Each May, Artisphere, presented by TD Bank, brings talented artists from all over the nation to downtown Greenville. It’s been named a “Top Ten” fine art show by Art Fair Sourcebook, as well as among the “Top Twenty Events” by the Southeast Tourism Society.
Some may find it surprising, then, that at the epicenter of this downtown festival is a collection of works from the 14 area high schools in Greenville County. Just a few years ago, Kerry Murphy, executive director of Artisphere, had the idea to include high school students’ work within the festival.
“The Greenville County high schools’ art show had taken place in a variety of areas for a few years,” explains Murphy. “We had the space, so it just made sense to fold it into Artisphere. This was completely in line with our mission—to foster the growth of Greenville’s future artists.”
Greenville County’s art teachers, of course, quickly agreed to the partnership, and the rest is history. “Our students are incredibly lucky to be afforded this opportunity, as thousands of spectators attending Artisphere visit our high school show,” says Bradley Wingate, academic specialist for visual and performing arts in Greenville County. “The visibility our students’ artwork gets through this experience is once-in-a-lifetime.”
Creative Genius // Here, we present a sampling of the caliber of student work that will be on display at this year’s festival:
Fishman Samurai by Marquez Drummond, 11th grade at Woodmont High School // “To be good at art—to create and solve problems and think outside the box—you can’t just learn that by copying pictures. I want to be able to make amazing art that makes people smile, not just by drawing a picture they already have on their camera, but through a once-in-a-lifetime experience of my creativity.”
Broken House by Angel Reese, 11th grade at Berea High School // “I chose an old rundown house as my subject matter to express the emotional storm that typically runs through me daily. I hope when someone looks at the Broken House that they realize though this house is rundown, it can be rebuilt and become new to someone. I’ve had to come from a ‘broken house’ and make something of my own self.”
Self-portrait by Tori Applegate, 11th grade at Hillcrest High School // “My dad passed away a little over a year ago, and he is the reason I draw. I was very nervous to do a self-portrait . . . I guess because I am a perfectionist and I know what I look like. It’s different drawing someone else for fun. I chose to do my self-portrait with me hanging upside down because not many people see me as the kind of girl who would do that. I’m hoping to study art therapy in college.”
At the Fair by Jessie Smith, 11th grade at Carolina High School & Academy // “Photography, for me, is a way to store moments that are later forgotten and to show other people my world. I wasn’t even looking for something to photograph; the beauty of the scenery just inspired me to take this photo. People stare at their phones and forget to look up sometimes. I’m trying to show them what they are missing.”
Artisphere, presented by TD Bank, May 12–14, in downtown Greenville.