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Jason Rapp

‘Black Artists of Spartanburg’ exhibition goes live

Chapman Cultural Center is excited to announce the Black Artists of Spartanburg exhibition.

After conversations with our community, the Black Artists of Spartanburg Exhibition was formed to amplify the voices of Spartanburg’s Black artists in response to the racial injustices that are taking place across the nation. The multi-media exhibition features 17 artists from across Spartanburg County and will be on display through Sept. 30. The event will feature a virtual panel discussion with select artists on Sept. 17 from 6-7 p.m. during Spartanburg Artwalk. The artwork will be on display inside the Carlos Dupre Moseley Building on the Chapman Cultural Center Campus, Monday through Friday 9 a.m. to 6 p..m and Saturdays 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Those who are unable to attend the exhibit in person can view the exhibition virtually on the Chapman Cultural Center website. The artists featured in the exhibition include:
  • Kayla Cromer
  • Mylows Customs
  • James Goff
  • Spark Howard
  • Josh Jackson
  • Moses "Galaxy" Jenkins
  • Patricia Kabore
  • Chris Kelly
  • Smitha Lee
  • Quinn Long
  • Antonio Modesto Milian
  • Ariel Moore
  • Rosetta Nesbitt
  • Lady Pluuto
  • Arialle Kennedy Smith
  • THEMADDDARTIST
  • Frankie Zombie
The exhibition was juried by 2020 HUB-BUB Artists-in-Residence Masimba Hwati and Shuk Han Lui. More information about the jurors can be found here. “As a Black artist, but especially as a Black female artist, it's challenging to gain exposure and make connections in the art community. Therefore, the opportunity to be a part of this exhibition is an amazing experience and I definitely think it's a step in the right direction to raise awareness of the fact that there's a need for a larger community that supports artists of African diaspora,” Kayla Cromer said of her inclusion in the exhibition. Local artist Josh Jackson said, “I am blessed and honored to be chosen as one of the artists represented in the Black Artists of Spartanburg Exhibition. To me, this exhibition means that my community understands what’s going on, and cares enough to support Black artists through trying times. I appreciate the opportunity and I’m inspired by how the arts are being used for positivity in our community.”
The virtual panel discussion will be moderated by Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer for Spartanburg School District Seven, and Chapman Cultural Center Trustee, Dr. Carlotta Redish. The panel will discuss their experiences as Black artists, their work, and the overall importance the arts play in regards to social justice issues. Participating artists include: TheMadddArtist, Lady Pluuto, Patricia Kabore, Ariel Moore, Smitha Lee, Spark Howard, Antonio Modesto Milian, James “Edras” Goff, and Arialle Kennedy Smith. The panel will be streamed live on the Chapman Cultural Center Facebook page from 6-7 p.m. “This exhibition comes in response from the recent publicity of injustices done to the Black community across the nation. Although I know that one exhibition will not solve all issues, I hope that this can help spark conversations that will create change in the community,” said Jennifer Barskdale, Outreach Coordinator for Chapman Cultural Center. Through this exhibition, Chapman Cultural Center hopes that Spartanburg County will use it as an opportunity to recognize and celebrate the perspectives of our Black community while building bridges toward understanding. “Our mission is to provide cultural leadership and we have many people of color working in our organization and serving on our Board who help us make important decisions to advance equity and inclusion in the arts locally. It is during difficult times that it is most important for the arts to provide hope and healing. This can be done in so many ways and lifting up our local professional Black artists through this public exhibit is hopefully a positive step,” said Jennifer Evins, president & CEO of Chapman Cultural Center.

About Chapman Cultural Center

Chapman Cultural Center provides 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. Chapman Cultural Center is located on East Saint John St in downtown Spartanburg. Please visit www.ChapmanCulturalCenter.org for more information.

Jason Rapp

Watson-Brown Foundation to fund new Southern studies fellowships

$150,000 grant starts three-year initiative in Spartanburg

[caption id="attachment_45345" align="aligncenter" width="600"]Downtown Spartanburg South Carolina at dusk. Spartanburg Area Chamber of Commerce photo.[/caption]

Chapman Cultural Center and the Hub City Writers Project have jointly received a $150,000 grant from the Watson-Brown Foundation for a new, three-year initiative: the Southern Studies Fellowship in Arts and Letters.

