The famous Chapman Cultural Center, formerly known as Spartanburg Arts Council, was founded in 1957 to preserve Spartanburg’s art history. Today, the cultural center is much more than a destination. As the leading local arts agency, the Chapman Cultural Center offers funding and material support for many cultural organizations in Spartanburg.

The center’s educational program serves approximately 40,000 students throughout the county. Technically, Chapman Cultural Center is the creative cog and backbone of Spartanburg’s arts and cultural community. 

It is also home to a few museums and art galleries that feature prominent local artists and student artwork.

A Historical Overview of the Chapman Cultural Center

Founded as the “Arts Council” in the 1950s, Chapman Cultural Center was based on the basic principles of nurturing the creative arts within the Spartanburg community. Its founders were talented individuals who dedicated their lives towards establishing and maintaining arts exposure and education in Spartanburg and beyond.

The Arts Council’s first home and office were in a small school-owned house located on Converse College. They operated from the house for five years between 1970 and 1975. As the Art Council’s influence grew, its leaders started to seek a larger and ample location.

In 1975, they moved from the school-owned house into a portion of the former Southside Elementary School in Spartanburg’s outskirts. After a few years, the Arts Council was allowed to occupy the entire complex measuring approximately 46,000 square feet. The organization would operate from there for 32 years.

Over this period, the Arts Council won different accolades and developed some of the award-winning programs that shaped how the organization operates up to date.

The idea of constructing a new state-of-the-art complex in Spartanburg started in 1988 with conversations among some of the most influential community leaders at that time. A Blue Ribbon was formed, which oversaw the idea right from infancy until the time the complex was unveiled.

Spartanburg’s Premier Center for Experiencing Science, History, and Visual Arts

The new Chapman Cultural Center was officially launched in 2007, marking a historical moment in the city’s history.

The center houses a significant number of museums, artistic groups, and educational outreaches. Some of the center’s key sections include the Spartanburg Little Theatre, Spartanburg Regional History Museum, Spartanburg Science Center, and the Artists’ Guild of Spartanburg.

Leading Campion for Science & Arts in Local Schools

To ensure that science and arts remain an essential aspect of children’s learning experience in the greater Spartanburg region, Chapman Cultural Center offers comprehensive guidance to teachers, schools, and students of the entire Spartanburg County.

The program is highly customized to suit the student and teacher needs in the local learning environment. It includes a wide range of in-depth residencies that connect with students at a personal level. The program also provides hands-on experience in art-making for every student.

The center also goes outside the City of Spartanburg into other parts of the county to advocate for the community’s exemplary art and culture. It advocates for the role of arts, science, and history in community development.


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