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Enjoy a Vibrant Arts Scene in Anderson

Marie McAden Marie McAden
A former staffer with The Miami Herald, Marie moved to SC in 1992. She is passionate about the outdoors, and enjoys exploring the state’s many natural treasures from the Lowcountry to the Upstate.
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If you’re into the arts, you’ll be delighted with all that Anderson has to offer, from Shakespeare in the park to country music concerts. With several local theater companies, a symphony orchestra and year-round visual art exhibitions presented in beautiful gallery spaces, there’s always something in the Electric City to spark your creativity.

Anderson University adds to the mix with a wide variety of musical and theatrical performances presented in its 1,000-seat auditorium, recital hall and black box theater located within the Rainey Fine Arts Center.

Among the featured events is an annual concert series presented by the Anderson Symphony Orchestra, a civic group of professional and student musicians. The orchestra is part of the Greater Anderson Musical Arts Consortium (GAMAC), which includes four other ensembles—the GAMAC Chamber Orchestra, GAMAC Chorale, Electric City Big Band and GAMAC Children’s Chorus.

More casual, but equally entertaining are the many outdoor arts events held each year in downtown Anderson. Thursday evenings from April through August, residents and visitors gather on the plaza in front of the new Anderson County Courthouse for Downtown Sounds. The selection of musical genres featured in the concert series runs the gamut from oldies and beach tunes to blues and soul.

Carolina Wren Park also hosts summer concerts, as well as movie nights and an annual performance of a Shakespeare play.

For bigger events, there’s the William A. Floyd Amphitheater at the Anderson Sports & Entertainment Center. It’s one of the largest outdoor concert venues in South Carolina with terraced grass seating for more than 12,000 guests. Some of the biggest names in country music, R&B, hip-hop, Southern rock and pop have performed at the amphitheater since it opened in 1999.

The Anderson Arts Center is another popular setting for the arts. A former freight warehouse, the building’s exposed brick walls, heart pine flooring and wooden beams serve as a stunning backdrop for visual arts exhibitions presented throughout the year. It’s also the home of Market Theatre Company, offering a mainstage season of shows, improv comedy, concerts, karaoke nights and swing dance parties.

For more theater options, check out Electric City Playhouse, whose annual season of shows includes drama, comedy and musicals; Anderson Senior Follies; and Stagecraft Theatre for Kids

Visual arts fans will enjoy perusing the pottery, vases, pitchers, candles, bags and other handcrafted works of art in the artisan gallery at Pixel Point. All of the pieces on exhibit are functional items with a unique form.

Vandiver Gallery, located in the Thrift Library at Anderson University, features more rotating exhibitions in both professional and studio-based arts.

You’ll also want to visit the award-winning Anderson County Museum, where you’ll enjoy the fascinating collections and exhibits in its 12,000-square-foot gallery. With more than 20,000 artifacts on display, its permanent exhibits cover everything from textiles to military history to the Anderson County Fair. There are also several outdoor exhibits, including a one-room schoolhouse and a harness and leather repair shop.

And just for fun, pop into the Anderson City Fire Department Museum, located at 400 S. McDuffie St., to check out the displays of historic equipment and antique fire trucks dating back to the 1880s. If they’re not busy, the firefighters may even offer to show you the gear they use today.

Marie McAden
A former staffer with The Miami Herald, Marie moved to SC in 1992. She is passionate about the outdoors, and enjoys exploring the state’s many natural treasures from the Lowcountry to the Upstate.