Category Archives: Spartanburg Events

West Main Artists Exhibit in Spartanburg, SC

Open Doors

West Main Artists Co-op to Exhibit 44 Members’ ArtWork

West Main Artists Co-op will host a month-and-a-half long “Open Doors” exhibit — Nov. 16-Dec. 30 — at which the general public can see the gathered and finished work of 44 local artists.

On Thursday, Nov. 16, which is Spartanburg’s monthly ArtWalk, about two dozen of the artists will be in their studios demonstrating how they create everything from jewelry and pottery to watercolor paintings and sculptures. Regular viewing the exhibits — Tuesday-Friday, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. and Saturdays, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. — and touring the demonstrations during ArtWalk are free.

    “This is our biggest and most important exhibit for the year,” Chairwoman Beth Regula said. “We host different exhibits each month, most of which are by individual members, but some are by nonmember artists who we invite to show in our large gallery, the Venue. This exhibit, however, will be our largest of the year. It is an opportunity for us to focus on all of our members at one time; to bring them and their work together; to show breadth and scope of the art being produced by local artists in one place. We asked our members to display their most recent and new works. On ArtWalk night, we will have many of our members in their studios creating. For some people it is real treat to watch an artist at work. It certainly can be insightful.”

    “At this time there is no event like this in Spartanburg,” Glenda Guion, one of the exhibit’s organizers, said. “Many cities have city-wide open-studio events. We hope our event might eventually include other artists’ studios, similar to the Studio Trek in Tryon or Open Studios in Greenville. I was chairperson of the Greenville event for five years and participated for 10 years, beginning from its conception. Hopefully, teachers will encourage art students to visit the studios and talk to the artists about their journey that led them to the Co-op. Some members are 30-year professional artists, while others have recently become dedicated to making art. There is no other group studio space or open-studio event in the Spartanburg area.”

    At the heart of this exhibit is the Co-op’s mission to give its more than 50 members as many opportunities as possible to produce, show, and sell their artwork. But the timing of this exhibit during the Holidays is no coincidence. “First, we want to bring in new visitors to view the artwork, and to open the studios and educate the public about what a gem they have right here in Spartanburg!” Guion said. “I can’t believe how many people ask me ‘what is that place?’ We would like to remove the mystique of what goes on in our spaces and to invite people to visit us anytime during our business hours, not just on this night.

    “And this is perfect timing for Christmas shopping,” she continued. “There is a wide range of artwork at every price point. There is everything from handmade jewelry, quilts and pottery to original paintings, sculpture and photography.” She expects each of the 44 participating artists will have two to eight new works of art to show. In total there will be hundreds of pieces throughout the multi-story building, meeting an unmet need to make locally created art available on daily basis. Because of the scope of this exhibit, no other exhibits will be open at West Main Artists Co-op during this time, which normally has individual monthly member exhibits.

“This is the first time since the grand opening of the Co-op seven years ago that almost all of the artists will be opening their studios for the public,” Guion said. “Each artists will be available to answer questions about their work and process. During the past two years there are more than 20 new members. We hope that people will come to visit our long-established Co-op members and meet our newer artists. There have been lots of changes in just the past year, both in membership and our physical space. The participating artists hope to educate the public about where and how they create artwork, to showcase our workspace, art community and what we create.”

As a retail gallery, WMAC is open Tuesday-Friday, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. and Saturdays, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. There is no admission to see the exhibits or shop. It is located at 578 West Main Street in downtown Spartanburg in what was originally a Baptist church. For more information, please visit online or call (864) 804-6501.

SC WaterMedia Exhibit Comes to Spartanburg SC

For the first time in more than 10 years, the South Carolina WaterMedia Society’s annual Traveling Exhibit will come to Spartanburg, SC, in September 2017 and will be on public display at West Main Artists Co-Op.

Between Concerts

“Actually, West Main Artists Co-Op is the only gallery in Upstate South Carolina where this most-noted statewide exhibit will be displayed,” Spartanburg watercolorist Dwight Rose said. Rose, a member of the Society, was instrumental in getting Spartanburg on the tour list. “The last time the exhibit came to Spartanburg was when the old Spartanburg Art Center was on Spring Street.”

