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Take a tour and hear the story behind Seeing Spartanburg in A New Light

If you haven't yet toured Spartanburg's public art exhibition, Seeing Spartanburg in a New Light, here's your chance to do so and get the inside scoop from the creative team behind the project. The Chapman Cultural Center is hosting a two-day celebration of Seeing Spartanburg in a New Light beginning February 16 with a panel discussion and Q&A featuring the creative team involved with the project. The program continues February 17 with a tour by trolley of all nine installations, led by project artist Erwin Redl, and concludes with a presentation and reception back at the Chapman Cultural Center. Guests can take advantage of a discounted rate at the Spartanburg Marriott, conveniently located across the street from the Chapman Cultural Center. There will also be access to other local cultural institutions and exhibitions. One of four recipients of the Bloomberg Philanthropies Public Art Challenge, Seeing Spartanburg in a New Light is a large-scale public art exhibition that features nine original artworks by renown light and media artist Erwin Redl installed throughout 10 neighborhoods in Spartanburg. This project is an unprecedented partnership between Spartanburg's Chapman Cultural Center, Mayor Junie White, and the Police Department to use public art as a platform for building stronger relationships between local residents and police officers. Please RSVP by February 10, 2017 to Renee Denton at info@seeingspartanburg.com or (864) 278-9685. Via: Chapman Cultural Center

Artist shares designs that will show Spartanburg ‘in a new light’

From the Spartanburg Herald Journal Article by Alyssa Mulliger

Illuminated smokestacks, colorful suspended mobiles and floating light islands are a few of the special installations coming to 10 city neighborhoods as part of the Seeing Spartanburg in a New Light initiative. Spartanburg and three other cities were selected out of 230 applicants nationwide to receive up to $1 million to develop light installations for the temporary art project supported by the Bloomberg Philanthropies Public Art Challenge. Over the past few months, Ohio-based artist Erwin Redl has worked with community members and neighborhood associations in Andrews Farm, Beaumont Village, Converse Heights, Downtown Spartanburg, Forest Park, Hampton Heights, Highland, Maxwell Hills/Duncan Park, Northside and South Converse to design and develop the LED light installations. “You have to engage (the community) to make it meaningful to them,” Redl said. “We had to find compromise and take (their) input not as a critique, but as an inspiration. With this grant, we have the opportunity to basically alter the landscape of Spartanburg.” Redl presented the design concepts Monday night to Spartanburg City Council, which gave its final approval. All projects will be completed by Oct. 4, 2016, when the lights will be lit in conjunction with National Night Out. In the Northside and Beaumont Village, Redl has plans to illuminate the old Spartan Mills smokestack at the Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine and the one at the former Beaumont Mill. The structures will be covered in a checkerboard pattern of blue and white fabric attached at the top of each smokestack. On the ground, programmable LED flood lights will light the smokestacks with different color sequences at night. The fabric will reflect light better than the brick on the smokestacks, Redl said. While some of the projects are self-contained, like the smokestacks, Redl said others will be more neighborhood-based. In the Highland neighborhood, residents will help create a “video village” by filming short clips that will be projected onto second-story windows of vacant housing structures. The installation will involve more than 50 synchronized screens that will put life back into the buildings, Redl said. Other neighborhood installations include transparent color swatches assembled into large-scale mobiles and suspended above a downtown lot; a light bench with multiple, individually programmable light panels placed near C.C. Woodson Recreation Center in Forest Park; a kinetic light installation with 26 pendulums mounted behind the north side of the National Beta headquarters in Hampton Heights; eight floating light islands in the center of Duncan Park Lake; colored LED lights attached to the underside of the picnic shelter at the north entrance of South Converse Street Park; and a joint project with Andrews Farm and Converse Heights involving LED signs with scrolling poetry suspended over Lawson’s Fork Creek on the Cottonwood Trail. Jennifer Evins, president and CEO of Chapman Cultural Center, said the lights will stay lit from six months to six years, depending on the installation. “It will be transformative as a light art project, but it’s also the process of relationships that we’ve built," she said. "It’s using art as a catalyst to address important issues that are facing the city." Several of the city’s police officers were part of the selection committee that chose the installation sites. Spartanburg Police Chief Alonzo Thompson said the light projects will help transform the city to enhance its livability and vitality. “This is a proactive, positive collaboration with the police and the community overall with these pieces of art that are going to be symbolic of our commitment to our city and to each other,” Thompson said. “We want people to come and live in our city, visit our city and we think you’ll like what you see once we show it to you in a new light.”
Image: Artist rendition of Video Village, one of nine art projects that are part of Seeing Spartanburg in a New Light, funded by Bloomberg Philanthropies.

