As autumn approaches Aiken, there’s a chill in the air and an excitement for all the fall activities ahead. It’s the perfect season to enjoy the stunning foliage transformation and the cooler weather. Aiken is also a great destination for arts and culture enthusiasts with its plethora of fall activities like arts festivals, performing arts and theatre. Downtown Aiken houses unique galleries, antique shops, and art studios that are perfect for exploring artistic abilities and creativity. Aiken’s vibrant artistic scene makes it a true creative hub! Here are the top 6 creative things to experience.
1. Aiken’s Makin’
Aiken’s Makin’ is a signature annual event in Aiken where visitors and locals gather together to explore unique pieces of art and handmade crafts. Selections range from pottery, glass art, and wood creations to children’s clothing and accessories. Jewelry, baked goods, homemade candy, sweetgrass baskets, yard art, and many other unique handcrafted items from around the Southeast are also available.
2. Art Galleries
Art enthusiasts can either explore solo or join others to admire exhilarating masterpieces created by both local and popular artists. In Aiken’s fine art galleries, visitors can find various types of artwork such as modern, trendy, classical and traditional art. The galleries feature a wide range of visual art including photography, paintings, prints, sculpture, glass, jewelry and woodwork.
3. Art Classes
Aiken’s art studios and shops offer a variety of unique classes, including painting, crafts and candle making. The Aiken Center for the Arts and Art Nook School & Studio are excellent places to explore your creativity.
4. Performing Arts
Aiken is known for its thriving performing arts scene, which draws inspiration from its annual event, “Joye In Aiken.” The Amentum Center for Performing Arts is home to the Aiken Community Theatre, which is a vital and ever-expanding part of the Aiken community. The Etherredge Center hosts the Cultural Series and the Carolina Series, while the Aiken Symphony presents a wide range of powerful classical pieces, engaging Pops, and intimate chamber music selections. Additionally, the Aiken Performing Arts Group presents exceptional shows from various music genres, including classical, jazz, Broadway, ethnic, rock and roll, and oldies.
5. Horse Play
Aiken is renowned for its artistic horse statues. As you stroll around the downtown area and Hopelands Gardens, you will come across a display of painted horses. What sets Aiken apart is the presence of 31 life-size fiberglass-painted horse statues that are strategically placed throughout the city. You can explore and discover these horses through the Horse Around Aiken treasure Hunt, which is absolutely free of charge! The treasure hunt starts and ends at the Aiken Center for the Arts.
6. Art Murals and Sculptors
Explore the vibrant public art murals and sculptures as you take a leisurely stroll through downtown Aiken. Some of the prominent locations to spot these art pieces are the Aiken Chamber of Commerce, Carriage House Inn, Aiken Visitors Center and Train Museum, Savannah River Site Museum, and the Amentum Center for the Performing Arts.