This first-of-its-kind program will bring one early-career artist and one early-career writer to Spartanburg for a nine-month residency of research, creativity, teaching, and travel, culminating in a collaborative project informed by the region. The program, which begins in 2021, will be marketed nationally to artists and writers who are interested in immersing themselves in the culture of the American South. “By bringing dynamic creative people together with dynamic arts organizations and scholars through the region, we will set in motion new explorations of the modern South that will reverberate beyond our community,” said Jennifer Evins, Chapman Cultural Center president and CEO. “This grant is designed to create a life-changing experience for the fellows, to provide engaging intellectual opportunities for local students and citizens, and to create a model program for community cultural study through art and literature,” said Anne Waters, executive director of the Hub City Writers Project.

The program, which begins in 2021, will be marketed nationally to artists and writers who are interested in immersing themselves in the culture of the American South.


Over the three-year period of the grant, each Southern Studies Fellow will be provided with a furnished apartment with paid utilities in downtown Spartanburg and a monthly stipend. Applications for the program will be available online in early 2021, and the first fellows will come to Spartanburg from September 2021 to May 2022. It is open to residents of the United States. The initiative replaces existing residency programs by Chapman and Hub City. In addition to focusing on their own creative projects, the Southern Studies Fellows will have opportunities and requirements for educational community service in Spartanburg County; these will include regular college and high school classroom visits/lectures, readings, open studios, workshops, and projects affiliated with the host organizations. The fellows will be expected to contribute up to 20 hours per week in the following areas: community service, artist-writer collaboration, and out-of-town travel for project research. A key component of this unique fellowship is the opportunity to interact with leading scholars, artists, and writers throughout the South. Each fellow will have opportunities to travel in the Southern region to conduct research at cultural and educational institutions, which will inform their work and will be critical in the development of their ideas for a collaborative project that expands the understanding of the modern South.
The Watson-Brown Foundation invests in higher education through grants and its scholarship program, which annually awards nearly $5 million in merit- and need-based college scholarships to students from an 18-county region of Georgia and South Carolina. Based in Thomson, Georgia, the foundation also operates a grant program that encourages responsible scholarship on the South and supports historic preservation. Additionally, it owns and operates three historic house museums in Georgia. With roots that stretch back more than 50 years, the Chapman Cultural Center’s mission 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. It serves as the official South Carolina Arts Commission-designated arts agency of Spartanburg County. Chapman provides general operating support for nine cornerstone cultural institutions, including the Hub City Writers Project, through its United Arts Fund and provides project grants to local artists and organizations. The Hub City Writers Project, founded in 1995, serves its mission to cultivate readers and nurture writers through its independent press, community bookshop, and diverse literary programming. Its flagship program, Hub City Press, is one of only three Southern book publishers funded by the National Endowment for the Arts. It is focused on finding and spotlighting new and extraordinary voices from the American South.

Chapman Cultural CenterAbout Chapman Cultural Center

Our mission 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. Visit their website to learn more.

About Hub City Writers Project

The Hub City Writers Project is a non-profit organization in Spartanburg dedicated to cultivating readers and nurturing writers through its independent small press, community bookstore, and diverse literary programming that serves our community and beyond. For more information please visit www.hubcity.org.

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Spartanburg streets to come alive with music again

Downtown programming returns for new season


Chapman Cultural Center is excited to announce that the street music series will be returning to the Spartanburg Downtown Cultural District this week starting tonight.

Spartanburg Cultural DistrictSince its launch in August 2017, Downtown Programming has provided over 800 entertainment experiences through weekly live music and performance “buskers." Downtown Programming is 100% funded by the Spartanburg Area Chamber of Commerce through the One Spartanburg initiative. The City of Spartanburg is also a valued supporter of the program. The goals for downtown programming include increasing, pedestrian traffic, retail sales for local businesses, use of downtown parking garages, awareness of the Spartanburg Downtown Cultural District, and diversity of both performing artists and audience. We encourage the public to safely interact with musicians while out in public by observing social distancing and through the use of face coverings when possible. Please also consider directly supporting musicians through mobile payments and tips when possible. The S.C. Arts Commission awarded cultural district status in 2015 to the City of Spartanburg for downtown Spartanburg. The district is about four square blocks from Barnet Park to Spartanburg Community College’s downtown campus on Kennedy Street, west on Kennedy to the Grain District, and bordered on its northern edge by the Spartanburg Memorial Auditorium.
About Chapman Cultural Center Our mission 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. Visit our website to learn more.

