Sasee Spotlights Art: Myrna McMahon and Georgetown Art Gallery

By Leslie Moore

Just walking into Georgetown Art Gallery is a treat for the senses – I was surrounded by so many beautiful pieces of art it was hard to know where to look first! The space is divided into 20 booths, each with dividers that give the viewer a chance to experience each artist’s work. This month, the gallery celebrates its 20th anniversary, and I sat down with founding member, Myrna McMahon, to find out what makes this waterfront gallery so special.

A lifelong painter, Myrna put her art to the side while she raised her three girls. After the children were older, her family insisted she put her talent front and center once again. “I started taking a watercolor class and that put me back on track,” Myrna remembered.

Originally from Connecticut, Myrna and her husband, Al, moved to the area in 1991, and she started taking classes with local artist, Danny McLaughlin.  “A group of us started talking about forming an art co-op. We probably talked about it for a year before we actually did it.” Through a lot of hard work, Myrna and her fellow artists did open a co-op in 1997. Their first location was in the bar section of the former Rice Paddy restaurant. “In 2001, we moved to our current location. It really turned out to be a great move for us – we were surprised at the increase in traffic.”

I asked Myrna why this gallery is so important to her, and she told me, “It’s so important for local artists to have a place to display and sell their work – and it has to be affordable! Our booth rent is reasonable, and we only take a 20% commission.” Myrna went on to tell me that once an artist is accepted into the gallery, they usually stay, and there is a waiting list for prospective members.

Passionate about art and this gallery, Myrna believes that a venue of this caliber is not only important to the artists, but the entire community. “An art gallery adds style and sophistication to an area,” said Myrna. “It also gives art lovers a way to take a piece of the area home. So many people come in and purchase a piece of art that reminds them of how much they love coming to this magnificent community.”

Myrna recently turned 80 and although she has scaled back the time she spends painting, she will never completely stop. “I’m doing a show on October 5th at the Kaminski House,” she told me excitedly. “They are featuring my paintings of the ladies of Sunset Lodge.” Myrna will be there with Rebecca Godwin, author of Keeper of the House, a novel based on the lives of those who lived and worked at the famous Georgetown brothel. “When I first read Rebecca’s book, I knew I had to paint those ladies,” Myrna reminisced. “I did twelve huge paintings and thought, well, they’ll look great in my garage – because I didn’t think anyone would buy them!” All twelve sold and Myrna received two commissions for more. These are some of Myrna’s favorites in her huge body of work. Myrna is also a two-time Sasee cover artist and her favorite cover hangs proudly in her booth at the gallery.

After serving as President of the co-op for years, Myrna has now stepped down, handing the reins to the current president, Susan Tiller. But it is still a very important part of her life. “I’m proud that we lasted this long. There’s something here for everyone – not just one style, but twenty unique and different perspectives. I love this place!”

Find Georgetown Art Gallery at 705 Front Street in Historic Georgetown. Hours are Monday – Saturday, 10am-5pm. The  gallery will be having a 20th Anniversary exhibition on October 19th.

Georgetown Art Gallery Members

Susan Tiller – President

Judy Maring – Vice President

Sandra Anderson – Events chairman

Pat Puckett – Events Chairman

Audrey McLeod – Treasurer

Paula Robertson – Secretary

Mimi Beaver

Johnnie Cowan

Darla Brock

Susan Duke

Terri Eddinger

Mark Hilliard

Myrna McMahon

Drummond Murdoch

Sharon Reder

Dan Smart

Roy and Carol Smith

Sharon Sorrels

Nancy Van Buren

About this writer

  • Leslie Moore

    Leslie Moore

    Leslie Moore is the editor for Strand Media Group. A 25 year resident of Pawleys Island, she is blessed with a life filled with the love of family and friends and satisfying work to do every day.

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