Dark Beauty

This is the WaterMedia Society’s 39th year of sponsoring this annual exhibit that juries work from watercolor artists from throughout the state and beyond. This year there were 183 entries, from which 30 winners were selected by Canadian artist Marc Taro Holmes. Five of the winners are from the Upstate and Western North Carolina. They are Diana Carnes of Pendleton (Tsunami), Patricia Cole-Ferullo of Tryon (Dark Beauty), Monique Wolfe of Greenville (Between Concerts), Lori Solymosi of Pendleton (Looking Back), and Ann Heard of Anderson (Blue House). More than $8,000 in prize money was awarded in the 2016 competition. The Best of Show winner was titled The Hands of a Fisherman by Lynda English of Florence. This is the 2016 exhibit that tours the state from the fall of 2016 to the fall 2017.

Blue House

The exhibit will open on Sept. 6 and close on Sept. 30. A private pre-opening event for donors will be held Sept. 5, and the free public reception will be held Saturday, Sept. 9, 5-8 p.m. The exhibit can viewed Tuesday-Friday, 10 a.m.-6 p.m.; and Saturdays, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. There is no charge to see the exhibit.

Looking Back

“We are so honored to host the WaterMedia Exhibit this year,” WMAC President Beth Regula said. “We are especially excited that this is an opportunity for people from outside of Spartanburg to visit our gallery and community. The work this year is absolutely wonderful in its diversity of styles and content. Just within the five Upstate winners, you have equestrian subject matter, a nude, an abstract, a nonrepresentational, and impressionism. Those are just the ones from this region: There are 25 more works of art to be seen in this collection. If you have any appreciation at all for art, you must see this exhibit while you can.”


The 2016 exhibit was juried by Holmes of Montreal. He is author of The Urban Sketcher: Techniques for Seeing and Drawing on Location (2014) and the instructor for two online classes in location sketching. Since 2009, he has been a correspondent with Additionally, he served as a board member and volunteer editor. Holmes was elected to the Canadian Society of Painters in Watercolor in 2016, recently winning their Sloan Award (2016) and CSPWC Second Prize Award (2017). He graduated in 1995 with a bachelor’s in fine art from the Alberta College of Art and Design in Calgary, Alberta. During his 15-year career, he has been as an art director and concept artist for various studios, including Electronic Arts, Microsoft, and Disney. He has worked on games such as Dragon Age Inquisition, Neverwinter Nights, and Baldur’s Gate, specializing in characters/costumes and fantasy-historical environmental design. His second art book Designing Creatures and Characters: How to Build an Artist’s Portfolio for Video Games, Film, Animation and More was released in October of 2016.

“There is a tremendous amount of raw talent, invested effort, and earned experience laid out in front of me,” Holmes said about the South Carolina artists. “It’s inspiring to see the range of ideas on display. Every artist has their own media and techniques, and the subjects they find worthy of immortalizing. With each one I get a new jolt of excitement. Having to look seriously at all the work, to try and understand the artist’s intent, and to deduce the steps in the creation, it’s been like a visit to a world class museum.”

Since 1977, the South Carolina Watermedia Society has promoted the artistic and professional interests of its members as well as providing visual arts programs to the public. The Society works towards achieving its goals by making the accomplishments of its members available to a broad base of South Carolinians. SCWS, the largest statewide visual arts group, is an active presenting organization. It nurtures and promotes South Carolina artists by providing exhibition opportunities, special programs to market their original works, and educational programs.

WMAC is the only studio art co-op in Spartanburg County and art is produced and on display throughout the 20,000 square foot building, which is a former church. The exhibitions, workshops, performances, and educational opportunities, along with artists’ studios, subsist in the creation of a unique environment, a one-of-a-kind facility that houses like-minded individuals who share a common creative consciousness. The nonprofit organization has 32 studios and more than 50 member artists.

Other South Carolina cities and counties that are hosting this exhibit include Marion County, Sumter, Hartsville, North Charleston, Lancaster, and Aiken. The travel arrangements are being managed by the SC State Museum.

There is no cost to see this exhibit, and it is open Tuesday-Friday, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. and Saturdays, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. WMAC is located at 578 West Main Street, Spartanburg, SC. For more information, please call (864) 804-6501.