Jason Rapp

Public art promotes mask usage in Spartanburg

Public call for art also issued


In response to increased COVID-19 cases and as part of the Bringing Back the ‘Burg initiative, Chapman Cultural Center is partnering with the Spartanburg Area Chamber of Commerce on a county-wide public art campaign that promotes the use of face masks by encouraging residents and businesses to place temporary face masks on public art.

The public is encouraged to participate by placing temporary face masks on pre-identified pieces of public art. Eligible pieces of art can be found here. Businesses may also participate by placing temporary masks on privately-owned visible works of art. According to the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control, “There is rapidly growing medical evidence that the use of face masks along with social distancing can greatly reduce the transmission of the COVID-19 virus in public spaces and places where people at higher risk of severe illness and death from this virus are likely to be present. We must all commit to wearing face masks in public spaces — if we all wear them, we’ll all be protected.” Masks are available for purchase at many local pharmacy retailers, grocery stores, box stores and boutiques.

Public call for art

In addition to placing masks on existing public art, the campaign includes a call for proposals for a new public art project that promotes the importance of wearing face masks to reduce the spread of COVID-19. Local artists should submit inquiries and proposals by June 26. The selected proposal will receive an award of $1,000 in addition to funding the cost of materials for the project. Artists interested in submitting a proposal, or who would like more information, should contact Chapman Cultural Center’s Community Impact and Outreach Director Melissa Earley at mEarley@spartanarts.org or 864.278.9685.
Chapman Cultural Center realizes that the arts can be a powerful vehicle for change as evidence from previous public art campaigns addressing serious issues in the community such as the Bloomberg Philanthropies project, Seeing Spartanburg in a New Light. As an extension of National Night Out, an annual event that promotes crime prevention efforts, Seeing Spartanburg in a New Light sought to improve police-community partnership, and neighborhood camaraderie through the arts.   Chapman Cultural Center and the Spartanburg Chamber are committed to prioritizing public health and reducing the spread of COVID-19 while carrying out their respective organizational missions. "Bringing Back the 'Burg" is Spartanburg's COVID-19 recovery effort. Other initiatives include a Business Recovery Task Force, Open for Business Guidebook, Combating COVID-19 Commitment and marketing campaigns.

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Spartanburg arts orgs to share relief award

Balmer Foundation gifts $155,000


Chapman Cultural Center is pleased and honored to announce Spartanburg’s leading cultural organizations received $155,000 in emergency funding support from the Balmer Foundation.

Through this gift, $130,000 went towards funding Chapman Cultural Center’s General Operating Support Grantees and $25,000 will be designated to cost of operating Chapman Cultural Center. The Balmer Foundation trustees presented each organization with their funds at a limited-capacity ceremony on June 2 to encourage social distancing. Chapman Cultural Center, the leading local arts agency in Spartanburg County, awards General Operating Support Grants (GOS) to cultural organizations each year that have been established as a 501(c)3 for 3 years or more, and must continue working to advance the mission of the organization. Grantees for GOS Grants are evaluated on the basis of merit, evidence of sound management and fiscal responsibility, and service to all of Spartanburg County. These awards support up to 20% of the grantees’ annual operating expenses. The Balmer Foundation Board of Trustees offered the following statement in regards to their gift:

“The current trustees of the Balmer Foundation, inspired by the historic and remarkable commitment of Hans and Lucia Balmer to proactively support the Spartanburg community, have chosen to assist key institutions in this unique time of stress and challenge. The Balmers loved animal education and the arts, as they did other key projects that are important to our lives (such as Spots of Pride). While the foundation does not encourage grant requests, it believes the Balmers would want the foundation to commit to this contribution and thereby encourage your good work.”

