In just over two months, it'll be two years since we took over the space at 107 Cannon St. -- June 1st to be exact. It all happened so quickly, but perhaps it was happening all along, we just didn't see it. About three years ago I had a random encounter with a man at an estate sale in Greenville, SC. We struck up a conversation in line waiting to make a purchase. It turned out he owned a specific piece of property in downtown Greer that he thought would work for my "pie-in-the-sky" ideas for a future business. It was a Saturday morning and I drove out to Greer that afternoon to check it out. It was currently running as the Old Greer Opry House. I don't think I'll ever forget that first introduction to the space. It was completely full of memorabilia -- floor to ceiling. Every available wall space had something attached to it ... cowboy hats, pages from old magazines, very old animal pelts, country signs with sayings, stuffed birds, rusted farm equipment, old country music memorabilia ... and on and on. There were baskets and stuffed animals hanging from the tin ceiling. The space is about 10.000sq so it was quite overwhelming. There were some elements that reminded one of its past life as a roller skating rink, but it was mostly overwhelmed by stuff. It only took a few minutes after the initial impression and I no longer saw anything on the walls or hanging on the ceiling ... I could just picture what it could be.
Nothing really came from that first introduction to the space. The current renters were happy with how things were going and I didn't really see how my ideas could fit in. About a year later I was working with a friend on a summer project and we needed a space to house our event. We tossed around ideas and I suggested the old opry house because of it's size and situation between Greenville and Spartanburg. I contacted several other places and got some affirmation to continue, but I decided to ask about the Greer place anyway. This time things had changed quite a bit. I met up again with the owner of business at the beginning of May and learned that there were some significant changes happening in their lives. It turned out that they were needing to get out of the business. Many details and a few brief meetings soon found me in the position to take over running the space on June 1st. I remember leaving that meeting feeling very light-headed and overwhelmed. It was a huge project for one person to take on. I immediately called my sister who lived in Colorado at the time. I had originally thought this business idea wouldn't take shape for a couple of years and now it was all of the sudden on the fast track. Amazingly, my sister and her husband decided to go all in and resigned their good jobs in Colorado, had a big yard sale, loaded up the rest of their possessions, and moved down South at the end of July.
Then began many months of literal blood, sweat and tears.
The vision (many years in the works) has been to create a space for the community to enjoy, participate and thrive in the arts.
"Politicians don't bring people together. Artists do."
–Richard Daley, Former Mayor of Chicago
A community that is thriving is a community with a strong emphasis on the arts. Celebrating music, dance, fine art, theatre, arts and crafts and more brings a richness and connectedness to our lives. We've already seen this come to be over the last two years of work. We've watched connections being made between new friends sharing a soul-stirring moment of music.
Musicians meeting audience members talking about their craft and why they do it. Dancers coming in worn down from their every-day work and leaving with smiles on their faces and an uplifted spirit from their shared experience on the dance floor.
We've watched patrons leave with a new piece of art to hang on their walls at home to beautify their lives or gift to someone they love. Making new friends, making new connections. Leaving the stress of their world and coming together to have a transcendent music-filled night. It happens all the time now at 107 Cannon St. -- people coming together and having a shared experience with the arts and changing their lives for the better.
It hasn't been an easy road and there seem to be many uphill paths to climb, but we look back over the almost-two years of work and see some great changes. We know it won't succeed without the support of our community. We are incredibly thankful to both the artists and patrons who come together each week to have shared experiences. We've already made some great friends and have been inspired by the incredibly talented artists that have come through. If you haven't come to see The Spinning Jenny, we hope you will drop by. We have lots of exciting events in the works -- to challenge, inspire, relax and entertain you.
Changing all the time