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4 SC areas earn recertification as cultural districts

Creative Industries
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The original four South Carolina cultural districts have earned recertification in a program launched in 2015 to attract artistic enterprise and promote economic development.

The Congaree Vista, Lancaster, Rock Hill and Spartanburg all earned recertification through 2027, according to a news release from the South Carolina Arts Commission. The organization defines cultural districts as walkable, easily identifiable centers of artistic and economic activity with a concentration of cultural facilities, activities and assets. Cultural districts often feature art galleries, theaters, museums and museums in addition to parks, restaurants and other commercial activity.

David Platts, SCAC executive director, approved the recertification at the recommendation of reviewer Jason Rapp, program director for the South Carolina Cultural Districts program. The SCAC reviews annual reports and action plans submitted by the districts and, every five years after designation, evaluates those eligible for recertification.

“The South Carolina Arts Commission commends these districts for many things, but top-of-mind right now is the way they didn’t allow the upside-down pandemic world of lockdowns and restrictions to take their focus off arts and creativity,” Platts said in the release. “The reports showed each district managed to find its way in the face of major challenges. They are poised for big things as the world returns to normal, and we congratulate them on their significant achievements.”

Additional South Carolina cultural districts are designated in Beaufort, Bluffton, Camden, Florence and Greenwood.

Legislation ratified by the S.C. General Assembly in 2014 authorizes the SCAC to grant official state designation to cultural districts and specifies program goals. Those include attracting artists, creative entrepreneurs and cultural enterprises to communities, encouraging economic development, fostering local cultural development and providing a focal point for celebrating and strengthening local cultural identity.

“A district is designated after a rigorous application and review process that determines the extent to which they use arts and creativity to build community and encourage economic growth,” Platts said.

Reach Melinda Waldrop at 803-726-7542.

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