Greenville Open Studios, which began in 2002, is an annual visual arts event that gives the Greenville community an opportunity to interact with local artists in their studios.
This year, the Greenville Open Studios event will be held from Nov. 9 to Nov. 11. Many former BJU faculty members, alumni and other local artists will be participating.
Throughout the weekend, people can explore 89 different studios dotted across a 15-mile radius of downtown Greenville. Exactly 143 artists are opening their own studios to the public to tour for free.
The purpose of the event is to showcase the artists in their studios and allow visitors to interact with them and purchase the artist’s work. Visitors can observe and enjoy over 15 different kinds of visual arts on display at the various studios throughout their self-guided tour.
These types of art include painting, drawing, mixed media, printmaking, jewelry, sculpture, photograph, clay, metal, wood, fiber arts, paper arts, glass, digital arts and video. Every year, BJU students, faculty and staff go downtown to tour the studios.
Mr. Jay Bopp, chair of the Division of Art and Design, said he has toured the studios many times and that the event’s main purpose is to connect the community with the artist in the place where he or she works. “A lot of people like to go an art exhibit or gallery and see the work, but a lot of people also want to talk to the artist and know what is behind the work,” he said. “They want to ask the artist ‘What’s your technique?’ or ‘Why did you do it this way?’”
Bopp said Greenville Open Studios also helps local artists get more exposure to potential local customers. “The event provides this connection,” he said. “People in the community feel like they get to know the artist and then maybe they are more inclined to buy the artist’s works because of the connection.”
He said the event helps the community map out in their minds where these artists’ studios are located for future reference.
Even after attending the event many times, Bopp said it is still a very enjoyable time. “It’s a little bit like a scavenger hunt,” he said. Visitors decide whose work they want to see and ask around to find the artist, then they set out to find their studio.
Bopp said it is a cool and enriching experience, and he encouraged students to check out the studios. He said it could be a great learning experience.
“If students just went to a few studios, met some of the artists and saw how they were working, I think it could be a great addition to their cultural education here at BJU,” he said.
Several BJU alumni artists participate in Open Studios every year. Joseph Bradley, a 2007 graduate, is one of the eight BJU-affiliated participants this year. Bradley is a nationally known artist with showings of his work across the country from Denver to Charleston.
He does work in mixed media, a form of art which employs more than one medium. Bradley will be displaying a new series of work this year for Open Studios at his studio and gallery at 1211 Pendleton St. in Greenville. Some of the materials Bradley uses for his masterpieces include oil and wood, graphite and metal leaf. According to Bradley’s website, josephbradleystudio.com, most of his mixed media pieces have about 30 layers.
Bradley said Open Studios is a huge opportunity for people in the community to make connections with the artists who work in Greenville.
“I’ve been participating in this show for 10 years now and love seeing patrons and friends from over the years,’’ he said.
He said events like Open Studios communicate that our community is valuable.
“Greenville is unique because our arts community is incredibly vibrant, supportive and innovative,” he said.
Bradley encouraged the community to come out for the event.
“This is a great opportunity to show kindness and love just by showing up,” he said. “I would encourage people to check out the OS poster or browse the work online and decide on a couple of places to visit.”
He said the atmosphere of the studios is very welcoming, and he hopes that people will get a renewed appreciation for the arts.
“Most studios will have some light refreshments for our visitors, and guests are encouraged to ask questions and speak with the artists,” he said.
Vivian Morris is another BJU alumnus who will be participating in Greenville Open Studios. She graduated in 2016 and now has a studio at Utopian Gallery located at 200 N. Main St. in Greenville.
Morris specializes in reduction woodblock printing art and will be demonstrating to visitors how she creates her pieces. Woodblock printing is a complicated process in which the surface of a wood block is used to create a layered, color image on paper or another surface. She said the one of the main aspects of Open Studios is for the artist to show the community their process for creating art.
“It’s an educational experience for the public,” she said. “They can see the behind the scenes of the artist.’’
Morris said once people see the work that it takes to make artwork they become more appreciative of the process.
“It helps to understand and makes them want to tell other people about it,” she said. “It also boosts sales.”
Morris said students would benefit in many ways from touring the studios, especially because it’s a great way for students to learn about art, how to appreciate it and how to find artists they like.
“Also, it’s a nice free thing for students to do on a weekend,” she said.
Dave Appleman, a retired faculty member from BJU’s Division of Art, has been involved in Open Studios at least four times. Appleman said many artists are involved in Open Studios this year, and it is a perfect opportunity for people to see what’s going on in the local art community.
“It’s also a great time to purchase things,” he said. “We usually have quite a few purchases during the weekend.”
Appleman said he enjoys having people visit his studio located at 210 Stone Lake Drive in Greenville.
“It’s fun to talk to people and show them your work,” he said. “It’s very educational too!”
He said many students should visit if they are able, especially art students, because they would really enjoy the experience. Appleman said many of the studios are not that far from campus, including his own which is less than one mile away.
Greenville Open Studios is an amazing opportunity for the local community and BJU students as part of that community, to be involved, learn about art, and to have a very enjoyable weekend.Students interested in reviewing the artists who will be featured in this year’s Greenville Open Studios may visit greenvilleopenstudios.com.