Fig Aiken Fall 2020

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FA L L 2 02 0 Celebrating local shopping, dining, arts, events, and community

City of


The Arts & Culture Issue

Dr. Thomas Akins, DMD Board Certified Specialist in Dentistry for Infants, Children, and Teens

Love their smile

With a love of family, dentistry, and Aiken, Dr. Thom and his wife Anna set out to create a pediatric dental practice that would intertwine the three things they loved the most. Kitfox Pediatric Dentistry provides a warm, welcoming space for your children to come and have a positive dental experience beginning the moment they walk in the door. 1395 SILVER BLUFF ROAD


The fine art of Aiken Turn the pages of our Fall Arts & Culture issue to discover the businesses, shops, and organizations that are keeping the arts relevant in our town and who are bringing in new, exciting art for us all to enjoy.

Painting the Town Meet local artists who are using their work to share uplifting messages, to bring beauty to blank walls, and to brighten up someone’s day. PA G E 1 6

Fig Authentic Meet William Helfgott, a high school senior who is a certified beekeeper. PA G E 2 0 IN THIS ISSUE

Social Mission Learn more about our 2020 Social Mission Partner: Cumbee Center for Abused Persons. PA G E 2 6

Lifting Up Our Non-Profits Discover the non-profits that work tirelessly to bring new art and cultural experiences to our community year-round.

And of course,

great shopping, dining, arts, entertainment, and services— as always.


Keeping arts alive

Social Media

Learn about how Aiken Center for the Arts is providing art education and opportunities amidst the pandemic.

Follow us on social media, become a Fig Aiken contributor, or have your company featured in an upcoming issue.

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Pictured Above: Rose Hill, Page 21 ISSUE 6 / FALL 2020 / AIKEN, SOUTH CAROLINA / THE ARTS & CULTURE ISSUE

P R O D U C E D BY BY FA R R D E S I G N PUBLISHER Fig Industries C R EATIV E D IR ECTOR Brynley Farr R EGIONAL D IR ECTOR Erin Truitt DESIGNER Laura Windham WRITER Chesson Merritt

C O M M U N I C AT I O N S Chris Farr Camlin Cothran PHOTOGRAPHERS Joshua Aaron Photography Brent Cline Andrew Swiger Sydney Wickstrom S U P P O RT T E A M Catalina Olvera

ALL THINGS SOCIAL Look for Fig Aiken on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for daily coverage of local entertainment, events, food, fashion, and community.

A D V E RT I S I N G I N F I G To find out how you can strategically market your business through the Fig communications package, contact Erin Truitt at

Fig Industries is redefining success through social impact and environmental accountability in the communities we serve. Learn more about our B-Corp certification at

Fig Industries, LLC has made every attempt to ensure that all information contained in this publication has been obtained from reliable sources, but all such information is provided “as is” with no guarantee of completeness or accuracy. The views of contributors do not necessarily reflect the views or policies of Fig Industries, LLC. Fig Industries, LLC cannot be held responsible for errors or omissions contained in, or reliance made upon the contents of, this publication. Copyright: Copyright 2020 © Fig Industries, LLC. All rights reserved. Photography or page layout contained in Fig shall not be reproduced, in whole or in part, without the specific written permission of Fig Industries, LLC. Contact 803.200.1004 or


Letter from the editor. W E LC O M E T O T H E A RT S & C U LT U R E I S S U E O F F I G A I K E N ! We are moving into the fall season and it’s a season of newness, a season of home, and a season of change.

It comes as no surprise that even in the earliest days of Aiken, our town was a place of refuge and healing. Aiken became a popular health resort for coastal residents wishing to escape malaria and yellow fever, and Northerners quickly jumped on board with the mild winters, beautiful landscape, and the abundance of equestrian opportunity available as they built estates such as Rose Hill for their winter home. One thing that I love about fall in Aiken is the way that dusk creeps in a little earlier each night, allowing the streetlights of downtown to illuminate the streets in a faint glow. I love how so many of our talented restauranteurs and chefs begin incorporating the new fall produce into their menus in their restaurants. Hitchcock Woods becomes a sanctuary for all of those looking to have a family adventure, or those who simply want to slip away to their quiet part of the world. As we move into the new season, I invite you to look around and indulge in all the things that make fall special in Aiken as fall begins to make her appearance. Our boutiques are bringing in new merchandise, warm notes of cinnamon and pumpkin are returning to our local bakeries and coffee shops, and the weather is inviting us to linger a moment longer outside in the crisp, cool air.

