downtowngreenvillegirl











Most Southerners will be quick to tell you, we’re just a little more creative than your average folk. Maybe it’s because our resourceful forebears had to make do with very little, or maybe it’s because the heat & humidity force us to do things more inventively, but life tends to be a little more imaginative here in the South. After all, a great many world-renowned artists, writers, actors and other respected thespians hail from this region. Downtown Greenville is no exception…we love our art and we love our artists! This month spotlights the love we share for the artistic side of our fair city with two really cool art events.

The first event is a newcomer to the Greenville Arts Scene.  Inspired by a similar event that takes place each summer in New Orleans, White Linen Night Greenville strives to showcase Downtown Greenville’s thriving Arts Community and to introduce art conneseiuers & art “newbies” alike to the many wonderful local galleries tucked away just off Main Street in a way that is fun, friendly, and …best of all… FREE! Part art gallery tour, part pub crawl & shopping excursion, this laid-back event is a farewell to summer celebration throughout Main Street from The Hyatt to the West End.  Visitors will find art openings at a dozen galleries on and near Main Street, with contemporary works by local, regional and nationally known artists. Also, many of the galleries will feature live entertainment, refreshments and artists’ discussions & demonstrations. Plus, those taking part in the “crawl” can register for a chance to win prizes such as gift certificates and other “goodies” from some of the coolest Downtown restaurants & retail establishments.

Taking place September 1st, attendees are encouraged to wear white during this Labor Day Weekend event – traditionally the last time one was supposed to wear white. Festivities begin at the Artists Guild Gallery of Greenville (200 North Main Street) with registration from 5PM until 6PM. Galleries will be open for the Art Crawl until 10PM. Not to be left out of the fun, many Downtown restaurants and retail establishments are offering White Linen Specials on food, drinks and other products during the event.  Art lovers of all ages are encouraged to come out for this wonderful chance to see (and purchase) some incredible local art and learn about Greenville’s vibrant art scene from the artists and gallery owners themselves.  For more information on White Linen Night Greenville, visit their Facebook Page at www.facebook.com/WhiteLinenNightGreenville or follow on Twitter @WhiteLinenGVL.

The second event sharing the September arts spotlight is one that is making its long-awaited return to the Downtown events calendar. Art in the Park draws renowned artists from all over the Southeast region as well as thousands of on-lookers for a weekend of exhibits, demonstrations, and a gallery showcasing over 200 original works of art.  Established in 1991 as a festival for local artists, Art in the Park grew to include the best artists of the upstate and beyond, until 2008. By popular demand, Art in the Park is back for its 18th season, bringing back the best of what the festival brought to the community and its artists. The weekend of September 22nd & 23rd, South Main Street from Broad to Camperdown and at the end of the Liberty Bridge at Wyche Parking Lot will become a sea of artwork available not only for your viewing pleasure, but will also be for sale.  The event will take place 10AM – 6PM on Saturday, the 22nd and 11AM – 5PM on Sunday, the 23rd. For those wishing to broaden their artistic experience to include the culinary arts, Larkin’s on the River will be hosting an “Art After Dark” event on Saturday, the 23rd, from 7:30-11:30PM. For more information on Art in the Park & Art After Dark, visit: http://www.artintheparkgreenville.com.

So, venture Downtown and take in some of our city’s finest art & culture.  These events are a great way to introduce families to fine art and can also make an excellent Date Night or Girl’s Night Out event (especially White Linen Night and Art After Dark). Then you can top off your day or evening with a tour of Downtown’s “Art in Public Places”, hunt for the many “Mice on Main” with the kids, or treat yourself to dinner, drinks and dancing or live music at one of the many excellent Downtown venues! Sounds to me like time well-spent in our beautiful Downtown…which is itself a divine work of art!

For More Information:

White Linen Night Greenville:  A fun, friendly and free art crawl of several Main Street galleries – but with a twist! Find them on Facebook at www.facebook.com/WhiteLinenNightGreenville or follow on Twitter at @WhiteLinenGVL.

Art in the Park: Making its much anticipated return after a 4 year hiatus, this most favorite of Up[state art festivals features work from many local & regionally known artists. For more info, visit www.artintheparkgreenville.com

Art After Dark: An evening of good food, good spirits, good music and great art at Larkin’s on the River.

