Spartanburg ready to officially launch cultural district

Spartanburg Cultural DistrictThe official launch of the Spartanburg Downtown Cultural District takes place Nov. 17 with an opening ceremony at 4:30 p.m. at Morgan Square. The event will run through 8 p.m. with open galleries, live music, and public art installations in other parts of the district.

A cultural district is a specific geographical area in a city or town that has a concentration of cultural facilities, activities and assets. Legislation ratified by the South Carolina General Assembly and signed by Governor Nikki Haley authorizes the South Carolina Arts Commission to grant official state designation to cultural districts in the Palmetto State. With the help of the Chapman Cultural Center’s Culture Counts initiative, which began in 2013, the Spartanburg Downtown Cultural District was approved by the City of Spartanburg and designated by the S.C. Arts Commission in 2015.

“It is wonderful to receive state and national recognition of the sheer quantity and diverse cultural assets that exist in our city,” said Jennifer Evins, president and CEO of Chapman Cultural Center. “The launch of the Spartanburg Downtown Cultural District allows us to wrap a ribbon around those assets and activities and make them even more accessible, not only to our local residents, but also to visitors coming to Spartanburg. This designation allows us to distinguish Spartanburg as a culturally diverse and vibrant downtown.”

The Chapman Cultural Center was awarded three grants to fund the Spartanburg Downtown Cultural District launch by the S.C. Arts Commission, City of Spartanburg and the Hughes Investment Elevate Upstate Community Vibrancy Grant provided by Ten at the Top. Fiber artist and graphic designer Ashleigh Shuler received a grant to create and install several temporary textile-based artworks that will serve as visual identifiers, setting the Cultural District apart from the larger downtown business district.

The temporary public art project is a partnership between Chapman Cultural Center, The Spartanburg Art Museum, City of Spartanburg and the Spartanburg Downtown Cultural District Steering Committee. Spartanburg Art Museum’s executive director, Elizabeth Goddard, curated the temporary public art installation along with the support of Melissa Earley and Alissa Heckle of the Chapman Cultural Center.

For more information, visit the Chapman Cultural Center’s website.