With so many of our local events and traditions pushing pause for the moment, I encourage you to take this time to pop into the locally owned boutiques, restaurants, bakeries, nonprofits, hotels, and specialty services to say hello. To make a purchase for yourself or for a loved one. To learn more about the owner, their mission, or why they chose to make Aiken the home for their business. To volunteer your time with one of our amazing local charities. To make a social connection and interaction that so many of us have been missing in 2020. Let’s all take the time to slow down and enjoy the changing of summer into fall. Too often, some of the most special moments are swept away in the busyness of this season—but now’s the perfect time to take a deep breath and savor it all. Let’s pour back into our quaint Southern town and see why so many of us fell in love with this place so many years ago. ERIN TRUITT & THE FIG AIKEN TEAM

Premier porch views

Enjoy the cooler weather outside this fall with a glass of wine as you overlook the breathtaking landscapes that surround The Reserve Club. Your membership grants you exclusive access to their world class amenities and luxurious clubhouse, numerous outdoor activities, and social gatherings. With a variety of membership categories, you can customize your experience to complement your interests and passions. Whether you’re dining with friends, diving in the pool or driving the fairways, you’ll always find something to enjoy at The Reserve Club.





Schedule your personalized tour of The Reserve Club to discover yourself why it is the premier club to join in Aiken.


Ashley and her husband Gary Smith are the owners of ADS Supply. They use PURE® Hard Surface both in their office and at home, where the sanitizer and disinfectant is safe enough for their children and dog to be around.

Private residences Schools Places of worship Gyms Daycare Businesses & more

KEEPING YOU SAFE THIS FALL Maintaining a high level of health and sanitation in our workplaces and homes has never been more important than it is today, and ADS Supply is ready to create a safe environment for you. Their sanitizer and disinfectant, PURE® Hard Surface, is a no wipe formula that is ready to use, non-toxic, odorless, colorless, EPA-registered, offers 24-hour protection, and kills 99.99% of bacteria and viruses, including the Human Coronavirus within 60 seconds of application. ADS is now offering application services to help protect your business, home, or place of worship. Contact them today for an affordable solution to your pandemic needs





Heart attack & stroke prevention

Diabetes prevention

Hormone replacement

Weight loss

Palmetto Wellness utilizes the SpectraCell Micronutrient Test, which can assess immune system health from inside your cells. Zinc, vitamin C, and vitamin D have all been found to protect individuals from developing viruses. Do you know the unique levels present inside your own cells? You can!

The heart of Aiken

Did you know? Dr. Gregory Eaves is the only cardiologist in the CSRA to be board certified in interventional cardiology, internal medicine, bariatric medicine, and functional medicine. He and Veronica Chavis, his Physician Assistant, are passionate about getting people on the right track to better health. Broadening their education allows them to offer more tools to their patients, including encouraging lifestyle changes tailored to individual needs. ALL PROVIDERS ARE BOARD CERTIFIED IN FUNCTIONAL MEDICINE





Learn more about the rich history of our town by participating in Pedego’s weekly historical tours. Make your reservation today by giving them a call!

YOUR NE XT ADVEN TU RE STA RTS H E RE Take a tour this fall of the incredible art, culture, and history that our state has to offer from the seat of your Pedego e-bike. Whether you bike through the historical side of a town you’ve never explored before or cruise around checking out different murals and art installations, there’s so much to explore by two wheels. Pedego is familyowned, located right here in Aiken, and offers complimentary delivery to your house!






Hidden Stables circa 1928

Make your dreams come true in Aiken

Lean on luxury real estate agent, Deirdre Stoker Vaillancourt, to find your dream house, equestrian estate, or investment property. Whether you are looking for downtown historic charm, a private country oasis, or a vibrant, gated community, she will give you her undivided and professional attention while exploring the magic of Aiken and discovering your new place to call home! One thing is certain, Deirdre provides outstanding experiences for her clients. She helps them navigate the many unique characteristics of each neighborhood and ensures that everyone feels at home in Aiken and in the community before and after the sale is complete.





