The Fort Mill Town Council showed more than generosity last week when it voted to contribute $1,000 a month from July to December to help the fledgling Art Mill pay the rent on its Main Street storefront.
It showed vision.
The Art Mill is more than a gallery. It also hosts classes taught by local artists, serves as a meeting place for the Fort Mill Art Guild and leads the way for community activities and events. Although councilmen Waddell Gibson and Larry Huntley said they could not get behind the measure, veteran Councilman Ken Starnes led a majority that got it passed.
Mayor Danny Funderburk and Town Manager David Hudspeth both get it as well.
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"It walks hand-in-hand with what we're trying to do downtown," Funderburk said of the Art Mill. "It just makes sense that we have an art group."
He could not be more correct. In addition to raising the town's cultural profile, there are other benefits. As we've pointed out before, municipal support of the arts in other communities, such as Rock Hill, has paid dividends when it comes to spurring commerce. Fort Mill could certainly use the boost.
One initiative is already showing promise: the Art Mill has helped spearhead "Fourth Friday in Fort Mill." The group received commitments from several downtown merchants to stay open later on the fourth Friday of each month, when a new fun theme, such as "French" and "Caribbean" will set the tone for what participants hope will be a regular draw of visitors to Main Street and other downtown destinations. Businesses on-board include Ida Roselle's, Kimbrell's and Belle Vive.
We hope the town's contribution will give the Fort Mill Art Guild and the Art Mill the momentum it needs to thrive. In the meantime, anyone interested is invited to become a member and private donations are always welcome. For more information, visit www.fortmillartguild.com/donate/donate.htm.
A thrilling ride
Our local high school soccer teams may not have won any championships this year, but they sure took fans on a heck of a ride.
Both the boys and girls teams at Fort Mill High School made it to the Upper State title match and Indian Land's boys team was undefeated until an unfortunate playoff loss in which its best player could not take the field.
The Fort Mill teams both had to overcome tense, overtime contests to make it as far as the did and they gave fans thrills and chills to the very end. The girls were expected to contend for an S.C. title, but the boys, unfortunately, had to get past Northwestern, which is not only the best team in the state but among the nation's elite.
All the local teams should be proud of excellent seasons that unfortunately had disappointing endings.