By Teri Leigh Teed
The Fine Arts Center of Kershaw County is doing more than just exhibiting art, offering art classes, and hosting performances. The outreach and impact of this hub of artistic influence is having a positive impact on the 63,000+ citizens residing in this mostly rural 726 square miles of Southern hospitality. Through multi-discipline artistic experiences, individuals are encouraged to explore their own unique ways of creating and expressing their true natures.
From their home base of historic cottage style architectural buildings surrounded by green space and stately trees in the heart of Camden, South Carolina, the small team of three full-time and four part-time professionals and the 200+ support team of contracted workers and volunteers for this dynamic non-profit organization provide this small Southern community with multi-dimensional artistic programs that enrich lives.
This passion and devotion to serving their community through the arts flows from the top down, and Executive Director Kristin Cobb helps fuel that fire through her own love for the arts. A hometown participant in numerous performances at the FAC, Cobb has grown up experiencing first hand the benefits of having a local community center for artistic expressions. We are proud to add Kristin Cobb to our list of world changers.
Art Classes and Exhibitions
Want to learn to throw a clay pot, join a needlework class or learn to paint? The FAC annually produces and/or presents 175+ exhibitions, residencies, classes, performances and other programs involving 1,200 artists, performers and educators. The FAC also provides funding and management of artist residencies.
With an annual budget just shy of three quarters of a million dollars, this art program with a huge heart reaches out and actively engages 24,000+ participants of whom 5,200 are children and youth. In addition, the FAC acts as the host for seven local affiliate artist organizations, including visual artists in Camden ART, Camden Photographers and the Quilters of Kershaw County.
The Fine Arts Center accepts submissions from aspiring or established artists who wish to exhibit their art in their gallery. You may visit the website for more details.
Art Programs Encourage Community Students
FAC’s numerous off-campus events add to the far reaching influence of the arts. The students in the county’s public school district enjoy the benefits of the FAC through arts education programs.
During the month of June the Fine Arts Center offers Arts Arising, a program that offers gifted students from the school district the opportunity to develop toward their full potential. It also presents “Youth Arts Month Exhibit” that features art work from Kershaw County school children in grades K-12. In this manner it celebrates and encourages the county’s young visual artists. This includes a juried gallery exhibition of more than 100 works of art in a range of media.
The Healing Arts Program
Just over ten years ago the Fine Arts Center’s idyllic five acre campus and facilities in downtown Camden became home to The Healing Arts, a program designed to promote, maintain and/or restore physical, mental and emotional well being. The program has evolved and thanks to a partnership with the local hospital, the “Art Cart” provides weekly art supplies and CDs of soothing music for oncology patients.
Activities Are Free of Charge
The spirit of sharing and caring resides at the FAC. All activities are open to the public, with no membership fees or dues. Thanks to donated land and successful fundraising and planning, this campus of performance, exhibition, classroom and studio space is unencumbered by debt. Numerous arts opportunities are presented free of charge and an endowment insures that no individual is denied access for financial reasons.
To learn more about Fine Arts Center and all of its programs across all art disciplines visit www.fineartscenter.org.
About Teri Leigh Teed
Teri Leigh Teed, www.terileighteed.com, is a fine art photographer, writer, poet and songwriter living in the Blue Ridge Mountains of western North Carolina. A graduate of Sotheby’s Institute, London, she received her M.A. Decorative Arts and Historic Interiors from the University of Buckingham, England and was employed by HM Queen Elizabeth II. Her “Healing Spirit Art” photographs have been exhibited in juried shows in her home state of South Carolina and in North Carolina, and she is a recipient of Awards of Excellence in Manhattan Arts International juried exhibitions. She is a passionate advocate of animal welfare, environmental protection, and sustainable agriculture.