In the last 25 years, through generous donations to the United Arts Fund, Chapman Cultural Center has awarded over $17 million in grants to strengthen, develop, and promote the cultural vibrancy in Spartanburg County in a sustainable way. “We are very concerned about the financial stability of the arts during these uncertain times. Our General Operating Support Grant program is critically important to our grantees because it gives them a reliable funding source which allows them to plan strategically to expand programs, reach larger and more diverse audiences, and retain creative talent. We are beyond grateful for the support of generous donors such as the Balmer Foundation, who truly see the value the arts bring to a community, especially during the most difficult times,” said President and CEO of Chapman Cultural Center Jennifer Evins.
Emergency funding by The Balmer Foundation was awarded to the following organizations:
  • Artists’ Guild of Spartanburg*
  • Ballet Spartanburg*
  • Hatcher Garden
  • Hub City Writers Project*
  • Spartanburg Art Museum*
  • Spartanburg County Historical Association
  • Spartanburg Philharmonic*
  • Spartanburg Science Centre
  • Spartanburg Little Theatre and Spartanburg Youth Theatre
* arts organizations CCC’s Board Chairman Bert Barre, stated “The cultural sector has grown since we first started providing these grants in 1995 and more demands are being placed on organizations as our community grows and prospers. We evaluate the grantees in a thorough process that includes thirteen volunteer grant reviewers representing our Board and members of the Spartanburg community. They conduct site visits, review applications and listen to presentations made by each organization. Together, these organizations serve over 143,000 people each year and the grants allow these organizations to continue to grow their collective impact.”

About Chapman Cultural Center

Chapman Cultural CenterOur mission 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. Visit our website to learn more.

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2020 Mary Wheeler Davis Scholarship awarded in Spartanburg

silhouette of three graduatings tudents

Chapman Cultural Center is proud to announce it has awarded the annual Mary Wheeler Davis Scholarship to Mia Easler and Sarah Hoffman.

Chapman Cultural CenterTo honor the memory of Mary Wheeler Davis, an annual award is funded by the Mary Wheeler Davis Memorial Fund for the Promotion of the Arts, which was established in 1989. One or more scholarships are awarded annually to Spartanburg students pursuing college degrees in the visual or performing arts. Mia Easler will graduate from Spartanburg High School this spring, and plans to start a degree in art therapy at Converse College. Sarah Hoffman will graduate from Dorman High School this spring, and will study graphic design-illustration at the University of South Carolina. Mary Wheeler Davis felt her purpose in life was to improve the quality of life for others, especially to enhance the artistic and cultural environment of all citizens of Spartanburg County. The family of Mary Wheeler Davis has created a special trust as a memorial to her to be devoted primarily to the promotion of the arts in Spartanburg County by means of scholarships for studies in the performing and visual arts. Learn more about this year's winners and how to apply for next year.
Photo by Shopify Partners from Burst

Jason Rapp

Helping artists shine in Sparkle City

Are you a Facebook user and an Upstate art lover?


You'll want to check out the new Made in SpARTanburg group from Chapman Cultural Center. (Even if you're not in the Upstate!) The group's goal is to provide the public with great art and cultural experiences, and to provide a platform to help Spartanburg artists make a living.

"We want artists and creatives to be successful, sell their work, and grow their creative businesses, especially during these difficult times. This Facebook group is meant to lift up, celebrate, explore, and sell original art of all mediums.

Scroll through, share, purchase a handmade piece, download a song, watch a film. And come back soon...more and more art is added every day!"

Learn more about the group here.

Arts jobs alert! New openings in Columbia, Spartanburg


Columbia | Nickelodeon Theatre

Communications Manager Application deadline: Nov. 30, 2019 The communications manager shapes the [Columbia Film Society] brand and voice and develops strategies to engage members, reach new audiences for the theatre and media education programs and raise the local and regional profile of the Indie Grits Festival. The Manager is responsible for the development, administration, coordination, and implementation of all elements of the marketing, public relations, publications, and advertising functions of the Columbia Film Society. This position requires a strong visual sensibility, excellent writing skills, and works closely with programming staff of the theatre and IG Labs and supervises the marketing coordinator. The communications manager reports to the executive director of the Columbia Film Society. This is a full-time, non-exempt position.
  • Schedule The work is performed in an office setting during regularly scheduled office hours, 9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday-Friday. It will require some flexibility and availability for evening activities.
  • Benefits and Wages The Columbia Film Society offers health, vision, dental care and retirement benefits. The salary range is $38,000 to $42,000.
For complete information and application instructions, click here.

