Upstairs Artspace receives PCCF grant

Published 2:00 am Sunday, March 9, 2014

The Upstairs Artspace has received a $17,000 grant from the Polk County Community Foundation to pay a portion of the gallery’s operating expenses in 2014.

The Upstairs has been bringing innovative contemporary art to Tryon and the Foothills for over 35 years, and presents a dozen or more exhibits annually.

It also hosts a variety of programs such as guided “walk and talk” tours of new exhibits, the Philosophy of Art series of classes and the annual Art Trek Tryon open-studio tour, as well as films, workshops and panel discussions.

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“This generous grant will benefit the gallery tremendously,” said Harold Maass, president of the nonprofit art gallery’s board of directors. “But it will also benefit the whole community by helping to ensure that the Upstairs will be able to offer a full series of exhibits and other programs that will be free and open to all.”

The Polk County Community Foundation supports a variety of charitable activities to improve the quality of life in Polk County and the surrounding area.

The foundation has provided funding assistance to a long list of local nonprofit organizations, from the Tryon Little Theater to FENCE to the Upstairs Artspace, as well as popular events, including Super Saturday, the Saluda Arts Festival, Tryon gallery trots and more.

The foundation is located at 255 S. Trade St. in Tryon. For more information, visit its website (, call 828-859-5314 or email to

In January, gallery volunteers, staff and members of the board came together to paint all the galleries and pedestals, and to build a moveable wall on the lower level to provide the flexibility to create separate spaces for classes, workshops and special projects.

Generous donors made possible the purchase of benches by local artist Jim Weitzel, which have been placed throughout the space. “If you haven’t seen us lately, you haven’t seen us at all,” said gallery manager Tom Madison of the newly refreshed space.

The Upstairs currently has two exhibits on display: “Andrew Blanchard and Mark Flowers: Recent Work” featuring the Southern Gothic inspired print-works by Converse College instructor Andrew Blanchard and mixed-media work by painter Mark Flowers of Alexander, NC.  Also on exhibit, “Changing the Focus,” new photographic work by members of the Carolina Camera Club. Both of these exhibits run through March 14.

For more information on the Upstairs, visit the gallery at 49 S. Trade St., Tryon, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday, or call 828-859-2828. The gallery’s website,, also has details about current and future shows, as well as information about upcoming events.

– article submitted 

by Tom Madison