Spartanburg SC West Main Artists Co-Op Opens Three New Exhibits in May

Spartanburg’s West Main Artists Co-Op (WMAC) will open three new exhibits in May: “Residuals” by founding member Addam Duncan, “Explorations In Wax” by Terry Jarrard-Dimond, and “Calming Rhythm: Washing the Soul Clean,” by Converse College students Christine Swetenburg and Nancy Vaughn. All of these exhibits will be open for free public viewing on Thursday, May 18, during ArtWalk, the city’s monthly self-perpetuating and self-guiding tour of local art galleries. The free opening reception will be 5-9 p.m.

WMAC, 578 West Main Street, is a converted 20,000-square-foot church now being used by more than 50 member artists to produce and showcase their work. The 32 studios accommodate various media, including printing, ceramics, pottery, textiles, jewelry making, quilting, sculpture, photography, and many others. In addition to the studio space, there are several art galleries and the opportunity to purchase locally made art.

Duncan, 36, is a native of Inman, SC. His artistic abilities travel many avenues, including painting, printmaking, sculpting, and writing both prose and music.  “Residuals” will be an exhibit of his use of leftover or discarded ink and paint to make abstract monotypes, printed directly from the pages of telephone books. “I’m using the ink and the paint that I would normally throw away to make abstract monotype prints on nice printmaking paper,” he said. “They are printed directly from telephone book pages, as the phone book is kind of an obsolete item in this day and age. The concept is ‘Why dispose of something that has the potential to be something beautiful?’” With no formal art training or education, Duncan has exhibited in New York, San Francisco, Portland, Seattle, Cleveland, Philadelphia, Atlanta, Charlotte, Asheville, Columbia, Pickens, Greenville, and Spartanburg. Since 2012, Duncan has owned Honor & Glory Tattoo in Inman. The unframed prints in this exhibit will be reasonably priced for sale. This exhibit will end June 10.

Jarrard-Dimond’s “Explorations In Wax” exhibit is a collection of nonrepresentational canvas images created with encaustic paint, which is a combination of beeswax, pigment, and tree sap. This is a rich medium that has been used for many centuries to create images known for their sense of depth. The works in this exhibit were created during the past three years and are noted for their striking colors and bold, organic, and contemporary images. In her artist’s statement, the Seneca artist said: “My work is the physical manifestation of my dreams, fantasies, and imagination. I experience the act of making as an altered state where I make unique visual relationships between marks, smudges, stains, and shapes. I look for moments of chance where these same elements unite to reveal figures, structures, landscapes, and mindscapes.”

Jarrard-Dimond earned a bachelor’s degree from Winthrop University and a master’s degree in fine art from Clemson University. She worked for more than 15 years as a sculptor and taught at several colleges and universities. Her work is represented in collections such as Coca-Cola International in Atlanta, The Federal Reserve Bank in Charlotte, and The State Museum of South Carolina, in Columbia. Her work has been featured in many solo shows, including Furman University, Columbia College, The Fine Arts Center in Greenville, and Upstairs Artspace in Tryon, NC. This exhibit will open Tuesday, May 16, and end Saturday, June 10. More info about Jarrard-Dimond is found online at

“Calming Rhythm: Washing the Soul Clean” will be the joint graduate exhibition featuring the work of Swetenburg and Vaughn. This exhibition will showcase artwork created during their education at Converse College and will consist of acrylic paintings, handmade books, soapstone carvings, and clay work. The name, “Calming Rhythm: Washing the Soul Clean,” blends together the two artists’ themes for their creativity. Swetenburg works with a range of materials, including clay and handmade books. This body of work shows her exploration with water and its spiritual and cleansing effect that it has in her life. Much of her work is abstracted from the rain she saw hitting windows as an undergraduate student. Swetenburg is an art teacher in Greenville County, where she teaches 4K-5th grade students. She is also a candidate for a master’s degree in art education from Converse College.

Vaughn is a mixed media artist who incorporates dimensional aspects in her works, which include sculpture and the use of trapunto techniques in her paintings. She has always been influenced by words and music that often evoke vivid pictures in her mind, she said. Vaughn used these images as inspiration to create the work in this exhibit. She teaches art in Spartanburg County and is a candidate for a master’s degree in art education from Converse College.

