In the beginning… local area artists realized the need to band together to support one another, and a local patron of the arts, Violet Parrish-Watson, bequeathed funds earmarked for a Fine Arts Center. Subsequently, a building fund was established and plans were in the works. When area artist and teacher Lou Ingwerson realized that planning process for the new building made no provision for a space for painters and sculptors, he took steps to remedy the situation. He joined the board, but needed an organization – so he formed one. After reaching out to 38 prospective members, a first election of officers was held in August of 1968, and “Tryon Painters and Sculptors” was born.

Still, space was an issue, so Ingwerson and the newly formed asked that the center ceiling of the craft center balcony be filled in to create a make-shift studio. This space served the group well for some time, and subsequently a gallery was created out of a former storage area.

When TPS realized that membership dues were not covering expenses, Ingwerson and other members began teaching classes and workshops for adults and children. Regular shows and events were held in the gallery space and other locations, and when the group outgrew the space at TFAC, they moved to another location in Tryon.

In 2014, the 78 North Trade Street building was purchased, and TPS now enjoys a beautiful and spacious gallery. New shows are held regularly, where big crowds attend exciting opening receptions and where artists of every level can network with each other and with local patrons of the arts. Artists thrive in this supportive network, and downstairs, the 2-D and 3-D studios are busy with classes and workshops to nurture artists from beginners to the highly acclaimed.

In August and September of 2018, Tryon Painters and Sculptors held several special events to kick off a year of Anniversary celebration, and a bold fundraising mission. First there was a special Anniversary Celebration opening show featuring works by founding members, then a fundraiser kick-off party at F.E.N.C.E., and in September, the Juried Show fundraiser. In November, there is an Art Show and sale planned for November 11th at Harmon Field. The goal is to raise $50,000 for the 50th anniversary, in order to pay off the current mortgage on the 78 North Trade Street property, and also to provide for improvements to the gallery and studio spaces.

The current administration has taken a cue from the inspiring actions of the founding members – when there is a need amongst this community of artists, we spring into action and make things happen. Without boldness, determination and zeal, no goal can be realized, and that is why it is necessary for all of us to rise up to the present challenge.

There are several things you can do to help your organization:

  • Participate in all member shows. TPS needs all member artists to participate in order to provide a wide variety of offerings for visitors.

  • Attend the opening receptions. Show your support for one another, and have fun!

  • Tell others about the shows, opening receptions, and fundraisers, and invite them to come, and even join TPS

  • Volunteer to help – dedicated members are needed to help with things like publicity, teaching classes and workshops, hospitality, and assisting in the gallery.

  • Make a financial contribution. Your talent and contributions, along with the gracious support of the Polk County Community Fund and the Mary F. Kessler fund, are what has kept Tryon Painters and Sculptors going for the past 50 years.


Please use the button below to make your contribution, or contact us for other ways you can help.


Thank you!

Robin Turner,

President, Tryon Painters and Sculptors

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