By Kim Sullivan | Travel to a new place usually requires a preliminary visit to a few websites to scope out the locations for the local arts scene. For me it is a mandatory requirement that Is fun and inspirational. YELP lists what it calls ‘Beaufort’s Top Ten Art Galleries’ and EatSleepPlayBeaufort.com pays some homage as well.
As an artist, living in Beaufort is a dream, surrounded by brilliant color and wispy Spanish moss draping trees that could tell stories. So to find it was booming with amazing artists and galleries brimming with authentic Lowcountry art came as no surprise. From the Sea Islands to Historic Downtown Beaufort, you are immersed into an arts community filled with talent and authenticity to the Gullah craft.
A walk into the downtown area on Bay, and off, will provide you with eye candy left to right from visual art to music and performances which brought me to this question, “How many art galleries and artists studios are really in the downtown Beaufort area?” After asking a few locals and perusing through a few local travel guides there seemed to be some question. So I took a walking tour and met lots of amazing artists along the way.
First of all let’s define a fine arts gallery and artist production studio. Fine arts galleries typically provide the patrons with visual art, original and representational of the local artists and culture. These galleries provide professional artists with a venue that will be visible and creative in marketing and exposure for the artist. Most of these galleries are not owned by artists, but rather business minded people who know that a great gallery will only make money if they do a good job at representing the artists who have chosen to exhibit with them. And this in turn will create revenue for the artist.
An artist production studio will provide the patron typically with an exhibit experience comprised of their own original works or the work of several artists as in the example of an art co-op. There will also be space provided to assist with instruction in arts classes. These should be taught by teaching artists, in house resident artists or visiting artists who offer more specialized instruction on the media being explored.
Both are creative environments, offering an energy that is often felt when discussing the works with the gallery or artists. In either example the goal is to provide people with the most exciting and inviting works, hot new artists trending, and those who are seasoned at developing strong arts compositions with the Lowcountry emphasis.
Beaufort is noted around the country as an art town. The city has been named #14 on the list of Top 25 Small City Arts Destinations by American Style Magazine, a ‘Top 100 Art Town’ in a recent book titled ‘The 100 Best Art Towns in America’ and routinely receives top mentions on lists throughout the year.
I challenge you to take a field trip to the charming town of Beaufort. Make artistic discoveries. Meet the people and hear their stories. Let the arts of Beaufort capture your heart as it did mine.
By the way, the answer to my question? Who knows…there are a lot of galleries and studios here that one can spend days, if not weeks, immersing yourself in, and they’re all amazing.
Read and learn more about Kim and Kimberly Sullivan Studios at A Brush Across America.