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New Artist Studios Opening on the Westside!

January 24, 2019 | Features

By Jennifer Evins, President/ CEO, Chapman Cultural Center

Spartanburg is thriving culturally. We have had overwhelming success and are a model city. With the daily arrival of new people to our region seeking a vibrant quality of life, there is a rapidly growing demand for a variety of creative studio spaces. Unfortunately, Spartanburg has not met the demand. We field calls weekly from creatives looking for studio space who want to actively engage in developing their own body of work and to work in a collaborative way with other artists while increasing their economic viability as professional artists.

Winning Track Record

For the last twenty years, as your local arts agency serving Spartanburg County, The Arts Partnership and now Chapman Cultural Center has been focused on developing performance and exhibit facilities and classroom studios for arts and cultural organizations. The results have been overwhelmingly positive as Chapman Cultural Center celebrated its 10th Anniversary in 2017, and our partners are successfully fulfilling their missions every year and expanding to new audiences. In 2012, Spartanburg County Council and Administration recommended that Chapman Cultural Center be a partner in a public/private development in repurposing the Mayfair Mill #1 on the Westside in the mill village of Arcadia. In 2014 our Board of Trustees elected to pursue this project after studies based on need and community input. In 2015 Spartanburg County Council voted in favor of investing $225,000 of Community Development Block Grant resources towards the development of artist studios by CCC for this specific neighborhood and for this specific use.

New Public and Private Studios

Over the last three years in partnership with Spartanburg County, CCC has been planning and working alongside many community partners to successfully implement this project. In March 2019 we anticipate the opening of what we have formally named, Mayfair Art Studios. They include:

  • Ceramic studio
  • Warm Glass and Metalsmithing studios
  • 9 music rehearsal studios with a production studio
  • 2 dance studios
  • 9 private artist working studios for creative professionals.

This space will serve over 200 local artists of all ages, and provide access to working studios and Co-Create Studios six days a week. All studios will be available for rent.

Nurturing a Neighborhood

But there is even more to Mayfair Art Studios. It will have an even deeper impact than just creating a place for artists to thrive. Seeing Spartanburg in a New Light, our winning Bloomberg Philanthropies Public Art Challenge Project, gave us first-hand experience and evidence that neighborhood-based art programs can focus on entire communities faced with poverty and provide multiple services and opportunities in terms of gainful employment, a platform of expression for the voiceless, create beauty and hope amidst poverty and blight.

Mayfair Art Studios will directly impact over 3,800 residents who live within walking distance, and 56% of these households have children under the age of 18. Arcadia is a majority-minority neighborhood with very limited resources including public transportation to other cultural amenities at Chapman Cultural Center. Arcadia Elementary School is within walking distance and school officials are eager to engage their students in programs offered by local teaching artists.


Mayfair Art Studios will transform an abandoned, derelict mill into a vibrant community hub that will serve as a celebration of the value of the arts in public/private partnerships. It will help to engage and connect an isolated neighborhood more directly to other Spartanburg cultural resources in our city which have been undergoing rapid development and growth over the last 10 years. We will be able to respond to the growing demand for studio space so that we can retain creative talent in our community.

Community Collaboration

Since 2014, we have been partnering with the Hispanic Alliance of Spartanburg and Palmetto Luna to help create bridges to develop trusted relationships and successful programs with Latino residents and artists. Local arts professionals of Spartanburg Art Museum, Spartanburg Philharmonic, and Ballet Spartanburg have also advised the design and program space of the center to meet the current and future needs of local teaching artists and allow for anchor cultural organizations to expand their offerings to the Westside.

Early funders of the project include Spartanburg County, JM Smith Foundation, The Longleaf Fund, Spartanburg County Foundation, Metromont, and other private donors.

Fostering a Cultural Destination

This new cultural destination creates a unique space for creative exchange and entrepreneurialism. It will engage both amateur and professional artists within a neighborhood setting. Chapman Cultural Center continues to advance our strategic goals adopted in our Strategic Plan in 2015 and at the same time will also advance our larger community vision of OneSpartanburg. Once open in January 2019, Mayfair Art Studios will:

  • Strengthen our cultural sector and foster a more vibrant community
  • Inspire and engage our community as patrons, artists, and donors
  • Provide access to STEAM education and outreach opportunities to participate in creative experiences in neighborhoods
  • Develop, retain and attract creative talent for our Community
  • Grow and Diversify our local economy by supporting the strengths of our creative enterprises
  • Cultivate a dynamic entrepreneurial ecosystem in the creative sector
  • Enhance Quality of Place throughout our Community
  • Enable newly successful artists in our community to become champions of Spartanburg and tell a positive story of how our community encouraged and supported their creative talents.

*Photography Courtesy of Antonio Modesto

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