Converse College, in partnership with the Spartanburg Art Museum, has received a $5,000 One-Time Arts Project grant from the South Carolina Arts Commission for No Vacancies, a public art exhibition taking place this spring in downtown Spartanburg. These funds will help pay for materials, supplies, marketing and public relations efforts.
No Vacancies was an idea born last fall when Spartanburg Art Museum’s new Executive Director Elizabeth Goddard moved to Spartanburg. “My first Saturday night in town I walked along Main Street and counted roughly 20 vacant spaces in about a six-block stretch. These beautiful buildings sat in darkness, and I thought, ‘wow, what an incredible opportunity for the visual arts to add light, engagement and aesthetics to the downtown area.’ ” Goddard then reached out to area professors of art and design to see who might be interested in collaborating to create a rich and relevant public art exhibition utilizing these vacant windows. Several answered the call.
The project quickly moved forward as a partnership between the Spartanburg Art Museum, Converse College, USC Upstate and Wofford College. From Converse College, Greg Mueller, a sculpture professor, is leading two teams of students to install two projects, one titled, Recycling the Void and the other titled The Mill, which speaks to the rich history of the textile industry in the Upstate. From Wofford College, Ann Stoddard, Kris Neeley and Dawn Dickins are working with students to install in three spaces. Professor Jane Nodine from USC Upstate is working with students from the Art and Design club to install work in two spaces.
Student artist Erin Patton from USC Upstate said about her participation, “I think this is an exciting opportunity to be involved in something that the community will be able to enjoy during their everyday lives. It’s not something that viewers have to go to a museum or gallery to enjoy; it is something that can be experienced walking down the sidewalk.”
“I am so pleased with how this project has evolved to a truly collaborative effort that will provide real public art exhibition experience to a diverse group of college students who might not have been granted such an opportunity,” said Goddard. “There is growing knowledge that economies improve for everyone when the arts are front and center in a downtown area. People come to see the art, stay for a meal or some shopping. This is what we want for Spartanburg and for South Carolina.”
Viewers of No Vacancies will see how the financial support of the South Carolina Arts Commission aids in the transformation. Goddard added, “Support from the state level is a wonderful confirmation that this project is providing a relevant experience not only to a group of artists, but for hundreds, if not thousands, of viewers.”
No Vacancies installation takes place in early April, and the opening event takes place April 17 from 5 – 9 p.m. during Art Walk along Main Street in downtown Spartanburg. For more information, visit spartanburgartmuseum.org or call (862) 582-7616.
Via: Spartanburg Art Museum