With its 10th annual Spring Art Show & Sale through April 27, the Seacoast Artists Guild of South Carolina gained quite the grand way to premiere its Myrtle Beach gallery.
June Groft, who handles publicity for the guild, called its second site – the Seacoast Artists Gallery, 3032 Nevers St., at The Market Common, next to Lazy Gator across from Myrtle Beach’s Valor Memorial Garden – “a crown jewel.”
The guild still has its site at Applewood House of Pancakes in Litchfield Beach, but a new venue was needed for its spring and fall shows.
“That started the surge,” Groft said, remembering a walk she and husband of 33 years, Joe Groft, took at The Market Common, seeing some open retail spots and taking home ideas for a new space. Ensuing talks with a leasing agent produced “a win-win scenario,” also “harmonizing” with the environment at a complex full of eateries and specialty shops.
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With 3,600 square feet, the guild can further its expansion of art education programs and workshops.
“Not only do we have exhibiting space,” Groft said, “we have set aside space for classroom training, and now we’re able to accommodate multiple activities.”
Representing about 175 artists, including members from as far as Florence and some Northerners who winter on the Grand Strand, the guild appreciates the welcome by The Market Common.
Woody Bower, the new gallery’s director and the guild president, said to accommodate more activities, often the guild had to find multiple locations, so the new site makes fulfilling the guild’s mission easier.
“The size and location of this space is perfect,” Bower said, “for it will allow us to not only conduct these activities on a more regular basis, it will also provide our members the opportunity to display and sell their work year round. We are very excited about becoming part of The Market Common community.”
Brooke Doswell, vice president of BEI-Beach LLC, which owns and manages The Market Common, said a gallery had been sought “for a long time” and that Seacoast adds “a great new dimension ... another way to give back to the community, to support local businesses.”
Doswell also said how the Seacoast site “also adds to the sense of community” at The Market Common.
“This area has so many new residents and prospective new residents,” she said. “It will give them a place to meet, talk, takes classes and learn about the area through art. And of course, it will give tourists a chance to take a small piece of the Lowcountry home and have a reminder about how great it was to visit Myrtle Beach.”
Retired for five years from a vice president’s post of manufacturing for a commercial printer, Groft said she dabbles in painting. She also raised “a combination of things” for which many artists living in the region might treasure, and perhaps find easy motivation for their subjects and land and seascapes.
“The geography is just beautiful in the coastal region and the Lowcountry,” she said, “but also the way of life: People appreciate the quiet things. It’s inspiring. Artists need to be inspired.”
Groft said more than 250 artworks for the spring show were set up Monday, and at month’s end, more than 350 other works will be put up in a new sales display, in time for the gallery’s grand opening May 1 and formal celebration May 3.
She said about 35 volunteers are helping orchestrate the gallery’s “very tight schedule” the next two weeks.
“I use the phrase,” she said, declaring no political implication, “it takes a guild to raise a gallery.”