If during the next few months, someone in Spartanburg tells you to “go fly a kite,” accept it as an invitation to celebrate everything that is good about the community.
Spartanburg Soaring! is a countywide initiative to build civic pride from January to May and beyond. Chapman Cultural Center inaugurated the initiative to engage all citizens in cultural curiosity and to promote active play, no matter how young or old they might be. The Center was soon joined by 25 other community partners who share in a vision of Spartanburg going to new heights. And it is all symbolized by the simple kite, tethered to our humanity, soaring to places only dreamed.
“Spartanburg Soaring! came about because of one man who wanted to share his passion for kites,” Chapman Cultural Center President and CEO Jennifer Evins said. “Chuck Holmes, master kite maker and two-time National Award Winner, came to us about a year ago and offered to let us exhibit his extensive kite collection. We saw it as an opportunity to make the kite a community symbol of progress and playfulness.
“Spartanburg is on the rise — culturally, economically, educationally — and we should be proud of how we’re soaring together,” Evins said.
The kite-themed initiative is a highly collaborative celebration of Spartanburg, open to all citizens, businesses and organizations. Partners include Ballet Spartanburg, City of Spartanburg Parks and Recreation, HUB-BUB, Hub City Writers’ Project, Mary Black Foundation, Partners for Active Living, SEW Eurodrive, Spartanburg Art Museum, Spartanburg County Historical Association, Spartanburg County Public Library, Spartanburg Downtown Association, Spartanburg Philharmonic Orchestra, Spartanburg Photography Guild, Spartanburg Science Center, Spartanburg Youth Theatre, Spoken Word Spartanburg, The Johnson Collection, The Marriott at Renaissance Park, The Phifer-Johnson Foundation, The Spartanburg County Foundation The Spartanburg Little Theatre, Thomas E. Hannah Family YMCA, Upstate International, and WSPA TV.
“The list of activities grows everyday,” Evins said. “Right now we have everything from exhibits and festivals to scavenger hunts and a poetry slam.”
But it is the upcoming kite exhibit that will be the centerpiece. In 2012, Holmes and his wife approached Chapman Cultural Center in hopes of showcasing their collection. “We knew right away that Mr. Holmes’ extensive kite collection was too exciting to be just a single exhibit,” Evins said. “Throughout March and April, his kites will hang from every ceiling at Chapman. It will definitely be a most beautiful exhibit.”
Another highpoint will be the Spartanburg Soaring! International Kite Festival on March 29. Evins hopes that kite enthusiasts of all kinds—from near and far—will come to Barnet Park for a day of kite flying and other activities. “I can just see hundreds of kites aloft in Barnet Park, representing many countries and creative people,” Evins said. The City of Spartanburg’s Upstate International parade will provide the opening ceremony, furthering the spirit of multiculturalism. The Parade and Festival will kick off April, National Kite Month.
Leading up to the kite festival, several parks and playgrounds will become kite-flying sites on Saturday, March 15 and March 22. Competitions and other activities will engage participants of all ages in the fun of kite flying. Winners of the competitions will advance to the International Kite Festival.
“Like a beautiful kite, Spartanburg is already on the rise. We’re just adding a much needed element of playfulness to the city’s economic growth,” Evins said. “Can’t you just feel the tug of your kite soaring in the air? That tug gives you hope and energy and carries you forward looking up to the sky and hoping to keep it flying for as long as you can hold on. This is how I feel about the arts and the role that arts and culture have played in the revitalization of our city and the joy that we give children and adults every single day of the year.”
Any individual, business, or organization interested in becoming a partner should contact Jennifer Evins at (864) 278-9663 or jEvins@SpartanArts.org. For more information on all Soaring! events, go to SpartanburgSoaring.com.
Via: Chapman Cultural Center