A N EW AR R IVA L ON L AUR ENS Entrepreneur Brooke Thomas, at the age of 19, made earrings by hand and sold them, with the dream of one day owning her own boutique. Now, with the grand opening of Ginger Bee Boutique, that dream has come true. Make a bee-line to Aiken’s newest boutique for the best in women’s clothing, shoes, and accessories. Jewelry Designer Clothing Accessories







For a century, George Funeral Home has been offering superior professional, affordable, and personal care to the Aiken community for traditional burial and cremation services, memorials, life celebrations, and more. Celebrate and honor the life of your loved one in their historic chapel, where you can gather with family and friends to remember a life well-lived.





A C LUB TO CALL YOUR OWN Sip a handcrafted cocktail artfully created by a talented bartender and settle into a comfortable chair as the sunlight streams in through the window. Find your own place at the Green Boundary Club.

MEMBERSHIP BENEFITS INCLUDE: Social Club Events Unique Dining Atmosphere Reciprocal Club Network Vintner Wine Club Pickleball Croquet Card Games Discounted Room Rates

780 WHISKEY ROAD 803.649.2549




Winter 2020

Give, Gift, and Gather issue Contact Erin Truitt at 803.507.1098 or to secure your page today!

A R ET U RN TO ST YLE With her upscale boutique collection of apparel, accessories, and shoes, Pam Fischbach has curated stylish looks at Return Engagement that will have you sparkling and shining throughout the town this season.


Personal Planning

Business Planning

Wealth Management Solutions

Eagle Strategies, LLC

The Nautilus Group®

Andrew Doran in Aiken Center for the Arts

Artfully guiding your family’s legacy A lifelong supporter of local nonprofits and the arts, holistic financial planner Andrew Doran is giving back to our community through his work on the board for Aiken Center for the Arts. He devotes his time to guiding those in our communities—from businesses to individuals—along a customized path towards securing a strong financial future.

Andrew Doran and Thomas Herlong, CLU®, ChFC®, CLTC Registered Representatives offering securities through NYLIFE Securities LLC., (member FINRA/ SIPC, A licensed Insurance Agency). 6100 Fairview Road, Suite 400, Charlotte, NC 28210, 704-371-8500. Financial Advisors offering investment advisory services through Eagle Strategies LLC., A Registered Investment Advisor. Herlong & Doran Financial Group, LLC is not owned or operated by Eagle Strategies, LLC or its affiliates. Nautilus services offered through Andrew Doran Member Agent, The Nautilus Group® a service of New York Life Insurance Company.


803.262.4 459



The art of a people is a true mirror to their minds. J AWA H A R L A L N E H R U

Hand-thrown and hand-sculpted pottery. Perfectly framed and captured photographs. Stained glass windows and beautifully painted canvases. There are spectacular works of art everywhere you look around town, created by supremely talented artists that weave their craft in seamlessly with the aesthetic of our town. They breathe life into hidden corners and blank alleyway walls, and bring inspiration to our community through their vivid colors, unique style, and passionate messages. Meet six artists that are shaping our town with their artwork.

Betsy Hughes “I hope my fabric art inspires someone to not be afraid to go outside of their comfort zone. I have found that if I want to try something new in my art, I will dive in and give it a try. Sometimes I succeed and sometimes I fail but it’s all a learning experience. I do believe that if you want something bad enough you have to at least give it a try—there is no right or wrong way. I have had no formal art training but I kept going and experimenting and I have to say I’ve come a long way—and still growing and learning!”

@osullyside O’Sullyside Studio

Stacey O’Sullivan “In my humble opinion, creatives look at the world in very unique ways. Many are called to social justice in times like these. Some are called to beauty and peace. Some are called to encourage and uplift. For me, it is all of these things. I feel art is a language that all of us have an understanding of. A creation can inspire change and become a symbol of hope. Art is proof of civilization and hope for a better future. I am a woman of color, a woman of indigenous and aboriginal heritage. I am a mother, grandmother, sister and friend. It is my sincere hope that someone will be inspired by the work I do and the impact I have made and feel strength and courage to follow their dreams. The work is hard. The pay is not much, but the rewards are overwhelming!”

Joy Abbott Karey Santos “I have been painting for well over 40 years, but upon retiring from public schools became a full-time artist. Being an artist is not a job, but a choice. I believe everyone has a creative soul, and painting is my way of expressing this. When someone connects to a piece of my art, I feel like we’ve connected to each other. Even though we may interpret the color, form, or values differently, we are communicating. I hope my work inspires people to look for the beauty around them and to celebrate the joy in the moment.” Karey Santos’ work is currently on display at Art and Soul of Aiken and Aiken Center For The Arts.

