Renovations at the Orangeburg County Fine Arts Center began this week and, when completed, will reveal an upgraded and renewed facility.

Executive Director Vicki Smith King said she and her father, Charles Smith, spent the two previous weeks cleaning out the rooms and closets of the Arts Center in preparation for the construction.

Also, the center held a rummage sale to clear out some items, she said.

Outside the Arts Center, a portable storage container has been nearly filled with items, she said.

The contractor started work on the building on Monday, King noted.

“Upstairs, all the carpet is coming down off those walls and getting new sheetrock and hanging system,” she said. “The whole downstairs will look completely new. We’re getting new floors, new ceilings, new walls.

“Walls are being taken down -- the boardroom walls are going down to open up that space for a new gallery space."

The kitchen will be enlarged, which will make the space more attractive to people looking to rent the center for events, King said. The restrooms will be “totally gutted, and they’re switching locations,” she said.

“Classrooms will be getting complete makeovers – floors, chairs, sinks, the whole bit."

However, the mural in the painting room is being preserved, King said.

Her office will also be getting a facelift, and there will be a new music room with a piano, she said. It can be used for piano lessons, but she said she hopes someone might offer guitar lessons or use the room for vocal practice.

“We’re getting new furniture for the Terrace Garden,” King added.

The chairs and tables will look the same, just newer, and all-new umbrellas will lend a “fresh new look out back,” she said.

King said she hopes the renovations will be complete by the end of March, in time for the Orangeburg Festival of Roses.

With construction going on for the next few months, the Arts Center’s temporary home will be the first floor of the former First Citizens building at 1099 Russell St., she said.

“So the woodcarvers are still going to get to meet, the quilters, Deltas. All our groups are still going to have a location to meet,” King said. “Plus, we're still going to be able to, hopefully, have some classes."

The renovations haven’t been King's only worry.

“In the process, we were putting together the hubcap flowers,” she said.

“A Community Blooming in Love” is the art project that King kicked off several months ago. The project took recycled objects like hubcaps, tin roofing, rebar and other materials and turned them into “flowers.”

About 80 of the hubcaps were painted and completed, she said.

“We sold about 45 big ones or single sets,” she said.

They will now be distributed to the doctors’ and dentists’ offices, churches, businesses and individuals who sponsored and purchased them and will be displayed around the community, King said.

Money raised from the project was used for the Arts Center’s renovations. King said the center was able to raise the final $5,000 of matching funds for a Connected Communities grant from the Central Carolina Community Foundation.

But, she said more donations are always needed and welcome.

Contact the writer: chuff@timesanddemocrat.com or 803-533-5543.

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