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Spartanburg's Got Talent

March 04, 2020 | Features

by Jennifer Evins, President/CEO, Chapman Cultural Center

Attracting and retaining our creative talent is critical to Spartanburg being a culturally diverse and vibrant community as well as giving us a competitive edge to attract other professionals to live and work in Spartanburg County. We take this very seriously at Chapman Cultural Center and believe that artists contribute to the economic prosperity and health of our city and county. It is imperative that we create a community where artists can thrive.


Recently I was introduced to a young woman who was just hired as the new Education Program Director for the Spartanburg Science Center. She enthusiastically said “I grew up at the Chapman Cultural Center participating in Spartanburg Youth Theater plays and Irish Step at Ballet Spartanburg’s Dance Center.” She also recalled that as a young child she followed her father all around the Science Center while he served as a volunteer on their Board of Directors. Now when she can live and work anywhere, she chose to come home to Spartanburg. She has two degrees one in Film and one in Biology and is now responsible for connecting over 22,000+ children to STEAM education.

And have you met Adam Sanders or seen him perform on the stage at Chapman Cultural Center? Adam is the Director of Spartanburg Youth Theater and has been cast for numerous roles in Spartanburg Little Theater performances.  He leads the Youth Theater every day to the benefit of over 11,000 children and uses his creative expertise and talents to help young aspiring actors and actresses find their own abilities and talents on the stage in five productions each year. 


Both of these young adults are now making a living at Chapman Cultural Center and live in Spartanburg too.  There are quite a few more of these same stories that could be told. 
As we compete globally to retain and recruit talented people to our industries and corporations in Spartanburg County, we must work very hard to make sure we support our creative professionals as well. Spartanburg has been developing creative talent for more than 100 years on our stages, studios and in the classrooms; but we have not always had a place or a culture that supports these talented people consistently to help them make a living and want to live here. Over the last five years we have been very intentional in this work, and it has resulted in more and more young people coming home because they feel welcome here and their creative talents and skills are needed. 

In fiscal year 2019 the cultural sector hired more than 829 professional artists who were paid more than $1.1 million as musicians, dancers, designers, photographers, painters, glass artists, writers, choreographers, sculptors, puppeteers, ceramists, muralists, weavers, jewelers, lighting and set designers, teaching artists, and costume designers.


If artists can make a living in Spartanburg, they will stay here; and they will encourage others to come to live and work in our community. I am very excited to open Mayfair Art Studios as a division of Chapman Cultural Center where artists can go to work every day and make a living in our community and be respected as professionals for their creative skills and talents. 

I encourage you to hire an artist today to make something great happen in your life, your neighborhood or in your work! Artists are creative problem solvers; they think outside the box and are extremely resourceful. They inspire others and welcome big ideas. They are what make Spartanburg authentic, vibrant and unique.

Help us support more artists by giving to the United Arts Campaign today.


Jennifer Evins
Chapman Cultural Center

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