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Union County Arts Council re-opens after renovation forced by water damage

The newly renovated Union County Arts Council is now open for business. UCAC was shut down five months ago when extensive water damage in the gallery required complete removal and re-installation of the floor from the ground up. Because of the cost, UCAC’s first step was a fund-raising effort to pull together the $50,000 needed. “That was the most nerve-wracking part of the whole project,” said UCAC president Bennie Giles. “To basically start from scratch and try to raise that amount of money in a short time was a new experience for us. But, with the help of the City of Union, Union County, some local businesses, a generous grant from Timken and donations from our members, we managed to put the necessary funds together. But our fund-raising effort forced us to be closed longer than we’d planned. “Our one big regret is that we weren’t able to schedule our Youth Art Summer Camp this year. We were unsure about our re-opening date and just couldn’t commit to booking an instructor. We are looking forward to resuming the summer program next year. We are, however, planning our grand re-opening for sometime in July." In addition to new flooring throughout the building, the renovated space has a new color scheme with light gray walls and white trim, new “stages” in the windows for window displays and more. “Our new space is beautiful,” said UCAC coordinator Jackie Senn. “Everyone who has been in since the renovation can’t believe the difference. We’re really excited to be able to show off what we have now.” One new addition to the gallery is the Local Artists’ Alley that was formally a hallway. “We had wanted to have a space for our member artists to show their work on a permanent basis,” explained Senn. “Our old hallway has been painted and new flooring added, along with track lights. The space will be offered free to any UCAC member artist who wants to display or sell his or her work. It will be a separate gallery within our main gallery.” UCAC’s first major exhibit in the new space will be “The Artist as Collector,” featuring works collected by Dr. Susanne Gunter. The show will feature paintings, mixed media, photography and ceramics by a wide range of artists -- most of whom are from the Upstate of South Carolina. The collection will be available for viewing beginning June 17 and run through early August. Dr. Gunter will give a lecture on collecting art at the closing reception August 10. Also in August, Tega Cay’s Todd Baxter will exhibit his work in conjunction with UCAC’s annual Juried Art Show that will run through September. Baxter will lead a drawing workshop September 26-27 and will serve as juror for the art show. The Juried Art Show and reception will be held at USC-Union. And, as usual, the “Local Artists’ Showcase” will begin in November and run through the end of the year. UCAC’s recurring programs continued during the shutdown thanks to Sally Parker, who hosted “Jam with Lunch” at her home; Betsy Skipper, who allowed the “Painting with Coffee” group to meet at her home studio; Grace United Methodist Church for providing space for “Monday Night Music” in its fellowship hall; and the Church of the Nativity for offering meeting space for the UCAC Writers’ Group. For more information about UCAC programs call (864) 429-2817 or email ucac@bellsouth.net.

Union County Arts Council’s mission includes community partnerships

[caption id="attachment_6915" align="alignnone" width="600"]Union County Arts Council Union County Arts Council member/artist Nanette Jenkins explains watercolor techniques to summer campers at the Union County Recreation Center.[/caption] There are gallery shows, art classes, art groups, literary groups and music programs, but a primary focus for the Union County Arts Council is on community partnerships. It’s through these partnerships that UCAC can give back to the people who support the regular events in the gallery. “Partnerships are very important to us,” said UCAC president Bennie Giles. “Our community deserves to have the best events and programs that we can provide. Sometimes this means that we have to partner with another organization to realize that goal.” The most recent partnership was formed when Jessica Gallman, the Union County Recreation Department’s program director, contacted UCAC about the possibility of furnishing an instructor for their Summer Camp Program. “We wanted to do an arts and crafts week, and I didn’t know anything about it,” said Gallman. “So, naturally, we decided to contact the Arts Council and see what they could offer. It’s worked out so well for us that we would love to do it again.” UCAC also works with USC-Union during the annual Juried Art Show in September. All of the works are on display at USC-Union, and the awards reception is also held there. “This arrangement benefits the college by making art available to students who might not be exposed to it in other settings,” added Giles.  “And there are a couple of benefits to us. The first is that we are able to hold our reception away from our main gallery where there is more space. The second benefit is that we can use our gallery for another show that runs concurrently with our Juried Art Show, giving Union’s residents two art shows during that time.” The Union County School District is also on UCAC’s partner list. Each year a Youth Art Show hangs on the Arts Council’s gallery walls. Each art teacher in the district chooses a number of works by students to be displayed at UCAC, with those pieces being judged by a local artist and cash awards given to the winners. “We really appreciate our partnership with the Arts Council,” said Union County School District Superintendent Dr. Kristi Woodall. “We know that encouraging all talents in our students is important for a well-rounded education. UCAC promotes our student artists’ works, and we look forward each year to seeing their work displayed in the gallery. And, I know their parents enjoy this recognition of their children’s efforts as well.” UCAC is looking to expand its partnership program by making member artists available for outside projects. “We’re very proud of our community partnerships and hope that any organization in need of help with any of the arts will contact us," said Giles. "We have a wonderful group of artists working in a variety of media, and we are happy to help out whenever we can." For more information about UCAC’s programs or partnerships, call (864) 429-2817 or email ucac@bellsouth.net. Via: Union County Arts Council

Wm. Harold Senn

Union County Arts Council honored by Chamber

Arts Council wins Chamber’s “Service Group of the Year” award

“They provide first class art shows and workshops featuring top names in art and music.” Those were the words used by Union Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Torrance Inman when introducing the Union County Arts Council as the winner of the Service Group of the Year award at the Chamber’s annual Members’ Banquet recently.  The yearly Chamber awards are given based on the winner’s contribution to the Chamber mission and overall service to Union County. “We were surprised and very pleased to receive the award for ‘Service Group of the Year’ at last week's Chamber of Commerce banquet,” said UCAC president Bennie Giles.  “We do work hard to provide many types of art education and art-related programs for all ages, and it is extremely rewarding to know that our work is appreciated.  Although we do not know who nominated us, we are very grateful to them and to the members of the Union County Chamber of Commerce.” UCAC is continuing to be the leader in the field of the arts in Union County.  Programs are offered in the fine arts, as well as literary arts, music, photography and crafts.  The UCAC gallery presents a large variety of shows and is booked to capacity each year. “The leadership provided by Bennie Giles and Harold and Jackie Senn has taken the Union County Arts Council to new heights and they are still climbing,” added Inman. For more information about UCAC or any programs that are offered, call 864-429-2817 or email ucac@bellsouth.net. [caption id="attachment_5371" align="aligncenter" width="954"] Harold & Jackie Senn (Coordinators), Bennie Giles (President) and Doris Russell (Treasurer) show off UCAC’s “Service Group of the Year” award presented by the Union Chamber of Commerce.[/caption]

Harold Senn