Archive for the ‘Upstate SC Visual Arts’ Category

Upstate Heritage Quilt Trail in Upstate, SC, Offers Studio Update

October 6, 2017

It’s been a busy summer for the Upstate Heritage Quilt Trail (UHQT). We have opened a new studio in Pickens County at the Holly Springs Center and moved the Walhalla studio to the former Oakway Intermediate School in Westminster. The Anderson studio is still located at the Anderson Arts Center. All the studios are integral components of the UHQT and production of quilt panels. All our production teams are hard at work and looking forward to a busy fall and winter. Direct communication links are highlighted.

Anderson County
110 Federal Street, Anderson
Painting studio located in the Old Carnegie Library Basement
Hours: Fridays 9:30 – Noon
Contact: Diane Schonauer by calling 864/231-9317

Oconee County
150 Schoolhouse Road, Westminster, former Oakway Intermediate School
Hours: Tuesday and Thursday, from 9:30 – Noon
Contact: Chris Troy by calling 864/985-1096

Pickens County
Holly Springs Center
120 Holly Springs School Road, Pickens, Room #110
Hours: Thursday and First and Third Saturdays, from 10:00 -2:00. Check Face Book for updates Holly Springs Center Quilt Painting Group
Contact: Cindy Blair by calling 864/973-3921

Visit our Face Book page for production updates and news. Please contact us at 864/723-6603 or visit (www.uhqt.org).

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Hub City Empty Bowls in Spartanburg, SC, Says Soup’s On – Oct. 28, 2017

September 30, 2017

Hub City Empty Bowls will host its annual Soup Day, on Oct. 28, 2017, from 11am-4pm, at the Chapman Cultural Center, to raise money and awareness for hunger in Spartanburg, SC, where about 16 percent of the people are not sure where their next meal is coming from. Spearheaded by Carolina Clay Artists, Soup Day is a community event where citizens can make $15 donations to receive locally handmade pottery bowls and a simple meal of soup, bread, tea, and the fellowship of others who want to make Spartanburg a better place to live.

All money raised will be given to TOTAL Ministries, a local nonprofit charity that helps Spartanburg citizens in dire financial straits. Last year, 2016, Hub City Empty Bowls gave more than $33,000 to TOTAL Ministries. For every bowl taken by a patron, 83 pounds of food can be secured for those in need.

In addition to several hundred pottery bowls to choose from and about two dozen soups donated by local restaurants, patrons will be able to enjoy live music, a silent auction, and a drum circle on an autumn day.

During the summer, Hub City Empty Bowls hosted three public bowl-making events, where the general public was able to make handmade pottery bowls at no cost. All supplies, space, and instruction were donated. These were wholesome, creative, and well attended community events that welcomed everyone, even children who made some of the most endearing bowls. The hand-shaped bowls were left in at the host studios – West Main Artists Co-Op and Spartanburg Art Museum – for touch-ups, painting, and firing. In addition, several experienced and professional potters donated bowls, many of which were wheel thrown and of professional quality. All of those bowls will be available on Soup Day. Many people do their Christmas shopping at Soup Day, securing gifts that have significant social and creative meaning.

Empty Bowls is a worldwide charitable and social phenomenon without any oversight or headquarters. It was started in 1990-91 by a high school art teacher who wanted to involve his students in an art-based community project of making pottery bowls that could be used to raise money to feed the poor. From that humble beginning, the concept spread around the world, taking on many different aspects, but always keeping locally made pottery bowls as the source of the fundraising.

For more information about Hub City Empty Bowls’s 2017 Soup Day, please visit online at (www.HubCityEmptyBowls.com).

This program is funded in part by Chapman Cultural Center, its donors, the County and City of Spartanburg, and the South Carolina Arts Commission that receives support from the National Endowment for the Arts and the John and Susan Bennett Memorial Arts Fund of the Coastal Community Foundation of SC.

