Wednesday, February 24, 2010

West Main Artists Cooperative awakening creativity in downtown Spartanburg

West Main Artists Cooperative awakening creativity in downtown Spartanburg

The local non-profit art collective known as the West Main Artists Cooperative announces to the community their grand opening. The first day of spring, this years renewing vernal equinox, yields the groups largest show to date. The function takes place on March 20, 5pm to 9pm and will sure to be one of the biggest highlights of the new year in downtown Spartanburg. The co-op is located at 578 West Main Street, Spartanburg, South Carolina 29301. The affair will definitely add to the revitalization of the local social scene and help pull the community together by working with other art factions for future events. The idea is to make every sector of the community realize the importance of fine art and the educational potential behind it. A new momentum for art is being created in Spartanburg and that environment needs to rival that of Asheville, Greenville, Charlotte, and Columbia. Live music, food, and refreshments will be available.


The co-op has come a long way from its conception. Formally the West Main Baptist Church, renovations and artist sweat equity transformed the empty and nearly forgotten landmark into a showcase of artists for the state to see. Howard Solomon purchased the church last year with the great notion of providing affordable workspaces for local artists; this is not the only attribute found at the WMAC by any means. Many artists are realizing that with such a diverse group around all of the time, the progression of the individual’s work never stops. This is constantly forming a catalyst that drives each person to question his or her art and where it is going. The WMAC is the only art co-op in Spartanburg County and art is everywhere in this 20,000 square foot building. The exhibition, workshops, performance and educational spaces, along with artist’s studios subsist in the creation of something that Spartanburg has never seen, a one of a kind facility that houses like-minded individuals that share a common consciousness.

Future community projects are endless, not just to make the public aware of the co-op, but to strengthen the city by participation. This organization echoes the art endeavors of the Spartanburg Art Museum, the Spartanburg Artists Guild, Hub Bub and all other downtown art galleries. As more people get involved with downtown and the renewing of the surroundings, the sense of pride increases, and that is positive growth. The West Main Artists Cooperative is linked with the University of South Carolina Upstate, Converse, and Wofford. A student from each college occupies a studio and places work in the shows. Each school reserves and funds a spot for one term per scholar who excels in the arts. They create art in a professional atmosphere and experience new techniques, ideas, and vital work ethics to succeed in the world around them. This is part of the co-op’s Education Outreach Program, which is overseen by Teresa Prater and other professors from the universities.

The new season brings fine art on all levels to the West Main Artists Cooperative and the city of Spartanburg. Over thirty artists of all disciplines such as painting, writing, printmaking, ceramics, music, future theatre and performance art, photography, graphic arts and jewelry will be present for the grand opening. The WMAC invites the public to join the celebration of Spartanburg’s largest art show. The studios will be open for a meet and greet so visitors can learn more about the people that produced the art in the four galleries and surrounding areas. Live music will fill the east and west wings, as well as the galleries and printmaking and ceramic departments. Catering will be provided to accompany the classical sounds of spring. Not to be missed is Al Hofmann, a glass artist, as he lights up the night sky on the patio. Be a part of the crowd as he demonstrates this craft and explains his methods of firing glass. This art exhibition has everything for everyone. Mark your calendars now and participate in an event that Spartanburg will be raving over for the rest of the year.

This event is funded in part by The Arts Partnership of Greater Spartanburg, its donors, the County and the City of Spartanburg and the South Carolina Arts Commission which receives support from the National Endowment of the Arts and the John and Susan Bennett Memorial Arts Fund of the Coastal Community Foundation of SC.

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