SC Arts Commission Names Downtown Lancaster, SC, A Cultural District


The SC Arts Commission has named Lancaster, SC’s downtown as the second state-recognized cultural district in South Carolina. A cultural district is an easily identifiable geographic area with a concentration of arts facilities and assets that support cultural, artistic and economic activity. Lancaster was the second city to apply for the new cultural district designation, which was created by the SC General Assembly and Gov. Nikki Haley in 2014.

City officials will use the cultural district designation to attract visitors and residents to downtown and promote the area as a hub of arts and culture.

“See Lancaster”, a division of City of Lancaster’s Support Services Department, coordinated the application process. Working with local leaders and Arts Commission staff, a map of cultural assets and a strategic plan for the district were developed. “The recognition as a cultural district will help enhance the vibrant arts initiatives in Lancaster,” said Cherry Doster, Marketing and Development Manager. “The cultural district designation is another way to help increase support of existing businesses and attract new ones.”

City of Lancaster Administrator remarked, “The City of Lancaster is honored to have received this award. Our city is fortunate to have a number of local artists who have educated our citizens to understand the importance of art not just to the community, but especially to our school children. Our own “resident” artist, Bob Doster, has worked tirelessly to teach our children to embrace their creativity and  to explore and appreciate all forms of art.”

Non-arts businesses and organizations are important pieces of a cultural district, says Ken May, SC Arts Commission executive director. “A successful cultural district attracts creative enterprises, such as galleries and theatres, whose patrons want to dine out and shop, so nearby retail and other businesses benefit from that increased economic activity.”

The SC Arts Commission staff will assist communities in developing a brand and marketing their cultural districts. Other states with similar cultural district programs include Massachusetts, Kentucky, Texas and Colorado.

The South Carolina Arts Commission is the state agency charged with creating a thriving arts environment that benefits all South Carolinians, regardless of their location or circumstances. Created by the South Carolina General Assembly in 1967, the Arts Commission works to increase public participation in the arts by providing services, grants and leadership initiatives in three areas: arts education, community arts development and artist development. Headquartered in Columbia, SC, the Arts Commission is funded by the state of South Carolina, by the federal government through the National Endowment for the Arts and other sources.

For further information call Cherry Doster/Marketing & Development Mgr./See Lancaster at 803/289-1492 or e-mail to (


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