Outside of the Center for Visual Arts-Greenville facility.

Center for Visual Arts-Greenville
Image Credit: Ashley Jones/Clemson University

GREENVILLE — Clemson University’s Center for Visual Arts is expanding its scope regionally due to a $100,000 commitment from the Community Foundation of Greenville.

“We are proud that our partnership with Clemson University supports a growing creative community and will increase the economic development for the surrounding neighborhoods,” said Bob Morris, president of the Community Foundation of Greenville.

This gift gives life to Clemson University’s Center for Visual Arts‘ vision to have a presence in Greenville. The grant is partnered with a lease for a facility currently located in the Village of West Greenville along Pendleton Street in downtown Greenville.

The new Center for Visual Arts-Greenville creates a dynamic, hands-on, “real-world” space where students, faculty and alumni are directly involved with art historians, artists, critics and curators. They are developing, curating, installing, exhibiting, documenting and interpreting the best contemporary art happenings of today.

Clemson always has long had visual arts presence through its students, faculty and alumni throughout the state of South Carolina, but in the past decade, that presence has grown exponentially in Greenville.

The first graduate of the Masters of Fine Arts program was Jeanet Steckler Dreskin, ’73, who is an influential local Greenville artist. Her art has been collected by major museums, including the Smithsonian, and can be seen in the Greenville Museum of Art. Throughout the city, former Clemson art department chairman and faculty emeritus John Acorn’s public art is celebrated in downtown Greenville. His public art sculptures are featured on the city’s public art tour.

Clemson University’s focus on the arts began with its founder, Thomas Green Clemson. A known painter and collector of contemporary artwork of his time, he is noted as saying in a speech in 1859 that “art is the magic bond that unites all nations.”

Today, this legacy is continued by Clemson President James F. Barker. In dedicating the Center for Visual Arts-Greenville facility, he addressed Clemson’s importance relationship with the arts, “The arts are a very important part, not only of what we see of our history, but also of our future.”

Not long after Barker took office, he called Greenville Clemson’s “home city,” which has never been more true than today. More than 13,000 alumni, 2,500 current on-campus students and 500 University employees call Greenville home.

The Center for Visual Arts-Greenville is just one example of the ways in which Clemson University strives to partner with the region and provides visual arts in the area.

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The Center for Visual Arts
The Center for Visual Arts (CVA) in Lee Hall at Clemson University is where students, visitors and scholars explore contemporary perspectives in art and culture through research, outreach programming and studio practice. With a mission to engage and render visible the creative process, the CVA is a dynamic intellectual and physical environment where art is created, exhibited and interpreted. It educates through academic research and practice with art at its core, drawing upon varied disciplines to examine critically cultural issues and artistic concerns.

The Center for Visual Arts-Greenville is a satellite of the Center for Visual Arts at Clemson University, which serves as the umbrella for all visual art activities at the university. Though there is not a physical building for this center, the majority of the activities for the Center of Visual Arts are generated out of Lee Hall on the Clemson University campus.