Art in Public Places: Take a walking or scenic driving tour through the City of Greenville and discover a diverse collection of unique artwork that has complemented the city’s continued growth. Each tour provides scenic maps of the city, photographs of all the city’s artwork and detailed descriptions and historical information.  For more information, visit: http://www.greenvillesc.gov/Culture/ArtinPublicPlaces

Mice on Main: Inspired by the book, “Good Night Moon”, these 10 wonderful little mice can be found peeking out from under foliage and landmarks throughout Downtown. Because of ongoing construction, some of the mice may have moved to a new location. For more information & hints to help with your own Mouse Hunt, visit: http://miceonmain.com

 



It’s Sunday morning and you’ve awaken with the desire to do something. Not just anything, but something that’ll rev up your internal engine, wind up your weekend and kickstart a new week! Well, my friend, it sounds like a trip to Downtown Greenville is in order!

Brunch is an excellent way to get your Sunday moving in the right, adventurous direction. Several Downtown establishments offer brunch and the choices are as varied as your tastes. Want a brunch that has a certain laid-back sophistication? Then, try the Jazz Brunch at High Cotton. With a mouth-watering selection of Southern classics (my personal favorite is the Crab Cakes Benedict), many foodies deem this a weekend necessity.  Serving brunch from 11AM until 2PM, this Sunday’s musical entertainment will be provided by local talent and High Cotton regulars, The Ian Bracchitta Trio. Some other great choices for brunch include The Green Room (serving brunch all day from 9AM until 5PM), The Bohemian (serves brunch from 11AM until @2PM), Mary Beth’s (especially good for early risers, serves brunch from7AM until 3PM), American Grocery Restaurant (Fresh, local ingredients, brunch served 11AM-2PM) or the Spoonbread Restaurant at The Poinsett Hotel (a Greenville institution, serving brunch from 10AM until 2PM).

After brunch, stroll down College Street to Heritage Green and the Greenville County Museum of Art. Every Sunday at 2PM, the art museum offers a wide range of special events and programs at their appropriately named “Sundays @ 2”. The schedule includes artist and gallery talks, special tours, music, and demonstrations. These events are free and many are designed with families in mind. The next two Sundays feature “Music in the Galleries” with the Pride of Greenville Men’s Chorus on the 29th and Celtic Singer Judy McKenney on August 5th. After the performance, take a few moments to tour the evocative, ever-changing exhibits on display. The Greenville Museum of Art is open from 1PM until 5PM on Sundays.  For more information, visit http://www.greenvillemuseum.org.

If you wish to continue your “artsy vibe”, then consider checking out Greenville’s thriving theatre scene. Many of Downtown’s community theatre’s feature matinee times for recent performances. Currently showing at Centre Stage is the 60’s inspired musical, “Beehive”. The play runs through August 11 and matinees are at 3PM, Tickets are $25 for adults, $15 for students and available through the Box office or online at http://centrestage.org. If Shakespeare is more your thing, then head over to Falls Park at 7PM for Shakespeare in the Park. This “motley crew” of players tells the Bard’s tales, with a modern twist. Currently showing is a contemporary adaption of “Henry V”, complete with “mosh pit” battle scenes to the Celtic-punk tunes of Dropkick Murphys!  Even your bored teens will get into this! Performances are free, but donations are greatly appreciated.

If the evening finds you with the urge to be in air-conditioned comfort, then look no further than Coffee Underground. For some sick rhymes taken with some medicinal caffeine, join other wordsmiths for the Wit’s End Poetry Slam. Regional artists, including the renowned poets from Unified Sol, heat up Sunday nights with some cool poetic insight during this open mic event. Doors open at 7:30PM, everyone is welcome and there is a $5 cover charge. For more information, visit: www.coffeeunderground.biz.

No matter what your interests are, there’s always something to do Downtown. From the many shops and art galleries and museums such as the Upcountry History Museum and The Children’s Museum, to a bike ride on the Swamp Rabbit Trail or a Drive game at Fluor Field, there’s always an event to suit your mood. For a detailed list of daily Downtown happenings, check out the Downtown Greenville Facebook Fan Page at www.facebook.com/DowntownGreenvilleSC.

