Pick up your paintbrushes and corral your crayons: it’s time to beat the late-winter gloom with some arts and crafts! Even if you aren’t the artistic type, there are plenty of ways to appreciate the fine arts all across Lake Hartwell Country. From stunning museum installations to interactive trails that span our three counties, you’re sure to get those creative juices flowing with these attractions.
Art Centers & Museums
On a chilly February day, a museum might be the perfect option to get your art fix. Start off with the Anderson Arts Center, right in the middle of downtown Anderson! The Arts Center offers rotating exhibits from artists, showcasing a wide variety of media from printmaking to fabric art to sculptures. Make sure to check out the Bay 3 Artisan Gallery while you’re at the Arts Center: this co-op gallery not only exhibits beautiful art but also offers much of it for sale! Head home with a one-of-a-kind keepsake made by hand by a local artist to commemorate your outing.
If you want a slice of history with your art, check out the Pickens County Museum of Art and History. It is housed in the old Pickens County jailhouse, and it’s also said to be haunted! Don’t let the ghosts distract you from the incredible art and artifacts, though: in December, the museum hosted an art contest, and you may be able to see the winning pieces in situ. Rotating art exhibits from local creators are also on display so you are always guaranteed to see the amazing talent Lake Hartwell Country residents have to offer.
Another gallery option is the Blue Ridge Arts Center, located in Seneca’s historic district. This center is a volunteer-based organization with opportunities for experienced artists and brand-new learners alike. Members can submit their work for display in the gallery year-round, while classes are offered for community members to hone their own skills and showcase their creativity. Check out their gallery schedule to see if there is an art show open before you head over to their historic location!
Trails & Installations
If you prefer your art en plein air, consider stopping by these outdoor exhibitions or tracking down a few stops on these Upstate art trails.
You may have seen Black Panther or 42, but did you know that the late actor Chadwick Boseman was from Anderson County? After he sadly passed away in 2020 after a battle with colon cancer, Andersonians commemorated their native son with an art installation at Carolina Wren Park. 21 artists from the area put their own touches on portraits of Boseman. It’s a stunning but somber memorial for the actor taken too young.
While you’re in Downtown Anderson, keep an eye out for unusual art installations around the city! You might see a horse made out of bike parts, a giant Pegasus sculpture, abstract metal designs, and of course, the man who brought electricity to the South, Mr. Whitner, keeping watch by the New County Courthouse. Many of the statues are part of the city’s sculpTOUR partnership, which promotes public art and its role in making a community truly unique.
Before you head out of Anderson, make a point to look for giant statues of bass fish and large quilt-style panels on buildings. These are part of two art trails – the “Fish Out of Water” exhibition and Upstate Heritage Quilt Trail – and you can check these locations off your list before you track down more.
“Fish Out of Water” is a community-based art exhibit that features 35 larger-than-life bass statues around Anderson County. As a bustling fishing destination, Lake Hartwell is full of bass, and area residents are proud to show off the importance of the lake and its denizens. Though the installation took place several years ago, many of the fish are still swimming free around the county! Swing by Magnetic South Brewery to see a few ornately painted bass statues, then drive a little further down Main Street to the City of Anderson Police Department and see if you can spot the bass making itself at home in their fountain.
Meanwhile, the Upstate Heritage Quilt Trail is a project that spans more than 290 buildings – both public and private – across Lake Hartwell Country. Organizations and individuals design quilt-style panels to celebrate the long tradition of quilting in the Upstate and to foster community engagement and collaboration. You should never trespass on private property to see a quilt, but there are plenty of public buildings along the trail. Check out their trail map and start your scavenger hunt!
No matter if you prefer indoor museums or interactive art trails outside; if you’re a connoisseur of fine art or want to learn how to tap into your own creativity; there is something for you in Lake Hartwell Country! Come celebrate fine art with us – we can’t wait to see how you leave your mark.