West Main Artists Co-Operative is a non-profit under the Spartanburg County Foundation and is seeking patronage and support from the citizens of Spartanburg. Donations can be made to the Spartanburg County Foundation for West Main Artists Co-Operative.
It’s founder, Howard Solomon was born and raised in East Texas. He completed 29-years of service as a pilot in the United States Air Force in 2000 and went back to school to pursue the arts. He got his Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Painting from the University of West Florida in 2005 and a Master of Arts and Master of Fine Arts degrees in Printmaking from Stephen F. Austin State University in 2009.
Howard moved to Spartanburg two years ago to be with his partner, Teresa Prater, the Chair of the Department of Art and Design and Professor of Studio Art at Converse College. Howard wanted to join an art co-op but there wasn’t any in Spartanburg so he looked for a place to start one. He purchased the old West Main Baptist Church building located at 578 West Main and started the West Main Artists Co-Op.
Currently, 36 artists working in all media including ceramics, jewelry, painting, printmaking, glass making, woodworking and music rent studios at the co-op. Studio rentals include exhibition space and multiple joint use space such as ceramics and printmaking. There will soon also be second-tier members at the co-op that rent only exhibition space.
A retail store open to the public is opening in May. The sanctuary may be rented and will be used for performances and other events. There is an educational outreach program with Converse, Wofford and USC Upstate to integrate art students into a professional environment. Graduate students seeking internships are invited to participate in the co-op.