Published: August 2, 2013
CLEMSON – Clemson University’s Center for Visual Arts will have a presence in the new Village of West Greenville, located along Pendleton Street in downtown Greenville.
The CVA-Greenville will allow for undergraduate and graduate students, faculty and alumni to have hands-on experiences in developing, curating, installing and exhibiting art. The center will engage local, regional, national and international artists and will give Upstate residents an opportunity to both see and “do” art.
“Our presence in Greenville was a natural evolution because we’re already there in so many ways,” said the university’s art department chair, Greg Shelnutt. “The first person to graduate with an M.F.A from our department, Jeanet Dreskin, lives in Greenville and is a very active member of the community. We have a number of other alumni with studios in Greenville, and we have alumni on the faculty at several public and private schools in the area. Clemson is already present in that community, so I see this center as a natural outgrowth of that. It’s a homecoming, to a certain degree.”
Shelnutt said the center is a mutually beneficial partnership for Clemson and Greenville.
“This is a chance to become a part of the fabric of the community. Artists want to give back; we want to share what we do. Artists want to expand upon the cultural heritage of a community, using art to tell the stories of life in that community, ” he said. “We get so much out of our interaction with the public, and this will give our students a chance to jumpstart their art careers.”
Greenville Vice Mayor Pro Tem Lillian Flemming said, “By expanding its Greenville presence to include a visual arts center in the Village of West Greenville, Clemson University is not only complimenting the already vibrant West Greenville area as an arts destination, but also creating a unique opportunity to build connections between the school and local businesses, the creative community and the surrounding neighborhoods. We look forward to having Clemson as a community partner and to the positive impact that the visual arts center will have on this area’s continued rebirth.”
The center’s first exhibit, featuring works from Clemson alumni, will open Thursday, Sept. 5. The exhibit, “Sourcing New Mentors: Clemson Art Alumni Educating the Upstate” will feature artists who are working as educators in the Upstate. During the exhibit, some of the participating artists will further develop works on display to showcase the creative process.
Once the heart of the local textile industry, West Greenville has reinvented itself as an art destination. The Village of West Greenville is home to more than 30 artisans – including potters, sculptors, photographers and painters – as well as local businesses and restaurants.
The Center for Visual Arts-Greenville is a satellite of the Center for Visual Arts at Clemson University, which serves as the umbrella for all visual art activities at the university. Though there is not a physical building for this center, the majority of the activities for the Center of Visual Arts are generated out of Lee Hall on the Clemson University campus.
Click here to read more about this effort and to view a video featuring Art Department Chair, Greg Shelnutt.