A year after I arrived in North Augusta, I became involved with the North Augusta Cultural Arts Council after reading an article about Doris Sofge, one of our local artists. After attending a few meetings, I asked when the artists guild met, only to find out there was not one in North Augusta.
I was given Elizabeth Britt’s name, as she had handled the North Augusta Banner project previously. I contacted her and, by the end of September 2002, we had a few people interested in starting a local guild. That October, we had five ladies and one gentleman attend the meeting in my home.
Over the years, we have met in the North Augusta recreation center, at members’ homes and at Ceramics Unlimited for a few months. The North Augusta Cultural Arts Council arranged for us to have space once a month at the North Augusta Community Center, which is where we continue to meet at 7 p.m. on the first Tuesday. Every other month is a business meeting, and the rest are combo meetings where we do art projects, have potluck dinners, have guest speakers, critique our artwork and just have fun.
In the last nine – soon to be 10 – years, we had activities that included tours of museums, home studios and other local gallery and artist studios. We have had guest speakers from local galleries, art schools, museums and businesses in the art world, such as framers and art suppliers.
If you read the column each month, you know that we have a number of local businesses that feature an artist of the month from our membership, which has grown to more than 60 members. The Arts and Heritage Center of North Augusta, the Greater North Augusta Chamber of Commerce, The Beveled Edge Art and Frame Gallery, the North Augusta Family Y, Jim Bush Flowers, North Augusta Today and Quality Printing and Graphics all feature one of our artists each month.
Throughout the years, we have had exhibits at Boarders in Augusta, the recreation center, North Hills Shopping Center, the Arts and Heritage Center, and sidewalk exhibits at The Beveled Edge and on West Avenue. We have exhibited with Music in the Park for the past nine years, which is always a wonderful experience.
Many members take advantage of the days of art, which are now held at the Arts and Heritage Center on Tuesday and from 11 a.m. until about 2 p.m. the first Saturday of the month. These sessions are open to the public. We keep supplies on hand for those who would like to try their hand at painting. We have gotten a number of new members through this program.
We now are sponsoring painting workshops in watercolor and acrylics and hope to add oils, photography and ceramics soon. Most of the workshops are open to the public as well as our members. They have limited space, so sign-up is first-come, first-served.
We have taken part in the Yellow Jessamine Festival and the Jack-o-Lantern Jubilee for many years and the open house for the North Augusta Tour of Homes in December, as well as the Westobou Festival. Members often set up and paint live at these events to allow the community to see and meet local artists at work in their medium of choice.
This is a wonderful group of artists and a joy to work with as well as to call friends. They support their community whenever possible.
The artists guild is open to anyone in the Greater North Augusta area in the visual arts or those who want to support the arts. Membership is $30 per year.
Our meetings are open to the public, so stop in and check us out some time.
Remember, a world without art is just, “eh.” Keep a smile on your face and art in your world.
YVONNE KINNEY IS THE PRESIDENT OF THE NORTH AUGUSTA ARTISTS GUILD.