Upstairs Artspace receives grant match

Published 10:00 pm Friday, September 9, 2016

The Polk County Community Foundation has awarded the Upstairs Artspace a matching grant of $10,000 after the organization demonstrated the equivalent in donations from the public over the course of the year.

The gallery, which has a 38 year history of providing contemporary art exhibits and programs free to the public, relies on both private donations and the generosity of the Polk County Community Foundation to keep the doors to the organization open.

“We are extremely grateful for the support of our members, sponsors and for the very important contributions of the Polk County Community Foundation,” says Scott Lane, president of the Upstairs board. “Each year we see the utility bills increase and feel the pressure of maintaining an aging infrastructure, including, this year, replacement of the heating and air conditioning system. It is a constant challenge for a donor-dependent organization to keep up, which is why it is so important to have such a generous funding organization such as the Community Foundation. We are truly grateful for this support.”

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The Upstairs Artspace has a long-standing reputation for being the gallery for contemporary art from regional artists in North and South Carolina, and enjoys national renown for exhibiting such. The gallery was founded in 1978 in the upstairs attic of local artist Craig Pleasant, and today occupies a handsomely renovated building with over 3,000 square feet of exhibition space in three separate galleries.

The organization is committed to developing an understanding and appreciation of contemporary art and craft forms through exhibits, programs and educational activities that enrich the cultural life of the region. Its free programs are made possible through the support of the Polk County Community Foundation, the North Carolina Council of the Arts, and the generous support of its members.

It has recently announced the dates for its eighth annual Art Trek: Foothills Open Studios event, which takes arts and craft lovers on a glorious fall tour of the western Carolina foothills and some of the studios of the region’s most talented and creative artists and crafts people. This year the tour will take place on Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 24 and 25, with an opening reception at the Upstairs Artspace on Friday, Sept. 23.

“Art Trek is an example of how the Upstairs adds to the vibrancy of the town,” says Michele Deudne, executive director for the gallery. “Two dozen artists open their studios for the tour and people come into town that weekend to enjoy the creativity that abounds in Tryon, not just at the Upstairs, but throughout the area.”

On another note, Deudne and Lane both commented on the ongoing campaign to retire the mortgage on the building at 49 S. Trade Street, and the membership/donor campaigns, which help provide the operating funds for the organization.

“We want to thank everyone who has contributed to these campaigns, and those who still plan to,” says Deudne.

“And special thanks to the Polk County Community Foundation,” says Lane.  “I hope others will see the confidence they have in the Upstairs and will contribute to the donations that keep us going.”

– article submitted by Clare O’Sheel