Unlike Woody Allen's hero I can't travel back in time. But I did take a trip to the upstate, where they have something of their own "Left Bank."
On the south bank of Greenville's Reedy River, South Main Street is a treasure trove of artist studios, cafes and galleries.
I recently found myself there on something of an impromptu art crawl. I started at Midtown Artery, a crisp, modern gallery offering work by internationally renowned artists. It's an eclectic collection ranging from the emotional nudes and cubist landscapes of New York based Nigerian artist Onyeka Ibe to the bright, familiar characters of Dr. Seuss Limited Edition prints.
Working my way back towards the river, I stumbled upon the Christopher Park Gallery. Devoted to creating a comfortable, non-intimidating atmosphere for its artwork, this gallery space is homey, fun and eclectic. Here you'll see a wide variety of artists, many of whom are just beginning their careers. As a result, much of the work at the Christopher Park Gallery is sold at a lower price, allowing a wider variety of people to begin owning and collecting art. This is also one of the few places in the state where you can buy work by Ernest Lee, Columbia's famed "chicken man."
Finally, nestled alongside the Reedy River is Art Crossing at River Place, where about 20 artists have open studio spaces and micro-galleries. There's a mind-boggling variety of work on display at Art Crossing: photography, watercolors, silhouettes, large-scale portraits, sports art, oil painting, jewelry and more. On sunny days, the art spills out onto the footpath. Easels spring up as the artists take advantage of the scenic river view their studios afford.
Midtown Artery is open Thursday-Saturday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
The Christopher Park Gallery is located at 608-A S. Main Street. Be sure to pop next door for French press coffee at the gallery's café, Rainer's, to complete the Left Bank experience.