Upstate Heritage Quilt Trail of South Carolina to Honor Lucy Harward as the 2017 UHQT Quilter of the Year in Pickens, SC – Oct. 6, 2017

September 29, 2017

The Upstate Heritage Quilt Trail of South Carolina is pleased to announce a reception to honor Lucy Harward of Pickens, SC, as the 2017 UHQT Quilter of the Year. The Quilter of the Year Program was initiated in 2010 to recognize a quilter who has provided community service and leadership through their quilting. The UHQT receives much support from the quilting community, it is our way to say thank you to artists who provide service to their community.


Lucy Harward and her husband Dale.

The public is cordially invited to the Pickens Community Center in Pickens, SC, at 10am on Friday, Oct. 6, 2017, to celebrate Harward’s many contributions to the community. There will be an exhibition of some of her quilts, in the Granger Fiber Arts Room of the Center. Refreshments will be provided in the Jack Black Room by the UHQT and the Pickens Senior Center. Three of the quilts from the trail that Harward created will be on display in the Jack Black Room. Tours of the facility and its collection of fiber arts and antique sewing items will be available.

Lucy Harward is the driving force of the Granger Fabric Arts room at the Community Center in the City of Pickens. She resides, with her husband Dale, on a beautiful farm, located halfway between Pickens and Pumpkintown. She is a life-long seamstress, completing her first dress at nine years of age, with, as she says, “a zipper down the back.” Harward began quilting approximately 30 years ago when she and Dale lived in Winter Garden, FL. She was taking classes in a shop on tailoring and dressmaking and admired the quilts displayed there. The rest is history, as they say!

Upon retirement 18 years ago, she and Dale moved back to Pickens where Harward grew up and attended her daddy’s church, Grace Methodist, went to school at Pickens Junior & Senior High, and walked down the old Doodle Trail with her friend Jane Eckman so many years ago.
Harward is also a long time member and past president of the UpCountry Quilt Guild. Her many accomplishments include fund raising and grant writing for the Pickens Community Center and the Hagood Auditorium, weekly volunteering and serving on the board of Canon Hospital, volunteer coordinator for Meals on Wheels and developing a variety of ministries and outreach throughout the county. She shares her expertise with any learners who come her way, creating a plethora of classes in the fiber arts.

As Harward states, “I help people achieve things that they would like to achieve!”

For further information call 864/723-6603 or visit (www.uhqt.org).

Upstate Heritage Quilt Trail in SC, Adds New Quilt Block

August 30, 2017

The Upstate Heritage Quilt Trail in SC, continues to grow as a destination for travelers interested in quilts, barns, outdoor art and the history of the Upstate.

Heidi Wolko, a renowned quilter whose creations have been exhibited at the National Quilt Museum in Paducah, Kentucky told us that this work was “one of 31 pieces from three different art quilt groups. They were all part of the Everchanging River that Bonnie Ouellette, our “Thread Heads Mother”, had dreamt up. Needless to say, all of us felt extremely honored about the invitation from the museum to exhibit after the “River” had traveled around the U.S. for about three years. Following the exhibit at the museum, the “River” made one more long trip – to Taiwan – until the individual pieces were returned to their creators.”

Her quilt, “Illusion”, is the two hundredth two addition to the Upstate Heritage Quilt Trail. The Upstate Heritage Quilt Trail sponsored this quilt for the Anderson Arts Center and it will join the other painted art quilt already on display at the Art Center Building located at 110 W. Federal Street, Anderson, South Carolina. The inspiration fabric quilt was shown along with another of Ms. Wolko’s quilts at the Double Illusions show sponsored by the Anderson Arts Center in 2015. Attendees at the show cast their votes for the quilt they thought should be added to the Arts Center building. The Illusion quilt had been displayed in Wolko’s Fair Play, SC home but after its selection for the UHQT, Ms. Wolko donated the quilt for an auction to benefit the Arts Center.

Wolko is a self-taught quilter who designed and made this quilt in 2008. The quilt was inspired by the book Blockbender Quilts written by Margaret J. Miller. This book encouraged Wolko to experiment with color. Wolko is a fiber artist whose use of texture, color and design has made a name for herself in the quilting community. She is the recipient of several quilting awards and continues to share her ideas and encouragement with other quilters. “One thing is for sure – I certainly LOVE color.” Images of some of her creations can be found by Googling Heidi Wolko.

