Sumter ready for 12th annual Art in the Park this weekend

As much as The Hub enjoys checking in on (and loves!) South Carolina’s primary arts metropolises of greater Charleston, Columbia, Greenville, and Spartanburg, it’s nice to check in elsewhere in smaller cities and towns that also have much to offer from a cultural standpoint. 

And so today we have a dispatch from Sumter, which is just far enough away from Columbia to fall outside the “greater” area designation. On Saturday, 80 artists and crafters will display and sell their work in the largest of the city’s 12 annual “Art in the Park” events yet.

“We’re excited about this year’s Art in the Park,” Cleo Klopfleisch, public relations chairwoman for the Heart of Sumter Neighborhood Association, said. “It’ll be like walking through an outdoor art gallery, and it really does have something for people of all ages and budgets.”

Items at the event will be priced from $1 to $2,000 (for a handmade wooden table). Park visitors will see paintings, sculpture, glass art, metal work, fabric art, handmade soaps, jewelry, garden art and many unique crafts.

Klopfleisch said there will also be a Community Corner, which includes activities and items primarily for children.

“Nonprofits and profits will have a children’s craft center with hands-on activities,” she said. “For example, the Evening Pilot Club will teach the children puppetry, the Sumter County Gallery of Art will have some visual arts activities, and Sumter Habitat [for Humanity] will teach the kids to make, and plant, mug planters.”

Also be on the lookout for demonstrations by Sumter Little Theatre.

Proceeds from vendor fees and sales will benefit Willow Drive Elementary School, Shaw Air Force Base Spouses’ Club Scholarship Program and the Tuomey Foundation.

Brochures with entertainment schedules, a vendor list, a map and more will be available for visitors. Admission is free.

“Art in the Park” receives funds from, among others, the South Carolina Arts Commission and the National Endowment for the Arts. Heart of Sumter Neighborhood Association is a local nonprofit organization.