"Three years ago I was in a small studio space on the old naval base next to my friend Kelly Wenner Grossman, and day we had an idea: Open a progressive art gallery that would allow us to highlight local emerging artists, have live art demonstrations and events, and have studio space of our own," says Mackenzie King, co-owner of the Art Mecca of Charleston. "While Charleston has plenty of art galleries, we felt like there was a place for something different. The Art Mecca was born."
Kelly Wenner Grossman agrees. “There are so many outstanding contemporary artists locally, We wanted to create a unique place where they could show their work and connect with visitors and locals who are looking for something different,” she says.
Kelly received her sociology degree from the University of Georgia and took metalsmithing and other jewelry classes outside of school. Her handmade pieces are frequently seen on Charleston brides and can be found at Sasanqua Spa on Kiawah and at the Columbia Museum of Art.
Mackenzie received her bachelor of fine arts in metalsmithing from Kent State and went on to study with jewelry artisans in Florence, Italy, before moving to Charleston. She creates jewelry from recycled metal, then hand enamels it in bright colors. Her one-of-akind jewelry has won awards, including an honorable mention in the 2012 Palmetto Hands traveling show.
Kelly and Mackenzie both have studios in the gallery and you can usually find one or both of them in the gallery, talking to visitors, locals and collectors about the unique work created by local artists.