The Gibbes Museum has about 10,000 works of art in its collection!
Charleston is home to the South Carolina’s most popular places to check out some cool art – the Gibbes Museum of Art. Located in the heart of downtown, the museum is home to the foremost collection of American art that incorporates the story of Charleston. The Museum connects the city and region’s artistic past to a vibrant contemporary art scene.
A bustling seaport in the 1700s, Charleston was a melting pot of cultures, religions, and traditions. Powered by the rice and indigo trade, and slavery, it was the 4th largest city in America in 1790 – and the wealthiest. Like Philadelphia, Boston and New York, what distinguished Charleston then – was art.
While the Gibbes was home to some of America’s earliest art, collectors, artists, who made the City both muse and subject – and taken our turn as one of the nation’s richest cities – in money and culture – Charleston was also home to America’s original sin, slavery – and a war that divided the nation.
In 1888, when Charleston was financially and culturally on its knees, benefactor James Gibbes left a bequest to the City to build an art museum.
When the Gibbes Museum opened in 1905, the nation celebrated what Charleston has always understood: the power of art – to inspire our imagination, heal people’s hurt, revel in everyone’s experience, rebuild what was broken, nourish souls, and release anything that holds people back.
The Gibbes offers a variety of classes and workshops for all ages and levels. Classes are led by professionals in the field who use the Museum’s exhibitions and collection as a catalyst for exploring and creating works of art. Guests also have the opportunity to enjoy daytime and evening programs, including guided tours, artist talks, concerts, lectures, and day-trips to nearby art- and historically-relevant venues. Additionally, the Gibbes hosts multiple special events throughout the year. These events raise important funds to support educational and exhibition programming at the Museum.
Gibbes Museum of Art
35 Meeting St.
Charleston, SC 29401