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Grantees: Success Stories

Wofford Studio Art Program: Murals at the Spartanburg Opportunity Center

Chapman Cultural Center awarded a Community Grant to Wofford College's Studio Art Program for their collaborative project to install a series of murals inside the Spartanburg Opportunity Center. Led by faculty members Dr. Youmi Efurd and Michael Wesbter, students Walker Antonio ’23, Megan Santos ’23 and Kate Timbes ’23 each designed unique murals for the center. The Spartanburg Opportunity Center's mission is to empower adults, children, and families to break the cycle of homelessness and poverty in Spartanburg County. 

Dewi Maya: Fashion & Handbag Designer

We sat down with Community Grant recipient Dewi Mayasari of Dewi Maya Design to talk about how she used a Chapman Cultural Center Community Grant to purchase two industrial sowing machines to increase the production of her handbag and design business.

Jeff Edwards: Dark and Beautiful Music Video

We sat down with Community Grant recipient Jeff Edwards of the Jeff Edwards Band to talk about how he used a Chapman Cultural Center Community Grant to create a music video for his latest original song Dark and Beautiful. With his grant funding, Jeff was able to hire Brando Jones Films to produce and direct the music video.

Antonio Modesto: Faces of the Upstates

The goal of Anthony's project is to tell the stories of people living and working within our community. His project is a continuation of work he began in 2013 and has told the stories of over 300 individuals. The project's current phase will focus more on individuals within different marginalized communities with a concentration on individuals with DACA (Deferred action for childhood arrivals) status. This phase will also include the stories of people within LGBT, African American, single parent, economically distressed, and previously incarcerated communities throughout the Spartanburg Community. 

Michael A. Davidson: MAD Music After School Program

Michael A. Davidson was awarded a Community Grant for the launch of a pilot program with Carver Middle School to teach students' the fundamentals of music. Students who participate will learn how to read sheet music, understand concepts of music theory, and how to perform in a group setting. Michael's Mission is to empower youth through group performance not only enhancing the individuals playing ability but to enhance crucial life and communication skills. This unique program is designed to give students the tools necessary to one day become performing musicians. The 9 week intensive course will end with a Rockcital where students will perform a song in their assigned groups for their family, friends and the community. 

Anna Elliot: Untitled Reconstruction Project
"Untitled Reconstruction Project" is a performance based on the 1871 testimony of residents living in Spartanburg County, South Carolina who were terrorized by the Ku Klux Klan. The interviews are adapted from The Report of the Joint Select Committee to Inquire into the Condition of Affairs in the Late Insurrectionary States--a Federal investigation in which three Northern Congressmen interviewed many different people. They spoke to freedmen, political organizers, white, black, rich, poor, town folks, and country folks. Many of their last names may be familiar. "Untitled Reconstruction Project" presents these interviews, as well as contemporary writing by the cast. We are here to learn about the legacy of the Era of Reconstruction, and to discuss Spartanburg's past, present, and future. Our project is to make a space to learn, share, and heal. The production is curated by Anna Abhau Elliott and Crystal Tennille Irby. It is a collaboration with Speaking Down Barriers.

Spartanburg Earth Day Festival


The Chapman Cultural Center Community Grant supports the Spartanburg Earth Day Festival (SEDF) and its efforts to educate our community about the fragileness of our planet, the interdependency of people and resources in preserving viable, life-sustaining eco-systems, and to enhance awareness of the role each individual can play in protecting and sustaining our planet. Grant funds support the SEDF art contests for elementary, high school, and college students. Students create artwork visually interpreting our environmental theme for the year. These works are judged by a local professional artist and showcased in an expansive art exhibit on SEDF grounds.

"The Chapman Cultural Center Community grant has enabled us to link the arts to environmental concerns through each year's art contests and exhibits. Art submissions this year were of such high quality that Wofford College exhibited multiple winners in each age group at the Wofford Library."

- Joyce Harrison, Chair, Spartanburg Earth Day Festival

Speaking Down Barriers: Day of Transformation


Speaking Down Barriers was awarded our largest ever community grant. The Community Grant went towards funding their program Day of Transformation, which is an annual “4-hour experience of living together intentionally across our human differences, including dialogue, art, creativity, sound healing, and more! The goal of Day of Transformation is for individuals to engage spoken word poetry and poets, their fellow community members, and to imagine and actively build a more just and equitable world together. Speaking Down Barriers transforms space and co-creates community beyond the intersections of difference through facilitating gatherings, training, performances, and consultation. 

"With this grant we were able to highlight that the social and artistic work done by People of Color and people of the LGBTQ+ community ought to be at the foreground of artistic and communal growth endeavors, as they have always been at the foreground of institutional and world change. Instead of seeking photo opportunities or other superficial representations for the appearance of diversity, citizens from across South Carolina came to Spartanburg to imagine together. Through facilitated dialogue around what it really means to be equitable and to live together across our human differences, we found ourselves able to touch shared power and mutuality as key tools. This is what the Chapman Cultural Center helped make happen right here in Spartanburg!"

- Marlanda Dekine, Founder & Executive Director, Speaking Down Barriers