For further info call 864/723-6603 or visit (www.uhqt.org).

Valerie Zimany Appointed as Interim Chairperson for the Department of Art at Clemson University in Clemson, SC

June 22, 2017

Valerie Zimany, Associate Professor of Art, Ceramics, has been appointed to serve as interim chairperson for the Department of Art at Clemson University as of May 16, 2017.


Valerie Zimany

Greg Shelnutt, who has served six years as department chair, has accepted the position of Chair of the Department of Art at the University of Delaware in Wilmington, DE.

Zimany began her career at Clemson in 2010 as the Ceramics Area Coordinator and lead faculty in Ceramics. Zimany teaches both undergraduate and graduate-level Ceramics as well as leads the highly successful Clemson Community Supported Art Creative Inquiry team. She was awarded a 2015-2017 Creativity Professorship in the College of Architecture, Arts, and Humanities. A two-time Fulbright Scholar and Japanese Government Scholar, she holds an Master of Fine Arts in Crafts/Ceramics from Kanazawa College of Art in Kanazawa, Japan, and a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Crafts/Ceramics and Art Education from the University of the Arts in Philadelphia, PA.

Accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design, Department of Art at Clemson University offers bachelor’s and master’s degrees in studio art with concentrations in ceramics, drawing, painting, photography, printmaking, and sculpture.

The chair provides academic, artistic and administrative leadership and vision to the programs within the department. A national search for a new chair will commence in Fall 2017.

For questions, please contact Valerie Zimany by e-mail at (vzimany@clemson.edu).

Upstate Heritage Quilt Trail in Upstate SC Installs Quilt Block #200 and #201

June 12, 2017

The Upstate Heritage Quilt Trail in Upstate SC celebrated its 200th quilt square, To the Mountains, at the Greater Pickens Chamber of Commerce at 222 W. Main St. in Pickens, SC. For eight years, the Quilt Trail has grown, block by block, into a meaningful part of Upstate South Carolina’s landscape for locals who want to preserve the history and traditions of the area. While the Quilt Trail is built, perpetuated, and maintained by locals with a passion for their history, it is also a unique experience for visitors to the area. The Trail appeals to those who enjoy art, nature, history, crafting, story-telling, and even just taking a car ride through the countryside.

As the UHQT has grown over the years, it has forged a path through the lives of so many in its surrounding communities. The members of the Trail are comprised of people who have had the tradition of quilting passed down to them, those whose created the tradition for themselves, and those who are not quilters but still help make the trail possible in various ways. There are now two teams of over 20 volunteers in Anderson and Oconee Counties and soon Pickens County who contribute over 7,000 hours per year giving presentations, painting quilt squares with members of the community, and finding ways to improve and promote this priceless resource. This art form has woven its way into the hearts of this community and beyond.

The original quilt, To the Mountains, a small landscape piece, was created by Joy duBois of Seneca. Joy met a quilter by the name of Gail Sexton, at the Upcountry Quilters Guild which meets at the Pickens Presbyterian Church in Pickens. Joy subsequently took a class that Gail was teaching in a new landscaping technique at the former local quilt shop, Heirlooms and Comforts. She enjoyed the class and the teacher so much that she went on meeting Gail for weekly sessions where they quilted together. Joy has many quilts in her “stash,” both landscape and appliqued borders that Gail designed and Joy has hand quilted.

When it came time to choose the quilt to adorn the Greater Chamber of Commerce building for the 200th block installment, this landscape quilt of mountains, rivers and a foreground of flowers and a tree was chosen from a group beautiful little landscape quilts by Kimberly Smagala, a life-long friend of Joy’s as well as the newest Chamber Executive Director.

For Kim and Joy, it all began 30 years ago. “My family moved from Texas when I was 5 years old and my baby quilt had shouldered a lot of love and use. My mother started working in a real estate with Jere, Joy’s husband. That is when we first met she mended and refurbished my quilt several times for me as I grew up. Joy has made myself, my mother, and my children many quilts throughout the years, including baby quilts. She and her husband are like family. ”

“The chamber office is the first stop for many visitors who visit our city. It is our hope to highlight more quilts throughout the Main Street corridor and around town as a part of a walking/bike tour. Quilting is part of our rich heritage and we are surrounded by so many talented quilters locally, especially those from the Upcountry Quilters’ Guild. We look forward to not only seeing more renderings of these beautiful quilts throughout downtown Pickens, but also creating a destination spot similar to what Landrum and Westminster, SC have accomplished.”