Joy Abbott Paintings “Making art is an act of faith opening opportunities to walk closer to the creator. Spirituality and creativity are connected. We are creations and through art we are intended to be creative as well. Art fills a need in a person’s life. My desire is to fill that need through my art, my creativity. Art has the ability to bring emotional healing, joyful pleasure, as well as bring one to a place of awe, wonder and beauty, a spiritual place. Art is a resting place, a place to stop and listen.”

Jennifer Vaz “I got started working in ceramics about 20 years ago, when I took my first pottery on the wheel class. My background is in illustration, so I’ve always felt compelled to incorporate drawing and painting onto the clay surface. I’m not exactly sure where the monsters came from, as a lot of my earlier pieces included more realistic subject matter. I found I enjoyed working directly from my imagination as opposed to using photo references or life as I did in my work as an illustrator. I love being an artist. It was just this year that I left my career as a graphic designer to pursue art full-time. More and more, I feel that it’s exactly what I’m supposed to be doing. Nothing makes me happier than to spend time in my studio.”

@jvazpottery |

Brent Cline

“I became a photographer because as it turns out, you have to be smart to be a doctor, and photography is the only thing I am really good at doing professionally. I also love travel, advertising, and people, and photography has given me the opportunity to combine these three interests. I love Aiken because it has the ease and comfort of a small town with the exposure to beyond world-class people with truly fantastic life experiences. The quality of friendships you can have in this quaint, Southern town rivals anywhere on the planet.”

@brentcline |

AUTHENTIC Leading the way through innovation and example.

couldn’t visit their favorite local shop to do so. “What was nice about the situation was that when the stores couldn’t buy the honey, I shifted to selling online directly to the consumer,” said William. “It was really neat to be able to meet the people who were buying and enjoying the honey rather than just selling to the store owner.”

Authentic: William Helfgott WHEN MOST KIDS WERE FOCUSED ON LEARNING TO P L AY A S P O RT or running around in the neighborhood with their friends, 8 year old William Helfgott was diving into learning the art of beekeeping with his first hive, a hive won through a local giveaway. Now, William is entering his senior year of high school, is a certified beekeeper, runs a local honey business called River Bluff Honey, and manages roughly 30–35 hives around the CSRA. He’s gone from selling honey from his bicycle to having it sold as many as 18 different local shops. With college on the horizon, William has been preparing to wind down his operations to a level that can be sustained while he’s away at school. He


plans to continue harvesting honey from the hives on his school breaks like Thanksgiving, Christmas, spring break, and over the summer. His goal is to train those that own the hives he manages to keep the bees themselves while he is away. “I’m passing on the knowledge that was passed down to me years ago when I first began learning how to keep bees,” said William. “It’s nice to see how each student is growing and learning.” Like all business owners, William had to adapt when COVID-19 shut down the local storefronts where he sold his River Bluff Honey. He had to find a different way to get his product in front of those that wanted to purchase it when they


William is passionate about beekeeping and believes that the final harvest honey is the best part about managing a hive. The most challenging aspect comes from living and managing hives in the South in the summertime. “The most difficult part about beekeeping is the heat,” said William. “The best time of year to check on your bees and harvest honey is during the summer. When it’s 97 degrees out with a heat index of 105 degrees, you’re putting on a full body suit made of thick cotton, and you’re lifting boxes from the hives that weigh upwards of 50–60 lbs, you get really hot, really fast.” Through the hot days and through the pandemic, William is steadfast in providing a delicious end product to our community. Haven’t tried his local River Bluff Honey yet? You can order a jar for yourself online at or you can shop for it locally in downtown Aiken at Plum Pudding.


Stay tuned for Sheffield’s— an Art Deco bar opening in late September!

Originally constructed as a winter home, Rose Hill has a rich history that dates back to 1898 when the Winter Colony days were in their heyday. This property encompasses a city block—nearly 5 acres—in downtown Aiken, and six of the original buildings have been renovated. Rose Hill Estate can host weddings and events in their chapel, gazebo, and house; The Stables Restaurant is an exquisite culinary treat; and Sheffield’s will be opening as a 1920s Art Deco bar & restaurant in the house this September. Experience the splendor of the Winter Colony at Rose Hill this fall. DYK: Rose Hill was the first property in Aiken recognized on the National Register of Historic Places!



