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Chapman Cultural Center of Spartanburg

Our History

An Historical Overview

From their inaugural days in the 1950s, the pioneers of the Arts Council — now referred to simply as Chapman Cultural Center — understood the enduring significance of nurturing the creative arts in a community. Those talented early visionaries threw their minds, hearts, and energies into establishing and maintaining arts exposure, education, and enrichment in the city of Spartanburg and beyond.

The Spartanburg Arts Council's first home was in a school-owned house on the campus of Converse College from 1970 to 1975. As the Arts Council's influence and interests grew, the leadership began seeking a larger location. In 1975, the organization moved into a portion of the former Southside Elementary School in Spartanburg. Eventually, the Arts Council occupied the entire 46,000-sq.-ft. complex. The Arts Council would remain there, garnering accolades and developing award-winning programs, for the next 32 years.

The idea for a new, state-of-the-art cultural facility in the greater Spartanburg area began in 1988 with conversations among passionate and influential community leaders.  A Blue Ribbon Task Force worked diligently to develop a long range plan for the arts in Spartanburg, recommending the reorganization of The Arts Council, which became The Arts Partnership of Greater Spartanburg in 1993, with Everett Powers as it's first President.  The dream began of a new, centrally-located facility which would co-locate the arts, science and history.

Spartanburg's premier venue for experiencing the performing and visual arts, science, and history.

From 2000 to 2007 a successful capital campaign raised $42 million for construction of an 86,000-sq.-ft., three-building facility. In October 2007, Chapman Cultural Center opened at its current location, quickly becoming the community's premier venue for experiencing the performing and visual arts, science, and history.

Chapman Cultural Center brings the community together while providing every Spartanburg resident and visitor the opportunity of a first-rate, firsthand cultural experience. Chapman Cultural Center is home to a number of museums, educational outreaches, and artistic groups including:

Interesting Reading…

The History 1968-1993

Cultural Plan 1992

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Timeline

1955-56 Survey of cultural arts in Spartanburg County conducted

1957 Spartanburg Arts Council founded

1963 Spartanburg Art Association organized as part of the Arts Council

1968 Arts Council incorporated the first local arts agency in South Carolina

1970 Spartanburg's first Arts Festival held

1971 First Arts Council fund drive held

1976 Arts Council of Spartanburg and City of Spartanburg receive Elizabeth O'Neill Verner award

1984 First Arts Center computer installed

1993 The Arts Partnership (TAP) of Greater Spartanburg founded and identifies need to develop new facilities

2000 Capital campaign for new cultural center begun

2002 Site at East St. John and North Converse streets selected for Chapman Cultural Center

2005 Ground broken at 200 East St. John Street

2007 Grand opening of the state-of-the-art Chapman Cultural Center

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