Ninth SC Cultural District approved in Downtown Camden
The City of Camden was awarded the ninth South Carolina Cultural District on October 8th by a unanimous vote of the South Carolina Arts Commission (SCAC) board of directors, effective immediately.
The new Downtown Camden Cultural District runs along Rutledge Street from Church to Lyttleton Streets, Lyttleton Street to York Street, York to Broad, and Broad Street from York Street to DeKalb, touching all or part of 14 city blocks. It includes the Arts Center of Kershaw County, galleries, studios and other makers spaces, artisan and farmers markets, and prominent historic landmarks dating to the late 1800s. Signage and other markers are planned to define the area to residents and visitors.
“Camden has had a strong arts community for well over half a century, and downtown Camden hosts several arts spaces, including the Arts Center of Kershaw County, private galleries and studios, music and maker spaces,” said city of Camden Main Street Program Manager Katharine Spadacenta. “We’ve identified 60 cultural assets in this area to be designated as the Cultural District. We are very excited for the arts and culture of our community to be recognized as an official South Carolina Cultural District.”
Cultural districts are defined by the SCAC as walkable geographic areas with a concentration of cultural facilities, activities, and assets. They are easily identifiable and serve as centers of cultural, artistic, and economic activity. They frequently have galleries and artist studios, theaters and other live performance venues, public art, museums and arts centers, and arts schools in addition to non-cultural attractions like parks, restaurants and bars, and other commercial activity.
Legislation ratified by the South Carolina General Assembly in 2014 authorizes the SCAC to grant official state designation to cultural districts. The legislation specifies the following goals of this program:
- attract artists, creative entrepreneurs and cultural enterprises to communities
- encourage economic development
- foster local cultural development
- provide a focal point for celebrating and strengthening local cultural identity
“Cultural districts show the best of what South Carolina has to offer. They prove that arts and culture drive growth, bring people together, and make our communities stronger. We welcome Camden’s new cultural district. The possibilities and impact are boundless. We hope other cities and towns make arts a focal point of progress,” SCAC board of directors Chairwoman Dee Crawford said.
“Our South Carolina Cultural Districts attract tourists, help preserve and reuse historic buildings, enhance the image and visibility of a place, foster a supportive environment for arts and culture,” SCAC Executive Director David Platts said. “You don’t have to be in Camden long to see all of that is going on in our newest district. It is a wonderful and fitting addition to the program, and I congratulate them for making arts and culture a point of community pride.”
“Personal connections in Camden let me observe the progress of its ongoing downtown revitalization through the past 13 years. Strong, visionary leadership steered toward this accomplishment, and the arts commission is thrilled to see the arts and creative sector used yet again to keep momentum building,” South Carolina Cultural Districts Program Director Jason Rapp said.
The Downtown Camden Cultural District joins eight other districts: Beaufort, Bluffton, Congaree Vista, Florence, Greenwood, Lancaster, Rock Hill, and Downtown Spartanburg. More information about South Carolina Cultural Districts is available on the SCAC's website.
About the South Carolina Arts Commission
The mission of the South Carolina Arts Commission (SCAC) is to promote equitable access to the arts and support the cultivation of creativity in South Carolina. We envision a South Carolina where the arts are valued, and all people benefit from a variety of creative experiences.
Created by the South Carolina General Assembly in 1967, the Arts Commission works to increase public participation in the arts by providing grants, direct programs, staff assistance and partnerships in three key areas: arts education, community arts development, and artist development. Headquartered in Columbia, S.C., 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 more information, visit SouthCarolinaArts.com or call 803-734-8696.