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

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.