Arts and Culture 2011

Amy Holtcamp

SOUTH CAROLINA INSIDER

 

Museum of the Week – Museum of York County

Posted 6/1/2010 5:52:00 AM
Walking through the Vernon Grant Gallery at the Museum of York County, the faces in the artwork start to look familiar. There’s something about their whimsical, upturned noses, big, joyful eyes and rosy cheeks that you’re sure you’ve seen before. Soon, you hear a faint sound: “Snap. Crackle. Pop!”

Vernon Grant created those characters (Snap, Crackle and Pop) for Kellogg’s Rice Krispies in the 1930s. Today, the Museum of York County is home to a collection of more than 1,000 of Grant’s illustrations, scrapbooks, sketches and his studio furniture thanks to a gift from the artist’s family in 2006.

In the “Golden Age of Illustration,” the period between the 1910s and 1940s, Vernon Grant was a titan in his field. His work appeared on the cover of magazines like Collier’s and Ladies’ Home Journal. In terms of the number of magazine covers he had published, Grant was second only to Norman Rockwell.

After World War II, Vernon Grant and his wife, a South Carolina native, moved to Rock Hill, where he continued his artwork and established a farm. He also became an important part of the Rock Hill community, taking part in farming and urban renewal programs and serving on the Chamber of Commerce.

Grant’s artwork in the Museum of York County ranges from his trademark gnomes to playful animals to everyday people. But somehow, in Grant’s hands, even those everyday folk take on a fantastical quality.

In the gallery, there is a reproduction of Grant’s studio that includes an inscription he carved into his mantle and looked at everyday as he worked. It is a quote by Alfred Lloyd Tennyson.

“The long day wanes. The slow moon climbs. The deep moans round with many voices. Come, my friends. ‘Tis not too late to seek a newer world.”

Grant’s illustrations are fresh, joyful and spirited; they make you feel like you are getting a peek into that “newer” world.

The Museum of York County is open Monday-Saturday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. and Sunday 1-5 p.m. Admission is $5 for adults, $4 for seniors and $3 for youth ages 4-17. Children younger than 3 are admitted free and admission is free for everyone each Sunday.

The museum is located at 4621 Mt. Gallant Blvd. in Rock Hill. It also offers planetarium shows, ecological exhibits and a massive collection of animal dioramas that kids will love (unless they are going through a vegetarian phase). For more information visit http://chmuseums.org/myco/ and for more on Vernon Grant’s life and career see www.vernongrant.org.