When Marion Ivey stood in the McDuffie Arts Council's new art gallery Saturday night and looked around at all the people, he anxiously tapped his foot on the floor.
"I was hoping this old floor would hold all this weight," the council chairman quipped. "I can't believe how many people are here. This is incredible."
About 300 people attended the grand opening reception of MAC on Main, most of them arriving as soon as it opened at 5 p.m.
"It's just fabulous," Thomson-McDuffie Chamber of Commerce President Bonnie McCorkle said. "It's a great opportunity for McDuffie County, and it's going to be very positive for this community. I'm so proud for them."
Located in a newly renovated building near the railroad tracks on Main Street in downtown Thomson, the MAC on Main exhibits art of council members. The art is selected by a jury of the council before it is displayed for sale in the gallery. A few works were sold within a couple of hours Saturday evening.
"I love it because it's an opportunity to showcase their work," said Millie Pitstick. "Somebody can say there's an artist here, but nobody ever could see their work. Now, we can."
Many visitors Saturday evening said they were amazed to see all art in one building, and commented they didn't realize there was so much talent in Thomson.
"Well, it's not a surprise to me," Lynn Entriken said. "Because I've always known there's been a lot of talent in Thomson. I'm just glad we can see it, now."
Mediums displayed Saturday included paintings, drawings, photography and metal, clay and wood sculpture. The event also afforded many the opportunity to sign up for art classes, which will be taught in the gallery by Charlene Montgomery. Ms. Montgomery runs an art school in Appling, and she said many of her students are from Thomson. Her students' art also was displayed Saturday in the work room of the gallery.
Bracton Ivey, who did a lot of the renovation work with his wife, Sheryl, gave the credit for the building to everyone.
"So many people were involved," he said. "All of them were not actually slinging a hammer or a paintbrush. But they could get things done in other ways. Everybody does their part, and a lot of people wanted it to happen. So it did."