Assistant County Administrator Brian Sanders looks at the Aiken County Government Center as “the people’s building.”
To help depict such a notion, he and the rest of the building committee wanted to exhibit photos representing of all of the county and reached out to Anne Wood Uskup of Marketplace Art, which she runs with her husband Tom Uskup, and Tom and Chris Abbott of Southside Gallery of Aiken.
Uskup then contacted local photographer Shelly Marshall Schmidt of Oh Schmidt! Productions to help decorate the second floor.
"We’ve worked together on many other projects, but this one was fun to do,” Schmidt said.
Schmidt spent two weeks traveling and taking photos, narrowing down her massive pile to a handful for the committee.
Uskup did the framing, while Schmidt did the printing.
One photo the committee wanted but was difficult for Schmidt to take was the Bicentennial Wagon of South Carolina, which is housed in the Wagener Museum, so Schmidt obtained an archive photo from the museum and formatted it for the County building.
The Abbotts handled covering the first and third floors with photos either the committee provided or from photographers the couple knows. These included their photos and photos by Larry Gleason, Pat Paxton, Mark Hudson, Mike Kleiman and D.S. Owens.
Since Southside is considered a “one-stop shop,” according to Tom Abbott, the studio was able to print, frame and install their contributions.
Overall, about 60 photographs of noted buildings or nature scenes came out of these collaborations and have been hanging for less than a month.
"They are really beautiful,” Sanders said. “They both did a fantastic job.”
Showcasing local artwork in the facility has been a plan since at least fall 2013; the building opened last spring, the Aiken Standard reported.
Other artwork hangs in conference rooms in addition to a temporary exhibit on the first floor. The historical photos for this display originally came from the former Shoney’s restaurant on Whiskey Road, and the idea to hang them came from Gayle Wolman, Aiken County’s Human Resources director.
"They’re such great photos,” Sanders said.
The Aiken County Government Center is located at 1930 University Pkwy.