For more information about these new exhibits at West Main Artists Co-Op in May, please call (864) 804-6501 or visit WMAC’s website at or on Facebook.

Seeing Spartanburg in a New Light Hosts Closing Celebration

Seeing Spartanburg in a New light will hold a closing celebration on Tuesday April 25th, 2017 from 7:00 pm – 8:00 pm. Ceremonies will take place at several of the public art site locations across the city simultaneously. 
In 2015, the City of Spartanburg was selected as one of four temporary public art projects from across the United States to receive a grant award from the first-ever Bloomberg Philanthropies Public Art Challenge. Seeing Spartanburg opened on October 4, 2016 and included nine temporary art installations in public spaces within ten neighborhoods throughout the city. The project is a partnership among the City of Spartanburg Police and Community Relations Departments, internationally renowned light and digital media artist Erwin Redl, the Chapman Cultural Center, and neighborhood associations. Seeing Spartanburg built on National Night Out, an annual event that promotes crime prevention efforts, police-community partnership, and neighborhood camaraderie. Planning and Design expanded sisteen months and culminating with opening on National Night Out October 4, 2016. Over the past seven months, the LED light and video installations transformed open spaces lending to more vibrant communities, inspiring local residents’ creativity, and lighting up Spartanburg on a national level. The closing celebration will feature live music across all nine sites, as well as comments from local residents, Mayor Junie White, Police Chief Alonzo Thompson and community leaders on the impact this project has had within their neighbourhoods and the City. Site Locations: 
  • “Video Village” Bethlehem Center | 397 Highland Avenue 29306 
  • “Under One Roof’ South Converse | 440 S. Converse St. 29306 
  • “Mobile Suspension” Downtown Denny’s Plaza | 203 E. Main St. 29306 
  • “Spartanburg Swing” Hampton Heights National Beta Headquarters | 267 S. Spring Street 29306 
  • “River Poetry” Cottonwood Trail | 1038 Woodburn Rd. 29302 
  • “Glow ” VCOM | 350 Howard St. 29303 
  • “Glow” Beaumont Village Smoke Stack | 401 Beaumonth Ave. 29303 
  • “Benchmark Spartanburg” Forest Park CC Woodson Center | 210 Bomar Ave 29306 
Jennifer Evins, President and CEO of Chapman Cultural Center says: “This has been a true public art process that has resulted in a transformational experience for our entire city including visitors to Spartanburg. The unique planning and design process with Artist Erwin Redl gave our residents and Spartanburg police officers the opportunity to be creative and explore the process of learning to trust one another and share positive experiences. Throughout the last eighteen months, Seeing Spartanburg truly shined a light of hope and community collaboration that all communities strive to achieve. I am extremely grateful to the hundreds of neighborhood residents, City Police and staff, and over sixty-five collaborative community partners that made the project a brilliant success.”
About Chapman Cultural Center
Chapman Cultural Center provides cultural leadership for Greater Spartanburg by developing, strengthening, and promoting the scope, excellence and educational role of the arts, humanities and sciences, and to further their significance in the life of our community and all of its citizens.
The Chapman Cultural Center is located on East Saint John St in downtown Spartanburg, SC. Please visit for more information.


Spartanburg Philharmonic presents: Espresso no. 4 “Blue Mountain Blend”

Spartanburg Philharmonic Orchestra concludes its extraordinarily popular 2016-2017 “Espresso” chamber concert series on Friday, March 31, with Blue Mountain Blend. The event will start at 5:30 p.m. when doors open to the Chapman Cultural Center theater for a happy hour reception that will include beer, wine, and light snacks, all leading up to the 6:30 p.m. concert that will feature both the woodwind and brass quintets from the orchestra. Tickets are $25 each and can be purchased by telephone — (864) 583-2776 — or in person at Chapman’s box office Monday-Friday afternoons. Tickets are also available anytime online at

The concert will offer an enjoyable and accessible blend of music for wind and brass from familiar classics to a fresh new work. Showcasing the SPO Woodwind quintet – flute, oboe, clarinet, french horn, and bassoon – as well as the SPO Brass Quintet, this concert offers a fun and colorful experience for listeners of all ages.

