Traveling to the Rensing Center will take you on a journey through the countryside of the Blue Ridge foothills along the narrow and winding Mile Creek Road. Upon arriving, the secluded artist residency complex is marked by a series of wooden figures leading up to the entrance, letting guests know that they have finally arrived!
After entering the property, one is immediately greeted with the sight of a vast meadow populated by grazing cows and goats. Sustainability education is a major component of the residency program at the Rensing Center, and raising farm animals is just one of many sustainable practices artists will learn while on their retreats.
Near the entrance is the modest yet utilitarian Main Hall of the Rensing Center. The primary feature of this building is the expansive library which contains hundreds of books meant to inspire artists, and also books that have been published by former residents. The Main Hall also serves as a gathering place for residents and visitors of the Center to connect and share stories.
Taking us on a tour of The Pottery, the name of the art studio at the top of the hill, Vermont-based multi-media artist Kristen Watson shows us one of her latest works which she hopes to serve as a connection between nature and art. She explains that one of her favorite things about the Rensing Center is the emphasis on the importance of all art forms. Materials stored in various locations around the property are seen as treasure troves by artists looking to think outside the box for their next creation.
Minnesota-based author Paulette Alder reads an excerpt of her upcoming novel to visitors of the Rensing Center in the Main Hall library. Alder’s new book focuses on the Civil Rights Movement in Upstate South Carolina. Being immersed in the setting of the story was critical for her writing to be as accurate as possible by being in close proximity to the locations of various scenes and having access to historical resources in the area.
The Rensing Center is a special place in Pickens County for artists to escape their busy daily lives and come to stay for as short as three weeks and as long as three months. This presents an opportunity for those who are truly passionate about the arts to completely immerse themselves into an environment where support and inspiration are always within sight. Visitors are also welcome to tour the facility and attend various events held at the Center.
1165 Mile Creek Rd
Pickens, SC 29671
Phone: (864) 380-1267
Hours: By Appointment Only