There’s a duality in the world’s view of art. On one hand, it is seen as a mere luxury afforded to those with financial means, while there are those who believe that to express oneself is a necessity and that enjoying the beauty and emotion captured in a painting or in print is an essential part of life. Under this premise, art is and should be accessible to everyone.
The latter is the goal of the new Perspective Gallery in Mount Pleasant. Founded in May 2017 by a generous donation from the Mount Pleasant Artists Guild, the gallery’s mission is to promote the practice, teaching and appreciation of fine arts in the community, to represent and be of service to the arts community at all levels, to provide members opportunities to improve their skills, show their work and market their works, and, perhaps most importantly, to make art a part of the lives of children, the elderly, the disadvantaged, the abused and neglected, and the financially, physically or mentally challenged members of society.
In short, the Perspective Gallery’s self-appointed charge is to make art and art education available to the community as a whole.
And 36 days was all it took. The idea for a gallery was first introduced by Becky Taylor, director of Perspective, during her tenure as president of the Mount Pleasant Artists Guild, and conversations with the membership’s 120-plus members were favorable to the plan. But the Guild had to move quickly when a former gallery closed and the perfect space opened in the Crickentree Center.
“Not all of our members were painting every day,” said Taylor, “but a lot of them were, and the organization had been in existence for over 20 years at that point, so we had to make a quick decision to accept the space when it became available.”
That’s when Dee Dee Conant stepped in. Now president of the Guild, Conant co-owns a construction company with her husband. Along with a five-person steering committee, she oversaw the renovations. All 40 of the award-winning artists who committed to rent wall space in the gallery also lent their time to help with painting, cleaning and repairs. The group took possession of the property on April 17, 2017, and opened the doors for the first time on May 22.
While the Guild funded the start-up costs, the gallery is sustained by the wall space rentals and the artistic workshops the organization hopes to offer in the coming months.
Reflecting its intended patronage, an eclectic array of images line the cool gray walls: oceanic, marshland and pastoral scenes; lowcountry skylines; and the faces of people and wildlife alike.
“We want this to be a unique experience for people,” said Conant. “We’ve gotten great feedback that our gallery is a comfortable place with variety and simplicity.”
“And all of our paintings are originals,” Taylor added.
Originals not only hang from the walls but are in process within the Gallery. During operating hours, artists are on duty to help customers and answer questions, but, as patrons browse, they paint.
“It adds to the atmosphere,” said Taylor. “It’s mesmerizing to see an artist paint, isn’t it?”
The mediums and styles range as well. Acrylics, pastels, water colors, oils and photography are the means to showcase realism, impressionism and abstracts. When asked what the most popular sellers are, Taylor said that while many artists capture Lowcountry scenes, all styles are popular.
“I think for a lot of people, it’s about the subject matter, or it’s about the color or the mood or even the size if they have to fill a wall,” she said. “The beauty of the subjectivity of art is that it’s all in the eye of the beholder.”
And that is just the idea that the Guild and the Gallery members intend to promote: that art is for everyone, and it’s an escape for those who choose to pursue it. In addition to more outreach programs and workshops, Conant listed the Guild’s scholarship as a crowning accomplishment. Awarded annually to a student majoring in art or an art-related field, the organization plans to increase the number of scholarships awarded as the Gallery and membership in the Guild continue to grow.
Perspective Gallery is located at 1055 Johnnie Dodds Blvd., Suite 50, in Mount Pleasant. Hours are Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The Gallery’s grand opening celebration is scheduled for July 29, 2017. To learn more, visit www.mpagperspectivegallery.com.
By Katie DePoppe.
Photos courtesy of Perspective Gallery.