The program will range stylistically from the edgy and fun Canadian Brass arrangement of St. Louis Blues by “the father of the blues” W.C. Handy to the beautiful and well-known Flower Duet from Lakmé that audiences will immediately recognize from movies and television. The concert will culminate in a performance of a new piece of music by local composer Peter B. Kay, written for all ten instrumentalists. Cinematic visuals by the award-winning filmmaker and former HUB BUB Artist-in-Residence Jonathan Ade will accompany the live music. Filmed in Spartanburg, SC, Ade’s work offers an impression of the art installations Seeing Spartanburg In A New Light that have been on display since October of 2016.

Ticketholders will be treated to concert-inspired wines and bites provided by the Marriott of Spartanburg as well as beer specially curated by sponsor Hub City Tap House. As an added bonus, audience members will receive a limited edition shaker pint glass to take home. After the show, the audience is invited to both neighboring establishments, the Marriott and the Hub City Tap House, for special meal and drink deals.

Tickets to the event are $25, visit or call 864.583.2776. Tickets may be purchased in person at the Chapman Cultural Center Box Office, 200 East Saint John St, Spartanburg SC, 29306.

Chamber Singers to Present Christmas Concert

chanber-singers-pixFirst Presbyterian Church Spartanburg’s Chamber Singers will present their annual Christmas Concert — Tidings of Comfort and Joy — in Chapman Cultural Center’s theater in Spartanburg, SC, Sunday, Dec. 4, 2016, starting at 7 p.m.

         The 30-member choir will sing 13 holiday songs, many without accompaniment and all without any electronic amplification. Because of the 500-seat theater’s unique and excellent acoustics, there is no need for amplification. As a result, many of the songs will be heard as they were originally written to be performed in small and intimate concert halls.chamber-at-chapman-2014

         “We strive for vocal excellence,” Director Holt Andrews said. “This music will be as vocally pure as we can possibly make it. It is our intention to touch people with the Christmas spirit in the most honest and sincere way — by giving them songs that will cause them to wonder in awe at the spiritual power this music can inspire. We want to touch them emotionally with the true beauty and meaning of Christmas.”

         Most of the songs will be classical, sacred, and creatively arranged to appeal to both serious music lovers and those looking for an alternative to the commercialization of Christmas. The evening with start with a traditional chant by the men who will be in the balcony. The women will be on the stage, and in between will be the seated patrons, surrounded by voices that were carefully chosen for their exceptional quality. Members of the choir are selected by audition on their voice quality and musical ability.

         Two of the songs are especially noted for being arranged by local professional musicians. A jazzy version of “The Holly And The Ivy,” arranged by Brennan Szafron, and a jazzy/gospel-like version of “Go Tell It On The Mountain,” arranged by John Moody will be highlights of the evening. Szafron is a teacher at Converse College’s Alia Lawson Academy of the Arts and the organist and choirmaster at Episcopal Church of the Advent. Moody teaches Advanced Placement Music Theory and Music Technology and is the Music Department Chair at Spartanburg High School.

         “This is probably our most varied Christmas concert in the history of the choir,” Andrews said. “Most songs will be classical, but the arrangements will give them new appeal… surprising, upbeat, and engaging.”

         Because of the choir’s emphasis on vocal excellence, only eight of the scheduled songs will have musical accompaniment by Greenville harpist Aubrey Elliot and Spartanburg pianist Marcia Andrews. “We love having both Aubrey and Marcia accompanying us, and they will be most valuable when we invite the audience to sing along with some popular and traditional Christmas songs,” Andrews said. “We feel it is important to provide the very best in vocal selections and to engage the audience and let them share in the spirit of the season. It’s just not a proper Christmas concert unless the audience gets to sing, too.”

         In addition to the Christmas concert at Chapman Cultural Center, the Chamber Singers will also present selections from that concert at other events, including their Sunday, Nov. 20, engagement at the Biltmore House in Asheville, NC. For 24 years, the Chamber Singers have been invited to perform at Biltmore as part of the historic home’s annual Candlelight Tours, which draws thousands of tourists during the holiday season. “We consider it to be an honor to be invited year after year,” Andrews said.

         Also, some of the songs will be performed in the church’s chapel on Sunday, Dec. 18, as part of the annual “Moravian Love Feast.”

         “Even though we perform throughout the year, Christmas is our busiest season,” Andrews said.

