The halls of the Sumter County Gallery of Art will soon be decorated with the work of talented, local artists for its annual exhibition on Thursday.
The Sumter County Gallery of Art will open its most popular show, the Sumter Artists' Guild Exhibition, on Thursday evening.
Sumter's most prominent artists founded the Sumter Artists' Guild in 1966 to make way for amateur and professional artists as well as art enthusiasts.
"Its mission is 'to promote, support and foster interest in art and to create an opportunity for our community of artists to engage in cooperative artistic enterprises and to be further active in supporting a variety of activities associated with art education, art instruction and art appreciation in our community," said Karen Watson, director of the Sumter County Gallery of Art. "The guild has not only succeeded in its mission but surpassed it. The guild was instrumental in founding the Sumter County Gallery of Art in 1969."
As one of the most active guilds in the state, the Sumter County Artists' Guild is led by a hardworking board of talented artists such as Laura Cardello, president, Vicki Hagner, treasurer, Jennifer Franklin and Lisa Melton.
Gallery curator Eric Lachance shared his excitement about curating the Guild exhibition for the first time.
"It is my pleasure to helm the installation of the Sumter Artists' Guild show for the first time as curator. Though witnessing the talent and skill in submissions is always a bright point, what really excites me is the ability for the greater community to enter our space and see the artistic merits of our neighbors on display," he said. "Thank you to the Artists' Guild for another opportunity to display your best to Sumter."
As the 2022 Sumter Artists' Guild Exhibition begins, Kyle C. Coleman, former director of art education at the gallery, has been chosen as this year's judge.
Coleman, a Columbia native, is an arts administrator, art historian, visual arts educator, graphic designer and writer. He studied graphic design and art history at Howard University in Washington, D.C., and Alabama A&M University in Huntsville, Alabama, before earning a Master of Arts degree in Arts Administration from Winthrop University in Rock Hill. Coleman is in his third year of a doctoral program for Learning and Organizational Change at Baylor University in Waco, Texas.
He serves as the fine arts manager for the Lake City ArtFields Collective, and he facilitates all aspects of the annual ArtFields visual art competition.
Watson described the guild exhibition as "an excellent opportunity" for enthusiasts to add to their collection and support local talent by purchasing fine art at reasonable prices.
As the guild continues to grow, so do the number of awards and the prize money. The People's Choice Award was added in 2014 followed by the Best of Show award in 2020; Watson said this is the guild's way of recognizing and rewarding local talent.
"We look forward to seeing visitors in our space socializing and enjoying a sip of wine. Come join us and meet many of the exhibiting artists and have conversations about their work," Watson said.
She highlighted that the exhibition would not have been possible without Jane Collins, Heart of Sumter Neighborhood Association, Black River Electric Coop., CRW Insurance and Elmore Hill McCreight Funeral Home and Crematory.
The opening reception will be from 5:30-7:30 p.m. on June 30 at the gallery, 21 Hasel St. Winners will be announced during the reception. The exhibit will be open June 30-Aug. 26. Admission is free, and masks are optional but strongly encouraged.
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