“A quilt warms the body and the soul, having this remarkable painted quilt panel by these talented artists portraying the beautiful craftsmanship that Joy put into this piece is amazing,” stated Smagala. This quilt panel was funded through the Pickens County ATAX Commission to the Upstate Heritage Quilt Trail.

201st UHQT Quilt The Cross

The Cross quilt is the 201st quilt added to the Upstate Heritage Quilt Trail. It is displayed on the Westminster Baptist Church, 212 East Windsor in Westminster, SC. The painted quilt block was sponsored by members of the Westminster Baptist Church. The Cross quilt block was designed by Janet Houts and taught during a quilting retreat at Kanuga Episcopal Camp in Hendersonville, NC attended by Paige Price and Denise McCormick.

Paige and Denise knew it would be perfect for their church and fellow quilters, Deanna DeFoor and Beckie DeFoor. Together they joined efforts and worked to piece and quilt a wall hanging, measuring 30 inches by 42 inches, as a gift to the members of the congregation. It was first displayed in the church on Easter Sunday, 2015. Several member of the church helped to paint the quilt block and it was presented to the congregation on Easter Sunday 2017. Being on the quilt trail allows everyone who passes by to enjoy the beauty of the fabric and painted quilts.

The cross is a Christian symbol that represents Jesus’s victory over sin and death. We are reminded about God and His plan of redemption through the symbolic significance of colors in the Bible. The two main colors of Westminster Baptist Church quilt are blue and gold. Blue is the color of the sky and a reminder of the heavenly realm. It also signifies the Healing Power of God. Gold represents God’s love because His love is more precious and more valuable than all the gold in the world. Love is the gold of God.

Westminster Baptist Church has been in the heart of town for more than 130 years. In the 1870’s, the town of Westminster, named after the original church located in a log building situated on the site of the Westminster First Baptist Church, grew up along the railroad and soon developed into a bustling business area. As the population shifted more toward the commercial area, some members of the church decided to build a church nearer the center of town. In 1884, they established a church ‘in the heart of town’. Now, more than 130 years later, the motto “In the heart of town, with a heart for the people” is still a principle held by its members. Located on E. Windsor Street, the church strives “to reach and develop devoted followers of Jesus Christ who love Him, grow in Him, and serve others in His name.”

For further info about the Upstate Heritage Quilt Trail visit (www.uhqt.org).

Cherokee Alliance of Visual Artists in Gaffney, SC, Calls for Entries for South Carolina Peach Festival Exhibit – Deadline June 28, 2017

June 3, 2017

The Gaffney South Carolina Peach Festival includes an annual art exhibit. This year’s theme is “I AM Man”. The exhibit, sponsored by the Cherokee Alliance of Visual Artists (CAVA), is open to artists 18 and older. Art will deal with the male (human), masculinity, his attributes, related interests, and defining characteristics. According to the exhibition committee, the theme was chosen as an antidote to a recent exhibit theme, “I Am Woman”. Artists may submit two pieces dealing with the subject.

Sandra Rupp will jury the exhibit for awards. As Director of Hampton III Gallery in Greenville, SC, for over 25 years, she focuses on southern artists, particularly those with a South Carolina connection. In addition to her gallery work, she assists museums with their programming and contributes to the city of Greenville as an artistic consultant.

The exhibit is scheduled for July 13 – August 27, 2017. Art works are due at the Gaffney Visitors Center and Art Gallery by June 28. The gallery, located at 210 W. Frederick Street in Gaffney, is open weekdays from 9am – 5pm and Saturdays from 9am – 1pm.

Exhibition Prospectus:

Cherokee Alliance of Visual Artists (CAVA) is a non-profit organization located in the Gaffney Visitors Center and Art Gallery. CAVA is planning an exhibit open to local and area artists, “I AM Man”. The exhibit is a Peach Festival event held in conjunction with Gaffney’s annual Peach Festival.