         The church’s Chamber Singers ensemble was originally formed in 1977 with six members. It quickly grew to become one of the Upstate’s most respected and accomplished choirs. Its members include many local professional musicians, as well as people who are considered to be “serious musicians,” such as Virginia Shuler, who continues to hone her craft by taking one-on-one voice lessons, in addition to the weekly Sunday night choir practice.

         “We take the Chamber Singers very seriously,” Shuler said. “But only because we enjoy it and the people who listen to the music enjoy it. Sometimes, I look out into the audience and see people’s faces and know we are touching them. We can feel it, and the audience can feel it. Singing is an art form to be shared, and we want to share our music with the citizens of this community. In a very real way, this Christmas concert is a gift to the Upstate.”

         Tickets to the Chapman concert are available through the Church and through Mobile Meals, which will be the recipient of concert’s proceeds. Tickets are $15 each and can be purchased by calling 864-583-4531 or 864-573-7684.

South Carolina Nonobjective Artist to Exhibit in June

IMG_3026Greenville artist Jane Doyle will hold her second exhibition of nonobjective paintings June 3-30 in Artists’ Guild of Spartanburg Gallery at Chapman Cultural Center in Spartanburg. In the exhibit – A Common Thread — some 20 acrylic paintings will be on display that reveal her talent for creating complimentary hues to produce paintings that are both enjoyable and pleasing to the eye. This exhibit will be free for public viewing Monday-Saturday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. and Sundays, 1-5 p.m.

Doyle’s work primarily consists of what she describes as an “imprecise abstract format” flowing from the conscious and continuous study of the interaction of color, light, mark and form. The result is that she is able to paint in a style that combines her love and appreciation of color with informality creating a truly revealing insight into how her work is experimental and influenced by Diebenkorn, Frankenthaler and other abstract artists of that time.

Doyle grew up in South Carolina and has lived here most of her life. Her study of art began as a hobby about 20 years ago and developed into a passion. “I have studied under the guidance of national and local artists at various workshops from the Carolinas to Florida,” she said. “Visiting galleries to analyze the works of representational artists, impressionists and many other contemporary artists has helped me to understand color, light and shadow.  It was only when my studies led me to the works of Diebekorn, de Kooning and Frankenthaler that I knew that working in the imprecise abstract format was where I wanted to be. With this influence and further study, along with imagination and life’s experiences, I set out to forge my own visual statement. Slowly I have discovered the secret of my art, which consists of a meditation on color and the expression of combining complimentary hues that always inspire my work. By working in a nonobjective format, I have the ability to combine my love for color with informality of form to express the style that I paint in. I am constantly revising my intentions.  My color themes present different phases of my studies, which are evolving and progressive.”

Her work has been exhibited extensively and includes First Citizens in Columbia and Anderson, Trident Technical College in Greenwood, SC School of Medicine in Greenville, and County Bank in Greenville.  Her juried shows include South Carolina Watercolor Society 2000; McCormick County Art Show 2001; Union County Art Show 2001, 2003, 2004, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012; Simpsonville Kudzu Art Show 2003 and 2004; Upstate Visual Arts Competition, 2004; South Carolina Festival of Flowers 2003, 2005; Spartanburg Guild Show 2005, 2006, 2015, 2016; and many others.

To see sample of Doyle’s work, please visit online:

For more information about Doyle’s exhibit at Chapman Cultural Center, please call 864.764.9568.

World-Class Classical Guitarist to Perform in Spartanburg, SC

Paul Bowman

Classical guitarist Paul Bowman will perform a free live concert Sunday, May 8, 2-4 p.m. at Chapman Cultural Center in Spartanburg, SC, as part of the venue’s Sundays Unplugged program.

