578 West Main Street
Spartanburg, SC  29301
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            WEST MAIN ARTISTS CO-OP        


A Co-op Sampler

Upstate Artists to Present Personally Important Work at Spartanburg Co-op

Members of West Main Artists Co-op take their art personally, and their June exhibit -- A Co-op Sampler -- will give the public insight to why certain creations are so special.

“Every artist that I know has certain pieces of work that are special to them,” Co-op Chair Beth Regula said. “It might be their first work, a work done during an especially good or bad time in their life, work that was extremely hard to create, or work that they consider to be their absolute best. For whatever reason, the work is special to them, and this exhibit gives the artists and the public the opportunity to share deeply. If you are looking for art that has a story to tell, come to this one.”

The exhibit will open on Tuesday, June 4, and it will run through Saturday, June 29. The public can view it at no charge Tuesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. A free and public reception will be held Thursday, June 20, 5-9 p.m., during the city’s monthly ArtWalk.

The Co-op, which is soon to be 10 years old, has more than 50 members, of which about 30 have working or gallery studios in the 20,000-square-foot building that was once a church. At least 17 artists will present their art in A Co-op Sampler. The exhibit will include paintings, mixed media, fused glass, encaustic wax, photography, pottery, jewelry, and possibly other media.

The artists participating are Carol Story, Joan Wheatley, Scott Cunningham, Patrick DeCrane, Judy Martin, Lady Pluuto (Alana Hall), Susan Eleazer, Chuck Reback, John Lever, Nancy Williamson, Rosemary McLeod, Chuck Frank, Patty Wright, Brandi Tucker, Richard DeBus, and Amanda Dawkins. Others may be included.

A good example of what the public can expect to see at the exhibit is a piece of jewelry by Rosemary McLeod, one of Spartanburg’s most well known and prolific jewelry makers. Her contribution to the exhibit is a piece of jewelry that appears to be broken. It is entitled: Broken Up. An artist’s statement will accompany each entry, and McLeod’s will say: “This oversized, brushed sterling pendant shows a ‘broken’ piece that could be put together. It reminds me of my grandson, James, who is on the Autism Spectrum. Hopefully, with the right therapies for him, the world will be a smaller puzzle piece for him.”

Another good example is the encaustic work by Susan Eleazer: Broken Melody. The work is presented with dense red, yellow, and white tones, with a more solid foundation in the lower third, a lighter area in the midsection, and a somewhat airy upper third, creating a landscape effect. Overlaying the entire work is what could be construed to be staves (lines) of music but without the notes and rests. The staves swirl. Her statement about this nonrepresentational art is “This work was done during a time of great physical difficulty when each movement was an effort but it served as therapy for the soul!”

Some of these works might be for sale, depending on the individual artist’s personal attachment.

“This is a very special exhibit,” Regula said. “Anyone who wants to look a little deeper into the soul of an artist should come.”

West Main Artists Co-op is one of Spartanburg’s leading arts agencies. Normally, it has three exhibits each month: two by members; one by a guest artist. In addition, it has three galleries, two performance stages, a ceramics studio, a printery, and the largest collection of for-sale and locally made art in the county. Also, it has workshops. As a nonprofit business it is financially dependent on donations, grants, and the sale of art. It is operated entirely by members and volunteers, with no paid staff. For more info, please visit online: WestMainArtists.org.