Dates: Entry form, entry fee, and delivery of art: June 24, 26, 27 and 28
Shipped entries: due by June 24
Reception: Thursday, July 13, 6-8pm
Pick-up art: August 26, 28, 29,and 30

Entry Form: On index-sized cards, legibly write your name, address, telephone number, email, title of work, medium, and price or insurance value if not for sale.

Entry Fee and Sale of Works: Entry fee is $20.00 for one or two pieces; there is no fee for CAVA members. Works may be for sale. A commission of 30% for non-members will be charged. Artists will be paid at the end of the exhibit.

Delivery and Return are the responsibility of the artist. Pieces may be shipped if hand-delivery is not possible. Return shipping must be included along with the entry fee.

Specifications”
–Artists should deal with interpretation of the male (human), masculinity, or related interests.
–Artists eighteen and older may submit a total of two pieces for exhibition. All works will be displayed and must remain on display until the close of the exhibit.
–2-D works must be wired for hanging. No saw-tooth or clip hangers.

Awards: $1200.00 in awards including a People’s Choice Award. Additional awards may be available.

Liability: CAVA will use the utmost care in handling the artwork. It is the artists’ responsibility to insure the work during transport. Works will be insured by CAVA during exhibition. For publicity purposes, CAVA reserves the right to photograph and reproduce any entry submitted. The receipt of an entry in the show constitutes an agreement by the artist to the conditions set forth in this prospectus.

For additional information regarding viewing or entering the exhibit, call Sara Setzer at 864/489-9817 or e-mail to (rodnsara@charter.net).

Upstate Heritage Quilt Trail in Upstate SC Adds Quilt Block #199

May 31, 2017

Driving down Sandy Springs Road in North West Anderson County, SC, through rolling farm land you will find Bruce and Toni Smith’s home. They have sponsored the 199th quilt location on the Upstate Heritage Quilt Trail in Upstate, SC.

The Lone Star quilt block can be viewed on their barn at 1101 Sandy Springs Road. We asked the Smith’s how they selected this quilt for their barn. They said, “We were in the little Amish town of Bird in Hand, Pennsylvania, and went into a store that had quilts for sale. It was here that we were amazed with all the quilts to choose from but Toni couldn’t decide on one that she was really taken with. A young Amish girl suggested that we go out into the country side and find a lady that made quilts at her home and that she really did beautiful work. We did find her the next day and made a very satisfying purchase of this quilt at her home.” Mrs. Smith stated that she has always loved quilts and wanted a quilt for their home. She continues to use the Lone Star quilt to adorn their home and now their barn.

The Smith’s live on a farm that has been in Bruce’s’ family since 1949. His family moved to this farm the year he was born and still possess the wagon his father used to move the family to their new home. They have primarily been cattle farmers and continue to run a few head of cattle. They love the rolling hills and open spaces and have a lovely bed of roses.

Kimberly Wulfert, PhD, Quilt historian states in her article “The Lone Star Quilt Design Through Time” that, ”The Lone Star quilt block is likely one of the most recognizable quilt patterns to Americans. It is also one of the oldest patterns, along with the Mariner’s Compass, Orange Peel, Job’s Trouble and Irish chain. But this is a pattern known by many names. There are variations of it with 6 points, 8 points (the most common design) or even more…”. This old multi-pieced star block is known by many names. The Mathematical Star was an early name used in England and along the Eastern US seaboard, especially near Baltimore.

The Star of Bethlehem is a well-known name for it all around the country and is still used today. Other names for the same pattern are the Star of the East, Morning Star, which is what Native American’s call it, and Lone star, which is the name given to this pattern by Texan quilters because they are called the lone star state…The Amish liked the large central Star pattern, as did the southern states, across the US. The Central States made their fair share, but it seems more were made closer to the last quarter of the 19th century and in to the 20th century’s first two quarters.” Source: New Pathways Into Quilt History.

For further info about the Upstate Heritage Quilt Trail visit (www.uhqt.org).