Here are some more fun Sunday Things to do Downtown:

Upcountry History Museum:  A family-friendly interactive museum showcases the diverse history of Greenville and the Upstate. Sunday hours are 1PM until 5PM and Admission is $5 for adults, $3 for children 4-18. www.upcountryhistory.org

The Children’s Museum: A kid-friendly, interactive museum that encourages creative play. Special daily events, programs and classes offered, usually at no additional cost. Sunday hours are 11AM to 5PM and Admission is $9 for children 2-12 and $10 for adults. www.tcmupstate.org

Artists Guild Gallery of Greenville:   Featuring work from local artists that are available for sale, this gallery also hosts receptions and other special events open to the public. Admission is free and Sunday hours are 1PM until 5PM. http://artistsguildgalleryofgreenville.org

Greenville Zoo: Located near Cleveland Park, this small Zoo is very family-friendly. Sunday hours are 9AM until 5PM. Admission is $7.75 for adults, $4.50 for kids 3-15. For a list of special Zoo events, see www. greenvillezoo.com

Greenville Drive: Greenville’s minor league baseball team, who plays home games at Fluor Field. Sunday home games usually start at 4PM. Tickets are $5 – $8 and are available through the box office or online. For tickets or game schedule, see http://www.milb.com.

Swamp Rabbit Trail: This17.5 mile multi-use trail system runs along the Reedy River connecting Travelers Rest with the City of Greenville. For a map of the trial, visit http://greenvillerec.com/parks/swamprabbit/

Reedy Rides: Dedicated bicycle rental business located in downtown Greenville. Can deliver bikes right to the Swamp Rabbit Trail. Sunday hours are 8AM to 8PM. For more info, call (864) 419-2944

Downtown Trolley:  The trolley runs Downtown on Sundays from 1PM until 8PM and rides are free of charge.  Download a map of the trolley route at  http://www.greenvillesc.gov

 



During the hot, scorching days of the typical Carolina summer, there are few things I enjoy more than escaping to the air-conditioned comforts of an art museum. Our very own Greenville County Museum of Art offers visitors and locals alike the opportunity to view world class art, right here in the heart of our own Downtown. This summer’s exhibits are no exception.

Perhaps one of my favorite collections currently on exhibit at GCMA is “Dark Corners / Appalachian Ballad” by Asheville artist, Julyan Davis.  Although English by birth, Davis has developed an intense bond to the Appalachians and its ties to Celtic origins. This bond is revealed in his collections, which he calls ballads in honor of the folksongs that resonate throughout the mountain regions. Reflecting the dilapidated beauty and simple dignity amidst the poverty of the rural areas, Davis’s collection touches the part of one’s soul that makes us who we are.  If you only do one thing Downtown this week, let it be visiting the Art Museum to view this thought-provoking collection – it will be leaving Greenville July 1st.

The collection that helped put our humble little art museum on the map has found a permanent home here in Greenville and continues to increase in size. The Andrew Wyeth Greenville Collection is now the largest and most complete collection of Wyeth’s works owned by any public museum in the world. A realist painter in what is known as the regionalist style of painting, this son of artists best known works reflect the people and places he met throughout his life. His grand-daughter, Victoria Wyeth, is a frequent visitor to our city to lead tours and discussions of her grandfather’s legacy.  On July 8th, docent Mike Murphy will host a tour of Wyeth’s work in celebration of the late artist’s birthday.

The newest exhibit to grace the Greenville County Museum of Art is Winfred Rembert: “Amazing Grace”, which just opened last week. Rembert’s colorful and evocative folk art, worked in beautifully carved and painted leather pieces, tell the African-American tales he grew up with in Georgia. The artist himself will be at the museum on July 15th to discuss his art and its inspiration.

Those who love the art, history and architecture of Charleston will be pleased by The Art of Alfred Hutty: Woodstock to Charleston”.  One of the primary artists of the Charleston Renaissance, this collection features over 60 works that reveal the charming landscapes and ordinary people of Hutty’s life in Woodstock, NY and Charleston, SC. This exhibit will be on display until July 15th.

Other collections currently on display at GCMA include both travelling and permanent collections. Among these are the Southern Collection – an assortment of American art from colonial times to the present, with an emphasis on examples with relationships to the southern United States, Portrait of Greenville – which has returned with paintings by national and regional artists who were invited to share their inspiring depictions of our beautiful city, and the works of Spartanburg native, Helen Dupre Mosely –a  fantastical crew of characters plucked from the artist’s imagination, but that some believe are a satirical view of local society.  No matter what your artistic tastes are, a stroll through the Greenville County Museum of Art is just the thing to feed your heart, soul and creative inspiration!

