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Summerville's Public Works Art Center celebrates with ribbon cutting

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Summerville's Public Works Art Center celebrates with ribbon cutting

A crowd gathers Thursday at the Public Works Art Center in downtown Summerville for a ribbon cutting celebrating the centers official opening. Shown left to right is Diane Frankenberger, owner of People, Places and Quilts; Will Rizzo, board chair for the art center, Jana Riley, director of the center; Summerville Mayor Ricky Waring and Rita Berry, director of the Greater Summerville/Dorchester County Chamber of Commerce.

Town officials, business leaders and lovers of art attended Thursday’s ribbon cutting ceremony at the Public Works Arts Center in downtown Summerville.

The center’s executive director, Jana Riley, said what started as a dream has finally come true for many who supported the idea of a public space devoted to the fine arts downtown.

“We said, ‘wouldn’t it be cool’,” Riley said. She said the plan to turn what used to be the Summerville post office and later the headquarters for the Commissioners of Public Works into a space for artists to teach and share their talents started as a simple idea.

When the CPW built its new building a few blocks north on Cedar, ideas began to float around the future of the square brick building in the heart of Summerville’s Historic District. “It took lots of planning, for sure, and lots of dreaming, Riley said. “Without the dreaming of countless individuals this wouldn’t have happened.”

Riley pointed to Mayor Ricky Waring, the Greater Summerville/Dorchester County Chamber of Commerce, CPW and others for making the dream come true.

Riley said she remembers going to the city for funding and say, “We don’t have any money, but we have a really big dream.”

Waring said the city showed support for the idea early on.

“When we saw what volunteers had done, it was just amazing,” Waring said. “We made our minds up pretty quickly and the only way to get involved was financially.”

In a little more than two years, the center raised almost $400,000 toward the project.

One year after signing a lease for the historic building located in downtown Summerville, the Public Works Art Center became the owner in June.

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