Hub City Empty Bowls in Spartanburg, SC, Launches 2017 Program

May 31, 2017

Hub City Empty Bowls – an annual fundraiser that uses handmade pottery bowls to feed hungry Spartanburg citizens – has set the 2017 dates for its well-attended events. There will be three regularly scheduled bowl-making events: Saturday, July 15, 2017, at 10am-noon and 1-3pm in Spartanburg Art Museum’s pottery studio at Chapman Cultural Center in Spartanburg, SC; Thursday, July 20, 2017, from 5-8pm at West Main Artists Co-Op, during ArtWalk; and Saturday, Aug. 26, 2017, at 10am-noon and 1-3pm at Chapman Cultural Center. Soup Day will be Saturday, Oct. 28, 2017, from 11am-4pm at Chapman Cultural Center. All events are free and family friendly.

Hub City Empty Bowls is a localized fundraiser inspired the international Empty Bowls decentralized program. Locally, the program’s spearhead Carolina Clay Artists coordinates public bowl-making sessions. At no charge, citizens of all ages are given supplies, tools, space, and instructions on how to make hand-shaped pottery bowls. Those unfinished bowls are left at the venue to be painted and fired by experienced potters. Bowls often made by children can be simple, primitive, and charming. Others made by experienced potters can be precise, intricate, and sophisticated.

With hundreds of bowls created by local citizens, Carolina Clay Artists then hosts Soup Day, an event where patrons receive the bowls – each for a $15 donation to TOTAL Ministries, a local charity that provides food and other resources to people in financial crisis. In addition to receiving bowls, the patrons can enjoy a meal of soup, bread, and tea donated by the community’s leading restaurants, hear live music, bid in a silent auction, and enjoy the fellowship and comradery of knowing they are helping to feed people in need. In 2016, the Carolina Clay Artists donated a record-breaking $33,000 to TOTAL Ministries.

“Coordinating Hub City Empty Bowls is a massive undertaking,” 2017 Chairman Bruce Bowyer said. “People want to know as soon as possible about our dates so they can plan accordingly. Some people come to all of the bowl-making sessions and Soup Day. Plus, by setting the dates early, we can better handle the large crowds of people who normally show up. It is not unusual for us to have several hundred people come to a bowl-making session. And come Soup Day, we’ll see more than a thousand.”

Despite the crowds, it is seldom anyone has to wait to make a bowl or enjoy Soup Day. Space, volunteers, and experience are plentiful enough to keep everyone engaged.

Carolina Clay Artists is a local group of hobbyist and professional potters who come together monthly to share ideas, hold workshops and demos, and tour pottery studios to see other artists’ work and learn new ideas. It is open to all who have an interest in learning and sharing about pottery. Annual dues are $35. Hub City Empty Bowls is the group’s annual charity fundraising event to help feed the hungry.

TOTAL Ministries got its start in 1982 as Project Eat. Founder Dannie Horne saw an unemployment rate of 9.7% and that many people in Spartanburg County were hungry. During the first 17 months of Project Eat’s existence, $190,000 of groceries were distributed in an effort to alleviate that problem. In 1983, TOTAL Ministries of Spartanburg County, Inc. was incorporated by 12 Spartanburg churches to carry on the work of Project Eat. Since then, additional emergency services have been added to the TOTAL mission in an effort to help those in need. For those in need, TOTAL can help with utility services, food, and medications.

Empty Bowls started in 1990 by Michigan art teacher John Hartom, who organized a charitable event to give his art students a way to make a personal difference in the lives of others in their community. Hartom’s students made pottery bowls in their high school art classes, and the finished products were then used as individual serving pieces for a fundraising meal of soup and bread. From that simple beginning, Empty Bowls has spread around the world, taking root in communities both small and large. Spartanburg had its first Empty Bowls program in 2009. All Empty Bowls efforts are locally based with all proceeds going to a local charity with a mission to alleviate hunger in its community. None of the money raised leaves the community. The lead agency, Carolina Clay Artists, donates all of its time and talents, and receives no monetary benefit. Locally, all proceeds go to TOTAL Ministries.

For more information about Hub City Empty Bowls, please visit online at (www.HubCityEmptyBowls.com) or call 864.706-3739 or 864/585-9167.