Bowman has more than 25 years of performance experience and is considered to be one of today’s most passionate avatars of new music for the guitar. More than 50 works have been written for him by master composers such as John Eaton, Ursula Mamlok, and Charles Norman Mason. Recent new works for either solo or in-chamber settings have been written by composers Aaron Gervais Nicholas Deyoe, Paolo Cavallone, and several others. His work has been worldwide, with a concentration on the Southeast and includes The Charlotte New Music Festival. He won first prize at the Vlth (sic) International Competition for Classical Guitar in San Juan, and he was a finalist at the Guitar Foundation of America Competition in Milwaukee. As a world-class musician and performer, Bowman has produced a 13-compact disc set of studio recordings. His performances usually include pop tunes, light rock ‘n’ roll, light jazz, Broadway standards, and ethnic music. He and his wife live in the rural mountains near Lake Lure, NC. To sample Bowman’s music, please visit online

Every Sunday afternoon, 1-5 p.m., Chapman Cultural Center is open, providing a no-stress and free opportunity to enjoy local art and culture. In addition to the free concert, Spartanburg Art Museum, Artists’ Guild of Spartanburg Gallery, Spartanburg Regional History Museum, and the Student Galleries are all open and free. For more information about Sundays Unplugged, please call 864.542.ARTS.

Paul Robeson: Life Story of Famed Performer and Civil Rights Activist Offers Relevant Message for Today¹s Audiences

Paul Robeson, a musical and spoken portrayal of the world-famous scholar, actor, singer, lawyer, all-American athlete and civil rights activist, performs at Chapman Cultural Center in Spartanburg, SV, Saturday, Feb. 27, 2016, at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are available online at or by calling the box office at 864-542-ARTS (2787). Tickets are $20-$30 for general admission seating. The show is produced and presented by United in Music, Inc.IMGP5349

Before King dreamed, before Thurgood Marshall petitioned and Sidney Poitier emoted, before the big breakthroughs in Hollywood and Washington, before the Jim Crow signs came down, and before the Civil Rights banners went up, before Spike Lee, before Denzel Washington, before Sam Jackson and Jesse Jackson, there was Paul Robeson!

The performance stars Jason McKinney as Robeson, the African-American Renaissance man who rose to prominence in multiple arenas at a time when racism and segregation was rampant in the United States. Robeson used his fame as a performer to become a voice for people who were marginalized both at home and abroad. Despite a hugely successful career on stage and in films and international popularity, he was eventually silenced and his career effectively ended by prejudice and McCarthyism. Phillip Hayes Dean’s Paul Robeson sheds light on the life of this courageous, influential and complex man whose message remains relevant for today’s audiences.

United in Music’s Christopher Bagley co-stars as Robeson’s long-time collaborator Lawrence Brown. “Paul Robeson’s life story reminds us of the important work he did so bravely to advance the civil rights discussion,” said Bagley, “and those issues could not be any less important today. We are reminded every day that there is still so much work to be done to end racial discrimination.”

The play is written by Phillip Hayes Dean, who recently passed away on April 14, 2014. It brings attention to the important Robeson legacy which for too long had faded into the shadows of American lore. Although the production attracted a degree of controversy when first presented in 1979 with James Earl Jones in the lead role, Paul Robeson went on to have two highly successful runs on Broadway in 1988 and 1995 with Avery Brooks as Robeson.


Robeson Biography                     

Born in 1898 in Princeton, New Jersey, Paul Leroy Robeson grew up the youngest of five children. His father was an escaped slave who became a Presbyterian minister while his mother came from a distinguished abolitionist Quaker family. At age 17, Robeson received an academic scholarship to Rutgers University, where, despite racism from his teammates, he excelled in sports, receiving multiple varsity letters (baseball, football, basketball and track) and was twice named to the All-American Football Team. He received his Phi Beta Kappa key in his junior year and graduated as class valedictorian. He attended Columbia University Law School and, in the early 1920s, worked as a lawyer in New York. Racism at the firm drove him to leave the law profession, but he soon found success as a singer and actor.

As an actor, Robeson was one of the first Black men to play serious roles in the primarily white American theater. In 1924, he landed the lead in “All God’s Chillun Got Wings” and the following year starred in the London staging of “The Emperor Jones,” both by playwright Eugene O’Neill.  He became wildly popular as an actor and singer, and his star turn in Showboat in 1928 wowed London audiences with his rendition of “Ol’ Man River,” which was to become his signature song. The tune would also serve to help him become one of the most popular concert singers of his time. In addition, he performed in a number of films, including a re-make of “The Emperor Jones” (1933), “Song of Freedom” (1936) and the movie version of “Showboat” (1936).

