I fled my home for a quick weekend respite away to Greenville and Spartanburg, SC upon hearing that my IG artist mother pal, Katrina Berg, told me she was travelling to South Carolina from Utah. She was going to be in Greenville for the weekend, and once I made plans to make it happen, realized I would be just 40 minutes away from another artist mother, Lucy Boland, who I met at an artist retreat last year.
Greenville is just about 3.5 hours from Durham; not a quick trip, but given Katrina's distance from me, I wanted to make this happen. Planning this 48 hours was not for the faint of heart - my husband took over logistics with my two sons - with two different sporting obligations, an overnight stay for one of them, help from another family with an overnight, and I coordinated dog boarding. It worked! I was gone from Friday evening through Sunday afternoon - full of conversation, art, good food, and enjoying the beautiful weather in South Carolina.
This is proving longer than I intended, so read on for PART 1: Greenville. PART 2: Spartanburg is to follow. Sign up for my Newsletter so you don't miss it's publication. And, there are deeper reasons for needing a getaway - you can find out all about it in my last email here.
Katrina and I don't recall exactly how we met, but for some memory of meeting years ago on Instagram. She and I have spent one other moment in person, during a family vacation I took to Utah in 2017. We had the pleasure of booking a ride on the Heber Creeper, which turns out is not far from her house. Since then, prior to the pandemic, she and fellow artist, Megan Gray and I, held regular support chats on Marco Polo. I was also involved in the Candy Colored Club, an art biz mentorship group hosted by Katrina. Knowing she was going to be in Greenville was something I couldn't pass up.
Katrina and I traipsed all over Greenville, SC, looking for art, starting with a stop at Art & Light Gallery that represents two artists Katrina is friendly with and I know through the club: Chelle Gunderson and Megan Trueblood. I felt as if I was breathing in the art - at every turn, the gallery held surprises and delighted the senses. I was particularly taken by the paintings on exhibit in the main gallery by Diane Kilgore Condon, and the sculptural ceramic figures by Cassie Butcher. Seeing Chelle Gunderson and Megan Trueblood's works in person, was icing on the cake.
We then stumbled into the Artist Guild Gallery of Greenville, where we had the pleasure of meeting two guild artists: Sarah Farrar and Chris Hartwick. They both were incredibly gracious - talking about their work, Greenville, the guild, and being fellow artists. It turned out Sarah had been following Katrina on Instagram - so we already had a connection. Both artists are prolific and tenacious - Chris openly talked about how he has overcome physical challenges by finding ways to work with his feet and mouth, along with his start in the industry before Photoshop. Sarah is a painter who works on canvas and walls, adept at painting many subjects in an abstracted approach.
We walked all over Greenville, along the Reedy River, which has been gorgeously incorporated into the city. We had time only to stop in one of several artist studios which are cleverly designed as small retail spaces near the river. Photographer, Chris Bruner was welcoming, and shared with us the joke that many visitors question if the river is real. And, for sure, he said people come here for the "real river." As far as rivers go, it is truly captivating!
Had to grab a quick photo with "Il Porcellino" a copy of the sculpture found in Florence, IT. It was gifted to Greenville by the Young Friends of Florence, cast by Florentine artist, Frilli, Enrico Marinelli's foundry. I haven't had the chance to see the original since the last time I visited Florence in 2011. This warmed my heart to see a connection to the city where I studied abroad in 1999, in this new city that I was visiting. I had no knowledge of Greenville prior to this one day, and didn't have time to plan an itinerary or research where I was headed. I know there is so much more to Greenville, than the nuggets that I took in just over a day. If you find yourself in the south, definitely consider adding Greenville, SC as an arts destination, and you're only 3.5 hours from Durham - so stop by and see me! I'm touched by everyone's graciousness in Greenville and Katrina's interest in spending the day with me.
Jennie Traill Schaeffer
Deemed the Kitchen God's Artist by NJ Savvy Living for my sainted appliances, I'm now known more for my vibrant, meditational paintings of chairs set surprisingly in landscapes. Since relocating to NC from NJ, mothering my two sons, and caring for our rescue pup, Cider, took the lead. Now, that my Durham home studio is renovated it's open again for virtual art coaching and the resumption of my personal art and commissions. The work I make is inspired by my joy of teaching, exploring nature, and traveling. On The Teaching Artist Blog, I share my approach to teaching and educate my readers about my creative process.
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