Are you in need of marketing and design? Call 803.200.1004 to set up a complimentary consultation! Check out The Willcox’s newly launched website at!

P R ESER VI N G YOU R B RAND ’S L EG AC Y Serving as The Willcox’s design and marketing team, ByFarr Design House works with The Willcox (and other clients in a variety of fields) to ensure that their website, marketing, print collateral, and social media match the level of excellence for which The Willcox is known. The unique partnership allows The Willcox to focus on what they do best—offering gracious, Southern hospitality to local Aiken residents and visitors from around the world and managing their world-class hotel.





Savor the quiet

This home is currently for sale. To see the full gallery of the house, visit

Sometimes it’s nice to take a break from our fast-paced digital world and settle in with a good book. Finding a quiet spot such as this elegant room in the home for sale at 122 Bridge Crest Court is ideal. And when it’s time to move to more athletic pursuits, golf is just outside your window. To inquire about finding your quiet spot, contact Nancy.



You can also support their work by following them on both Faceboo k and Instagram!


Meeting a friend for lunch? Shopping to do at the Aiken Mall? Taking a class at USC Aiken? Heading over to North Augusta? Climb aboard the Best Friend Express! From Monday through Friday, with multiple stops throughout Aiken County, the Best Friend Express will get you to your destination quickly, affordably, and safely. Buses carry up to 20 passengers and are ADA accessible. Taking care of the public—especially seniors—is what Aiken Senior Life Services (ASLS) does best. ASLS is a 501(c)3, non-profit organization and transit contractor for Lower Savannah Council of Governments (LSCOG). The agency depends on donations from our community to provide essential transportation services and meal delivery for people without financial means. For more information on schedules, fares or how to donate, visit or call 803.648.5447.



803.648.54 47


Changing smiles, Changing lives WISDOM TEETH DENTAL IMPLANTS BONE GRAFTING Dr. William A. Trotter IV, DMD

You’ll feel at ease when you meet with the team at Center for Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery for the first time. Your initial appointment will consist of a consultation explaining your diagnosis and the treatment options available to you, while your doctor will thoroughly answer any questions that you might have about the process. Their team provides the best oral surgical care in the area and will have you smiling your brightest smile. 3 CONVENIENT LOCATIONS! Dr. Kyle H. O’Neal, DDS Dr. William A. Trotter IV, DMD Dr. Daniel D. Scott, DMD CFOMS.COM

Dr. Bradford P. Huffman, DMD

AIKEN, SC 1907 PAWNEE STREET 803.716.9586



volunteer, Jeri Wesner, spearheaded the project and saw it come to fruition. The quilting of the pieces was completed by June Wilson, another amazing volunteer.”

Social Mission: Cumbee Center to Assist Abused Persons At Fig, we believe in the power of a community that works together to identify needs and find solutions— one that creates connections and is passionate about helping its neighbors. For our 2020 Social Mission Partner, we’ve chosen Cumbee Center to Assist Abused Persons, an impactful non-profit whose good works contribute immensely to our thriving, local community. “COVID-19 has introduced new strains for everyone, but especially for the underfunded and overworked systems,” said Jessica Coach, Executive Director at Cumbee Center for Abused Persons. “Our commitment to serving survivors of domestic and sexual violence has not changed. However, the way we provide services will continue to look different.” Their team is offering all of their normal services including shelter, case


management, crisis intervention, hotline, counseling, support group, prevention groups, and more. In the instances where it is possible, the service is being offered via virtual platform to keep the health and safety of those they serve and their team in mind. While Cumbee Center for Abused Persons does not provide formal art therapy as one of their services, they do like to make space for self-expression, reflection, and healing through painting, journaling, gardening, sewing, and other creative outlets. “This quilt was created as a part of a Sexual Assault Awareness Campaign,” said Jessica. “The quilt pieces were designed by an array of individuals including community members and partners, support group participants, staff, and volunteers. Dedicated


Inspite of the pandemic, Cumbee Center for Abused Persons is continuing on with the important, vital work that they do in our community and they stand strong with those that they have the opportunity to serve. Their team has big goals and they need the support of our community to see those goals come to life. “On a smaller scale, our biggest need right now is Lysol,” said Jessica. “But we have our goals set on opening an office in North Augusta and creating a foundation for transitional housing for those that we serve. The community can help us reach our goals by making a donation (in kind or monetary), spreading the world about the work that Cumbee Center for Abused Persons does, or volunteering their time with us.” TO LEARN MORE ABOUT CUMBEE CENTER TO ASSIST A B U S E D P E R S O N S , to become a volunteer, or to make a donation, visit or call 803.649.0480.

