,000-square-foot former church building — an iconic Spartanburg landmark — with 32 individual studios that more than 50 artists call home. It is located at 578 West Main St. in west downtown Spartanburg. The nonprofit agency has the largest continuous collection of for-sale local art in the county, ranging in price from under $5 to into the thousands. It contains galleries, retail areas, and common work areas for the artists, including a full letterpress and printmaking studio, a fully functional ceramics studio, silk screen area, traditional photographic darkroom, a workshop room, and a stage area.
For more information, please visit online: WestMainArtists.org.