More Information:

The Greenville County Museum of Art is located on College Street at Heritage Green – sharing space with The Children’s Museum of the Upstate, Greenville Little Theatre and the Hughes Main Library. The museum is open Tuesday – Saturday, 11AM until 5PM and on Sunday from 1PM until 5PM. Admission is FREE (although donations are appreciated). On Sundays, join them for Sundays at 2, special events and programs designed with art lovers and the “art-curious” in mind. Many of the events are created to appeal to families and children. For more information, visit: http://www.greenvillemuseum.org



I remember the first time I experienced Downtown Greenville. Although I lived in Georgia, I had family in the Upstate and often spent part of my summer vacation here. I was about 6 or 7 and had come Downtown with my aunts to visit some local antique stores.  I remember the tall red brick buildings against the Carolina blue sky and the parking meters where colorfully dressed women stood and waved as we drove by. My aunts pointed out the Poinsett Hotel and told me that was where their proms were held…which seemed odd to me, since it looked empty and abandoned at the time. I remember the sweet, musty smell of the antique stores that were owned by local people with names like Townes, Pinkney and McBee, who took time to chat with us and share the history of the various items in the shop. I also remember how important it was to my aunts that we leave before it got dark. Although they offered no explanation, in my child’s mind, I imagined that Downtown Greenville was a magical place that could only been seen at special times and disappeared at the end of the day – rather like the town in the movie “Brigadoon”, which I had seen on TV the week before.  As we drove away from town, I looked back for a last glimpse of the city that would become so important to me years later.

When I was in high school, my parents and I moved to the Upstate. I was eager to visit Downtown to see if it still retained the same magic it held that first visit years before.  As soon as I could, I found my way to Main Street.  The 4 lane street had changed to two, now flanked by sidewalks and shade trees. The parking meters and flamboyant women were gone, as were many of the antique stores – replaced by vintage clothing stores, coffee houses and charming cafes, each more interesting than the previous one (and MUCH more interesting than anything I saw at the mall), most still locally owned by “old family” Greenvillians and new residents alike. Downtown was also home to a fledgling arts and theatre community featuring not only The Peace Center, but many new theatres and art galleries (also locally owned and operated) that had moved into formerly vacant storefronts. With older, almost adult eyes, I now saw some of the cracks in Downtown’s mystic (and why my aunts were so eager to get home before dark), but that didn’t lessen the fascination it held for me.  There was an excitement Downtown – a bohemian independence, a determined uniqueness, a promise of what could be. My new hometown had come a long way, but still had a ways to go and I was eager to be a part of its bright future.

Where am I going with this walk down memory lane? When many of the large retailers moved out of Downtown in the 1960’s and 70’s to re-establish themselves in malls and shopping centers, it was local “Mom & Pop” establishments that moved in.  It was the same unique local businesses that kept Downtown from dying entirely and fiercely independent local business owners who shared the inspiration and vision that made our award-winning Main Street what it is today. It was an eclectic group of local businesspeople who helped re-develop the West End and a “motley crew” of wonderfully eccentric local characters that are making the North End a fun and funky destination.

I understand that “big business” and chain stores are important to the economy. They provide employment, commerce and convenience to local residents. They can also sap an area of its distinctiveness and make it look like “Anywhere, USA”.  Small, locally owned businesses are the lifeblood to a place like Downtown Greenville. Their owners are vested in the community – they are our friends, family and neighbors. They present products created locally and add an unmistakable flavor that can only be found in the Upstate. Ask yourself, would you rather have a plain pair of earrings that can be found at any department store or a pair hand-crafted from recycled materials by a local artisan from Green-Eyed Girls Boutique? Buy a CD by the latest trendy pop star, or classics by local blues legends found on vinyl at Horizon Records? Have dinner at a chain restaurant with an inoffensive menu, or a twist on a Carolina classic prepared by a southern chef using locally grown produce? I thought so…

Now I am not saying we should do away with chain stores entirely. But we should do all we can to support our local small business owners. Next time you are in the market for a particular item…be it a new shirt or just a cup of coffee as you run your errands…consider stopping by a locally owned business first. Not only will you find some truly exceptional items, you’ll probably meet some pretty exceptional people too! And our local economy will be all the better for it!

