I’d love to see more art in my hometown of Irmo, and I have an idea.
As an artist, I regularly find myself traveling to Chapin, or downtown, or to West Columbia to show and sell my artwork. I am grateful to these places, but I’d love to be able to share my art more at home, here in our beautiful Irmo. There are a few places in town that display local art, but I dream of more.
I have spoken informally to a dozen or so practicing Irmo artists. I learned that one thing would be a great help: to have a venue here in town where artists could, on a rotating basis, exhibit their artwork.
The venue could be outfitted with display cases, easels, wall-mounted art-hanging systems, pedestals, etc. using grant money from the South Carolina Arts Commission (and other sources.) Its needs would be basic and the artists themselves could provide the volunteer staffing; a group could be organized to manage the venue. A different artist could be featured on display each month. The artist could make sales or simply display their creations. Open House hours could be established; the community would be encouraged to visit to enjoy the latest exhibition. This art oasis could be a place to offer classes and art talks. It could even be used by the students of our local arts magnet to display their student art shows at an an-off campus location.
Having an exhibition place like this here in Irmo would be a great encouragement to local artists, and it would enrich the community, as well. All the artists need is a simple, secure venue. If this venue were near the new proposed Main Street area, so much the better!
Visual arts are a tourism draw. Studies support this fact; just Google “arts and tourism dollars.”
This proposed art oasis could be included in town and chamber of commerce marketing, to enhance the lure to tourists and people seeking to relocate. It would become one more wonderful thing about Irmo.
Featured photo: Kim Case Art on display at Ramco framing.