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 and gift shop. New shows were held regularly, with big crowds attending exciting opening receptions where artists of every level could 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 were busy with classes and workshops to nurture artists from beginners to the highly acclaimed. ​

Despite the unique challenges experienced in 2020, Tryon Painters and Sculptors has remained a vital part of the region’s art community.


We closed our doors on March 13, 2020 in answer to state mandates. During our three-month closure we made ready for reopening by establishing safety guidelines and sanitizing our galley, gift shop and studio/classrooms.


We re-opened with a new show on June 13 and began new classes in July. We realized our members and the community at large were ready to get back to some semblance of normalcy and were greeted warmly as we reopened.


We continued throughout the rest of 2020 with our commitment to the community of providing artistic opportunities. TPS is alive and well and excited as we move into the next 50 years. 


Without the help of Polk County Community Foundation and our 2020-2021 sponsors listed here, as well as individual donors, we could not continue to grow as we have. Our sincere gratitude to those who express their financial support.

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

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

  • Tell others about our shows and fundraisers. Invite them to come and even join TPS!

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

  • Submit a proposal for teaching a class or workshop.


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


Thank you!

Nancy Holland,

President, Tryon Painters and Sculptors

Tryon Painters & Sculptors is Thankful For It's 2020 & 2021 Sponsors