Lake Marion Artisans is more than just a museum

by | May 4, 2018 8:32 am

Last Updated: May 4, 2018 at 11:02 am


Lake Marion Artisans run a small museum on Main Street in Summerton, which shows and sells local artwork including paintings, sketches, jewelry and crafts. The items for sale are not consignments, however. All proceeds from sales go directly to the artists. Any monies the museum needs are garnered through donations and fundraising events, like the recent Summerton Super Saturday event. A small donation box also hangs on the wall in the Museum.

They are creating a site on SmugMug, which allows artists to upload pictures of their sketches and paintings. These pictures can then be printed on mugs, T-shirts and prints. Lake Marion Artisans President Peter Groen has been ordering samples, so museum patrons can see the finished products.

Recently they added a TV and video area, which allows them to show brief educational videos prior to monthly meetings and as part of scheduled classes. The first class, taught by Vice President and Education and Training Chairperson Marlise Guillerault, will be on drawing, and will be held at 10 a.m. every Monday, starting on May 7. The cost for the initial class is $25, which will cover supplies for the class. Subsequent class dates in the course will cost $5 per Monday.

The group has begun planning field trips for members and recently traveled to Seagrove, North Carolina, for the kiln opening. Hundreds of potteries are in the area. “On this particular day, they open their kilns and you see some of the new stuff they’re doing,” said Guillerault. Future trips are still in the planning stages.

Outreach and Publicity Officer Nancy Foster feels the biggest challenge has been letting the community know what they have to offer. “Nobody knew who we were. Nobody knew what we were. It’s been a struggle to get that out,” said Foster.

But don’t let their artistic nature fool you. Aside from the museum operations, Lake Marion Artisans have deeply involved themselves in improving the community. “I’m kind of devoted to helping Summerton, because there are people here who do want to do something. They want to improve the community, and it needs it, so I put a lot of time and effort into Summerton,” said Lake Marion Artisans Treasurer Mary Wilson.

The Artisans provide free wi-fi to much of Main Street and are looking to expand their coverage. They’ve also assisted many of the local organizations with creation of online presences, including the Town of Summerton, the Pink Dogwood Garden Club and the Summerton News blog.

Earlier this year, the museum hosted the quilting group from the Summerton Senior Center, and in February, they honored Black History Month, which highlighted the artwork of Mr. Blackwell’s art class from Scott’s Branch High School. This summer, Lake Marion Artisans will offer a $1,000 scholarship and a 10-week summer internship at the gallery to one of the students, who will have the opportunity to learn about art and gallery management.

Lake Marion Artisans help present the annual Health Fair in Summerton. This year’s fair will be in October and is open to anyone who wishes to attend. CVS will be present, giving free flu shots to those aged 65 and up who have Medicare. Other adults will receive the injections at a discounted rate.

“One of the things that makes me feel so good about this town is how much support we’ve gotten for anything we’ve tried to do,” said Foster.

An ongoing project has been to create a new Summerton Library. When the high school moved into its new building, the library moved with it, leaving Summerton residents to drive to Manning for a library. The Lake Marion Artisans began to slowly fill in the gap, lining the walls of the museum project room with books free to those who wish to read them.

“Every time we’re open, we have people come in and get books,” said Foster. However, they seem to have more books returned than borrowed, and they have quickly outgrown their project room. As they continue to receive donated books, this leaves many books in boxes until a larger facility can be arranged. Currently they are working toward putting the library into the Clarendon 1 Community Resource Center, which will have expanded room as well as more open hours for residents to access the books.

Through each project, Lake Marion Artisans remain committed to growing the community. “Coming down here, it was very clear,” said Groen. “Okay, God brought me here for a purpose, and it wasn’t just to sit on the lake and enjoy it.”

To join or to learn about upcoming classes and trips, please visit their website at

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