Last updated: June 17. 2014 7:46AM - 296 Views

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UNION — The newly renovated Union County Arts Council is now open for business.

UCAC was shut down five months ago when water damage was found in the floor of the gallery area. Further investigation led to the discovery of much more extensive damage than was first thought. This led to the complete removal and re-installation of the floor from the ground up. Because of the cost of the work, UCAC’s first step had to be a fund-raising effort to try to pull together the $50,000 needed for the project.

“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.”

UCAC now features new flooring throughout the building, 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 formerly a hallway.

“We had been wanting to have a space for our member artists to be able to show their work on a permanent basis,” explained Senn. “Our old hallway has been painted and new flooring added, along with track lights, and space will be offered free to any UCAC member artist who wants to display or sell his or her work. Artists will be responsible for changing their displays whenever they want. It will be a separate gallery within our main gallery.”

UCAC’s first major exhibit will be “The Artist as Collector” featuring works collected by Dr. Susanne Gunter. The show will feature painting, 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 Aug. 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 Sept. 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.

“Our one big regret is that we weren’t able to schedule our Youth Art Summer Camp this year,” said Giles. “We were unsure about our reopening 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. This will be an event that you won’t want to miss. As soon as we set the date, invitations will be sent and the media will be notified.”

UCAC’s recurring programs were kept running 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” to be held in their 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.

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