Some low-key ways to get into art in new year

An essay and photos from “Point Suite Contemporary Art,”by artists Annika Connor and Nicholas Papadakis.

Typically, I don’t buy in to New Year’s traditions. I’ve made a few resolutions that, like everyone else, I abandon within the first month or so. (Change is hard, right?)

Still, it helps to have good intentions and a plan with purpose.

As a supporter of the arts in our community and a resident of a city that does value art, here are two small suggestions to help you incorporate art in your 2016 plans.

First (and most obvious), take the time to experience the abundant artistic talent that Charleston cultivates.

You don’t have to take large first steps and go right for a gallery or a museum; start small and don’t be deterred. Work up to what you feel comfortable doing.

Second, look for art in unique or even out-of-the-way places. It can show up when you’re not even looking for it.

I’ve visited local coffee shops, local restaurants, even parking lots and realized that I was surrounded by art that I never paid attention to.

For example, one of my favorite places to see art is the parking alley behind the Avondale shops in West Ashley. The rear building walls are decked out with colorful, exuberant murals that are as creative as any oil-on-canvas piece. And that is only one place among many around the city.

If you’re looking for something indoors, though, stop by North Charleston City Hall. The North Charleston Artist Guild has an exhibition of paintings on display now through Jan. 30. As part of its winter showcase, the exhibit titled “Inspire to Create: Create to Inspire” features guild members working in various media.

And an art exhibit in a government building isn’t as unusual as it may seem, especially when the space at City Hall is so inviting. The city’s Public Art Collection is on display among all three floors of the impressive building, but a separate enclave on the second floor displays rotating exhibits year-round.

The space is open and serene and can fit an array of 2-D or 3-D works comfortably. What’s more, you’ll be able to view some of the city’s local artistry and support a guild whose mission, among other things, is to “educate the public about the arts.” That’s an easy, low-key way to start your artistic journey for the New Year.

But if you’re not ready to commit to an art exhibit, then perhaps perusing books about art is a simpler way to get in the artistic mind frame. Local bookstore Blue Bicycle Books will have copies of a recent intriguing and sharply designed book by artists Annika Connor and Nicholas Papadakis, “Point Suite Contemporary Art.”

“Point Suite” is a colorful exploration and reproduction of modern artists’ work. Sharply rendered, “Point Suite” is a work of art on its own and puts you on the path of discovering the highly creative work of imaginative artists. Even if you’re looking for something a little less modern, Blue Bicycle Books has plenty of art books to peruse in a quiet, comforting atmosphere.

So here’s to making art, in all its forms, a part of your new year. Enjoy the experience that Charleston offers.