Around Greenville: Free Museums and Art

by   |   kallweil@bju.edu   |  
Downtown Greenville Art

Greenville, South Carolina, is an artist’s playground. Not only is there beautiful scenery to capture, but the community is proud of and eager to celebrate its art. And the history of Greenville is just as rich. Combine the two, and there’s so much to see.

The Museum & Gallery at BJU

The Museum & Gallery is currently closed to the public as they prepare to move to a new location, but some of the Collection is still on display. The exhibition Luther’s Journey: Experience the History is in the atrium of the Gustafson Fine Arts Center and honors Martin Luther’s posting of his 95 Theses. Visit 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday during the summer.

M&G’s Benjamin West Collection is also still available to view in War Memorial Chapel. These seven paintings represent the largest collection of West’s series, The Progress of Revealed Religion, known today. Viewing access can be arranged through BJU’s welcome center, and tours of the West collection can be scheduled through M&G.

M&G also has pieces of its collection on loan around the country. These locations are listed on the M&G website.

See Also: Museum & Gallery on the Move

Greenville County Museum of Art

The Greenville County Museum of Art is a four-story museum of modern art. While only three levels contain art, the third level alone contains enough art to spend an hour or more perusing. Currently, the first floor is dedicated to photography from the GCMA collection, and the fourth floor is home to local artists. The museum is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday and 1–5 p.m. on Sunday. To discover which galleries are currently showing, visit gcma.org.

Mice on Main Scavenger Hunt

Inspired by the children’s book Goodnight Moon, the local-favorite scavenger hunt was created as part of a Greenville high school student’s senior project. Nine bronze mice, sculpted by local artist Zan Wells with unique personalities, are scattered throughout downtown Greenville. Clue sheets can be picked up at Mast General Store or online.

Art in Public Places

Greenville is proud of its community of artists, and nothing demonstrates that more than the 95+ pieces of art you will find walking through downtown. From sculptures to murals, from serious to playful, the public art displays the diversity of local artists. And one of BJU’s own can be seen downtown. Alumnus Doug Young has two sculptures downtown: Water Blessing and Shoeless Joe Jackson (pictured). The City of Greenville has created a map of all public art pieces to help you create your own art tour.

Kilgore-Lewis House

For history lovers, the Kilgore-Lewis House is open to the public 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Wednesday through Friday. Benjamin Kilgore bought the land the house originally stood on in the 1830s when he moved to South Carolina from Ireland with a land grant from the king. The Greenville Council of Garden Clubs acquired the home in 1974 when they paid to move the house where it now stands on Academy Street. Local garden clubs care for sections of the garden which includes a sensory garden for the blind. Members of the GCGC are available to guide tours of the house and gardens during business hours, but appointments are appreciated for groups larger than six. For more information, visit kilgore-lewis.org.

Shoeless Joe Jackson Museum and Baseball Library

Joseph Jefferson Jackson, better known as “Shoeless Joe” Jackson, earned his nickname by playing a game of baseball without shoes. In addition to having the third highest batting average of all time, the local hero is also known for being caught up in the 1919 Black Sox World Series scandal. Learn his side of the story when visiting the museum housed in the baseball legend’s home. Open 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturdays, visits can also be arranged by appointment for other times. The museum also has a gift shop, both physical and online, where fans can purchase Shoeless Joe memorabilia. Visit shoelessjoejackson.org for more information.

First Fridays Gallery Crawl

On the first Friday of every month, local art galleries stay open late to welcome visitors to the First Fridays Gallery Crawl. From paintings to handmade jewelry to photography to prints, the variety of artists that make up Greenville’s unique community will be fully on display. Peruse a list of participating galleries at greenvillearts.com/first-fridays.

SE Center for Photography

A little over a block away from Main Street, the SE Center for Photography’s mission is “an exhibition and education venue promoting the art and enjoyment of fine photography.” Every month, the Center puts out a different call for submission and a new juried exhibition. This past April, several of our own BJU students were featured in the Upstate College Exhibition. The Center’s three galleries are open for perusal 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Wednesday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday. They also participate in the First Fridays Gallery Crawl, so they are open until 9 p.m. those nights. For directions and current exhibitions, visit sec4p.com.

See Also: New Partnership Helps Student Photographers Elevate Work

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