Saturday, May 28, 2016
Index Journal, St. Claire Donaghy
Handmade art, by local and regional artists, gets prime real estate with Main and Maxwell, a new gallery opening Wednesday at 210 Maxwell Ave. in Greenwood.
The concept is the brainchild of two friends, local potter and owner of the gallery, Laura Bachinski, and Debbie Britt Tackett, who has a background in retail, the restaurant business and specialty food sales. Britt Tackett will manage the gallery.
The space is 2,300 square feet and Main and Maxwell is renting it.
Main and Maxwell will be open 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday through Saturday, with the possibility of extended hours during special events.
“I have been thinking for a very long time that Greenwood needed a place for local artists to be able to sell their work,” Bachinski said. “When Uptown Pizzazz closed, there was not a place for me to sell my work, except my home studio.”
Britt Tackett, who worked at Uptown Pizzazz, said she knew local artists who sold their works in that store would need a place to continue to do so.
“When that store closed, I also needed a job and I wanted something where I could be surrounded by things that I loved,” Britt Tackett said. “I had a vision, but I wasn’t the money person. I contacted Laura and asked what artists were going to do.”
The two friends and two other artists met during lunch to talk about a tentative business plan. They later met with local business professionals to hash everything out, including the late George Nolan.
Bachinski said they are not the first to try such a venture here. The artists’ collective Meridian, formerly next to Sundance Gallery on Maxwell Avenue, and Scrambled Egg artists’ market on Main Street, preceded Main and Maxwell.
“Those places were right about what they were doing, but it was too soon for Greenwood,” Bachinski said. “This is the time. There is this underlying art vibe, with visual arts and music that’s been happening.
“A lot of it has to do with new people moving into the community, what photographer Jon Holloway continues to do, the Lander art department faculty and growth Uptown,” Bachinski added, noting Main and Maxwell will have original art at a variety of price points, some as low as $10 or less.
With her years in retail, Britt Tackett said she’s encountered many a shopper from out of town during big festival weekends here, as well as other times, looking for a one-of-a-kind gift or souvenir.
At Main and Maxwell, find paintings, wood carvings, jewelry, hand-painted scarves, pottery and more.
Rebecca Harrison, with Greenwood-based Fine Art Finishing, is among founding member artists for this new venture.
“I’ve been dreaming and waiting for something like this since my family and I moved to Greenwood,” Harrison said. “It’s a great way to support local business and art. A T-shirt as a memento might be gone in a few years, but art lasts.”
Seventy artists from the community were invited to a launch for Main and Maxwell.
“Right now, we have 43 member artists,” Bachinski said. “I don’t know how many there will be, but we will keep going until we feel like we have enough representation and different forms of art. Forty-one artists are from the Greenwood area and we have one from Hilton Head and one from Atlanta, both with Greenwood connections. There are so many creative people here.”
Member artists pay monthly membership fees that go toward rent.
Part of profits from Main and Maxwell will go toward grants to be awarded to member artists, Bachinski said.
“We want to support them in workshops they want to go to, ideas and materials,” Bachinski said.
Lesley Lane, executive assistant to the president of Greenwood Communities and Resorts said the property at 210 Main St. is owned by that entity and is part of the Greenwood Building, which also houses a number of professional offices and businesses, large and small.
“In 2010, Countybank moved out of this particular space, after being in this location for 75 years,” Lane said. “In early 2015, we decided to do something with it and we knew we wanted store-front windows and to open it up. Several people looked at it before Laura (Bachinski) and Debbie (Britt Tackett). Main and Maxwell is the first retail space in the building in a number of years.”
Britt Tackett said a goal of the gallery is to “expose the community to art in any form.”
Before opening, a number of artists’ pieces were stored in what used to be a bank vault.
“We’ve got some funky stuff back there,” Britt Tackett said. “I’m so energized when I come in here.”