Spartanburg selects 10 locations for public art installations

All 10 neighborhoods that applied to take part in Seeing Spartanburg In A New Light have been selected to participate in the project, according to an announcement by Spartanburg Mayor Junie White. Seeing Spartanburg in a New Light is a temporary public art project supported by Bloomberg Philanthropies through its Public Art Challenge initiative. In October 2014, Bloomberg Philanthropies invited mayors to collaborate with artists and arts organizations to develop innovative temporary public art projects that engage communities, enhance creativity, and enrich the vibrancy of cities. More than 230 U.S. cities submitted proposals, and Bloomberg Philanthropies selected Spartanburg as one of four cities to receive up to $1 million to develop temporary public art projects. Seeing Spartanburg in a New Light is a partnership among artist Erwin Redl, The Arts Partnership of Greater Spartanburg, and the city of Spartanburg. Redl is collaborating with the city’s police department and participating neighborhood associations to design and develop LED light installations that transform open spaces and create more vibrant neighborhoods. The project builds on the momentum of National Night Out, an annual event that promotes crime prevention efforts, police-community partnership and neighborhood camaraderie. By bringing site-specific art into neighborhoods, the project will foster greater understanding of both the artistic process and the transformative impact of public art. “Seeing Spartanburg in a New Light is providing a great opportunity for our communities to work together on a project that has the capacity to truly transform our city,” said Mayor White. “I look forward to seeing how this project engages our citizens and police department as they create a unique experience that can be shared by everyone.” While originally intending to select only five neighborhoods, Redl and the selection committee chose to support all 10 proposals from these neighborhoods:

  • Beaumont Village
  • Downtown Spartanburg
  • Forest Park
  • Hampton Heights
  • Highland Neighborhood
  • Maxwell Hills/Duncan Park
  • Northside
  • South Converse
  • Andrews Farm & Converse Heights will participate in a joint installation on the Cottonwood Trail that connects both
The selection committee, comprised of city officials and arts experts, carefully reviewed each neighborhood's written submission, interviewed each group and conducted extensive site visits. Submissions were evaluated on a number of factors, including potential for community engagement, site accessibility, and feasibility to host a work of art. Beginning in December 2015, Redl will collaborate with the selected neighborhood associations to design and develop the light installations. The design process will take approximately three months, with the fabrication and installation scheduled for April through July 2016. The installations will be unveiled at National Night Out on Aug. 2, 2016, and will remain open to the public through 2017. “Working with the Spartanburg community has been such an inspiring experience,” said Redl. “I’m grateful for the opportunity to explore the city’s extensive creative resources and work with such talented neighborhoods in designing installations that I hope will engage the community in a meaningful way.” More information about Seeing Spartanburg in a New Light can be found at www.cityofspartanburg.org/new-light. About The Arts Partnership of Greater Spartanburg The mission of The Arts Partnership of Greater Spartanburg, Inc. is to provide cultural leadership for Greater Spartanburg by developing, strengthening, and promoting the scope, excellence, and educational role of the arts, humanities, and sciences, and to further their significance in the life of our community and all of its citizens. Founded in 1968 with a current budget of $2.1 million, The Arts Partnership is the oldest and largest countywide arts agency in the state of South Carolina and is serving as the lead arts agency and project manager for Seeing Spartanburg in a New Light. About the Artist Erwin Redl is an Austrian-born digital artist who currently lives in Bowling Green, Ohio. In 1993, after his studies at the Vienna Music Academy, he was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship for computer art studies at School of Visual Arts, New York, (MFA 1995). He lived in New York from 1993-2007 and moved to rural Ohio in 2007. Redl was featured as part of the 2002 Whitney Biennial, when he covered the museum’s facade with LED veils. He created a sound and light installation for the Austrian Pavilion at the World Expo in Zaragoza, Spain (2008). The Pacific Design Center’s Red Building in Los Angeles features four installations by the artist (2013). His largest work is a 590 ft. long outdoor LED-installation at the Wexner Center in Columbus, Ohio (2010). The artist’s work is collected by prominent institutions, such as the Whitney Museum New York, the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, the Milwaukee Art Museum and Borusan Contemporary Istanbul, as well as by many private collectors. About Bloomberg Philanthropies Bloomberg Philanthropies’ mission is to ensure better, longer lives for the greatest number of people. The organization focuses on five key areas for creating lasting change: Public Health, Environment, Education, Government Innovation and the Arts. Bloomberg Philanthropies encompasses all of Michael R. Bloomberg’s charitable activities, including his foundation and his personal giving. In 2014, Bloomberg Philanthropies distributed $462 million. For more information on the philanthropy, please visit bloomberg.org or follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter @BloombergDotOrg.