Today, Downtown Greenville boasts a thriving arts and theatre community, locally owned restaurants with menus worthy of those found in NYC, LA and even Europe, funky little shops with a Boho vibe and an electrifying nightlife with music venues featuring phenomenal local and regional talent. I now think I understand the secret to Downtown’s mystic. She is a modern Southern Belle – gracious and inviting by day, making her friends and guests feel happy, warm and welcome. But she does not retreat when the sun goes down…far from it! At night, she lets her hair down, puts on her party dress and celebrates life with a “joie di vive” that is all her own. This is my Downtown Greenville – traditional and funky, gracious and fearless, social and independent, but most of all, not quite like any other place on Earth, and I am so glad to call it home!



To art lovers, Spring in Downtown Greenville means one thing…ARTISPHERE! Each May, our lovely city plays host to one of the South’s premier art festivals. But  art lovers shouldn’t limit themselves to this one event only, DTGVL has plenty of opportunities for novices and connoisseurs alike to experience Greenville’s rich art culture.

We should begin our artistic journey with some insider info on one of DTGVL’s favorite events, Artisphere.  Held in the heart of our fair city, this outdoor festival showcases some of the best artists this region has to offer. Beginning with a fancy Opening Gala at Courtyard by Marriott and Nantucket Grill on Thursday, Artisphere launches into full swing on Friday, May 11th. Featuring not only exhibits from local and regional artisans, this arts extravaganza also spotlights performances from local musicians, theatre groups, dance troupes and other performing artists.  Saturday and Sunday’s festivities  also include Wine Tasting, Artists’ Demonstrations and Classes, as well as fun events for the kids at Kidsphere. And, as always, restaurant vendors will be on hand to offer a variety of choices in food, beverage, beer and wine. Hours for this festival are 4 -8PM on Friday, 10AM – 8PM on Saturday, and 11AM – 6PM on Sunday. There is no admission to this event held on Main Street and Broad near Falls Park. For more information, visit http://www.Artisphere.us.

Local visual artists will showcase their talents at  the “Artists of the Upstate” exhibit. Work from more than 40 artists who hail from the Upstate will be featured at Centre Stage, located on River Street. The exhibit is open to the public from 2PM to 6PM on Tuesdays through Fridays, and all during Artisphere. The works, including “Best in Show” winner, “My Friend Vanetta” by artist Judy Verhoeven, will be on display until June 19th. Call 864-233-6733 for more information.

The Greenville County Museum of Art has proudly been the home of the Andrew Wyeth: Greenville Collection for some time. Recently expanded to thirty-five paintings with the gift of the 1946 watercolor “Four Poster”, it now includes an example from every major period of Wyeth’s career. Victoria Wyeth, grand-daughter of the celebrated painter, will be on hand May 8th through 10th to lead guided tours and discussions of her grandfather’s legacy. These free tours will take place at 11:30AM and 1:30PM each day, but space is limited and reservations are required.  For more information, visit www.greenvillemuseum.org or call 864–271-7570, ext. 44.

While you are strolling down Main Street, take time to notice the many sculptures that are part of the city’s “Art in Public Places”. From the cute little Mice on Main that peek out from underneath shrubbery and depictions of famous Greenville citizens to sculptures that embrace the artists’ imagination and flights of fancy, these works range from the profound to the whimsical. For more information on this project and maps to the various works, visit (www.greenvillesc,gov/Culture/ArtinPublicPlaces.

Downtown Greenville is also home to a diversity of art galleries and studios. From the showcasing of local talent at the Artists Guild Gallery of Greenville (on Main Street)  and the Matthew Campbell Gallery (on E. North), to little unexpected galleries like the ones located at Coffee Underground (on Coffee Street)and Art Bar on Main (also on Main Street), DTGVL’s art community offers a little something for all tastes. To see the artists’ creativity in action, visit the galleries and studios located at Art Crossing at RiverPlace.  Occupied by artists selected by the Metropolitan Arts Council, these creative souls often engage onlookers in their creative process.

If your idea of art is little more “BoHo”, then venture down to Pendleton Street and the Far West End (formerly known as the Pendleton Arts District). This funky little neighborhood, in the heart of the historic Village of West Greenville, is home to an eclectic assortment of more than 30 artists’ studios and galleries. Plan to visit the first Friday of each month to take part in the aptly named “First Fridays” art event and gallery crawl. For more information, visit http://thefarwestend.com.

Well, there you have it – from Artisphere to art galleries and more, Downtown offers several opportunities to view some amazing artwork that will hopefully leave you feeling a little more inspired and creative yourself! You might even feel the urge to grab a sketchbook or canvas and paints to capture the beauty of Greenville in your own work of art. Whatever you decide, you are encouraged to put your heart in the arts this weekend and beyond!



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