State Art Collection Sets Attendance Record at S.C. State Fair

Staff Report From South Carolina CEO

Monday, October 28th, 2019

The 12-day South Carolina State Fair exhibition of the State Art Collection, which is managed by the South Carolina Arts Commission, set an attendance record for the 50-year-old collection.

Volunteers representing the arts commission and South Carolina Arts Foundation counted 20,679 visitors to of Pig Tales, Blackberry Winter, & the Cabinet of Curiosities during the 2019 South Carolina State Fair from Oct. 9-20, 2019. Visual Arts Director Harriett Green said that is, by far, the largest attendance ever for an exhibition of the collection.

Green and the S.C. Arts Commission (SCAC) visual arts department curated the exhibition to feature artists who exhibited in the State Fair’s annual exhibition dating back to the early 1960’s, works that reflect aspects of fair culture, and other iconic pieces from the State Art Collection, which was established in 1967 and includes 466 works by 288 contemporary South Carolina artists. The exhibition was interactive thanks to a spinning wheel game that encouraged guests to find a work of art, take a selfie with it, and share it to social media.

“We are excited that, thanks to this partnership with the State Fair, an exceptionally diverse cross-section of South Carolina citizens was able to enjoy their art collection in record numbers,” Green said. “There were around a third of those who are arts lovers and another third who browse everything because that’s just what they do, so they ducked in and ducked out. But there was also a third who were curious and became engaged and excited to learn of the collection and our artists.”

Green said she and fair representatives are exploring future collaborative opportunities because they too were pleased with the exhibition and its attendance. The fair reported 416,320 guests for its 2019 run.

“We were thrilled to partner with the South Carolina Arts Commission to showcase this collection during our 150th anniversary fair,” said State Fair General Manager Nancy Smith. “The arts are a big part what makes our state special, and it was great to see the talents of so many state residents on display this year. Our fair was an even richer experience because of this collection.”