Thirteen years in the making, the Art Museum first opened in June 1997. The culmination of the museum was through the hard work and dedication of a small group of Myrtle Beach visionaries which consisted of artists, art patrons, business leaders, cultural enthusiasts, and other private citizens.
The Art Museum is housed in a 1924 beach house which was built by the textile industry mogul Eugene Cannon and later sold to Colonel Elliot White Springs for use by his family and executives of Springs Industries and renamed Springmaid Villa. The Villa changed hands again in 1975 and was slated for demolition.
The Waccamaw Arts and Crafts Guild President Gaye Sanders Fisher led a campaign to save Springmaid Villa, but its survival was based on its relocation. With the assistance of Myrtle Beach Councilman Harry Charles and his wife, along with a team of city employees, utility workers and every member of the Waccamaw Arts and Crafts Guild, the 150-ton structure was moved to its new home eight miles south.
The land for the Villa’s new home was donated by the Myrtle Beach Farms Company which is now the Burroughs & Chapin Company. A new non-profit was created called the Springmaid Villa Art Museum Corporation, and after a decade of fundraising by an auxiliary group called Friends of the Villa, The Museum opened in June 1997. The Museum was renamed the Franklin G. Burroughs-Simeon B. Chapin Art Museum in recognition of the large donation of land.
In 2001, the City of Myrtle Beach purchased the Museum’s building and agreed to maintain its exterior and grounds while leasing it back to the Museum. In June of 2003, the Museum began free admission since it no longer had the constraints of a mortgage.
Today the Museum has 11 galleries with 3,600 square feet of exhibition space, a tearoom and a large seminar room. The Waccamaw Arts and Craft Guild Purchase Award Collection 1970-1983 is the Museum’s permanent collection of regional artwork and maps. There is an art education center building attached to the art gallery building which provides space for an art library, studio classrooms, a gift shop and storage space for the museum collection.
Dedicated to being one of the finest visual arts museums in the Carolinas, the Museum offers a variety of exhibitions which change every three to four months featuring various artists and their works including paintings, textiles, sculptures, photography, video, ceramics, assemblage, and collage. The Museum has featured such renowned artists as Ansel Adams, Frank Lloyd Wright, Norman Rockwell, John James Audubon, the Gee’s Bend Quilters, Jasper Johns, Jonathan Green, and Brian Rutenberg.
With interactive, educational and creative programs for people of all ages, the Art Museum strives to engage the community and visitors. The Museum has an extensive Kids Art program, with Saturday Art Adventures for ages 5 – 12 and a Teen Art Program (TAP) for ages 13-18 offered September through April along with a monthly Mommy & Me class for ages 2-4. During the Art Museum’s summer exhibitions, the Kids Art program offers Summer Kids Art Camps and free group tours inspired by the exhibition.
You can also have tea and cookies on the tea porch all year long overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. For groups of six or more, Docent tours are available upon request. The Art Museum also hosts several free Family Days in celebration of events like Dia de los Muertos and Chinese New Year.
The Museum was the recipient of the State of South Carolina’s prestigious Elizabeth O’Neill Verner Award for Outstanding Arts Organization in 2013, just one year after its 15th anniversary.
This award honors South Carolina arts organizations who maximize their roles as innovators, supporters, and advocates of the arts. The Verner Award is designated as the official “Governor’s Awards for the Arts.”
Based on Makeupyourmind’s review below, you should put the Franklin G. Burroughs-Simeon B. Chapin Art Museum on your Things to do in Myrtle Beach list:
Art lovers – this is not to be missed. A wonderful experience! I come here every time I visit the area. This museum is a mini-treasure. They have new exhibits all the time… It must be seen to be appreciated. Who would have guessed? World-class art in a ‘beach community.’”
For more information on exhibitions and collections, go to http://myrtlebeachartmuseum.org.