When Jan McKim moved to Bluffton in 2008, she got involved in her new faith community by using her talents to help create artwork with Promiseland Kidz, the children's ministry of LowCountry Community Church.
McKim, who owned a gallery in Colorado for 13 years, was later offered the position of creative arts director at the church, and from there, the vision of a community art gallery was born.
The hallways connecting the foyer, cafe and sanctuary at the church were designed to serve as an art gallery. The walls have track lighting and are made of soft boards from which artwork can be hung.
"We wanted it to have the same feel of a fine art gallery," McKim said.
Last year, the church held five art shows, including a children's exhibit in July that featured creations from the church's four-day art camp.
From 4 to 6 p.m. Jan. 27, the church will host a reception to celebrate its latest show, "Arts Alive," which will include visual, performing and culinary arts.
While the church's first show featured artwork mostly from its members, the majority of this year's work will be from artists outside the church, according to communications director Mark Howard, who said the show also serves as an outreach ministry.
"We're celebrating artists, and it enhances our community," Howard said.
Artwork is sold at the shows, but the church does not take a commission.
Fifty-five pieces will be displayed for sale in mediums including oils painting, pastels, photography, pen and ink, sculptures and stained glass. Howard said making money was never the church's objective in this venture.
"We are happy to connect patrons who wish to purchase art with the artists, but aren't involved in any sales," he said. "We are trying to provide a venue for people to display their God-given gifts in a way the community can enjoy."
Mountain Strings, a local dulcimer group, will perform Jan. 27. Bluffton resident Valerie Best will serve samples of her tarts, and Sake Dungca will create food sculptures out of fruits and vegetables.
"We can tap into who our people are," McKim said. "A lot of times we don't know people have these God-given gifts. This gives people an opportunity to express those ... to be able to share that with others."
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