Cumbee Center to Assist Abused Persons has a 24-hour crisis hotline available for those in need to call at 803.649.0480.

Support the arts in Aiken this fall

Since March, we have all seen the ways that COVID-19 has impacted our everyday lives, from the closing of schools to mask ordinances, social distancing, and finding creative new ways to bring art and culture to our Aiken community. Through it all, we have come together as a stronger town as we have reached out to support the local businesses and entrepreneurs, our favorite neighborhood restaurants and golf courses, and to lend a helping hand or word of encouragement to the healthcare workers that we know. One industry has been severely impacted by the far-reaching effects of the pandemic: Arts & Culture. Our town is full of non-profit arts and culture organizations that have worked tirelessly to bring beautiful plays, joyful music, and stunning artwork to Aiken for all of our enjoyment. Now it’s our turn to make a difference for them.

Aiken Center for the Arts G E T I N V O LV E D : • B ecome a member • Take an art class or sign your child up for Art Camp • M ake a donation of money or volunteer time • S hop in their gallery E X P E R I E N C E N OW : • Tour in person (with a mask & social distancing) • Take a virtual art class A I K E N C E N T E R F O RT H E A RT S .O R G

Aiken Symphony Orchestra G E T I N V O LV E D : • Join the Aiken Symphony Guild • M ake a tax-deductible donation to help continue their mission • Attend a live concert when they return to the stage

Center for African American History, Art, & Culture G E T I N V O LV E D : • M ake a contribution by purchasing a membership • B uy an engraved brick as a gift for a family member or friend • Volunteer your time and your talents to the museum E X P E R I E N C E N OW: • Pick up a History Kit at the museum for your child (geared towards 2 nd through 5 th graders) • Take a tour of the museum and share with your friends C A A H A C .O R G

Aiken Civic Ballet

E X P E R I E N C E N OW : • Purchase a ticket to attend their first performance of the 2020–2021 season, on October 18 at 3pm at USC Aiken’s Etherredge Center

G E T I N V O LV E D : • Purchase a ticket to an upcoming performance of Dracula or The Nutcracker • B ecome a Patron through one of their Corporate Sponsorship or Family/Small Business Sponsorship programs • D onate directly to their program



Aiken Community Theatre G E T I N V O LV E D : • Volunteer your time when operations resume in 2021 • M ake a donation

E X P E R I E N C E N OW: • Look up Entr’ACT on YouTube— like & subscribe to their videos • J oin Youth Wing as they hold socially distanced workshops outside on the second Saturday of every month now through May A I K E N C O M M U N I T Y T H E AT R E .O R G

Aiken Performing Arts G E T I N V O LV E D : •M ake a donation • S ign up to become a volunteer in Operations, Educational and Community Outreach, Publicity, Database Maintenance, or Marketing & Development E X P E R I E N C E N OW : • Purchase a ticket for their upcoming 2020–2021 season A PA G O N L I N E .O R G

arts alive in Aiken

AUTHENTIC Leading the way through innovation and example.

Spotlight: Keeping the

At Aiken Center for the Arts, their mission is clear: to inspire and educate by providing unique visual and and performing art experiences for all ages. They have done this throughout the years by bringing incredible local and world-renowned artists to their galleries on Laurens Street, by offering a variety of classes available to all ages in their studios, and by showcasing exquisite locally handcrafted artwork in their gallery shop for guests to purchase. Aiken Center for the Arts has championed getting anyone who wants to experience art an art experience. In March, when the pandemic disrupted all of our lives, it greatly impacted not only the nonprofits in our town, but the arts and culture organizations as well. Aiken Center for the Arts falls into both categories and has been shifting to find new ways to serve our community well, all while dealing with fewer visitors. “We have all been upended by something over which we have no control,” said Caroline Gwinn, the Finance Director at Aiken Center for the Arts. “We have found ourselves being thrust into circumstances that have faced us to change, to adapt, and to rethink nearly all aspects of our daily life. At Aiken Center for the Arts, we have been forced to retool or close education programs. Our exhibitions and gallery shop were abruptly closed. We were unable to do what the arts center was designed to do: to bring people together to create and experience art and music, and form a community. Our most true source of inspiration and expression is our community.” The team at Aiken Center for the Arts found unique ways to continue to offer their services to the community in a safe way that kept all of their visitors and students healthy. “Following health guidelines, we purchased smaller tables to create individual workstations in each of our classroom areas,” said Caroline. “We utilized the larger spaces in our galleries and performance pavilion to provide a safe space for people to create. Our summer art classes were highly successful. The individual work stations and other



