Upstairs Artspace, Tryon’s contemporary art gallery, recently received a generous $17,959 “Spark the Arts” grant from the North Carolina Arts Council to support art exhibitions and related community programming.
The primary purpose for the grant was to enable the gallery to bring audiences back into the building after extended periods of renovation- and Covid-related closures.
After three years lost, the gallery wanted to re-engage with its local audience by presenting three exciting, innovative and challenging exhibitions with accompanying artistic and culturally enriching educational programming.
The exhibitions included “Rebuilding Affrilachia” featuring sculptures and installations by African American artist and community activist DeWayne Barton; “Walking Naked in the World,” a full career retrospective of the avant garde artist and gallerist Connie Bostic whose work focused on social justice and equity; and “Uncommon: Elizabeth Matheson Photographs 1970-2018,” a high caliber traveling exhibition by a celebrated North Carolina photographer.
A variety of lectures and outreach events were held for the art communities of Tryon, Polk County and beyond to engage with the artists.
“We are very grateful to the NC Arts Council for this funding as it gave the gallery a tremendous reinvigorating boost for our exhibitions programming. It allowed us to feature large collections from further afield that we would not otherwise have been able to showcase. The caliber of our last three shows was remarkable and well-received by the Tryon community,” said Sandra Miller, 2024 board president.