Founded in 1974 by three independent groups (Camden Art Association, Camden Music Association, and the Camden Community Theatre), the Fine Arts Center was intended to be the cultural focus of the county and to serve as the local arts agency and an umbrella organization for affiliate clubs. At the time, 5.19 acres of land and a historic home were donated to the cause and $80,000 was raised to restore and renovate that facility to serve as the headquarters for the Fine Arts Center.
In 1982-83, a $600,000.00 capital campaign was conducted and an additional facility including a theatre, dressing rooms, a gallery and office space was constructed on the site. In 1993, a capital campaign raised the endowment of the Fine Arts Center from $500,000 to one million dollars. In 1997, funds were raised to renovate the auditorium, implement significant sound enhancements, upgrade and computerize the theatre lighting system and upgrade the computer and communications systems at the Fine Arts Center.
In 1974, when the Fine Arts Center was organized, there was a single employee. In 1983, when the new building was constructed, the staff increased to two. Today, full time staff number five, part time number two and contracted staff numbers vary during the year. Artists and teachers number 20-30 at any given time. Volunteers number in the hundreds. The Fine Arts Center enjoys a close working relationship with the Kershaw County schools in fostering arts education throughout the county.
The Bassett Building houses the Bassett Gallery, Wood Auditorium and offices including the administration office for ticket purchase and class registration. Learn more about the Bassett Building.
The Daniels Education Building is the focal point of arts education classes at the center. There are spaces for music instruction, dance, visual art and a clay studio. Learn more about the Daniels Education Building.
The historic Douglas-Reed House (circa 1812) upstairs contains executive offices and the downstairs contains very attractive meeting spaces including a kitchen for catering. The Douglas-Reed downstairs can be rented for meetings and events. Learn more about the Douglas-Reed House.
The Fine Arts Center is funded in part by the Frederick S. Upton Foundation and the South Carolina Arts Commission, which receives support from the National Endowment for the Arts. Additional funding provided by the City of Camden, Kershaw County, and BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina along with donations from businesses and individuals.
Special funding for the Fine Arts Center of Kershaw County's Chamber Music Series was provided by South Arts:
The Fine Arts Center's chamber music program received a grant from South Arts (formerly known as Southern Arts Federation), a nonprofit regional arts organization serving to link nine states in the Southeast with the nation and the world through the arts. A Regional Touring Grant was awarded for partial funding of the "Claire Bryant and Friends" five-day community residency, which brings acclaimed chamber musicians from New York City into the Kershaw County schools, to local agencies and facilities serving the aged and the disabled, and to the broader community through public concerts. South Arts partners with the South Carolina Arts Commission and receives funding from the National Endowment for the Arts, member states, foundations, corporations and individuals.
The Fine Arts Center is a 501c3 non profit organization that brings the energy, creativity and experience to the arts to all ages.