Downtown Spartanburg, SC, Mural Celebrates USC Upstate’s 50th Anniversary

May 29, 2017

As part of its 50th Anniversary Celebration, the University of South Carolina Upstate commissioned a commemorative mural and it is catching a lot of attention along a major corridor in downtown Spartanburg. The 50th Anniversary mural marks a significant part of the USC Upstate’s history while providing a visual voice that the university remains youthful, energetic and cutting edge.

“I cannot be more excited to have the University of South Carolina Upstate mural featured in downtown Spartanburg,” said Chancellor Brendan Kelly. “This amazing artwork encapsulates the history of USC Upstate, its strong reputation of serving as a critical force in fulfilling regional and state workforce needs, and its brilliant future.”


Eli Blasko, co-owner of Bannan Blasko, LLC, perched on scaffolding, works diligently on the border of one of the mural’s panels.

The mural spans the entire wall of Gallery East, located at 512 East Main Street just a block away from the intersection of East Main Street and Pine Street.

“I am eternally grateful to Jason Hiltabiddle for providing such a prominent location for USC Upstate to share its remarkable story,” said Kelly. “This is just the beginning of how USC Upstate intends to approach deliberate storytelling and branding.”


USC Upstate graduate Russell Bannan, co-owner of Bannan Blasko LLC, works on some of the intricate details of the mural.

The mural focuses primarily on themes of education, growth, vitality and strength, which permeate the design in a multitude of ways, on both literal and symbolic levels.

“This allows it to capture the values of the institution’s character and mission, while simultaneously allowing it to stand freely as a unique and cohesive piece of fine art,” said Russell Bannan, a graduate of USC Upstate and co-owner of Bannan Blasko LLC, a public art and design focused media company that designed and painted the mural.


Eli Blasko, top, Miranda Peterson, center, and Russell Bannan, below, spent Friday and Saturday working on the USC Upstate mural painted on the wall of Gallery East, located at 512 E. Main Street.

Compositionally, the mural is strategically designed to lead the viewer’s eye from left to right. Because of this, imagery from early in the school’s history is placed at left, visually the “beginning” of the piece, and more contemporary imagery is placed at right.

“In this way, a longer viewing experience should be punctuated by seeing the Upstate logo within a robust visual backdrop before walking away. Likewise, someone passing by quickly in a vehicle or on foot will be drawn to the area of the mural housing the USC Upstate logo,” explained Eli Blasko, co-owner of Bannan Blasko LLC.


Eli Blasko, top, Miranda Peterson, center, and Russell Bannan, below, spent Friday and Saturday working on the USC Upstate mural painted on the wall of Gallery East, located at 512 E. Main Street.

The artistic talent of Bannan and Blasko can be found throughout including “There’s only one. Spartanburg” mural and the popular “Love Where You Live” mural that the two worked with other artists to create. They have also painted the crosswalks at Liberty and East Main Streets and completed several sculptural murals for Drayton Mills Loft Apartments.

With 6,000 students, more than 1,000 employees and nearly 30,000 alumni who live in the area, the USC Upstate 50th Anniversary mural is sure to become a popular destination for photos and institutional pride.

For more information, contact Tammy E. Whaley, assistant vice chancellor for university communications, at 864/503-5210 or e-mail her at (twhaley@uscupstate.edu).

Explaining the symbolism in the mural:

Peaches – The present location of the USC Upstate campus owned by Henry Gramling who used the land as a peach orchard and soybean farm. In 1967, the Spartanburg County Commission for Higher Education acquired 22 acres of land from Mr. Gramling for $100,000 and he donated 27 acres for the establishment of a new campus, which now includes 300 acres.

Scenic background – The beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains can often be seen from the USC Upstate campus.

Trees – Since 2008 USC Upstate has been designated a Tree Campus USA by the Arbor Day Foundation, for its dedication to campus forestry management and environmental stewardship. USC Upstate is also home to the 12-acre Susan Jacobs Arboretum that is a place of serene natural beauty. It features a 300-seat amphitheater, lighted walkways, foliage indigenous to the area, and rows of Nuttall Oak trees defining the north quadrangle. A meandering creek lined with stones and boulders completes this tranquil setting.

