Hallie Flanagan, who in the 1930s ran the Federal Theatre Project for Roosevelt's WPA, once said that art "need not be the icing on the cake; it can be the yeast that makes the bread rise."
Walking around downtown Greenwood, with its art galleries and wonderful museum, it's immediately apparent that the arts are not seen as an "extra" in this community. The arts are, in fact, a central and important part of life in Greenwood.
Nowhere is this more apparent that at the Greenwood Arts Center, a 25,000+ square foot arts facilities in the center of town.
Since 2002, the Greenwood Arts Council has been running the arts center according to their mission: "to enhance the quality of life through the arts for area residents and visitors." The center is housed in Greenwood's magnificent Federal Building, which was acquired by the city through the U.S. Department of Interior National Parks Service Federal Lands to Parks Program.
Although the Arts Center is home to a variety of community arts classes, a shop that sells work by local artists and the Greenwood Visitors Center, the highlight of a trip here is taking a look at the rotating exhibits on display in the sprawling Countybank Art Gallery and the Capital Bank Special Exhibits Gallery.
Every time I have visited, there has been another collection of local artwork and it has always been magnificent. Even a show featuring work by local schoolchildren was of such high quality and was curated with such care that I spent a full hour wandering the rooms of the gallery.
This month, the galleries are taking part in the South Carolina Festival of Flowers with a special juried art show.
Through Sunday, the gallery will be featuring handpicked work by Southeastern artists.
The galleries at the Greenwood Arts Center are open Monday-Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and on Saturday from 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.