Lancaster and Spartanburg are the state’s newest Cultural Districts

The South Carolina Arts Commission has named downtown Lancaster and a portion of downtown Spartanburg as state-recognized cultural districts. A cultural district is an easily identifiable geographic area with a concentration of arts facilities and assets that support cultural, artistic and economic activity. The cultural district designation was created by the S.C. General Assembly and Gov. Nikki Haley in 2014. [caption id="attachment_21765" align="alignleft" width="250"]Spartanburg, SC Spartanburg's 1Spark Festival[/caption] Each city's leading arts organization worked with local leaders and Arts Commission staff to develop a map of cultural assets and a strategic plan for the district. City officials will use the cultural district designation to attract visitors and residents to downtown and promote the area as a hub of arts and culture. Related: Chapman Cultural Center invites Spartanburg artists to submit qualifications for cultural district logo design. [caption id="attachment_21763" align="alignright" width="250"]Lancaster, SC Downtown Lancaster[/caption] “The recognition as a cultural district will help enhance the vibrant arts initiatives in Lancaster,” said Cherry Doster, marketing and development manager for "See Lancaster." “The cultural district designation is another way to help increase support of existing businesses and attract new ones.” City of Lancaster Administrator Helen Sowell remarked, “The City of Lancaster is honored to have received this award.  Our city is fortunate to have a number of local artists who have educated our citizens to understand the importance of art not just to the community, but especially to our school children. Our own resident artist, Bob Doster, has worked tirelessly to teach our children to embrace their creativity and  to explore and appreciate all forms of art.” Non-arts businesses and organizations are important pieces of a cultural district, says S.C. Arts Commission Executive Director Ken May. “A successful cultural district attracts creative enterprises, such as galleries and theatres, whose patrons want to dine out and shop, so nearby retail and other businesses benefit from that increased economic activity.” “The cultural districts legislation is a new initiative that promotes  the value of the arts and the benefits of economic growth to promote a thriving local arts environment,” said S.C. Arts Commission Chairman Henry Horowitz. “This program was developed after reviewing successful cultural district designations in other states and gathering input from key S.C. stakeholders, including representatives from economic development, tourism, local government and the arts.” Lancaster and Spartanburg join Rock Hill as the state's first three cultural districts. Other states with similar cultural district programs include Massachusetts, Kentucky, Texas and Colorado. South Carolina cities, towns and rural communities interested in cultural district designation are invited to contact Rusty Sox, (803) 734-8899. Image above: Downtown Lancaster

City of Spartanburg awarded $25,000 Our Town grant

The National Endowment for the Arts today announced that the City of Spartanburg will receive a $25,000 Our Town grant to support an arts and cultural plan for Northside, a 350-acre neighborhood undergoing redevelopment. The city's partners in this grant award are  Hub-Bub,  The Chapman Cultural Center, Mary Black Foundation and Northside Leadership Council. [caption id="attachment_7223" align="aligncenter" width="500"] An aerial view of the Northside neighborhood. Photo by Carroll Foster, Hot Eye Photography[/caption] Engagement and cultural planning activities with artists and arts organizations will complement other planning efforts for Northside to ensure that arts planning is embedded in the redevelopment process for the neighborhood. Through Our Town, the NEA supports creative placemaking projects that help transform communities into lively, beautiful and sustainable places with the arts at their core. The grantee projects will encourage creative activity, create community identity and a sense of place, and help revitalize local economies. All Our Town grant awards were made to partnerships that consisted of at least one nonprofit organization and a local government entity. "This is an exciting time to announce the Our Town projects as a national conversation around creative placemaking advances and deepens," said NEA Acting Chairman Joan Shigekawa. "The NEA leads on this topic not only through our funding but through webinars, publications and research. With these resources, we will help to ensure that the field of creative placemaking continues to mature, enhancing the quality of life for communities across the country." The NEA received 254 applications for Our Town this year, and the Spartanburg grant is one of only 59 awarded. The grants, awarded in 36 states and totaling $4.725 million, will fund projects that engage the arts to help shape the social, physical and economic character of communities. Since the Our Town program's inception in 2011, the NEA has supported 190 projects totaling more than $16 million in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Previous South Carolina Our Town grant recipients are the Town of Pendleton (2012, $25,000) and the City of Charleston (2011, $100,000). The NEA's awards announcement includes a complete list of Our Town projects and descriptions, grants listed by state and by project type, and creative placemaking resources. Applications and guidelines for Our Town 2014 will be available at arts.gov in September 2013 with a deadline of early January 2014.