USCS Rifles – Prior to 2004, the University was named University of South Carolina Spartanburg and its mascot was The Rifles, which paid homage to the Revolutionary War history of the Upstate of South Carolina. On July 1, 2004, the name was changed to University of South Carolina Upstate to signal a new era of academic expansion to Greenville, tremendous growth, qualitative improvements and economic impact across the I-85 corridor. The mascot was changed to Sparty to maintain a connection to the original name and commitment to the Spartanburg community.

177 Founding Class – The Spartanburg Regional Campus of the University of South Carolina opened on September 18, 1967 at Spartanburg General Hospital. Student enrollment was 177 of which 36 were nursing majors.

Nurses Cap – The university was founded when Spartanburg General Hospital (now Spartanburg Regional Healthcare System) announced plans to close its nursing education program, which would create a dire nursing shortage for Spartanburg County. A drop shadow creates a three-dimensional quality to the image, and visually brings the portrait forward to emphasize its importance as a historical symbol for the university.

Gold Dome – The Gold Dome that sits atop the John C. Stockwell Administration Building, which is the first building erected on the campus in 1969. It is a gleaming iconic university symbol that has remained unchanged since the Spartanburg Regional Campus (now USC Upstate) was officially dedicated on April 17, 1970.

1967 – 2017 – The South Carolina General Assembly passed Act No. 36 on February 16, 1967 to establish the
Spartanburg County Commission for Higher Education to undertake the creation of a university campus in Spartanburg. USC Upstate is celebrating its 50th Anniversary.

50 Years – The University is celebrating its 50th Anniversary.

Spartan – This Spartan symbol represents the USC Upstate Spartans athletic teams. Sparty is the USC Upstate mascot.

#SpartanStrong – Spartan Strong, a slogan of support for USC Upstate, conveys the unique strength and resiliency that allows an Upstate Spartan to carry on no matter the situation. The phrase was initially coined in October 2015 as words of encouragement and unity for University community upon the death of four student-athletes.

30,000 Alumni – Nearly 30,000 students have earned their degrees from USC Upstate. Approximately 85 percent of the alumni choose to remain in the Upstate to build their lives and careers, making a significant impact on the region’s economy and quality of life.

Diploma Scroll – The diploma scroll signifies the successful attainment of degrees.

Globe – The globe pays tribute to USC Upstate’s diverse and dynamic community of approximately 6,000 students from 26 states and 17 countries, USC Upstate is a wonderful blend of traditional and nontraditional students who reflect the Upstate’s rich international character. Home to more than one million people and boasting the highest per capita international investment of any county in the nation, the Upstate region provides boundless academic, professional, and cultural outlets for students to develop skills and establish meaningful connections.

The University of South Carolina Upstate is a regional, comprehensive university that offers more than 40 bachelor’s degree programs in the liberal arts and sciences, business administration, nursing, and teacher education, and master’s degrees in education, informatics, and nursing. These are degrees that help students to transition easily to careers in the Upstate region. USC Upstate is committed to fulfilling regional and state workforce needs and thus the university is a major engine of social and economic development.  Comprised of a diverse and dynamic community of approximately 6,000 students from 26 states and 17 countries, USC Upstate is a wonderful blend of traditional and nontraditional students who reflect the Upstate’s rich international character. USC Upstate offers a balance of strengths that, when added up, results in a learning experience that’s hard to match. The academic programs are accredited and highly ranked, with amazing research and internship opportunities for students. USC Upstate has its main campus in Spartanburg, the George Dean Johnson, Jr. College of Business and Economics and the UPSTATE Gallery on Main in downtown Spartanburg, two locations in Greenville, SC, and a growing number of programs online. The USC Upstate Spartans, which fields 17 varsity sports, compete on the NCAA Division I level as a member of the Atlantic Sun Conference. Nearly 30,000 alumni have earned degrees from USC Upstate and approximately 85 percent choose to remain in the Upstate region to build their lives and careers, making a significant impact of the region’s economy and quality of life.

Learn more at (www.uscupstate.edu).