Page 1 Page 2 Page 3 Page 4 Page 5 Page 6 Page 7 Page 8 Page 9 Page 10 Page 11 Page 12 Page 13 Page 14 Page 15 Page 16 Page 17 Page 18 Page 19 Page 20 Page 21 Page 22 Page 23 Page 24 Page 25 Page 26 Page 27 Page 28 Page 29 Page 30 Page 31 Page 32 Page 33 Page 34 Page 35 Page 36 Page 37 Page 38 Page 39 Page 40 Page 41 Page 42 Page 43 Page 44 Page 45 Page 46 Page 47 Page 48 Page 49 Page 50 Page 51 Page 5228 Kim Gilmore shows off her pencil and charcoal sketches during November’s opening of the Center for the Arts. It served as the first home to the South Carolina Children’s Theatre from 1987 to 1990 and those arts roots are returning, as work began in 2016 to turn the facility into the City of Greer Center for the Arts. “We felt like it was a really good fit. We started looking at what we could do in that facility and dividing it into phases because of the cost,” said Ann Cunning- ham, director of the Parks and Recreation Department. “We wanted to provide visual and performing arts. We can provide anything from painting classes to perfor- mances.” Greer City Council approved up to $100,000 in ex- penditures from the city’s two percent hospitality tax fund to complete phase one and a portion of phase two renovations at the facility. In addition to landscaping and significant work to the building’s exterior, walls were removed to create larger spaces for dance studio and classroom spaces. Restrooms were renovated to meet American Disabil- ities Act requirements, and artist studios were created from existing spaces with the goal of leasing them to local artists. Fiber optic cable was repaired and wireless inter- net is now available throughout the center. Locks were wired for electronic key card entry, giving staff and art- ists 24-hour access to their work. An existing gallery space near the building’s main entrance allows resident artists and other local artists to exhibit their work on a rotating basis. The city hosted an official opening at the center in November with Jim Quick and Coastline performing in the large, semi-wooded lot adjacent to the building. Fu- ture plans include developing that space into a park and the concert, complete with food trucks and dance floor, gave locals and visitors alike a sense of the space’s po- tential. “I think there is a need and a demand. We have people who grew up here and we have people who are moving to this area from all parts of the country, of the world, really. They have expectations and we want to provide (facilities) for that kind of programming,” Cun- ningham said. “We hope it can grow into something pretty amazing. We’re pretty excited about it.” Artists displayed and sold their work at the open- ing as residents toured the renovated space. The center is home to six artists – two painters, two mixed-media artists, and two jewelry makers who work, teach and do business from the center. “I foresee things happening here like First Fridays in downtown Greenville, where we can open up the fa- cility and the parking lot and have other artists come in,” Greer Cultural Arts Supervisor Robin Byouk said. “Artists don’t live in a bubble. If they do, they’re not successful. We want people to come in, see what’s go- ing on and become part of it. That’s the only way we’re going to grow.” The building will also serve as the new home of the Greer Cultural Arts Council, which provides a variety of events, activities and programs in the city. Byouk has maintained an office in the Cannon Centre since that events facility was repurposed and opened in 2012. Future plans include upgrading an existing theater with a large stage in the south side of the facility. Wir- ing, insulation and seating would allow that theater to join the Cannon Centre and the Harley Bonds Center as venues for Greer Children’s Theatre performances. GCT currently holds one performance in the Can- non Centre and rents the Bonds Center Auditorium three times annually. Like a master work of art, the City of Greer Center for the Arts will slowly take shape on the canvas, pro- viding a single location for all things arts in the commu- nity. “Arts bring you alive,” Byouk said. “Anyone can just go through their day-to-day life. Art is the layer on top that makes life worth living.”