The Orangeburg County Fine Arts Center (OCFAC) is committed, as a resource, to provide inspiring arts and arts education experiences, to support area artists and to actively promote cultural enrichment for and to include all the citizens of Orangeburg County.
Expanding our mission for arts education – We’re teaching more than how to create art; we are teaching how to live and look at life. Arts education teaches discipline, motivation, cooperation, deliberation, determination and communication to enrich and inspire young minds.
The Orangeburg Arts Council was chartered as a nonprofit community arts center in 1984. Founding an arts center for the citizens of Orangeburg County had been the vision of Arthur and Lois Lusty, retired educators transplanted from Michigan, who with the Orangeburg League of the Arts, petitioned the city for the building known as the River Pavilion.
Situated on an incline overlooking the Edisto River, the longest free-flowing black water river in North America, the River Pavilion building was renamed the Orangeburg Arts Center. The Edisto Memorial Gardens, celebrated for its ecological beauty, azaleas and expanse of rose gardens, are adjacent to and influence the charming southern aura surrounding the newly named Arts Center.
Once the lease to the building was granted by the City of Orangeburg, volunteers began renovations. Grants were secured from the National Endowment of the Arts, the South Carolina Arts Commission, the state of South Carolina, the South Carolina Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism and the Dick Horne Foundation, a private foundation located in Orangeburg that continues to faithfully provide funding to the Arts Center.
Local businesses and individuals made contributions as well, including the late State Senator Marshall B. Williams and his late wife, Margaret. Volunteerism, grants and individual donations, along with levels of membership support, continue to fund both the mission and mission-driven activities.
In 1998, the Arts Center was renamed the Orangeburg County Fine Arts Center offering art classes and courses for students and adults, pottery, sculpture, music and dance lessons, art-related events, concerts, recitals and exhibits. The Arts Center also offers, for rental, the Lusty Gallery, its two conference/classrooms and the Terrace Garden, which overlooks the Edisto River.
In 2017, the Arts Center began extensive renovations and refurbishments, again with grants, funding and donations. During the modernization process, a retired bank building served as a space for the staff and for classes and other activities. The Orangeburg County Fine Arts Center reopened in a fully operational capacity in 2019, with a new vision and more comprehensive and far-sighted goals befitting its new capabilities.
Orangeburg County Fine Arts Center’s Goals and Objectives:
- Encourage community recommendations/participation in new arts projects.
- Increase diversity and range of artistic expression.
- Extend invitations to partner with community groups interested in supporting or developing art-related projects in their communities or at the Arts Center.
- Seek input from local artists, offering the Arts Center space for meetings and forums for artists.
- Publicize and promote local artists and exhibits, including on social media.
- Connect with local schools to include students’ artwork in Art Center gallery spaces. Supplement and support the efforts of arts educators. Initiate student art contests to encourage and recognize their creativity.
- Cultivate relationships with business leaders to share data and substantiate the benefits of the arts in economic development and fostering healthy communities.
- Visit and invite clubs, organizations and groups to use the Arts Center’s resources and opportunities. Encourage feedback on how the staff and the Center’s facilities can best serve all our communities.
- Showcase on our website and through social media overlooked and under-appreciated art spaces and places in Orangeburg County to encourage pride and awareness. Bring greater awareness to the culture, heritage and traditions that define communities in the county,
- Ensure that public and elected officials are kept informed of the Art Center’s activities and endeavors. Offer personal tours of the Arts Center to officials and members of the public at large.
- Create an information space within the Arts Center catering to visitors to the area.
- Activate a robust membership campaign. Consistently update our news and events through emails, newsletters and social media. Cultivate potential members to increase support and sponsorships.
- Rebuild website. Strategically increase social media presence to advance our mission.