Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 25

W

alking Spartanburg's Downtown
Cultural District, you have a hard
time deciding where to look first.
Public art is everywhere-
colorful graffiti-like paintings on brick walls,
restored 19th-century store signs, sculpturerimmed fountains, six-foot-tall painted
fiberglass lightbulbs, steel bicycle sculptures.
Even the traffic signal utility boxes are
beautiful, covered with icons and images
from the seven colleges in Spartanburg.
It's a beautiful surprise, downtown
Spartanburg: a place an art lover could come
to and not want to leave for a long while. Even
corporate structures like longstanding textile
producer Milliken & Company has art
decorating its beautifully landscaped
grounds, interspersed with walking paths and
wide vistas.
The question is...where do you start?

THE INSIDE STORY
A good choice is the breathtaking new
downtown AC Hotel Spartanburg. From the
360-degree view from the 10th-floor verandas
to the art-museum exhibits in the lobby and
second floor, there's no doubt you're in a City
of Art. Thanks to Spartanburg art collectors
and philanthropists George Dean and Susan
Pipher Johnson, the AC Hotel features work
by Robert Rauschenberg, Elaine de Kooning
and Ruth Asawa (as well as, interestingly, a
piece by Robert de Niro's father, who was a
student of Josef Albers at the avant-garde
experimentalist Black Mountain College in
the late 1930s).
The 1,000-piece Johnson Collection at
154 West Main is a must-see for its innovative
focus on Southern art as a shaping force in
the larger American scene. So is the
Chapman Center, where you'll see find ballet
dancers practicing, actors rehearsing, set
builders hammering, children looking and
drawing, and weekend artists painting...in
short, art in all its glory. There's also the West
Main Artists Co-op at 578 West Main, where
affordable studio, exhibit and performance
space coupled with a Gallery shop for a taste
of working artist life.
A stop in the Hub City Bookshop is
mandatory for those in love with words. Its
story-and that of the sponsoring Hub City
Writers Project-is worthy of its own book.
According to founders Betsy Teter and John
Lane, the story goes something like this.
"In 1995, a new coffee shop opened in
Morgan Square," says Betsy Teter. "A few
writers began to meet there to talk writing.
We decided to pool our talents and write a
book about Spartanburg, and The Hub City
Writers Project was born."

The first 10 or 15 years, Hub City
published books exclusively about
Spartanburg and surrounding areas.
"We're now the leading literary
publisher in the South," Teter says, with more
than 85 books on their list.
Linking its literary successes to the
burgeoning visual arts scene, the Hub City
Writers took on a project called Hub-Bub. Hub
City Writers Project oversaw the renovation
of a brick warehouse in the Grain District for
Hub-Bub artist studios and apartments.
"It was all about creating a magnet to
come here. And it worked," says Hub City
Writers co-founder John Lane.

THE OUTSIDE STORY
The work of Hub-Bub alumni like Russell
Bannan and Eli Blasko is all over Spartanburg.
Which takes us back outside, where
accessible art celebrates what was and what
will be.
"When we first got here, in 2014, there
was one mural in the whole of downtown,"
says Bannan. "It took a bunch of believers to
accomplish what we have. The Cultural Arts
District Steering Committee includes artists,
developers and business owners. The
beautiful synergy of art and community
working together."
Partner Eli Blasko agrees. "Hub-Bub is
doing something no one else was doing in the
Southeast. It magnetized the area for artists.
This area is hungry for creativity."
The result? A city where public art is
everywhere you look. Where place and
history blend in bright color and graceful
shape. Where art brings artists out of the
garret and onto the streets.
They've got it right: There is only one
Spartanburg.

Spartanburg is nestled in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, between Atlanta, GA and Charlotte, NC and less than an hour from Asheville, NC. You'll
discover a great mix of outdoor fun and a charming art town with unique restaurants and accommodations.

For suggested itineraries, guides, maps and more info go to visitspartanburg.com


http://www.visitspartanburg.com

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018

Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - Intro
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - Cover1
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - Cover2
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 3
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 4
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 5
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 6
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 7
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 8
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 9
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 10
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 11
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 12
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 13
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 14
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 15
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 16
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 17
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 18
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 19
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 20
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 21
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 22
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 23
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 24
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 25
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 26
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 27
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 28
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 29
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 30
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 31
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 32
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 33
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 34
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 35
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 36
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 37
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 38
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 39
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 40
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 41
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 42
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Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 73
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 74
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - Cover3
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - Cover4
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