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Tapp’s Arts Center is moving to 5 Points. Here are the details

Tapp’s Arts Center — which has to make a quick bow from the former department store on Main Street that has been its main stage for eight years — is taking its show on the road.

In a new venture dubbed “Tapp’s Outpost,” the giant artist laboratory is setting up shop, at least temporarily, in Five Points, the funky urban village near the University of South Carolina.

Artists’ galleries will be built in an empty storefront on Saluda Avenue. And some musical and other performances will be held at The White Mule music club next door.

“Nothing is concrete,” Tapp’s executive director Caitlin Bright said. “We will move into the space and figure out what is best for the arts community.”

The move is a partnership between Tapp’s — which offers the gamut of visual and performing arts — and the RockBlock Consulting, founded by promoter and White Mule owner Trae Judy to foster fledgling musicians and bands in the Midlands.

The storefront at 713 Saluda Ave. is on loan from Five Points developer and Five Points association board member Richard Burts.

“Anything I can do to help them on that path (to a permanent home) I’m happy to do,” he said.

Initially, there will be six to eight art studios that will hopefully expand up to about a dozen by spring, Bright said. In the meantime, the balance of artists now in the 40-studio space at Tapp’s are making other arrangements, she said.

A send-off event will be held tonight, Thursday, Nov. 7, beginning at 6 p.m. at the Tapp’s building at 1644 Main St. as part of the Main Street District’s monthly First Thursday party.

There will be two exhibitions on display, a DJ, beer and wine and information about the new space.

“You can help us prepare for the voyage by purchasing items we can’t take with us (think of them as official Tapp’s souvenirs),” a post on the organization’s Facebook page said.

Items can be viewed or donations made at http://www.tappsartscenter.com/moving-sale/.

Bright said Tapp’s will use the temporary digs to branch out to other venues, many of which were offered when the organization’s need to move was announced.

“Everyone will continue to do their shows,” Bright said. “But it’s kind of nebulous, all over the place.”

Judy said the Tapp’s Arts Center and the White Mule can help each other fulfill their missions.

“Both of us want to see artists — recording artists, visual artists, and others — succeed,” Judy said. “I’m trying to connect all the different pieces on the music end and Caitlin connects the others on her end. It’s a win-win for the arts community as a whole.”

Jeff Wilkinson has worked for The State for both too long and not long enough. He’s covered politics, city government, history, business, the military, marijuana and the Iraq War. Jeff knows the weird, wonderful and untold secrets of South Carolina. Buy him a shot and he’ll tell you all about them.
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