measures gave the parents and kids security to come participate. Once they were here, we really saw how much the students enjoyed being together. They all had so much to talk about and express since they had all been social distancing and certainly wanted to share their thoughts and experiences. This summer, our focus was on creativity explored, and even though our numbers were controlled, we had truly wonderful camps.” One new way that Aiken Center for the Arts is bringing art to Aiken this fall is through a new book club called Literal Blast! that will focus on four different books and authors. This was a concept that originated in early spring, at the beginning of the pandemic, and is now coming to life after careful planning. “When we were unable to do what the arts center was designed to do, to bring people together, we thought about the artists we had in our gallery shop,” said Caroline. “The authors featured in there came to mind as sharing their stories online through book discussions would be a great way to engage our community. This book club will provide a new platform for people to come together and learn about others in our community who are writing. In the Zoom format, you can get up close and personal with the authors… from the comfort of your own home. I hope that people will enjoy this opportunity.”

Printing, Needle Felting, and more. The classes are available for all ages and all skill levels, too. They will also be welcoming two new exhibitions in their galleries. Downstairs, they will have a special exhibition for Savannah River Site. “Savannah River Site is celebrating its 70th anniversary this year,” said Caroline. “In September, we will be hosting an exhibition called ‘Beyond the Barricade’ which will give visitors a glimpse of the past and present at Savannah River Site. This exhibit will also include interesting photographs taken by their employees to include nature and other areas.” Upstairs in the Brooks Gallery, Aiken Center for the Arts will have a curated collection created by The Chicks That Click Photography Club. “This all-female club started with just 8 members and has grown to include more than 80 members from around the CSRA,” said Caroline. “They will be exhibiting photography inspired by the news that Volkswagen was stopping production of the iconic VW Beetle. The Chicks That Click undertook a photographic journey to capture some of the ways that the VW Beetle has been a part of our lives.” Whether you choose to support Aiken Center of the Arts in person or from a distance, the best way to help this nonprofit continue their mission this year is to support the work that they are able to do during a pandemic.

The books offer unique connections to South Carolina and to Aiken, and range “We need financial support to sustain in category from history to biography, the arts and to sustain the artists,” said mystery, and fiction. There is something Caroline. “When you need to purchase for everyone in their Virtual Blast! line a gift for someone, think of our gallery up this fall. Beyond Literal Blast!, Aiken and our gallery shop. Look for our online Center for the Arts has a robust schedule lined up for visitors to enjoy this fall. Their art sale catalog in September which will feature artwork created by local and fall art classes begin in mid-September South Carolina artists. While much lingers and run through December. They in uncertainty, our goal is very clear: the include a bit of everything like classes longterm sustainability of our arts center for Beginning Drawing, Fresh Floral and community.” Centerpieces, Plein Air Painting, Block

LITERAL BLAST! ONLINE BOOK DISCUSSIONS Now you can get “up close and personal” with writers, authors, and storytellers—with your phone, tablet, or computer. Literal Blast! is a live, online event that invites you to be a part of the conversation with the author and encourages you to come with questions to ask the author. Registration includes a copy of the book and two group Zoom sessions with the author. Registration is available online at or by calling 803.641.9094. T H E T H O M P S O N FA M I LY: Untold Stories from the Past (1830–1960) by Dr. Walter Curry Tuesdays, September 22 & 29 7-8pm via Zoom | $40 / registrant OZ Z I E A N D I BY J U L I E R O B I N S Tuesdays, October 6 & 13 7–8pm via Zoom | $35 / registrant T R AV E L S O F Q U I N N BY SASSCER HILL Tuesdays, October 27 & November 3 7–8pm via Zoom | $30 / registrant B I L LY TA P P E R Z I L L I O N A I R E BY G A RY F I N N A N Tuesdays, December 1 & 8 7–8pm via Zoom | $30 / registrant

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