Spartanburg| Chapman Cultural Center

Theater Technical Coordinator Application deadline: none provided Chapman Cultural CenterChapman Cultural Center (CCC) is seeking to fill the position of theater technical coordinator (TC). The TC would be responsible for the maintenance, oversight, and technical operations of CCC’s Theater. These responsibilities will include the oversight of the theater’s presentations and projects, all backstage and back of house personnel, equipment, operations, lighting, sound, and coordinating necessary maintenance. During periods when the services of the TC are not required in the theater, their services will be used in the maintenance and usage of technical equipment in other areas of CCC. The TC reports to the theater services manager. Due to the high volume and complexity of the Chapman Cultural Center theater operations and the need to carefully coordinate the activities of both resident partner agencies and outside renters, the TC must demonstrate a significant degree of both technical expertise and diplomatic skills to properly manage the use of the theater on a daily basis and maintain a standard of excellence. TC is responsible for the efficient and safe operation of CCC Theater facilities and equipment.
  • Work Schedule: 25 hours weekly, varies for events
  • Position Status: hourly position
  • Competencies:
    • Associates degree in Theater Production, Sound Engineering, Lighting, or Media Arts
    • Supplementary three to five years of work related experience with training in technical theater and/or an equivalent combination of education, training and experience that provides the required knowledge, skills and abilities
    • Must be able to work flexible hours on nights and weekends
    • Knowledge of technical operations, methods, materials, practices and procedures involved in theater operation
    • Technical Theatre skills: sound, lighting, stagecraft; management of stage crews
    • Knowledge of signal flows, microphone patching, and cable running processes
    • Knowledge/experience devising and implementing technical plans for productions
    • Ability to work collaboratively in a diverse environment
    • Comprehensive knowledge of safety measures and hazards related to theater production
    • Must have a student mentality- open to learning new systems and processes
    • Resourceful and independent but capable of being a good team player
    • Able to work with minimal supervision
    • Must be able to lift 50 lbs.
To apply: Submit a resume and cover letter to pjones@spartanarts.org.

Three groups benefit from Chapman Cultural Center grants

SCAC grant enables three Community Grants

[caption id="attachment_33823" align="aligncenter" width="748"]A stack of grant payment requests at SCAC. A stack of grant payments to be processed at the S.C. Arts Commission.[/caption]
Chapman Cultural Center announced three recipients of FY20 2nd Quarter Community Grants last week. From the center's announcement:

"Chapman Cultural Center (CCC) is committed to broadening and strengthening Spartanburg's Cultural community. Because of this commitment, a major part of the work we do is centered around funding Spartanburg's arts and cultural community.

One of Chapman Cultural Center's major funding opportunities comes in the form of our quarterly Community Grants Program. The Community Grants Program awards up to $5,000 per application and is open to both individual artists and non-profits/government agencies. Learn more about the grant application process here."

CCC received one of seven FY20 subgranting grants from the S.C. Arts Commission. Those are awarded to local arts councils around the state for the funds to then be granted to artists, arts organizations, or non-profit community groups in those areas. The three 2nd Quarter Community Grants are going to:
  • Charles Lea Center
  • Spartanburg Festival Chorus
  • Spartanburg Terrace Tennants Association
Click here to read about these groups and their projects.

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Chapman Cultural Center seeks FT outreach coordinator

Deadline: Friday, Aug. 16, 2019 at noon ET.


Chapman Cultural Center, located in downtown Spartanburg, is seeking a full-time outreach coordinator. The position will spend roughly half its time on event planning and the other half administering grantmaking. A background in both is desired.

Primary Position Description

The Outreach Coordinator is responsible for coordinating diverse public programming and special events as well as managing our grantmaking and assisting with data collection. Under the supervision of the Community Impact and Outreach Director, this individual seeks to promote the mission, vision and strategic activities of Chapman Cultural Center through a diverse variety of events and grantmaking.

The Ideal Candidate

The ideal candidate for this position is self motivated, a team player and outgoing. They are professional, and eager to work with diverse partners and audiences. Please follow this link for full job description and instructions on how to apply.