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Palmetto State Art Galleries

Plus South Carolina’s Theater Scene

For art fans traveling through the Palmetto State, many museums, galleries, and theaters are there to meet them. Cultural cities like Charleston, Greenville, and the capital city of Columbia boast dozens of venues perfect for performing arts and art exhibits.

The state's second largest city, Charleston is located on the South Carolina coast with communities like North Charleston and Mount Pleasant, and features plenty of attractions for the artistically inclined.

Set in the Historic Charleston, the Gibbes Museum of Art yields more than 10,000 works, displaying American, southern, and Charleston artists. Established in 1905, Gibbs offers the "Charleston Renaissance to Today" tour, traveling exhibits, and an impressive permanent collection.

Chucktown is also home to the North Charleston Coliseum & Performing Arts Center – a 14,000-seat venue for theater and live music. Other Charleston theater venues include the Threshold Repertory Theatre, the Charleston Stage, and Dock Street Theatre – the country’s first theater.

Set in South Carolina’s upcountry, Greenville – accompanied by Piedmont – is home to many art galleries and cultural centers. Fans of American and southern art need visit the Greenville County Museum of Art, featuring its popular Southern Collection and Andrew Wyeth Collection, or the Bob Jones University Museum & Gallery. For theater fans, check out the event schedule at the Peace Center.

Columbia, South Carolina’s capital and largest city, features some of the state’s best galleries. Friends of the arts may stroll the Columbia Museum of Art and the Koger Center for the Arts, while theater addicts can grab a seat at the gorgeous Newberry Opera House.

South Carolina Artisans Center

Home to over 250 juried artists, the South Carolina Artisans Center is known as South Carolina’s “Official Folk Art and Craft Center.” SCAC is located in downtown Walterboro – found just west of Charleston on the South Carolina coast.

Open daily till 5 p.m., the South Carolina Artisans Center features works of art in paint, clay, metal, glass, wood fiber, film, and of course, sweetgrass. Events are also held at SCAC, including Third Saturday, and the Walterboro Antiques, History & Arts Festival.

Koger Center for the Arts

Constructed in 1988, the Koger Center for the Arts seats over 2,200 arts fans in the capital city of Columbia in central South Carolina. Found on campus at the University of South Carolina, Gonzales Hall houses major performances for Cola.

The Koger Center for the Arts hosts many events like the South Carolina Body Building Championships and the South Carolina Science Fair and acts as a continuous venue for USC arts departments. Tenants also include the South Carolina Philharmonic, the Columbia City Ballet, the Columbia Classical Ballet, and Broadway In Columbia.

Carolina Opry

Founded by Calvin Gilmore, the Carolina Opry is a performing arts venue set in Myrtle Beach on the South Carolina Coast. Established in 1986, the Carolina Opry is a two-hour show of rock and country music, plus comedy, dancing, and all around fun.

Awarded with the Governor’s Cup, the Carolina Opry is a combination of the former of the original theater in Surfside Beach, and the Dixie Jubilee theater in North Myrtle Beach. Other shows include Good Vibrations, and Carolina Opry Christmas Special – the Christmas Show of the South.

Alabama Theatre

Located in North Myrtle Beach along South Carolina’s Atlantic coast, the Alabama Theatre is known as one of the more popular entertainment venues in the region. Opened in 1993, the venue frequently hosts nationally renowned country music artists, as well as many others genres.

Past shows at the Alabama Theatre include the Lettermen, Kenny Rogers, Bill Cosby, Josh Turner, and so much more. Speaking to the venue’s prominence and popularity, it was recently nominated for the Country Music Association’s Venue of the Year Award, and was even featured in a question on the popular television show, Jeopardy.

Palace Theatre Myrtle Beach

Encompassing 6,400 square feet, the Palace Theatre is located in Myrtle Beach on the South Carolina Coast coast within the Broadway at the Beach facility. PT is topped by the iconic golden dome – though it's more of a green.

Palace consists of the 140-seat King’s Theatre, and the 2,600-seat Main Auditorium – the box office for which is open daily at 9 a.m. All together spread over 20 acres, the Palace Theatre offers music, comedy, dance, and plays – plus is available for private bookings.

Columbia Museum of Art

Featuring more than 8,800 works of art, the Columbia Museum of Art offers a diverse collection spanning centuries of history. These pieces include Claude Monet’s painting, The Seine, the Kress Collection and pieces of Tiffany glass.

Tours are offered from an in depth perspective all the way to self guided, depending on what type of visit you choose to have. Children and school tours are also welcome to immerse themselves in art dating back to ancient times.

Since its establishment in 1950, the museum has relocated from its original location at the intersection of Bull and Senate to Main Street in Columbia, South Carolina. One of the highest ranking art institutions, the museum is worth a stop when traveling through South Carolina’s Upcountry.

Gibbes Museum of Art

First opened in 1905, the Gibbes Museum of Art was originally endowed by art lover James Shoolbred Gibbes Sr. Through the original endowment of $100,000 left in his will, the museum has grown and flourished into a collection of more than 10,000 works of art.

Featured works primarily originate from Charleston and surrounding areas throughout the state, each telling their own story with its place in the rich history of the city.

Visitors are offered several different means of experiencing the collection from various tours to educational programs.

The Gibbes Museum is also an ideal wedding venue with its gorgeous architecture that features a large courtyard as well as beautiful, historic rooms with which to hold events and ceremonies. A premier site, rich in the history of the South Carolina Coast, the art museum offers much to the community.