Through the efforts of the City of Gaffney and a handful of local artists, over 75 local visual artists were identified in Cherokee County in the Spring of 2005. After being contacted, artists and various city officials held a meeting in the Gaffney City Hall of the same year. By May, a planning committee had been formed and began meeting weekly to develop a mission statement, By-laws and constitution in order to formalize themselves into an organization. The organization had members within 4 months.
Housed in an old filling station building with the Gaffney Visitor's center office, the group held a "Mid-Summer Gala and Exhibition" at the Gaffney Visitor's Center in July of 2005 to introduce the Cherokee County Alliance of Visual Artists to the community. Attendance exceeded 150 guests and have a total attendence figures for the six week exhibit exceeded 400. Two years later, both organizations moved to the building directly across the street to 210 N.Limestone.
The Cherokee County Alliance of Visual Artists dropped the "County" in the name so as to exclude artists in surrounding areas. The operation of our organization (CAVA) is supported through individual and corporate donations like The Timken Foundation, City and County grants and small fund raisers sponsored by the group. Strictly run by volunteers, the Cherokee Alliance of Visual Artists maintains a business, an Art Gallery, and Gift shop.
What We've Achieved
- CAVA collaborated with CHAPS Museum on one of their largest fund raisers in 2015 offering four different art/craft tents and lined up many company mascots for the children's enjoyment.
- Each year, a CAVA member does a whole school day at the private Village School to do Christmas crafts for their annual entry in the town Christmas Tree Festival. CAVA as an organization also enters an art themed Christmas tree in this event sponsored by the City of Gaffney.
- Advertising has always been done with the two local papers with an occassional article done in papers in surrounding counties. Printed materials such as rack cards, posters, invitations, etc. have been distributed in local areas and also at the Welcome centers on the 185 Interstate. Recently we have upgraded our social media to include; email, face book, you tube and website.
- CAVA is a long standing member of the Cherokee County Chamber of Commerce.
- CAVA also offers a gift shop open to the public inside the CAVA office. Open five and a half days a week, the shop offers unique gifts of pottery, paintings, jewelry, wood art, handmade scarves and more.
- Organized in 2005, our first location was in an old filling station with the Gaffney Visitor's Center with first public reception and exhibit in July. Second location 2 years later was across the street at the old Red Cross building, now housed by Know2. CAVA and the Visitors Center were moved to the renovated old post office in 2011 (?).
- With a large grant from The Timken Foundation, we were able to purchase all the necessary equipment to furnish our newest location; professional easels, work tables, chairs, office equipment, pedestals for the gallery, and hanging equipment.
- Acquired our 501c3 status to become a non-profit organization. Being a non-profit, we have supported our supplies and activities with fund raisers through Fatz's, Chico's, MacDonald's, City and County grants, private and individual donations and membership dues. The organization is totally run by its members as volunteer staff and instructors.
- The Art Gallery serves the community with six different receptions and exhibits each year with each one being free to the public, one of which is juried and member and non-member artists from around the state are encouraged to enter for monetary awards.