Chase Karacostas writes about tourism in Myrtle Beach and across South Carolina for McClatchy. He graduated from the University of Texas at Austin in 2020 with degrees in journalism and political communication. He started working for McClatchy in 2020 after growing up in Texas, where he has signatures in three of the state’s largest print media as well as the Texas Tribune covering state policy, environment, housing. and the LGBTQ + community.
Myrtle Beach Fringe area art gallery opens to SC artists
Stepping into Fringe, a vintage boutique hidden inside a gatehouse in Murrells Inlet, you would have no idea that there is an art gallery tucked away in the back corner upstairs.
Still, once newcomers stumble upon the gallery, it’s unlikely to come as a surprise, as the art hanging on its walls matches the eclectic feeling of the rest of the boutique, whose full name is Funky Fresh Fringe, A Vintage. Shop.
The art gallery opened two weeks ago and could serve as an example of the importance of art spaces in the Myrtle Beach area, which unlike Columbia, Charleston or Greenville, lacks much of an art scene.
“There is really nothing here,” said owner Randy Daniel. What the area has is “not really a lot of local artists. So we felt there was an opportunity there, a void, a void.
“We are in the first phase of what we think is sort of phase 10,” he added. “It’s just budding. It’s not a huge amount of space, but it’s space – the space these artists need to hang their work and get exposure.
Randy Daniel opened Fringe five years ago with his wife, Burke. Both had long been involved in the arts. Randy Daniel majored in music in college and Burke Daniel is a former professional dancer.
The store was originally located in Surfside Beach, but the Daniels had their eye on Fringe’s current house in Murrells Inlet, just waiting for it to be rented out. Eventually a few months ago it did, and after some renovations Fringe moved in and opened in April. It’s next door to the Smugglers Den restaurant and may soon share the building with a bakery.
Randy Daniel said they didn’t have a hard time at Surfside Beach, but the difference in traffic at their new location was staggering. Even though they’re only 10 miles down the road, they get a lot of traffic from Charleston.
They also feel that the general “vibe” of Murrells Inlet is more suitable for their store. In many ways, this makes sense. Many of the most important vintage shops on the Grand Strand can be found near Murrells Inlet or Conway. Plus, one of the Grand Strand’s largest art houses, Brookgreen Gardens, is just 3 miles south, a four-minute drive on most days.
“I think it’s because of the vacuum,” said Randy Daniel. “I think it’s also because of the clientele in this neighborhood. I think we’ve hit a sweet spot.
The art gallery, still in its infancy, has already garnered a lot of attention from artists and buyers. Dozens of people attended the gallery opening on July 17 and Randy Daniel said he has a waiting list of almost 15 artists who want to exhibit at Fringe.
Steven White, an artist from the Columbia area who paints black and white portraits of people and animals, is the curator of the gallery. He went to elementary school with Burke Daniel and brought up the idea of a gallery when he heard about their new store location.
White then helped them set up the space, including helping hang drywall, and spent several weeks reaching out to local South Carolina artists to see if they would be interested in exhibiting.
He quickly found many interested artists and is already working on a selection of new artists for the gallery’s next exhibition, which opens in October.
The strong interest “shows there is definitely a need” for more art spaces, White said.
White said he felt honored to help run a gallery like Fringe. Not only is much of the art affordable – a few hundred dollars for many pieces – but he said it was nice to offer a space exclusively to local artists in South Carolina because it can be especially difficult. for new artists to bring their work into a gallery. at all.
“There are a lot of people out there who really need a place to exhibit,” he said. Additionally, “Most tourists who come to the beach aren’t looking to spend $ 2,000 on a painting, although you may come across a beautiful piece of art for $ 200 to $ 500 that (can serve) as a souvenir. their visits here in South Carolina. “
Brian Heckman’s art probably embodies Fringe’s eclectic environment more than anything else. His portrayal of Bigfoot sitting on a tree stump in the middle of a forest (Heckman says people too often portray Bigfoot walking, but if he just needed to sit and rest?) Attracts attention. of all who enter.
Like its subject, Bigfoot’s painting is quite large, at least three, maybe four feet tall. Heckman has a habit of selling his art at art fairs all over the state, which he appreciates. But one of the perks of the gallery is that it “doesn’t have to hang around Bigfoot”.
Heckman said he hopes the gallery will also help open the eyes of locals to art beyond what they find in mass stores.
“Sometimes I feel like South Carolina doesn’t really appreciate the art of artists,” he said. “It’s more of a place where people go to Lowe’s and buy prints.”
Rebecca Horne, who paints mostly abstract works in shades of blue, said she liked the gallery because it gave her a chance to expand her clientele. The location as well, on a main thoroughfare for travelers, adds to the advantage.
“It gives me the opportunity to get out of my area (Columbia) just to maybe find people who appreciate my art who would come from out of town,” Horne said. “They have such a cool little shop and to include an art gallery, they’re going to bring in people who might never come into the shop.”
Not only does the gallery personally help Horne, but it hopes that the younger ones who discover it will feel motivated to pursue their own artistic passions.
“There is so much talent that we have here and so many different types of art that can be offered,” said Horne. “It’s really exciting and really important for new artists or people who have always wanted to be an artist and probably inspire them to pursue their dream. It gives them opportunities that they wouldn’t otherwise have.