He became internationally well-known and beloved, and used that fame to fight for justice and peace. At the height of his popularity, Robeson was a national symbol and a cultural leader in the war against fascism abroad and racism at home. Although admired and befriended by such luminaries as Eleanor Roosevelt, Joe Louis, Harry Truman and Lena Horne, his outspoken defense of civil liberties sparked the ire of conservatives trying to maintain the status quo.

Robeson regularly spoke out against racial inequality and injustice around the world. A champion of working people and organized labor, he performed at strike rallies, conferences and labor festivals worldwide.  In the late 1940s, he openly questioned why African Americans should fight in the armed forces of a government that tolerated racism. A passionate believer in international cooperation, Robeson protested the growing Cold War and worked tirelessly to build friendship and respect between the U.S. and the Soviet Union.

Because of his outspokenness, he was labeled a communist by the House Committee on Un-American Activities (HUAC) and was blacklisted from domestic concert venues, recording labels and film studios. Eighty of his concerts were cancelled and the State Department barred him from renewing his passport in order to perform overseas.

Though his passport was eventually reinstated eight years later, the damage was done. He suffered from depression and related health problems and died from a stroke in 1976 at age 77.


Performer Bios

McKinney (Paul Robeson)

Originally from Milwaukee, WI, Jason McKinney graduated from the University of North Carolina School of the Arts where he studied voice with soprano Marilyn Taylor and tenor Glenn Siebert and was the recipient of numerous scholarships and awards. McKinney has been featured with the North Carolina Symphony and has performed to critical acclaim in Europe, Mexico, the U.S. and Australia. When not on stage, he sings as Klezmer cantorial soloist for his synagogue in Spartanburg, SC, and composes liturgical music for Temple Emmanuel in Winston Salem, NC, where he now resides. He is the bass soloist at Centenary United Methodist Church, also in Winston Salem.


Bagley (Lawrence Brown)

Christopher Bagley is a native of Baltimore who has been involved with music since age 5 when his father began teaching him to play piano. He has acted in, directed, musically directed or accompanied more than 50 theatrical productions throughout the U.S. He continues to be in demand across the country as a guest artist. He currently serves as Director of Music at Bethany Presbyterian Church in Graham, NC and runs FundAbility, a company he founded which offers a range of services to small nonprofits.


Walnut Grove Plantation to Host Historic Firearms Show in South Carolina

image1 (22)Military history buffs and fans of historic technology are invited to a historic firearm show under the pavilion at Walnut Grove Plantation the night before “Walnut Grove on the March,” Friday, March 4, 2016, 6-9 p.m. The show will feature re-enactors to show off their authentic and replica historic firearms and answer questions.

Have you ever wanted to know more about your grandfather’s rifle, your great-grandfather’s shotgun, or your great-great-grandfather’s muzzleloader?  Jim Kelly of Darlington Gun Works will be on hand to apply his 67 years of experience building guns to an appraisal of your historic firearm. Set your sights on this event!

Admission is $5 per person; $50 per firearm appraisal. All weapons brought on grounds for appraisal must be empty of ammunition and will be inspected by a representative of the Spartanburg County Sheriff’s office prior to admission to the show.  Spartanburg County Historical Association does not permit concealed carry of firearms inside its buildings.DSC02810 (1)

The annual “Walnut Grove on the March” weekend is being expanded to include  more than 100 re-enactors, storytellers, and artisans transforming the 1767 homestead into a living colonial village. The event begins on Saturday, March 5, and continues through Sunday, March 6, with music, toy making, cooking, weaving, woodworking, basketry, candle dipping, and much more!  Historic re-enactments of loyalist partisan William Cunningham’s deadly 1781 raid on the Plantation will also take place on both days.  Bloody Bill Raid

Saturday, March 5

All day:  Hourly demos, musket fire and drills, music, authors, and more

11 a.m.: Overmountain Victory Trail Association presentation

12 p.m.: Re-enactment of Bloody Bill’s Raid and battle demonstration

1 p.m.:  Artillery demonstration

3 p.m.:  Benefit auction

Sunday March 6

All day:  Hourly demos, musket fire and drills, music, authors, and more

10 a.m.:  Back Country prayer meeting

12 p.m.:  Artillery demonstration

1 p.m.:  Re-enactment of Bloody Bill’s Raid and battle demonstration